Article Highlights for discontinued cars
- Once the unique halo car signaling Alfa Romeo’s return to the US, the 4C is gone
- The seemingly future-proof plug-in hybrid supercar, the BMW i8, is stepping aside
- The sensible sports car, the fun and dependable Mercedes SLC is retiring
Every year automakers roll out new models. They also have to let some old ones go. Just because it is logical, does not make it any easier. This year’s canceled cars include three of our favorite sports cars on the road. Departing coupes include the BMW i8, the Mercedes SLC, and the Alfa Romeo 4C. We are happy to have known them. And they have each earned a place among the ranks of timeless classics. If you have been dreaming of one of these coupes, get it fast. They are all destined to become collectors’ cars.
Alfa Romeo 4C: quirkiest of the discontinued cars
When we saw Forbes’ list of canceled cars, some models hit us harder than others. One of those was the 4C. The 4C was Alfa Romeo’s re-entry into the North American car market. Other European brands might have launched a high-horsepower supercar. But instead of going big, the Italian automaker went small. Engineers kept the vehicle under 2,000 pounds with a carbon-fiber tub frame. They tuned a mid-mounted turbo I4 for 237 horsepower. The result was the nimble Alfa Romeo 4C.
The incredible Alfa Romeo 4C cost less than $70K. It brought mid-engine Italian performance to the masses from 2014 through 2020. The 4C taught us less can be more. It may seem it’s leaving us too soon. But perhaps the 4C’s final lesson is that even beauty does not last forevor.
BMW i8: a discontinued sports car that was ahead of its time
The BMW i8 is a plug-in hybrid with supercar style. BMW first unveiled the i8 in 2014. This car seemed future-proof. The incredible vehicle was ahead of its time. Later models have a plug-in range of 33 miles and get 29 MPG after that. Yet it boasts a 4.4-second zero to 60 MPH time.
Even with fully-electric hypercars nipping at the i8’s heels, BMW’s flagship hybrid’s sales stayed strong. By March 2020, BMW had sold 20,000 i8s. We are not sure why BMW would cancel such a successful, timely car. The team at Bayerische Motoren Werke must be making room for some exciting new projects.
Mercedes Benz SLC: a sensible, versatile car gets canceled
The Mercedes Benz SLC proved that we really can have it all. Mercedes launched the SLK-class of compact roadster in 1996. The car boasted the nimble handling of its Miata and Fiat Spider competitors. But it added a luxurious interior and sensible folding hardtop. Few automakers dared anything quite like the SLK, and it was an instant hit.
By the end of the SLK’s run, it had been renamed the SLC to signal that it was C-class size. Mercedes offered the roadster with the traditional inline-four engine, a V6, a powerful V8, and diesel options in certain markets. Then, for some reason, Mercedes decided the one-of-a-kind German roadster had to go. Mercedes stopped production in 2020, leaving the market without anything quite like the versatile SLC.