Top Gear's Top 9: cars killed by electric
Electric is the future. Here are nine cars consigned to the past (at least partly) because of it
2023 will see the death of the Audi R8, which means no more howling V10. Boo. Hopefully someone at Neckarsulm has taken steps to record its 5.2-litre masterpiece so that the sound can be pumped into whatever replaces the supercar. This will be necessary because any successor - if one is signed off at all - will be electric. Sadly 8,700rpm and 296g/km CO2 isn’t a combo that works with air regs any more.Advertisement - Page continues below
Dodge Challenger & Charger
Yep, the iconic Challenger and Charger are heading for the chop. At least they’re going in a blaze of glory: the Challenger SRT Demon 170 packs more than 1,000bhp and is fittingly the fastest Dodge has ever built. You see, under new parent company Stellantis it has been decided that muscle is no longer green enough, so it’ll try its hand at e-muscle (check out the Charger Daytona SRT Concept) next. Let’s hope it works.
Ok, so the Ford Fiesta hasn’t strictly been discontinued because of electricity. But the shift towards EVs certainly didn’t help. Ford barely broke even on the Fiesta, and given how much more expensive it is to build something with a battery, an electric Fiesta had all the makings of a big loss-maker. So it had to die. Still, the Fiesta-based Puma will be getting a 'leccy variant by 2024, so its legacy will live on.Advertisement - Page continues below
Rolls-Royce Dawn & Wraith
The ‘sun has set on the Dawn’ wrote virtually every car news outlet with an imagination. Including us. Even ultra-exclusive, uber-luxury cars like the Dawn and Wraith aren’t immune to the electric switchover, with Rolls-Royce preferring to caress its future customers (sorry, clientele) in the direction of the new Spectre. Turns out the whisper-quietness of a 6.6-litre V12 wasn’t whisper-quiet enough, given how discrete motors can be.
Renault Megane RS
Perhaps when we say ‘killed by electric’ we mean ‘killed by emissions’. Which is basically the same thing. The Megane RS is going away because hot hatch levels of CO2 are getting harder for car-makers to justify because of how strict fleet emissions rules are now. The Megane still exists (and there’s an electric E-Tech version), but the whole idea of a Renaultsport variant is no more. The fun, enthusiast stuff will be badged as Alpine from now on. Its A290_β concept gives us hope, at least. Shout out also to the Ford Focus RS, which has suffered a similar fate.
The Kia Stinger was revealed in 2017 and we liked it immediately: here was an increasingly successful brand trying something different, and executing it well. But times are changing and the company needs a new flagship, that car being the EV6 GT which, of course, is electric. Luckily the saloon still has some legs in the new era but that space has already been granted to the Ioniq 6, so the Stinger had to bow out. We’ll miss it.
Eh? An electric car killed by electric cars, how does that work? The i3 was one of the very first to not only make the whole EV thing work, but make it cool too. You can thank the futuristic interior (which still holds up 10 years on) for that. But these days small cars make little financial sense for those who build them, so imagine trying to make the numbers stack up for one with a carbon monocoque. It was never gonna last, and the i3 was only ever an experiment anyway. Farewell, champ.Advertisement - Page continues below
The quite competent, quite dull Hyundai Ioniq was famously the first car ever sold as a hybrid, plug-in hybrid and electric car, and as the latter it delivered efficiency that other manufacturers are still struggling to match. But a platform capable of being many things is always going to be compromised, and so the Ioniq had to go. The name lives on with the (very handsome) Ioniq 5 and the (less handsome) Ioniq 6, and presumably will adorn more products to come. Don’t forget, this was the origin.
The Polestar 1 had two jobs: put some distance between the fledgling brand and former parent company Volvo, and launch said fledgling brand as an EV-only entity. Which it duly did… with a plug-in hybrid powertrain. Quite why Polestar settled on that strategy is anyone’s guess, but the firm looks in good health now so it must’ve worked. The 600bhp PHEV entered production in 2019 and by 2022 it was done. Think of it like going to the moon: you can’t take the first stage of the rocket with you.Advertisement - Page continues below