It's shaping up to be another great year for new cars. Plenty of new models will be heading to showrooms over the next twelve months and from all sectors of the market. Whether you're looking for a new SUV, city car, saloon, sports car or supercar, look down the list below to see which models are arriving when in 2014.
This is where it gets serious. Mercedes’ SLS AMG and the McLaren 12C were the inevitable post-divorce outpourings of self-expression, the automotive equivalents of joining a gym or buying a motorcycle and yelling “This is who I wanted to be all along!” at your ex.
But this, the GT, is AMG moving on and getting down to the serious business of making sports cars. Developed under the C190 codename, the GT, which we’ll first see at this year’s German Grand Prix, will cost close to £100,000 when it goes on sale later in the year.
The GT will roll down the production line used by the SLS, which is due to be retired in July. Like the SLS, the GT retains a two-seat layout and a front-mounted engine and uses a predominantly aluminium spaceframe, elements of which are shared with the outgoing car. The GT will be shorter — around 4500mm in length — but width and height are close to those of the gullwing car.
What isn’t shared is the engine. Neither the SLS’s naturally aspirated 6.2-litre V8 nor the 5.5-litre twin-turbo V8 that you’ll find elsewhere in the AMG range will be used. Instead, the GT gets a new modular engine, a 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 that shares its architecture with the 2.0-litre four-pot found today in the A45 AMG.
The engine will be rolled out across the AMG range in various power outputs, but insiders have indicated that it will make around 493bhp in the GT. That equates to a specific output of 123bhp per litre, and its overall output puts the GT in the same territory as a Porsche 911 Turbo.
Expect a 0-62mph time of “well under four seconds”, according to insiders, and a top speed “above 190mph” when the car goes on sale.
Lamborghini’s Gallardo replacement has been christened Huracán. It has the look of a baby Aventador and has grown only marginally in size over the Gallardo. Power comes from a new version of Lamborghini’s familiar 5.2-litre V10 engine, with outputs of 602bhp and 413lb ft — and not a turbocharger in sight. A top speed of “over” 202mph is quoted for the 1422kg, all-wheel-drive Huracán, along with a 0-62mph time of 3.2sec.
The 918 Spyder is the third in a long-awaited trio of new hypercars that also includes the McLaren P1 and LaFerrari. Deliveries of the sold-out latter two are already under way, but Porsche still has half of its allocation of 918 (get it?) 918 Spyders left to sell. For your £853,155, you get an 875bhp missile that mates a 4.6-litre V8 to two electric motors. It can crack 0-62mph in just 2.5sec, lap the Nürburgring in less than seven minutes and return 94.1mpg. But the best bit about it is how natural and pure it still feels to drive.
Prior to an early drive in the go-faster GT-R, there was a suspicion that its existence might have been more about stamping some authenticity on a better-integrated Nismo division than properly recooking the car. Fortunately, the fitment of GT3-spec turbos and some serious fettling put paid to that worry. Nissan won’t say how much faster the Nismo is in a straight line, but it’s posted a pant-wettingly quick Nürburgring time (albeit with optional aero pack). The giant-killer now has a giant price, but expect its reputation to swell in tandem.
That the Speciale is lighter, quicker, prettier and more powerful than the regular 458 — already an utterly brilliant five-star car — is compelling enough, but this track-focused overhaul brings an even more intriguing advancement.
Alongside the mechanical revisions, Ferrari has added another party trick to the familiar Manettino dial. SSC, or Side Slip Control, is designed with oversteer in mind. It allows owners to overstep the limit of their new supercar without risking their £208,000 investment. Word from our Steve Sutcliffe, and the former F1 driver rolled out by Ferrari, is that it’s almost as mind-blowing as the car. No, we can’t wait, either.
Chevrolet Corvette Stingray (January), Porsche 911 Turbo cabriolet (February), Mercedes-Benz SLS Final Edition (April), Radical RXC Turbo (Summer)
Renaultsport has been making noises about wanting a final swansong for the Mégane RS — the finest big hot hatch of its generation — before it’s replaced by an all-new version next year.
A runout model could feature a more powerful turbocharged 2.0-litre engine, up from the current 261bhp, in an improved standard car. Or Renault might follow the Megane RS’s predecessor and build a lightweight, stripped-out R version. Or, as is likely, it could do both.
The range-topping Golf R is set to arrive in the spring, complete with sports car-baiting levels of performance for a price that creeps just south of £30,000. The all-wheel-drive Golf R uses a 296bhp turbocharged 2.0-litre engine, which helps this hottest of Golf hatches to 62mph in just 4.9sec in six-speed dual-clutch automatic form.
Front and rear electronic differentials, a lowered sports chassis and a sporty cosmetic overhaul both inside and out also feature.
With parent firm Volkswagen topping its Golf range with the R model, subsidiary firm Seat is set to launch its own hot hatch contender in the shape of the Leon Cupra.
The sporty Spaniard will sit between the Golf GTI and Golf R in terms of performance and power. It will be front-drive only and its 2.0-litre turbo engine will make around 265bhp. An even hotter R version is under consideration for next year with a spec to match that of the Golf R.
