I want to like the Lancia Thesis. I like Lancias generally, as most petrolheads do. So many of its cars are tinged with greatness and bathed in motorsport glory. Even the rubbish ones – of which there are plenty – have bags of character.
In many ways, the Thesis was one of Lancia’s better efforts. They certainly put a lot into it, developing a brand new chassis with multi-link suspension and ‘skyhook’ adaptive dampers borrowed from Maserati.
The V6 engines in particular were smooth and powerful, the handling remarkably assured for such a large, front-wheel-drive car, and the interior was positively decadent.
Trouble was, Lancia positioned the Thesis against the executive saloon establishment – Audi A6, BMW 5-Series and Mercedes E-Class. That’s an incredibly hard market to muscle in on, as Lancia found out.
It was offering something genuinely different in the Thesis, but that only works if people are willing to buy into what you’re doing. As it turned out, not many were. Only 16,000 were sold in seven years of production, most of those probably to the Italian government.
So what’s my problem with it? The same thing that no doubt put off everyone who might have bought one and didn’t: the styling. Particularly at the front. There’s nothing actually wrong with looking different, but it has no make sense. The Thesis’s deeply awkward face doesn’t. From some angles it looks sleepy, from others like its surprised. From none is it appealing.
By Only Motors