Another mixed week in the motor industry passes, with highs and lows aplenty. Thankfully we've had more highs than lows this week, so there's little to complain about.
Here's a selection of the things which brought a smile to my face this week, and the one-and-a-half more things which brought a grimace.
The best things I've seen all week
Seeing the city car hot hatch return could bring a smile to even the most stern of faces, and that's exactly what the Up GTI does. It'll likely have the same effect when you're behind the wheel, too. Ignore that it’s almost-but-not-quite as powerful as its 1.6-litre predecessor; quirky niches like this are what makes the car industry so enjoyable.
These Alfa Romeo wheels
Few other companies know how to do a good wheel like Alfa. Its 18" 5-Hole dark finish alloys, available on the Giulia from Super trim upwards, may appear to be fairly generic 5-spoke wheels, but upon closer inspection, incorporate both telephone-dial and turbine-like design cues; not dissimilar to Mercedes’ Alphard wheels from the R230 SL and Maybach Exelero. Gorgeous.
This spread from Autocar, 2 April 1997
The cars, the colours, the water, the reflections, the speed, the headline, the Ghibli’s aluminium fuel filler cap; it’s perfection. Organs would willingly be given to have been on this twin test. Preferably in the Ghibli. Or the M3. Or both.
Beauty isn’t just skin deep. Anyone who says that the SUV segment is ugly; you stand corrected.
Seen, heard, whatever; it's the soundtrack to Nio's blistering 6min 45.90sec Nürburgring lap, which increases the drama of the footage tenfold; never has an electric road car sounded so good. If this menacing, powerful whine is what the future sounds like, I welcome it with open ears.
... and the worst things I’ve seen this week:
The Hyundai Kona's face
From the middle of the front wings backwards, it's good; the V-shaped crease is a nice touch, the rear is pretty enough and the proportions are inoffensive. It's the overdesigned face with too-low and too-many front lights where it all falls apart. It'll probably sell by the bucketload and offer decent value, equipment and practicality, but if this is the final car, it won't deliver on looks.
Yes, it's one of the best and worst things I've seen this week. Why? Because it's another car that will probably deliver in all ways but looks; the Up is already a charming little thing, but without the twin central exhausts of its forebear and with the awkward, fiddly lower front grille treatment, it just doesn't have the magic micro machine appeal of the Lupo GTI.
It's not the worst thing I've seen all week, but it's certainly dashed my hopes of a quirky successor to one of VW's most characterful and desirable cars - I thought VW was supposed to be more emotional these days?