Vauchall Corsa VXR Clubsport (March), Nissan Juke Nismo RS (Spring), Alfa Romeo Giulietta Quadrifoglio Verde (Spring), Alfa Romeo Mito Quadrifoglio Verde (Spring)
Same old same old. Just as BMW M division’s grandee M5 saloon and M6 coupé models did, the BMW M3 will move to forced induction when it arrives in UK showrooms in June.
Once it does, there won’t be a single M car — or even a halfway-house M Performance model — that draws air at atmospheric pressure. The era of the 9000rpm redline is over. It will be missed. But once you get into the technical details of the new M3, you realise it’s a fool who expects a lesser car to result just because of the presence of a couple of IHI turbos.
The new 3.0-litre straight six that powers the M3 saloon — and the M4 coupé and convertible, lest we forget the shift in nomenclature that the M division old guard will get equally exercised about — produces 425bhp at more than 7000rpm. Crucially, it also shoves out close to a third more torque than the previous M3, and it makes it almost 2000rpm lower down in the rev range. The car’s torque-to-weight ratio, and resultant in-gear acceleration, should be enough to give an £83,000 Porsche 911 Carrera S a bit of a hiding.
Throttle response is the stick with which detractors will attack BMW’s powertrain strategy, but M division engineers claim it’s not a weakness. The turbos are small and low-inertia, they say. The induction system gets greater volumes of air to them than any they’ve designed before. And items like a forged crankshaft and a carbonfibre-reinforced propshaft reduce the potential for slackness downstream.
We’re also getting an electro-mechanical power steering system which, they say, is better than the hydraulic set-up on the previous car. There’s also an electronically actuated rear differential for faster lock-up and a rigid-mounted rear suspension subframe for more precise handling during high lateral loads.
Leaving the philosophical turbocharging question to one side, those sound exactly like the things you’d have changed to improve the last M3 — which itself was a mighty sports car. So bring it on, BMW.
This one’s unconfirmed, but prototype versions of a more potent Range Rover Sport continue to shed their camouflage, hinting that a 2014 launch is probable.
More sporting versions of all three Range Rovers are likely to be launched, with an RS badge mooted for them. Design director Gerry McGovern said such models would retain their all-terrain performance but “dial up the on-road performance and sporting prowess”. Expect a more potent 5.0-litre supercharged V8 for the Range Rover Sport RS, along with a firmed-up chassis and subtle exterior mods.
The production version of the AeroSeven concept will be Caterham’s first closed-wheel road car since the short-lived 21 of 1994. The two-seat AeroSeven is underpinned by an updated version of the Seven CSR’s chassis and is powered by a 237bhp 2.0-litre Ford Duratec engine, which should make it good for a sub-4.0sec 0-62mph time. No price has yet been mooted as Caterham is yet to finalise the specification and materials.
When the time came to develop this go-faster RCZ, Peugeot turned to its specialist motorsport people Peugeot Sport — the team behind Sébastien Loeb’s incredible 208 T16 Pike’s Peak hillclimb car.
Knowing what’s required to make a front-driver go fast over asphalt, Peugeot Sport opted for bigger wheels and tyres, better brakes, lighter hubs, wider tracks, a lower ride height, uprated springs, dampers and anti-roll bars and a Torsen limited-slip differential. Trick engine internals result in 266bhp and 243lb ft from less than 1600cc. Our early tests suggest this could be one of the year’s best affordable driver’s cars, not to mention the best fast Pug in a very long time.
Subaru may be in the process of recasting its image, but it’s not about to throw the baby out with the bath water. The Japanese niche player wants to be known as a maker of 4x4s and crossovers, but a good chunk of the UK car-buying public still equate Subaru with Colin McRae and Prodrive-fettled WRC Imprezas.
So if you can’t beat ’em, supply ’em, which is what the new WRX is all about: a 264bhp, all-paw saloon based on a new advanced platform no longer directly linked to the Impreza series. Subaru’s UK distributor is working on bringing the car to the UK but may yet bypass it for a more powerful but still-unconfirmed STI version, which has beenn confirmed for the UK market.
Jaguar is poised to unveil its most potent estate yet in the XFR-S Sportbrake, with a Geneva show reveal mooted ahead of sales soon after. The car will be an estate version of the XFR-S saloon, meaning a 542bhp 5.0-litre supercharged V8 sending drive to the rear wheels. Test mules have shown the potent wagon sporting the same look as the saloon.
The new HSV Gen-F GTS-derived VXR8 is the cheapest way to get more than 500bhp in the UK. For £54,999, you get a rebadged version of the fastest, most powerful car to come out of Australia, complete with 576bhp 6.2-litre supercharged V8 and 0-60mph in 4.9sec. Vauxhall claims “greater body control, sharper handling and a significantly more pliant ride” than the previous VXR8.
A new C-class saloon means a new AMG range-topper by the end of the year. The big news is the engine: power will come from a new twin-turbo 4.0-litre V8 that will replace both the naturally aspirated 6.2-litre V8 and the twin-turbo 5.5-litre V8 that are used in most of AMG’s current models. As part of a recent tie-up between Aston Martin and Daimler, future Astons are also set to get the 4.0 V8.
