The Australian market lost a great many vehicles in 2021, and perhaps the losses that stung the most were those of the various enthusiast vehicles discontinued.
The Alpine A110? Gone. Audi R8? Auf wiedersehen. Lexus RC F and Nissan GT-R? Sayonara!
It’s not surprising, then, to see the team here at CarExpert expressing a fond farewell to those vehicles – plus a few more.
The Audi R8. This is still one of my favourite cars ever. In the world of hybrids and forced induction, the fact a naturally-aspirated V10 exists is remarkable. Especially one that sounds as good as the Audi R8 does.
The next one is most likely going to be fully electric, which is great, I’m a fan of electric cars (especially fast ones), but it just won’t be the same. And if you’re a speculator, perhaps now would be a good time to snag one given how much they’re fetching on the second hand market (you can thank me later!).
The Audi R8. One of the best balanced cars ever made. An icon coming to an end for our market.
Unfortunately, it’s a little-known fact that the Alpine A110 is one of the all-time best driver’s car’s ever made. It’s little-known not because it was too expensive (it’s less expensive and more exotic than almost all its rivals), but because so few were ever imported.
This is a car that can make a Porsche Cayman feel like a truck in the corners, and is a car so easy to drive, your mother would feel comfortable behind the wheel. It’s a classic in the making and perhaps one of the most rewarding sports cars I’ve driven in the last 15 years, right up there with a new Porsche 911 GT3 in my honest opinion.
Read my review if you want to see what I’m banging on about.
The Nissan GT-R isn’t high volume, and it’s not a particularly relevant car to the majority of Australians.
It’s an icon though, and one that needn’t have died Down Under. The R35 is still available in Japan and New Zealand, and there’s no word on when production will end. It just falls foul of Australian Design Rules about structural integrity in a side impact collision, meaning Nissan Australia can’t legally sell it locally.
As cars become more homogenised, the angular GT-R is something different. We’re worse off for not having it on our shores.
I pinched the keys to a cherry red Lexus RC F a few months ago, and re-acquainted myself with its glorious naturally aspirated 351kW V8 – not particularly quick given the car’s heft, but that exhaust note would wake the dead.
It’s always sad waving farewell to a majestic dinosaur. Maybe I’ll nab a used one some day.
I had to think long and hard about this, because we’ve seen so many models culled from our market in the last year or so. The Ford Focus announcement really stings, though.
Yes, we’re going to continue getting the Focus ST in 2022 and beyond, but I have always had a soft spot for the Focus – as a journo and as a former member of the company’s comms team – and the current iteration has always been criminally under appreciated.
The Focus was one of those cars that had its work cut out from the start. We never got the wide range of features and options available in the UK and Europe, and the Australian public had been burned by the brand’s Powershift saga that plagued previous-generation Focus and Fiesta models.
I’ve always considered the SA-generation Focus as one of the best small cars on sale, to the point where I pushed my younger brother to buy one as his first car.
With brands like Ford really pushing the SUV movement, it’s always sad to see great products killed off locally. RIP.
I’m sad to see the Chrysler 300 go for two reasons. One, it spells the end of the Chrysler brand, one that’s seen its model range shrink over the years but which is set to get fresh electrified product. Two, it spells the end of yet another rear-wheel drive, relatively affordable sedan – and one with an available V8 too!
Chrysler could have done more to keep the 300 fresh, with only a minor facelift in 2015 since the second-generation model debuted in 2011.
But despite its age, it still looks slick and it still makes a case for itself with that sonorous SRT-8. After all, the Ford Mustang GT’s backseat is a better fit for bags than humans, and a Kia Stinger GT doesn’t sound this good…
The Toyota Camry V6 is the classic, everyday V6 sedan. Need I say more?
I grew up with my family owning a 1998 Mitsubishi Magna V6 and it was the most effortless country tourer, so V6 sedans have a soft spot in my heart.
It’s sad to see the Camry V6, with its juicy 224kW/362Nm 3.5-litre naturally-aspirated six, leave us.
Now that it’s gone it feels like the end of an era. Toyota is doubling down on its hybrid technology as well as exploring plug-in hybrid (PHEV), battery-electric (BEV), and hydrogen-powered vehicles.
For now if you want your six-cylinder sedan fix, you’ll need to look toward the Kia Stinger or Genesis G70, or consider other more expensive luxury offerings like the BMW M340i xDrive or the Mercedes-Benz C43 AMG.
Almost everything that got the axe because of the new side impact rules. Despite the fact it’s not the best-in-class, I have a soft spot for the new Lexus IS. The brand seems to have nailed its styling brief, right before the shift to a new language and the EV era.
Oddly, I don’t have the same feelings about the Mitsubishi Mirage, though.