There are, believe it or not, advantages to living in Europe.
Sure, everyone speaks a funny language (including the English, some would have you believe) and the economy appears to be spiraling into a giant plug hole somewhere in the Mediterranean, but at least we get to gloat over the U.S. when it comes to cars.
For one reason or another, North America misses out on some of Europe’s hottest models, either through legislation or simply a board member saying “nein!” (or a variation thereof).
So have a look through the collection below. And weep, because you’re not getting any of them. Still, consider yourselves lucky: At least you don’t have to look after Greece.
It could only be explained by a processing error. BMW was happy to send the 1M Coupe to U.S. soil, but its slightly subtler predecessor, the M135i, missed the boat. The styling isn’t to all tastes, but this is one car which really can outrun ugly.
The 320-horse inline-six provides eye-popping performance in the relatively small 1-Series shell, with 62mph arriving in a whisker under 5 seconds. Corners are devoured as easily as straights, too. There’s a sneaking suspicion that it’s the best car BMW makes, right now.
As the Volkswagen empire heads towards global domination, some of its products seem content to rest at home. One of those is the Scirocco coupe, based on the same platform as the Mk6 Golf, the Jetta and the Beetle. Only much, much more rakish than any of those cars, with running gear from the GTI.
To rub salt into the wounds, we can confirm it not only looks better than the Golf, but out-handles and out-performs it too. Yeah, you lose a bit of rear seat and trunk space, but who’s counting? If there’s one saving grace, it’s that VW knows the U.S. desperately wants the Scirocco. And it may keep that in mind if a next-generation model appears…
Renault Megane RenaultSport 265
The “hot hatchback”, so integral to European life, has never really caught on in the States. There’s the VW GTI, and a few MINIs with long-winded names, but beyond that the market is sparse. In Europe, it’s fierce – and the fiercest wears the RenaultSport badge. Amazingly, with 265 horsepower it still isn’t the most powerful hot hatch, but as we all know – it’s what you do with it that counts.
A limited slip diff and clever suspension let you put all that power to the road, and a steering wheel bristling with feedback ensures you know exactly where it’s going. There’s huge grip, an adjustable chassis, and the security of front-wheel drive to let you explore the limits more safely. But Renault, its reputation forever tarnished in the U.S, is unlikely to ever bring it over.
Ford Focus ST… Wagon
HAH! Almost had you there. You were about to say, “but we will be getting the ST!”. Well, not in wagon form you won’t. In contrast to Europe, where wagons are seen as dull and utilitarian – but necessary for that reason – the U.S. sees wagons, particularly hot ones, as the perfect mix of sleek styling and practicality.
So it must be galling to miss out on the wagon, which makes the hatch and saloon look a bit homely. The ST is the best of the lot, not only for its 250-horsepower 2.0-liter EcoBoost, but also for its 18-inch wheels and aggressive bodykit. We really are sorry about this one…
Range Rover Evoque… diesel
Whoops, we did it again. The U.S. can enjoy the stunning, concept-car lines of the Range Rover Evoque, but can only choose from gasoline power. European buyers get a Jaguar-sourced 2.2-liter turbodiesel, with just shy of 190bhp. The smooth-running diesel suits the Evoque so much more than the slightly raucous gas version, and gets better mileage, too.
Actually, we could have picked any car here – the Evoque just particularly suits its diesel engine. Whether it’s the hugely expanded range of German diesels denied to the U.S. (in cars like the Scirocco too…), or American models you’ll have to wait for – the Chevy Cruze diesel, for instance – diesel fans in the States have been left with the shortest straw.
Antony Ingram is News Reporter for Car Throttle. Antony has what can only be described as an obsession for all things automotive. If it moves, he’ll drive it, and even if it doesn’t move, he’ll sit inside and have a good poke around. Car Throttle is making car discovery fun again with cool car videos and viral auto content.