Alfa Romeo Tonale:
The venerable Italian brand has tasted success in the crossover genre with the likeable Stelvio, and it’s now looking to build on this platform with the upcoming Tonale – essentially a smaller brother to the existing SUV. Although sharing its core architecture with the Jeep Renegade, a raft of chassis upgrades should boost the Tonale’s handling and refinement to a level befitting the Alfa brand. The BMW X1/Audi Q3 rival will be offered with four-cylinder turbo power, plus a plug-in hybrid. A UAE launch date is yet to be confirmed, but we’re tipping a start price around Dh120k when it lands here.
Aston Martin DBX:
Aston’s long-awaited crossover launches locally in the second quarter, priced from Dh848,000. Competing against the likes of the Bentley Bentayga and Lamborghini Urus, the DBX packs a Mercedes-AMG-sourced 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 thumping out 542bhp and 700Nm. Aston quotes a 0-100kph split of 4.5sec and top whack of 292kph – impressive stats for a 2,245kg wagon.
Although lofty-stanced, the familiar Aston design cues are all there, and its maker promises dynamics and luxury that are on par with the brand’s sportscar line-up. Company execs say the DBX will enable the brand to double its sales in the ME.
Audi RS Q8:
The fire-breathing RS Q8 is the latest addition to the hyper-SUV brigade, and it’s already laid down an impressive marker by scorching around the Nurburgring Nordschleife in 7min 42sec – faster than any other SUV on the planet. It’s no secret the Audi RS flagship shares most of its oily bits with the Lambo Urus, which means it’s propelled by a 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 (good for 592bhp and 800Nm) and comes armed with adaptive air suspension, four-wheel-steer, a torque-vectoring differential and huge brakes.
The RS Q8 is wonderfully monstrous, yet surprisingly refined. It goes on sale locally in the second quarter, priced around Dh650k.
BMW 4 Series:
BeeEm previewed its next-gen (G22) 4 Series coupe in concept form at the recent Frankfurt show, and the production reality is only months away. Although the design study’s huge grille has been polarising, to say the least, it’s part of BMW’s strategy to distance the two-door from the G20 3 Series saloon and endow it with more road presence. The coupe’s profile and derriere are pleasing to the eye, and this visual dynamism is likely to be backed up by sporty dynamics – especially in the M-prefixed variants. A local launch date is yet to be confirmed but expect a start price around Dh200k.
Chevrolet Corvette C8:
The all-new ’Vette has been one of the most hyped cars in recent times, especially as it ditches the traditional front-engined format in favour of a Ferrari/Lambo-mimicking midship layout. Sticking the 495bhp 6.2-litre V8 and eight-speed dual-clutch auto behind the cabin is expected to yield grip and handling to match the best of the Latin exotics – at a fraction of the price. Chevy quotes a gob-smacking 312kph v-max for the base model and 0-100kph dash in the low-3sec bracket, which is eye-watering for a sportster that’s likely to cost around Dh300k when it launches locally in mid-2020. Form an orderly queue…
Ferrari SF90 Stradale:
The new prancing horse spearhead is a techno wonder that pairs a 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 with a trio of electric motors – two at the front and one mounted at the rear between the engine and the gearbox. This combo kicks out a combined 986bhp, enabling a 2.5sec 0-100kph dash and top whack of 342kph. More significantly, Ferrari says the SF90 can pull a 64m gap over the vaunted LaFerrari in just one lap at the Fiorano test track. The plug-in hybrid has green credentials, too, as it can cover 27.5km in full-electric mode at speeds of up to 135kph. Deliveries start in January, priced from Dh1.9m.
Ford Mustang Mach-E:
We know what you’re thinking. How can they call this a Mustang? Firstly, it’s electric and, secondly, it’s an SUV! However, from Ford’s point of view it’s a potential masterstroke as the Mach-E wades into battle against Tesla by leveraging its most iconic nameplate for the mould-breaking debutant. The newcomer looks Mustang-ish, but its dimensions are more in line with the battery-powered Jaguar I-Pace and Mercedes EQC. Base models have a single electric motor, but a full-fat GT model due later has a 495bhp twin-motor format. A local launch date is yet to be announced, but pricing may start around Dh280k if/when it gets the green light.