Porsche Panamera Turbo S (January), Morgan 3 Wheeler facelift (January), Audi S3 saloon (February), Vauxhall Insignia VXR facelift (March), Bentley Continental GT/GTC V8 S (Spring), Mercedes S63 AMG coupe (May), Volvo V60 Polestar (June), Lexus GS-F (Winter), Alpina B6 Gran Coupe (Winter), BMW X5 M (Winter)
You can’t empathise fully with the new Alfa Romeo 4C, and the intentions of its creators, until you drive it. Proof of this is in the fact that people who haven’t yet slipped behind the wheel insist on making on-paper comparisons with the Porsche Cayman, a car with a very different character and purpose.
I’d go so far as to say Italy’s new mid-engined coupé is one of the few cars today that has no direct competitors at all, although you could draw comparisons with the now defunct four-cylinder Lotus Exige.
Let’s start by clocking the 4C’s points of difference. At £45,000, it’s the most affordable car yet to have a proper carbonfibre chassis. Consequently, it weighs only 960kg.
Its engine is an ultra-light 1750cc turbo four producing 237bhp and 258lb ft — and Alfa has already let slip that more is possible from the all-aluminium engine. Look for 280-300bhp in the longer term.
The gearbox is a paddle-shift, six-speed dual-clutch automatic, and it’ll do the 0-60mph sprint in under five seconds and 155mph flat out. Its lightness — and the benefits it brings — take the 4C on an entirely different path from the Cayman, a car that weights nearly 1400kg at the kerb.
The 4C’s delicacy of handling is the thing that marks it out as special. Its steering can be unassisted because the nose weight is low and the tyre sections are modest, but it grips beautifully (a shade too effectively at the rear, some say, because the predominant handling trait is understeer and it is hard to slide).
A special delight is how easy the 4C is to propel. There’s no feeling of it lugging itself away from rest, as with so many contemporary cars. The Alfa rolls easily as soon as you let in the clutch. Chuck in an inspiring exhaust note, a relatively spartan interior that emphasises the 4C’s competition connections, and styling to die for, and you have a car with Ferrari levels of desirability at a quarter of the price.
It almost looks like a bargain. Jaguar’s fixed-head F-type shaves £7300 off the convertible prices we’ve already seen, so the range now starts at just over £50,000. Jaguar is using the fixed-head model’s arrival to showcase a new £85,000, 542bhp R model that makes great use of the new coupé’s rigid body; it is reputedly the stiffest Jaguar ever. Sales of the R, which uses the same high-output supercharged V8 as the XKR-S and XFR-S, will begin in March. The R’s suspension is a little stiffer than that of other F-types, and Jaguar calls it “the most dynamically capable” production car it has ever built.
Don’t bank on buying a BMW i8 this year, because the first year’s production of this radical but frugal £100,000 hybrid supercar is already sold. The car, which looks similar to the original concept, uses many carbonfibre components to keep weight below 1500kg, emits only 25g/km of CO2 and delivers a claimed 113mpg combined.
Propelled by a hybrid partnership between a nose-mounted electric motor and a twin-turbo 1.5-litre, three-cylinder petrol engine (related to that in the upcoming third-gen Mini) behind the driver and sending power to the rear wheels, the car has a total of 356bhp on tap. Its 0-62mph time is just 4.4sec, while top speed is limited to 155mph.
Ferrari’s product cycle indicates that this is the year the California hard-top cabrio will be replaced. It’s quite plausible that the entry-level Prancing Horse will be something very different from today’s car, but the biggest news of all is that the California replacement is set to adopt a turbocharged engine, which would be a first for a mainstream Ferrari. Look out for more news at the Geneva show in the spring.
Dutch sports car maker Spyker plans to enter a more affordable sector of the sports car market with the B6 Venator, a V6 rival to high-end versions of the Porsche 911. The £125,000 coupé and £135,000 convertible are each powered by a 375bhp motor sending drive to the rear wheels. An aluminium monocoque chassis and carbonfibre bodywork also feature among the armoury of the sub-1400kg model, which will get a high-quality finish in keeping with Spyker’s coachbuilding roots.
Chevrolet Camaro (January), Porsche 911 Targa (March), Ariel Atom Titanium (Summer), Zenos E10 (Winter)
COUPE AND CABRIOLET
The 2-series coupé is due early in the year as a replacement for the 1-series coupé. The UK’s initial launch line-up includes 220i and 220d models, plus a range-topping M235i model. This hot version gets a 322bhp 3.0-litre straight six engine that’s good for a 0-62mph time of just 4.8sec in auto form.
A convertible version of the 2-series will follow later in the year, along with an engine range that is set to extend to include 218d and 225d versions.
Audi’s third-generation TT switches to the Volkswagen Group’s MQB architecture. That means shorter overhangs, a longer wheelbase for improved cabin space and an engine range that will include 1.8 and 2.0-litre petrol engines and a 2.0-litre TDI.
A coupé will come first, with a cabriolet to follow in 2015, along with a potent RS version. Audi’s designers have been briefed to try to recapture some of the distinctiveness and impact of the first-generation model.
