As 2018 ticks its way towards its end, carmakers are gearing up to launch their newest models in 2019. Most of these new and redesigned cars, trucks and SUVs are right around the corner — we take a look at what we can expect in the new year...
Aston Martin Valkyrie: This is the first fruit of the partnership between Aston Martin and Red Bull Racing, leveraging all the F1 know-how of the latter to create what’s billed as the fastest road-legal car in the world. Capable of generating more than 1,800kg of downforce, the swoopy Aston packs a 6.5-litre V12 that thrashes out 1,130bhp. Weighing a waif-like 1,030kg, just 150 units will be built.
Audi RS7 Sportback: We sampled Audi’s second-gen A7 Sportback just under 12 months ago, but this is the variant we’re eagerly awaiting. Sharing its 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 with the Lambo Urus and Porsche Panamera, it will push out 600bhp-plus, so it may even outsprint the BMW M5 and Mercedes-AMG E63 S. The new MLB architecture should bring an 80kg weight reduction for the all-wheel-drive rocketship.
BMW X7: BMW has a roaring sales success in the form of the X5, but it belatedly joins the seven-seater party with the supersized X7. Sporting an XXL grille and beefy proportions, the X7 should be a big hit in the US, China and the ME. It’ll be offered with turbocharged six-pot and V8 engines. Apart from seven pews, the X7 will be stuffed with a raft of mod-cons and goodies, including a three-panel glass roof.
Bentley Flying Spur: We’ve already come away well impressed after driving Bentley’s second-gen Conti GT, and now it’s the turn of the four-door Flying Spur to adopt the Porsche-developed MSB platform. Expect sharper dynamics than the existing model, as well as a greater turn of speed, thanks to less weight and an uprated 626bhp 6.0-litre twin-turbo W12. Expect more distinctive design language, too.
Cadillac XT4: The gargantuan Escalade is a hot seller here, but compact SUVs are where the action is at, so Cadillac showrooms will soon feature the edgy looking XT4. Aimed at youthful, upwardly mobile buyers, it sits between the BMW X1 and X3 size-wise. Power comes from a 237bhp 2.0-litre turbo motor, paired to a nine-speed auto. There will be three trim levels and front-drive and all-wheel-drive formats.
Ferrari Pista Spider: Our pulse rates have barely calmed down from driving the furious 488 Pista, but now there’s a Spider variant to look forward to. As per the coupe, propulsion comes from a manic 710bhp 3.9-litre twin-turbo V8 and it features all the same weight-saving mods and aero trickery. A press of a button makes the folding hardtop retract out of sight, making this the ultimate alfresco blaster.
Ford Ranger Raptor: Ford’s F-150 Raptor is a mighty thing, but the Ranger Raptor has more low-key strengths. It makes do with a 210bhp 2.0-litre turbodiesel, which means it’s no fireball, but the Ranger comes into its own in tough terrain. Fox Racing shocks and BF Goodrich KO2s tame whatever terrain is thrown at it the Raptor, while its approach and departure angles eclipse those of even the F-150.
Honda Passport: The Passport slots into Honda’s SUV line-up between the CR-V and Pilot, so it’ll take the fight to the likes of the Ford Edge and Hyundai Santa Fe. The Passport has perky proportions and 20in wheels fitted as standard across the entire range. Also standard is a grunty 280bhp 3.5-litre V6, and the Passport has better approach/departure angles and ground clearance than the CR-V and Pilot.
Hyundai Palisade: Hyundai certainly hasn’t erred on the side of conservatism with the boldly styled Palisade, which is the Korean giant’s all-new eight-seat crossover. With a few GMC-esque design elements and a potent 291bhp 3.8-litre V6, the Palisade should fare well in the US and our SUV-loving region. Befitting its flagship status, the big Hyundai will be loaded with safety kit and bells and whistles.
Kia Telluride: The Telluride is basically the twin of the Hyundai Palisade, but its styling differs markedly, so the Kia may appeal more to those who prefer more traditional lines. It’s a bigger, brassier offering than the existing Sorento, so it will provide Kia with additional firepower at the top end of its SUV line-up. It will offer V6 grunt, genuine seating for up to eight occupants and a modicum of off-road ability.
Land Rover Defender: We may see the long-overdue next-gen Defender towards the end of 2019. It’s believed the newbie will feature contemporary styling, although it will still be a boxy entity with an upright windscreen and flat side windows. The new Defender will be more off-road-capable than its predecessor, as well as more refined and nimble on-road, thanks to cutting-edge all-alloy construction.
Lexus LC F: The current LC500 is a capable luxo grand tourer, but Lexus is aiming at the upcoming BMW M8 with the steroidal LC F. Still undergoing development, it’s believed the high-po coupe will feature either a twin-turbo 4.0-litre V8 or a souped-up 5.0-litre atmo V8. Whatever the case, the ‘F’ should pump out significantly more horses than the LC500, as well as serving up more grip and tautness.
Mercedes EQC 400: We’ve already sampled the Tesla Model X, Jaguar i-Pace and Audi e-tron, but Mercedes is also getting into the EV game with the battery-powered EQC 400. The ‘400’ in its moniker is a reference to the Merc’s claimed 400km touring range. The mid-size SUV has front and rear electric motors for all-wheel-drive traction, and it’s about 10cm longer than a GLC, making for a spacious cabin.
Porsche Taycan: Pronounced ‘Tie-Can’, this four-door EV is a telling portent of what we can expect from Porsches of the future. The gorgeous super-saloon is about 200mm shorter than a Panamera, but the packaging benefits of having no engine means cabin space should be generous. Porsche is also hinting at industry-leading performance and dynamics for an EV, as well as super-fast charging capability.
Toyota Supra: The most eagerly anticipated Toyota in years, the all-new Supra reprises a nameplate that’s been mothballed for the past 17 years. The newcomer gains economies of scale by sharing its platform and drivetrain with the latest BMW Z4, but the Supra retains its traditional coupe recipe, while the German is offered solely as a roadster. Will it recapture the magic of yesteryear Supras?