Land Rover Defender:
Arguably the most keenly awaited vehicle of the decade – especially in our region – the new Defender carries a lot of weight on its shoulders. Unlike its utilitarian predecessor, the new Landie is a techno tour de force as it’s underpinned by a state-of-the-art aluminium-rich platform and comes stuffed with a host of chassis electronics that allegedly deliver “world-class off-road ability”. With short front and rear overhangs and a boxy profile, the new Defender’s styling inspiration comes from its ancestor, even though its primary target is a more upmarket demographic. It launches locally in April-May, with Defender 110 prices starting at Dh208,950.
Maserati Sports Coupe:
Modena’s hallowed trident brand needs a new halo car, and it’s due shortly in the form of a mid-engined sports coupe that may be revealed at March’s Geneva motor show. The company has thus far issued images of a camouflaged test mule, and what they reveal is a slinky, curvaceous two-seater that bears some resemblance to the Alfa Romeo 4C. Whether the new Maser is derived from the 4C is still unclear, but we should know more in a couple of months. For now, the company says propulsion comes from a “new powertrain, entirely developed and built by Maserati”. Watch this space for more info…
Volkswagen Golf Mk8:
The Mk1 Golf rewrote the hatchback rulebook in 1974, and each generation since then has progressively raised the bar. The latest (Mk8) iteration builds on the strengths of its predecessor, utilising the same MQB platform, albeit upgraded to offer greater structural rigidity. Although instantly recognisable as a Golf, the newbie’s frontal styling is far sleeker and bolder, while the interior highlight is a fully digitised 10.3-inch instrument cluster. Powertrain choices include a range of mild-hybrid turbo petrol engines, hooked up to a seven-speed dual-clutch auto. We’re tipping the Golf 8 could land here in Q2 or Q3, but Volkswagen ME won’t as yet confirm this. We’ve already driven it (Read the review here).
The full-electric Taycan dispenses with tradition, but what’s not to like about a slinky saloon that assaults your senses with a 750bhp/1031Nm wallop (in Turbo S form)? The flagship Taycan rockets from 0-100kph in 2.8sec and annihilates the quarter-mile in 10.8sec, but even more eye-opening is the fact it can be charged from five percent to 80 percent in under 23 minutes. A touring range of 360km-plus makes it a realistic daily driver, while its ride/handling should benefit from a sophisticated air suspension set-up with active anti-roll bars. No word from Porsche ME about a local launch date or pricing, but it’s not far off.
Merc aims to regain limo supremacy with its next-gen S-Class (designated W223) that will lock horns with the recently upgraded BMW 7 Series and Audi A8. Spy pics reveal the new ‘S’ will retain the curvaceous profile of the existing car (pictured), but its revamped face seemingly has more in common with the latest CLS. Apart from a host of electronic chassis trickery and driver aids to give it the edge over its Teutonic rivals, the W223 S-Class also debuts a range of electrified powertrains. Another highlight is a huge central touchscreen that dwarfs even the Tesla Model X’s screen. Expect a Q2 or Q3 launch for the new Merc saloon flagship.
If ever there was a vehicle tailor-made for our pick-up-lovin’ region, the Gladiator is it. Jeep’s newbie shares its body-on-frame chassis with the Wrangler, and its design language also stays consistent with its sibling. That said, the pick-up is 787mm longer than the four-door Wrangler and, in Crew Cab configuration, features a 1,524mm load bay. Jeep says the Gladiator can carry loads of up to 725kg and that it has a 4,370kg towing capacity. Power comes from the familiar 3.6-litre Pentastar V6, which pushes out 285bhp and 353Nm. The Gladiator lands here in early Q2, priced from around Dh150k.