The launch of the BMW 4-series coupé and convertible models in March means even better news will follow later in the year: Alpina versions. Alpina’s take on the BMW 3-series saloon, the B3, is one of our favourite performance four-doors, and we expect the trick to be repeated when Alpina fettles the 4-series into the B4.
A twin-turbo 3.0-litre petrol engine produces 404bhp and 443lb ft, making the B4 good for 0-62mph in 4.2sec and 190mph. An equally good D4 version is due later in the year.
The new S-class coupé will arrive in May as a replacement for the CL. This latest model in an extended S-class family was previewed with a concept version at the Frankfurt motor show back in the autumn, and senior Mercedes designers have said only detail changes will take place for production.
Expect engines to be shared with the standard S-class range. A potent S63 AMG model will top the range initially while a V12-powered S65 AMG version is appraised.
Audi A3 cabriolet (March), BMW 4-series convertible (March), BMW 4-series coupe (March), Audi S3 cabriolet (April), VW Scirocco facelift (Summer), Alpina D4 (Autumn), Mini cabriolet (Autumn)
Despite its recent unveiling at both the Los Angeles and Tokyo motor shows, it’s possible that the Macan moniker might still only be dimly familiar to you. Well, get to grips with the spelling (it means ‘tiger’ in Indonesian, apparently), because we’re fairly confident that next year the new compact SUV is going to stand a fair crack at becoming Porsche’s biggest global seller.
The precedent for such a claim hardly requires a mention. The bigger Cayenne’s success was so complete that the gripes that accompanied its introduction were swept swiftly aside by a blitzkrieg of orders — and no little critical acclaim to boot.
You’d be hard pushed to hear a murmur of criticism this time round; Porsche’s putsch into the even bigger volume of smaller utility vehicles was inevitable, and the Macan is the final fruition of a story broken to no surprise quite some time ago.
Thanks to the manufacturer’s innate conservatism, the relationship with the Cayenne is hardly ambiguous. Distracted children wandering to the wrong model of Porsche is likely to be a recurring theme of the 2014 school run.
Height is likely to be the big differentiator; the Macan is a full 8cm lower than its larger sibling. Like its forerunner, the unseen architecture is borrowed from elsewhere in the VW Group (in this case the Audi Q5), but, as with the Cayenne, its engineers are promising a very different dynamic experience.
Our very early impressions from the passenger’s seat suggest they have indeed delivered that superior mix of power, plushness and lateral grip that helped to make the Cayenne a high-sided hit. Expect a rear-biased all-wheel drive experience served up on wider tracks front and rear, filtered through a heavily revamped electro-mechanical steering system.
Along with Porsche’s seven-speed PDK gearbox, the Macan gets new, twin-turbocharged V6 petrol engines to power both the S and headlining Turbo, while the Diesel S gets a 254bhp 3.0-litre V6 for now. The firm’s new four-pots will follow later.
The second-generation Q7 is expected to lose 350kg in weight. This is down to the adoption of the Volkswagen Group’s latest MLB platform, a structure that’s also set to underpin next-generation versions of the VW Touareg and Porsche Cayenne, in addition to new SUVs coming from both Lamborghini and Bentley. Audi design chief Wolfgang Egger has said the Mk2 Q7 will introduce a new design language at Audi, promising to “clean up” the current look.
The XC90 is still going strong after 11 years, which means two things. One: it is due for replacement and is a priority for Volvo. And two: the job couldn’t be more important. The new car will ride on Volvo’s all-new SPA platform, which will underpin every car from the S60 upwards in future. It will also use Volvo’s radical new range of 2.0-litre, four-cylinder petrol and diesel engines, which share myriad common components and utilise various combinations of turbos and superchargers to obtain differing power outputs.
Citroën’s Volkswagen Touareg-sized DS SUV will be revealed in final form at the Beijing motor show in April, having been previewed as the Wild Rubis concept in 2013. A DS X7 badge is mooted, with sales destined to start in China in the summer. Sales for Europe were initially ruled out, but insiders claim it will now be sold here. A winter 2014 introduction is optimistic, but expect the desire to bring the car to the UK sooner rather than later to gain traction if the production car looks as good as the concept.
It’s inevitable. You can’t fight it. BMW’s range expansion into every conceivable premium niche will continue this year with the introduction of the X4, which is to the X3 what the X6 is to the X5. The X4 will be built alongside the X3 in Spartanburg, South Carolina (where the X5 and X6 are also produced) and shares its wheelbase with the X3. It’ll share its major mechanicals, too, as you’d expect. The X4’s tracks are wider than the X3’s, though, and it’ll sit a touch lower to the ground, most likely making what’s already a dynamically accomplished SUV an even keener drive.
The SUV-cum-coupé X6 was one of the most controversial introductions to BMW’s line-up when it was launched in 2008. But it is considered a big success, having shifted 200,000 units worldwide since launch. Its successor will again be derived from the X5, sharing a platform and engines with that model. China, North America and Germany are the main targets of the new model, which insiders claim is “more muscular, sporty, and athletic” than the current car.
The Freelander will join an extended Discovery family. Five and seven-seat versions are set to be offered and are set to be underpinned by a platform derived from the Range Rover Evoque. Design chief Gerry McGovern has said the new car won’t “necessarily be a straightforward replacement” for the current car, stating the firm “can do something new and still keep it relevant” for existing Freelander owners.
