Squandered opportunities: the cars that fell short

This is a car that seems to have lived for 10 minutes, hidden from view. As its name implies, it has a pleasingly excessive horsepower count, can reach its 186mph top speed in 44 seconds and 62mph in precisely a 10th of that time. It has a chassis to handle the power, and with XJ aplomb too. It’s also likely to have been the last petrol-powered XJ variant developed, although lesser V8s remain on sale. WLTP and default diesel XJ demand did for the car in the UK, but it deserved better. 

Vauxhall Ampera

This was a car that should have triggered a plugin revolution. One of the first electrified range-extenders, its pioneering technology produced a truly practical car, and one that wouldn’t leave you stranded for want of a socket. It was interesting to look at and sit in, it drove pretty well – and very quietly – and its emissions were zero to low. Job done? No, sadly. The price was too high. It only seated four. And it was a Vauxhall, Astra-sized and double the money. For most, that didn’t compute. 

Peugeot RCZ (2010 – 2015)

Yes, you could see the Audi TT influence and, yes, it suffered some of the same dulled dynamic feedback as the TT, but this was a pretty, intriguing, wellfinished and desirable sports coupé. Its appeal was powerful enough to win it loads of page impressions, column inches and airtime. And then it all went dead. Peugeot’s promotion was minimal, until the RCZ-R version landed. Peugeot sold almost 68,000 RCZs, but Britain, surprisingly, bought only 1500 every year after the initial surge. 

Mini Coupé (2012 – 2015)


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