With events and motorsport slowly returning to a semblance of normality, there’s been more opportunity for new cars to be seen out and about in search of buyers. The industry took a massive hit in 2020, but the hope is that the new wave of electric cars will find favour amongst drivers who are reassessing exactly how much distance they cover on a daily basis.

As the volume manufacturers set out long-range plans for total transformation increases, with futuristic concepts and pioneering new production cars, niche manufacturers are slowly bringing the curtain down on the internal combustion engine. 

Lotus Emira

The interior of the forthcoming Lotus Emira
Lotus Emira, price tbc

Lotus has invested around £100m in re-vamping itself for the modern era and transforming the long-lived company into a credible player in a very demanding market. At one end, there’s the forthcoming Evija electric hypercar, over £2m worth of cutting edge engineering. At the other extreme is this, the all-new Emira. The company’s final fling with a conventional power train, the Emira is relatively light, undeniably elegant and promises to be an idiosyncratic but not too eccentric competitor for the likes of the Porsche Cayman. The company promises a starting price of under £60,000 when deliveries begin in 2022.

Genesis G70 Shooting Brake

Genesis G70 Shooting Brake
Genesis G70 Shooting Brake
Genesis G70 Shooting Brake, interior
Genesis G70 Shooting Brake, price tbc

Korean luxury brand Genesis is gunning for a European market with the G70 Shooting Brake. A more capacious variant of the handsome G70 saloon, the Shooting Brake pairs a fastback body style with a driver-focused interior, with quality levels and detail design that’s more than a match for its German equivalents. Genesis is relatively new in the European marketplace and although its first brace of products is handsome and accomplished, the company is promising big things as it pioneers a new approach to electrified high-end design. 

Renault 5 Concept

Renault 5 Concept
The Renault 5 Concept previews a new electric production car, due 2023

At the other end of the scale, manufacturers are pushing design and retro familiarity into upcoming compact EVs. Honda’s excellent e has been joined by Fiat’s New 500 and now Renault wants in on the game. As part of a massive push to electrify the business, the company is proposing to revive the Renault 4 and Renault 5 nameplates, two icons of small car design from the 60s and 70s. The new strategy includes the creation of Renault ElectriCity, an umbrella name for three specialist EV manufacturing sites as well as a boost for the company’s Alpine performance sub-brand, including a pure electric sports car and a svelte electric GT in due course. Earlier this year the company showed a Renault 5 concept (pictured) that offers a good indication of how the 2023 model will look. 

renault.co.uk

Ferrari 296 GTB 

Ferrari 296 GTB with the optional Assetto Fiorano accessories pack
Ferrari 296 GTB with the optional Assetto Fiorano accessories pack
Ferrari 296 GTB, from eary 2022, from €269,000. Show here with the optional Assetto Fiorano accessories pack 

Ferrari goes mainstream with hybrid technology, previously only available to its select group of hypercar customers. The new Ferrari 296 GTB eschews the V8 that has long been the centrepiece of the company’s mid-engined sports cars in favour of a hybridised V6, a sign of things to come. The 296 GTB also continues Ferrari’s slightly tamer contemporary design language, with more emphasis on proportion and elegance than on creases, curves and vents. There’s more than a hint of the 1967 Ferrari Dino in the flanks, another sign that the Italian company is increasingly willing to reference its storied past. 

Volvo Concept Recharge

Volvo Concept Recharge
Volvo Concept Recharge interior
Volvo Concept Recharge

The Volvo Concept Recharge takes one of the Swedish company’s most recognisable niches – the estate car – and reinterprets it for an electric future. Foursquare and solid, the Concept Recharge also shows a rare delicacy in the way the glasshouse sits above the body. With design overseen by a team led by Robin Page, the company’s famous conventional grille has now completely disappeared – although the Volvo logo and diagonal form has been refined for the new era. The company is also developing a new in-house operating system and doubling down on its commitment to safety. The Concept Recharge heralds a next generation family of EVs that will place range and swift charging at the heart of the brand. 

MINI Vision Urbanaut Concept

MINI Vision Urbanaut Concept
MINI Vision Urbanaut Concept, interior
The MINI Vision Urbanaut concept features a highly flexible interior

MINI’s Vision Urbanaut virtual concept becomes a reality as the company translates the 3D render it showed last November into a physical model. As the name implies, Urbanaut is MINI’s idea of what a multi-functional city car could look like, with a cavernous, transformable interior packed into a compact 4.46m long body. There are some characteristic MINI design cues – interior themes labelled ‘Chill’, ‘Wanderlust’ and ‘Vibe’ – and friendly-faced design and neat detailing. Sliding, folding seats turn the interior into a mobile lounge, a nod to the need for private spaces out of the home. Could this preview a model that breaks the brand out of its retro-straitjacket? 

Fisker Ocean 

Fisker Ocean
Fisker Ocean, price tbc

Henrik Fisker is a car designer turned manufacturer with vision and persistence. His latest venture is the Fisker Ocean, a new EV crossover due to be built at the Magna plant in Austria. billed as the ‘World’s Most Sustainable Vehicle’, the Ocean has a vegan leather interior, recycled materials and a clean, unfussy shape in concept form. Expect minimal changes to the final version of the Ocean when it breaks cover this winter, with production set to start in November 2022. The company is also pushing hard on its branding, hoping to inject the Fisker name into the EV conversation with some start-up flair. The company’s upcoming Project PEAR (Personal Electric Automotive Revolution) is potentially another string to its bow. 

fiskerinc.com

BMW iX

BMW iX at BMW HQ in Munich
BMW’s new iX, shown here at BMW HQ in Munich, from £69,905

Although the iX takes the big, bold template the company established with its hugely successful ‘X’ series of SUVs, it’s new from the ground up. A pure electric vehicle, the iX makes the most of the packaging opportunities offered by electric drive to create a light, airy cabin with a minimal but rich materials palette. Read our interview with BMW’s Head of Design Domagoj Dukec for more information. §

bmw.co.uk