The Cherokee returns to the UK in 2014 as a new mid-size SUV to sit between the Compass and Grand Cherokee in Jeep’s improving line-up. The car is based on Fiat-Chrysler’s Compact US Wide architecture, which can be traced back to the Alfa Romeo Giulietta in another form and is tipped to underpin an Alfa SUV. Prices and specs are yet to be revealed, but a nine-speed auto gearbox is expected. US-spec Cherokees have either a 2.4-litre four-cylinder or 3.2-litre V6 petrol engine.
SsangYong Rexton W (January), BMW X3 facelift (March), Range Rover Evoque 2014 (March), Land Rover Discovery facelift (March), Volkswagen Touareg facelift (Late 2014), Subaru Outback (Late 2014)
Expected to be shown in mildly disguised ‘concept’ form at the Paris motor show in September, the baby Jaguar is that rarest of new models: a car that really could make or break its creator.
It’s a BMW 3-series-sized rear-wheel-drive car, but one that is made entirely of aluminium, rolls on an expensively crafted aluminium chassis and is powered by a range of brand new, state-of-the-art four-cylinder engines.
Making a profit with the new saloon, at least for the first five years of production, will be difficult because of the huge investment involved and the bravery of JLR bosses in investing in an all-aluminium car in this particular market segment.
But on the upside, the baby Jaguar will have the technical content and the handling prowess to look the BMW 3-series straight in the face, while at least one model in the new range will have CO2 emissions of 99g/km.
Even more importantly, the new architecture underpinning the baby Jaguar will also be used to underpin a new (and potentially highly profitable) compact SUV. This is an indication of just how much the global premium car market is changing and just how far Jaguar has to move to keep up.
‘Make or break’ is a phrase that has been abused over the years, but the new compact Jaguar really does have to change the terms of business for the Jaguar brand. With its global sales in 2013 likely to still be under 80,000 units, the British brand really has to make a massive leap in output.
Jaguar has hardly made things easy for itself by trying to break into the global market for compact premium cars that has long been dominated by BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Audi. And the brand is rowing upstream against some entrenched buyer preconceptions — particularly that Jaguar only makes big, expensive cars with big engines.
But, unlike previous ‘new starts’ for Jaguar, this time the company can tick all the boxes: a lightweight, cutting-edge architecture, state-of-the-art downsized engines and what’s bound to be razor-sharp handling.
The four-door 4-series Gran Coupé will join the two-door coupé and convertible in the 4-series line-up. Essentially a swoopier version of the BMW 3-series saloon, the 4-series Gran Coupé will be a smaller brother to the 6-series Gran Coupé. Engines will be borrowed from the 3-series. Space is said to be uncompromised by the new roofline, although just two rear seats will be offered in each model.
With the Levante SUV not due to arrive until 2015, Maserati’s big news this year is the launch of a diesel version of the Quattroporte. It’s a big part of Maserati’s desire to push towards 50,000 annual sales by 2015 — an increase of around tenfold from its recent levels. The engine will be a 271bhp 3.0-litre turbodiesel unit shared with the Ghibli, in which it performs strongly.
The sixth-generation Passat will be among the largest models to be based on the VW Group’s MQB platform. Expect the engine range to be familiar from more potent versions of the Golf and the styling to retain VW’s understated but classy look. Saloon and estate versions will be offered, with the current CC staying in production alongside the new pair on the current underpinnings.
The Ford Mondeo — and the other large non-premium cars in this class — have been the victims of the rise of premium brands, particularly in western Europe. But with Ford’s US arm now in charge of developing the Mk7 Mondeo, it has become much more of a true global car.
Badged as the Fusion, it goes up against the Toyota Camry and Honda Accord in the US. In Europe, however, the Ford is sold in ever-dwindling numbers.
When the long-delayed, spacious new Mondeo arrives this coming autumn, it will be well equipped, with the option of a new 1.5-litre EcoBoost petrol engine and safety innovations such as airbags in the rear seatbelts.
At the Geneva motor show, Rolls-Royce will unveil a mild facelift for the entry point into its range, the Ghost. Mules spied near the firm’s Goodwood HQ revealed a light nip and tuck to the front grille and headlights, plus detail changes to the bonnet. The V12 engine is expected to remain. Inside, expect new instruments and even more opulent seats.
Tesla’s potentially revolutionary Model S saloon arrives in right-hand-drive form in the UK from £49,900. The BMW 5-series-sized saloon can seat up to seven, and has a range approaching 300 miles, making it the best of the EV breed. Our road test, where it scored four and a half stars, praised the Model S for the way it drives, its luxurious cabin, its space and its ability to be a genuine alternative in the executive saloon class.
While you could argue that Mercedes invented the modern, technically advanced, compact premium car with the 190E, the company’s C-class models have only once (in 2011) overtaken the BMW 3-series in global sales. For much of the past 15 years, however, the C-class has trailed behind the 3-series, sometimes by six-figure sales numbers. The new car is a clean-sheet reboot. The brand has a new platform, which uses steel and aluminium and is constructed with glue, welding and rivets, which underpins a model that gets a much more expressive CLA-style interior design. Mercedes wants to project a far younger and sportier image to significantly improve the C-class’s fortunes. An estate version will follow the saloon in September.
