Ah, what a year 2016 was. Politics took some unexpected turns. Leicester City won the Premier League (and let’s be honest no-one saw that coming either). A large number of celebrities died, among them icons like Alan Rickman, Prince and Carrie Fisher. The UK did us proud in the Rio Olympics.
We could go on, but fortunately we don’t have to explain the rest of the world; we’re just here to bring you five of the major motoring highlights.
- Electric gained momentum
The Tesla Model S claimed the top spot in Auto Express’ Driver Power satisfaction survey; it was the first electric car to do so and got the highest score ever received. Mercedes revealed plans for a new range of electric vehicles with their Generation EQ concept. New kids on the block, Electra Meccanica, revealed their one-seater, electric commuter car, the SOLO 2017 and the electric I-Pace was unveiled by Jaguar.
- Motoring entertainment had quite a year
Not only did we see the first season of Top Gear since Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May left in 2015 (it got off to a rocky start), but the terrible trio themselves returned with their new Amazon Prime show, the Grand Tour (and are already in trouble for being offensive). They also launched DRIVETRIBE, an online community for car people.
- The BMW Group’s 100th birthday lead to some amazing concept cars
To celebrate their centenary, the BMW group produced some pretty slick concept cars under the catchphrase ‘The Next 100’. We saw MINI look forward to becoming a shared, community car, digitally personalised for each person who gets into it. BMW’s futuristic car was clad in a shifting metal skin, changing to achieve the ultimate aerodynamic position while Rolls-Royce’s luxury ‘floating’ concept car was more like a lounge than a vehicle.
- Nico Rosberg’s double shock
The German Formula One driver beat Lewis Hamilton by only 5 points to the Formula One World Championship title in November. It was the first time he had ever done so and fulfilled what he called a ‘childhood dream’. 5 days later he unexpectedly announced his retirement.
- The UK made the most cars it has since 1999
In 2016, the UK made the most cars it has in 17 years – over 1.6 million by November, the most we’ve produced since 1999. 1.25 million of those went to markets overseas. Mike Hawes, chief exec of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, said “'Made in Britain' is a badge coveted by car buyers worldwide, and these latest figures highlight not just that international appeal but also the fact that the UK is a globally competitive place to make cars.”
It’s been a year of highs and lows for most of us but hopefully we’ve reminded you of some of the awesome that’s out there. Here’s to 2017!
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