The best convention-defying new cars
Sometimes rules are made to be broken. But when producing a product, be it a car or a carpet, it’s often best to go along with the crowd rather than breaking the mould.
However, making the bold decision to do something different can sometimes have spectacular, popular results, and that’s been proven to be the case on numerous occasions in the motoring industry.
Be it a move away from what the rest of the industry is doing, or a departure from what the brand is typically known for, these are the new cars that defy current conventions with exciting consequences.
Aston Martin Vantage AMR
The automatic gearbox has become the go-to installation for practically every high-end car on the market, and even though many cars will have Formula One-style flappy paddles to their name, plenty of car enthusiasts lament the loss of the manual gearbox.
Aston Martin responded to the woes of manual gearbox fans with the Vantage AMR. In this track-centric version of its baby sports car, the Mercedes-sourced eight-speed automatic gearbox is ditched in favour of a seven-speed manual transmission. Naturally, the purists have rejoiced.
Morgan Plus Six
Almost as quickly as Aston Martin endeared itself to the old guard, Morgan made them revolt.
The Morgan Plus Six was extremely divisive when it was revealed at the 2019 Geneva Motor Show. The Worcestershire-based firm has always been known for cars that were strictly analogue, and often built from a log too.
But, while the turbocharged, automatic-gearbox’d Plus Six is certainly a departure for the company, it is likely going to be spectacular; it’s set to be the quickest Morgan ever, with a top speed in excess of 170mph, and a mere 1075kg curb weight.
Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk
Typically, the ‘sporty’ version of an SUV is nothing more than a bodykit, but in recent times, the market for truly unhinged high-riders has soared.
Leading the way in this sector is the ballistic Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk, which borrows the 697bhp, 6.2-litre supercharged V8 from the Dodge Challenger Hellcat muscle car.
This allows the Trackhawk to accelerate from 0-60mph in just 3.5 seconds, and push it on to a top speed of 180mph. To say that is a ‘proper’ performance SUV is putting it lightly.
After a brief spell as a petrol-powered car, the performance-centric Audi SQ5 has returned to a diesel motor, sailing against the tide of the industry at large.
The new SQ5 features a 342bhp, 3.0-litre unit that produces a hefty 700Nm of torque. It’s impressively efficient too, with a claimed 41.5mpg. This is partially down to a mild hybrid system, which makes use of the braking energy that is otherwise wasted.
Yes, Lamborghini has made an off-roader before; the rough and ready, military-purposed LM002. And, given that the firm first built tractors, and still does so today, you could say that a certain level of precedent exists for a high-riding Lambo.
However, the Urus is definitely a major departure from Lamborghini’s typical oeuvre.
There’s nothing particularly shouty or dramatic about the Urus; it features a 4.0-litre twin-turbocharged V8 found in many other Volkswagen Group products, and it shares its platform with Audi’s Q7, the Bentley Bentayga and other large SUVs from the German-owned family of brands.
However, it is certainly a capable performance SUV, and regardless of what traditionalists think, it seems like a car that’s going to sell in droves.