Audi A8 facelift (January), Kia Optima (Summer), Audi A7 facelift (September), Jaguar XJ facelift (Autumn), Audi A6 facelift (November)
How does Nissan follow up the Qashqai? It’s the car that in effect invented the family hatchback-cum-SUV crossover segment when it first arrived in 2007, and it has since sparked a rush from practically every other car manufacturer as they try to take their own slices of a rather large and still-growing pie.
Nissan’s answer would appear to be an evolution of the same basic formula, with the revolution saved for the tangibles. After all, why would you turn your back on a formula so successful first time around that two million buyers — 1.5 million of whom are in Europe — went for it?
In its second generation, the Qashqai is a little bit more expensive than it was, with prices starting at £17,595. It’s also a touch longer and wider as well as 15mm lower, although headroom has actually increased, along with legroom.
In fact, inside is where the story really lies for this new Qashqai, which sports exterior styling that can definitely be filed under evolutionary — not that Volkswagen Golf owners are known for complaining about this.
The quality of the materials used in the cabin has increased significantly, myriad multimedia set-ups are now offered and plush trims, including leather and Alcantara, can be found on the options list.
Nissan will sell you a Qashqai with front or all-wheel drive and a six-speed manual or new CVT gearbox. A three-strong engine range includes a 99g/km, 74.3mpg 1.5-litre diesel, a base 1.2-litre turbocharged petrol unit and a range-topping 1.6-litre turbodiesel.
As well as being designed in Paddington and built in Sunderland, from where it is exported to 104 countries around the world, the bulk of the engineering has taken place in the UK at Nissan’s Cranfield R&D site.
The dynamic brief for the Qashqai also called for evolution, and early prototypes we’ve driven have so far revealed an improved ride, safe and steady handling and nice control weights. In other words, just what the current owners asked for.
Come February, when this new Qashqai reaches UK showrooms, we suspect a loyal customer base will be thanking Nissan for not fixing something that wasn’t broken.
BMW’s front-wheel drive revolution begins with the 2-series Active Tourer. Despite being a front-wheel-drive model, insiders claim the five-door hatchback-cum-MPV “is still a BMW to drive”, with much work put into its dynamism and athleticism. However, that won’t stop it being “the most functional BMW ever”, we’re told. To that end, up to 1200 litres of boot space is claimed, while the flat-folding rear seats have flexible split/fold options and the front seat folds flat. Power will come from a range of three and four-cylinder petrol and diesel engines. Another 10 BMWs and Minis are also set to use the new UKL1 platform underpinning the Active Tourer.
The C4 Cactus was one of last year’s most interesting concept cars, and a production version staying largely true to it will be revealed next month. The Cactus name will be used for Citroëns that aim to offer buyers a simple but not budget experience, with cars that feature well executed necessities but no frivolous extras. If successful, Cactus could even become Citroën’s staple model range instead of C-badged cars, with the DS badge used on more luxurious and sporting models.
The C4 is first up for the Cactus treatment. We can expect features such as the sofa-style seating and ‘Air Bump’ side protection seen on the concept to make it on to the production version of the car.
Lexus is another new entry into the premium compact SUV segment with a model insiders have christened ‘NX’. Spy pictures have revealed it will ditch the styling of the LF-NX concept for Lexus’s still-bold family look. Expect the base powerplant to be a 1.8-litre petrol hybrid shared with the CT hatch, with a new turbocharged 2.0-litre petrol also on offer.
Mercedes will enter the booming premium compact SUV segment in February with its new GLA, which is set to do battle with the Audi Q3, BMW X1 and Range Rover Evoque. The CLA-based GLA shares its engine range and architecture with the A and B-class ranges, with four-wheel drive offered for casual off-roading. A potent 355bhp GLA45 AMG version will also be available from launch.
The third-generation Mazda 3 arrives in the UK this month. It’s the latest model to be built on the SkyActiv technologies already seen on the CX-5 and 6. Early tests have revealed that the new 3, in five-door hatch and new ‘fastback’ forms, drives almost as well as it looks, with a supple ride and decent handling mated to impressive engines. A VW Golf has it beaten on quality of execution, though.
The Civic Tourer is a new British-built family estate. It gets sportier, more resolved styling than the five-door hatchback on which it is based, plus a best-in-class boot capacity of 624 litres with the tonneau cover in place. A sub-100g/km diesel option is offered, while the chassis has been extensively tested on UK roads. There’s even the unusual addition of adaptive dampers on the rear axle.
The Citroën Grand C4 Picasso is the new seven-seat version of the C4 Picasso MPV. Put simply, it’s bigger inside and out than the five-seat C4 Picasso on which it is based and can squeeze an extra pair of bums on to its rearmost seats. The seven-seater has a whole host of ‘best in class’ claims, from the most legroom for second and third-row passengers to the widest boot opening. The Grand Picasso is tipped to outsell the five-seater two to one.
