As 2018 draws to a close, we take a look at some of the great cars that are now driving on the endless empty B-road in the sky.
Some of these departures leave a considerable gap in our automotive lives. Because saying goodbye to great cars that were taken from us too soon is always difficult after all.
There are others though, where you could say the end was long overdue leaving us wondering why it hadn’t happened sooner.
Since its return to production over 20-years ago, the Volkswagen Beetle has always been something of a conundrum car.
As for all of its retro styling, there was little reason to pick one ahead of its VW Group stablemates which all offered more for the money.
The car buying public also thought the same leading to poor sales – giving Volkswagen no choice but to put it out to pasture.
Ford Focus RS
If there was a car that was taken from us too soon, the Ford Focus RS is it.
After only two short production years, it was killed off due to a new generation Focus hitting showrooms.
We shall miss its four-wheel drive madness, its burbling and popping 2.3-litre 345bhp powerhouse of a turbo engine, and that it was one of the truly great drivers’ cars for affordable money.
If you’ve never heard of the Seat Toledo, then you’re not alone. As in 2018, the Spanish carmaker decided to kill off the taxi drivers favourite by announcing the fourth generation was to be the last.
It’s not difficult to see why as the Toledo filled a sector where car buyers would exclusively pick an SUV or a hatchback over it (or any other car) with relative ease.
Alfa Romeo 4C Coupe
For reasons that pain us greatly – the rather stunning looking Alfa Romeo 4C coupe was taken from us in 2018.
This came about as Alfa announced a new five-year production plan, including a new GTV, and an 8C, so something had to go. And with the 4C Coupe suffering slow sales, its cancellation was inevitable.
There is one morsel of comfort for 4C fans though – as you can still buy a Spyder model in the coming year.
Again, another car that has been killed off due to slow sales in 2018 after a two-decade-plus production run – the Toyota Avensis is no more.
In its final form, the Avensis barely changed over nine years receiving two model refreshes in that time.
The good news though, is that Toyota is bringing back the Camry name after a 14-year absence from UK showrooms to fill the gap in the range.
The death of the Volkswagen Jetta may come as a surprise to many of you – mainly the fact that it was still being produced and sold in the UK.
The main reasons for its demise are simple – the Jetta occupied an almost hidden space in the range where it was overshadowed by the Golf. Which everyone bought instead.
Jaguar gave the world the magnificent XJ some 50 years ago, including the more powerful XJR variant in 1994.
But with the company moving towards electric powered vehicles, the venerable XJ is no more along with its glorious 5.0-litre supercharged V8.
There is a small consolation though, as you can still order an XJ for a little longer, but only with a 3.0-litre diesel unit before a fully electrified replacement arrives in 2019.
Morgan Plus 8
To celebrate 50 years of production of the Plus 8, Morgan produced a final limited run of cars, one for each year of the model’s lifespan.
During this long production run the Plus 8 hasn’t really changed a great deal at all. The main reason for this retirement though was BMW. As they supply the N62 V8 engine that powers the plus 8 – which if you know anything about engines, is practically from the dark ages.
Ford Fiesta ST
The second-generation Fiesta ST is best described as the hot hatch that made Ford great again. As after all, it showed a host of carmakers exactly how good a small hot hatch can be for not a lot of money.
From its eager 1.6-litre turbo engine to its sublime and playful handling, the ST was and always will be a properly good drivers’ car that you can use every day – the way a hot hatch should be.
The good news though, is that Ford replaced it with an all-new model which is even better.
The mighty Audi RS6 leaves us with definitive proof that you can daily drive a 602bhp V8 powered estate car – that is also a highly capable cruiser when you just want to get somewhere.
In its final most potent ‘Performance’ spec, the RS6 may have been long in the tooth, but it could still live with much-newer rivals topping the run to 62mph in 3.7 seconds before hitting the buffers at 190mph.
Surely, these staggering numbers make it the fastest Labrador carrier the world has ever seen.
BMW M3 F80
As a direct result of the new, and slightly chaotic WLTP emissions regulations. The BMW M3 received its final marching orders.
Yes, it was far from perfect, but the later Competition and CS monikered models were about as close to brilliant as you could get for a driver’s car that could also carry the family.
The M3 was always a bit savage, and all rather thuggish and brutal when you drove it hard, making its departure a bitter pill to swallow.
The Fiat Punto made the headlines for all wrong reasons becoming the first vehicle to receive a zero-star Euro NCAP safety rating. The first such rating since the company launched 20 years ago.
As the final generation was a rehash of the same 2005 model, – Fiat thought better of developing a new version ending the Punto’s quarter of a century production run.
BMW 6 Series
Yes, we thought the BMW 6 Series was killed off in 2017. But, to our surprise, the Convertible and Gran Coupe versions limped onwards with production finally ending in late 2018.
The 6 Series was always a bit of a difficult car to love for fans of the brand. As it was always tough to see where it fitted into the line-up.
BMW also thought the same, announcing the return of the 8 Series earlier this year to replace it.
The final celebration of the Koenigsegg Agera took the form of a pairing of final production cars – dubbed ‘Agera FE Thor’ and ‘Agera FE Vader’ making their debut at the 2018 Goodwood Festival of Speed.
Both cars were based on the Agera RS, including many unique active aero parts, special paintwork, and the monstrous 5.0-litre bi-turbo V8 producing 1,341bhp.
For 20 years the Suzuki Jimny was the small off-roader of choice for those on a modest budget.
Hugely capable when it came to the muddy stuff, but less refined when it came to tarmac. It hardly changed at all during the past two decades.
The good news though, is that a new Tonka-toy-like model has replaced it to appease fans the world over.
After 12 years in five-door form, the Jeep Wrangler was in dire need of an update remaining the same throughout its production run.
Rather than throw further development cash at it, FCA killed off this ageing off-roader, deciding to replace with an all-new model that somehow looks remarkably similar in spite of all of the modern-day emissions and crash regulations.
Now, for a car, you may not have heard of. The Infiniti Q60S in 3.0-litre twin turbo trim was a 400bhp monster of a coupe.
Epically quick and super-grippy thanks to its all-wheel-drive system. Combining premium luxury and comfort – along with continent-crossing ability.
The trouble was that no one was buying it. So, Infiniti quietly put it out pasture without telling anyone.
Mercedes-Benz G Wagen
The Mercedes-Benz G-Class or G Wagen as it should be called is another car that somehow managed to avoid being replaced for nearly three decades.
In its most potent form, it boasted a 6.0-litre V12 engine in G65 spec. Giving it a colossal amount of all-conquering ability that would usually be wasted in the centre of London.
Trouble was that it was a bit utilitarian for the road, and crying out for an update leaving Mercedes with no choice but to replace it with an all-new version.
Volkswagen Golf GTD
Yes, a hot hatch with a diesel engine has to make this list. The Volkswagen Golf GTD was the alternative for drivers who wanted to be both fun and frugal.
But due to various factors, including the WLTP regulations and dieselgate – VW decided to kill off the Mk7 GTD, robbing us of one of the few genuinely hot diesel hatchbacks in the process.
Renault Twingo GT
The Renault Twingo GT was released in 2017 to rave reviews praising its rear wheel drive, and rear engine layout.
Best described as a luke-warm hatch, the Twingo GT got 108bhp from its 0.9-litre turbocharged engine – along with a whole host of tail sliding fun.
At some point though in early 2018, Renault quietly killed off the GT variant of this tiny car without even telling us – leaving us feeling a bit sad.