Honda Civic facelift (January), Skoda Yeti facelift (January), Alfa Romeo Giulietta facelift (January), Ford Tourneo Connect (January), Peugeot 308 (January), Peugeot 3008 facelift (February), Peugeot 5008 facelift (February), Lexus CT facelift (February), Vauxhall Meriva facelift (February), Peugeot 308 estate (April), Skoda Octavia Scout (July), VW Golf Sportsvan (Summer), Mercedes V-class (Summer), Mercedes B-class facelift (October)
No, it’s nothing like the original Mini except in name and vague silhouette. And, no, it’s not dramatically different from the cars that have gone before it under the stewardship of BMW, although naysayers would do well to admire its angular detailing, especially around the haunches, its distinctive front and rear profiles and its heavily revised interior before dismissing it as a reheated version of what has gone before.
The new F56-generation three-door hatchback will go on sale in the UK this spring, with the initial range of Cooper, Cooper D and Cooper S models priced from £15,300.
The all-new engine line-up at launch features a 1.5-litre, three-cylinder petrol unit in the Cooper, a 1.5-litre, three-cylinder diesel in the Cooper D and a 2.0-litre, four-cylinder petrol in the Cooper S. It’s longer, taller and wider than its predecessor, and the wheelbase and track widths have been stretched. Boot space is also up, to 211 litres.
The third-gen Mini sits on a new BMW-engineered platform called UKL1. It will be used to underpin the entire new Mini range, as well as a suite of new front-wheel-drive BMWs. The platform will be available in various different wheelbase lengths and track widths. It will support all-wheel drive and hybrid and electric powertrains. MacPherson strut suspension features at the front, with a new version of BMW’s Z-axle multi-link set-up at the rear.
Inside, there’s a more mature look and higher-quality materials. The circular theme remains, not least on the centre console, which features a screen of up to 8.8 inches in size to display all the infotainment systems. This is controlled via a choice of two BMW iDrive-style controllers. However, most of the key driver information, including the analogue speedometer, has now shifted from the large central display and directly into the driver’s eyeline.
Another notable feature is moving the electric front window switches into door trims rather than toggles at the base of the centre console.
This is where we discover just how good the ‘One Ford’ policy of global development is. The EcoSport was originally designed for emerging markets, but as the baby SUV sales boom went global it found itself being fast-tracked for sale in every market. It has been re-engineered for Europe, although the UK won’t be getting the all-wheel-drive version and trim options are limited to just Titanium spec initially.
The new Ford is priced competitively against Vauxhall’s Mokka, but the EcoSport’s interior will be no match for its rival; luckily the Ford retains much of the on-road poise of the car that it’s based on, the Fiesta.
A facelifted A1 will be launched in the spring with a revised look inspired by the larger A3. A long-mooted convertible version has yet to materialise, so the big addition in the A1’s mid-life changes will be a new S1 model. This junior road-burner is set to get a turbocharged 2.0-litre petrol engine with around 220bhp, quattro all-wheel drive and a 0-62mph time of around 6.5sec.
Mazda’s steady one-model-a-year product strategy is set to continue in 2014 with the launch of the new 2 supermini. A concept version is likely to be seen at the Geneva show in March, before being followed up with a production car towards the end of the year. There’s no official word yet on the make-up of the car, but expect smaller-capacity engines from Mazda’s SkyActiv family and a look derived from the CX-5, 6 and 3 models.
Suzuki will replace both the Alto and Splash models with one new small car at the end of the year. The car is likely to retain the Alto name, the Alto being one of the surprise success stories of the UK sales charts. The car will offer the space of the Splash with the economy of the Alto. By 2015 Suzuki will also be launching a rival to the Nissan Juke.
The new Ibiza is tipped to be revealed in concept form before going on sale towards the end of the year. It will be built on the compact version of the Volkswagen Group’s MQB platform; in other words, expect it to deliver a thoroughly impressive all-round driving and ownership experience.
Where Seat will differ from its VW Group stablemates is by sticking with its distinctive ‘edge’ design, which will deliver even more dramatic surfacing than its Leon sister model. Combined with competitive pricing, it’s likely to ensure it remains Seat’s best-seller. The enthusiast’s favourite, the Cupra, is also being replaced.
Vauxhall’s new product offensive will spawn an all-new supermini at the tail end of the year. A Paris motor show reveal has been mooted for the next Corsa, which will renew its challenge to Britain’s best-selling car, the Ford Fiesta. Expect a contemporary look derived from the Astra GTC and Adam, plus a high-quality interior that also borrows much from the Adam. Vauxhall’s new three-cylinder, 1.0-litre turbocharged engine is set to be a staple powerplant
The new Forfour will be radically different from its Mitsubishi Colt-based predecessor. Essentially a stretched version of the Fortwo, with which it shares its front-end exterior styling, interior appointments and engines, the new four-seater is a sister car to the upcoming Renault Twingo replacement. The rear-drive Forfour is set to be around 3500mm in length, making it 805mm longer than the Fortwo.
Kia Soul (March), Renault Clio GT Line (March), Nissan Juke facelift (Spring), Toyota Yaris facelift (Summer), VW Polo facelift (Autumn), Skoda Fabia (Late 2014), SsangYong X100 (Late 2014), Hyundai i20 (Late 2014)
When it went on sale in Europe more than two decades ago, the first-generation Twingo earned praise for its petite ‘monobox’ design, chic interior and all-round joie de vivre.
By comparison, the second-generation Twingo lost a lot of the first car’s character. Which was a shame, because it was the first version to reach the UK in significant numbers.
Happily, Renault appears to be firmly back on track with the new Twingo, which will share its underpinnings with the next Smart and is expected at the end of the year.
The new Twingo will finally pitch the French company into the growing — and potentially lucrative — market for ‘character’ superminis established by the Mini and further exploited by the Fiat 500 and new Vauxhall Adam.
Don’t expect a total return to the original’s cutesy character, though. Instead, the rear-engined, rear-drive Twingo will be imbued with more sporting driving attributes.
That much can be seen from the Twin’Run concept, which was pitched as a modern interpretation of the Renault 5 Turbo when it was unveiled at last year’s Monaco Grand Prix. From the spy photographs we’ve seen since, it appears that the production version of the third-generation Twingo borrows heavily from the Twin’Run, and also references the classic Renault 5 with features including a sloping tailgate.
Another Twingo-previewing concept seen last year, the Twin’Z, hints at some of the innovation set to underpin the new French car, which will be engineered to accept electric propulsion like its Smart Fortwo and Forfour cousins. The new Twingo and the five-door Forfour will share the same all-new platform and all-new powertrains and will be built in the same factory in Nova Mesto, Slovenia.
Vauxhall Adam Rocks
The Adam Rocks concept seen at the 2013 Geneva motor show previewed a pint-size Vauxhall convertible that’s due to go into production this year. The Adam Rocks will be to the Adam what the 500C is to the regular Fiat 500. As such, it will feature a roll-back fabric roof rather than a full retractable soft-top like that used on the Mini Convertible. The Rocks (name still to be confirmed) will be powered by Vauxhall’s new 1.0-litre, three-cylinder turbo petrol engine. The zesty 113bhp unit should also help to improve the dynamic shortcomings of the standard Adam city car.
Can Smart, now operating with greater autonomy from parent company Daimler, turn around its fortunes with this third-generation two-seater?
The new Fortwo forgoes the one-box silhouette of its predecessor for a two-box profile and has a more defined bonnet and less heavily raked windscreen. At 2695mm, it is the same length as today’s second-generation model and height remains close to the existing 1540mm.
However, this latest iteration has an added 100mm of width, extending it to around 1660mm. Insiders suggest handling has been transformed, with better cornering ability and added stability at speed.
Replacements for the original city car triplets will all be revealed and on sale this year, but Citroën, Toyota and Peugeot have stayed tight-lipped on specifics. Expect a Paris motor show reveal for the second generation of the C1, Aygo and 107, given the importance of the French pair on home soil.
Cuter styling, more customisable options, improved rear cabin space and added refinement for the three-cylinder engine shared by the trio should all be on the agenda. The Peugeot version is expected to take the 108 name, in keeping with its maker’s latest naming strategy.
Now that its cars are consistently competitive propositions, Hyundai’s handling of its now-established position as one of the world’s leading car makers will be one of the year’s main talking points. Hyundai’s focus is now on injecting extra dynamic verve into its cars and sprinkling a little more stardust on its image, and the latest version of the popular i10 is a key part of that.
Unlike its predecessor, the new i10, which was designed in Germany and will be built in Turkey, is a European car through and through. Early drives suggest that the new model builds on its forebear, remaining accessible and easy to use but becoming a touch more refined and mature, as well as slightly roomier. Should the opposition be concerned? Definitely.
Vauxhall Adam 1.0 (Summer), Seat Mii FR (Winter)
The XL1, Volkswagen’s 313mpg engineering masterpiece, finally goes on sale. A total of 200 units will be built, all in left-hand drive, around 20 or so of which should make it to the UK.
The super-slippery two-seater is powered by a two-cylinder, 800cc diesel engine and an electric motor, making a combined 67bhp. The real stars, though, are the fuel economy and CO2 figures, with the claimed combined 313mpg and 21g/km suggesting a real-world 200mpg.
Mitsubishi’s core business is now in SUVs and MPVs, and this year the company will start rolling out its hybrid technology with a super-efficient PHEV (plug-in hybrid electric vehicle) version of its Outlander SUV. The all-wheel-drive model mixes a 2.0-litre petrol engine with two electric motors for a combined output of 220bhp, a claimed combined economy figure of 148mpg and CO2 emissions of 44g/km. There’s no word yet on price or UK allocation for the model, only a March launch date.
Land Rover will join the hybrid fraternity this year with this new diesel-electric model. The technology features a 3.0 TDV6 engine mated to an electric motor housed within the eight-speed automatic gearbox to give peak outputs of 335bhp and 516lb ft. A combined 44.1mpg and CO2 output of 169g/km are 17 per cent reductions over the TDV6. The tech is integrated within the existing structure, so ground clearance and wading depth are unchanged.
Volkswagen e-Up (February), Volkswagen e-Golf (Summer), Mercedes S500 plug-in (September), VW Golf Twindrive (Winter), Audi A3 e-tron (Winter)