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The Class of 2014

  1. BMW i8

    Due: July

    What is it? It’s the £99,895 BMW 2+2 plug-in hybrid sports car that promises to combine a proper sporty driving experience with excitingly high mpg and breathy CO2 emissions. Lightweight for a hybrid - think CFRP and aluminium construction for a sub-1,500kg kerbweight - the i8 is also all-wheel drive, thanks to a 131bhp electric motor driving the front axle and a 231bhp 1.5-litre turbo three-cylinder punting the rear wheels. Though front-wheel drive in electric-only mode (about 22 miles at up to 75mph), if you hit the throttle hard, both motors engage to give 0-62mph in 4.4 seconds and a 155mph top speed. Porsche 911-worrying stuff.

    Should I be interested? Emphatically, yes. The i8 looks fantastic, drives brilliantly (we’ve driven a prototype) and, despite those rapid performance figures, has a range of 310 miles with 113mpg economy and 59g/km of CO2. Which kind of changes the face of what we expect from a sports car and stuffs up any arguments about irresponsible fast cars - it’s more efficient than the Prius. The best bit is that the i8 is a complete package: this is all the good stuff - new tech, interesting ‘layered’ exterior and interior design and a decent driving experience. There’ll also be a convertible Spyder version a bit later for windy days out.

  2. Audi TT MQB

    Due: July

    What is it? Audi’s venerable TT will make it on to the lovely new VW MQB platform this year, giving it more space, less weight and a bit of a visual refresh. Expect a new 1.8 and a pair of 2.0 motors. Should I be interested? If you like the TT, then yes. The new underpinnings and tweaked engines should bring a few extra mph and a few more mpg. Expect more of the same, except slightly better. There may even be a 186bhp 1.4-litre TSI. Fun stuff.

  3. Ford Mondeo

    Due: September

    What is it? It’s a Mondeo. You know what that is. It’s been in the US badged as the Fusion for over a year, and it’s a large saloon with loads of engines, including 1.0, 1.5, 1.6 and 2.0-litre EcoBoosts and 1.5 and 2.0-litre TDCi. Something for everyone. Should I be interested? It should be good but not a huge revolution. The 2.0-litre petrol Hybrid will do 60mpg, the Plug-in ‘Energi’ 100mpg. Both have 185bhp. Car looks neat, too.

  4. Peugeot 308 R

    Due: July

    What is it? Still officially a ‘concept’, the R is nonetheless due to arrive this year with some serious performance from a small-but-mighty 1.6-litre turbo from the RCZ R: 270bhp and 243lb ft through the front wheels, enough for 0-62mph in under six. Should I be interested? Ish. The 308 R should be priced in the region of £27k. So not cheap cheap, and midway between a Golf GTI and Golf R, with power similarly balanced between those two.

  5. Mini Cooper

    Due: March

    What is it? So we know quite a lot about New New Mini already, but it’s an important car. Two 3cyl motors this time, including the 1.5-litre, 134bhp Cooper and speedy 189bhp, 4cyl Cooper S.

    Should I be interested? Yes. It might not look much different to Old New Mini, but this is BMW’s UKL1 platform, which means it’s bigger than before. It’s also more efficient - the D does 80mpg and 92g/km C02 - and will be the basis of one million variants.

  6. Renault Twingo/Smart

    Due: November

    What are they? Rear-engined, quirky-feeling five-door supermini twins that will also spawn the more traditional 2dr Smart. Should I be interested? Possibly. The new Twingo borrows styling cues from the awesome Twin’Run concept car - which looked great - and there’s talk of an EV drivetrain as well as more conventional three-cylinder engines. They’ll be cute. Is that good?

  7. Audi Q7

    Due: July

    What is it? Still a full-size SUV, but this time with a serious chamfering. Up to 350kg lighter than before (expect under 2,000kg), with a boxier shape to house a third row of seats. Should I be interested? Yes. There’ll be a four-cylinder diesel with 200bhp and 300lb ft, then V6 variants and a 400bhp V8 TDI. Expect it to remain consistent in pricing, so £43k-£62k.

  8. BMW 2-Series

    Due: July

    What is it? In line with BMW’s most recent naming policy, the 2-Series is the two-door One, son of 1-Series Coupe. Or something. Lots of engines, rear- or xDrive all-wheel drive. Should I be interested? Yes. This is a smaller package that will come with decent engines, including an M235i for £34,250. There’s also talk of a full-on M car, and TG loved the previous 1M.

  9. Range Rover Evoque/Sport RS

    Due: July

    What are they? A mooted fast Evoque, likely to have around 275bhp from the 2.0-litre Si4 turbo petrol four-cylinder, and a Sport with a 542bhp supercharged 5.0 V8 from the XFR-S. Should I be interested? The Evoque seems more of a tweak than a model in its own right, but the Sport RS will have wider arches, attitude and 4.5secs to 62mph. This is not a mud-plugger…

  10. Ferrari LaFerrari/California

    Due: July

    What are they? The LaFerrari boasts 950ish bhp from a 9,250rpm V12 and a hybrid powertrain, and should be on the road this year. The California will be updated, in a significant way… Should I be interested? Ferrari CEO Amedeo Felisa has been quoted as saying: “Today’s California does not lack performance, but to evolve performance as we have for the past four or five years, turbo is a solution.” The 288 GTO and F40, anyone?

  11. BMW X4

    Due: April

    What is it? An X3 mid-sized SUV with a squashed, four-door-coupe roof. It’s a smaller X6. It’ll feature the same engines and drivetrain as the square-bodied version, and be built in the US. Should I be interested? The X4 is lower and wider than the X3, so should be more focused to drive, though whether the world needs a sportified X3 is open to question. BMW reckons the car will start at around £30k for the X4 2.0d with rear-wheel drive.

  12. Hyundai i20

    Due: September

    What is it? It’s still a small, safe, economical five-door supermini with a five-star Euro NCAP rating. It’s not going to change the world, but it will make the bottom end of the market less rubbish. Should I be interested? If the new i10 - Hyundai’s city car and 2013 TG award winner - is anything to go by, then yes. Hyundai seems to have nailed big-car quality in budget-priced offerings, they don’t look half bad and come with a decent warranty.

  13. Mercedes Benz GT (TG render)

    Due: November

    What is it? Very basically, it’s the car that Mercedes-Benz hopes will finally take on Porsche’s 911, a front-engined sports car nestled beneath the now-defunct SLS. Consequently the relatively little (1,550kg) composite and aluminium Merc - rumoured to be called simply GT - is roughly 911-sized. It’s also quite a lot smaller and more conventionally proportioned than the SLS, and features front-hinged doors rather than showy gullwings, though with a similar aluminium spaceframe underneath. The good news is that it’s definitely a Merc, keeping some of those long-bonnet/cab-rear styling cues, and the little pop-up rear spoiler from the big brother, but in the flesh will look quite different. Powered by a 493bhp, 480lb ft bi-turbo 4.0-litre V8, there’ll be no lack of pace, and though only rear-wheel drive, expect it to be able to keep up with a 911 Turbo. In the dry, at least. Still blistering, though.

    Should I be interested? Indubitably. This new engine will be deployed in the new C63 saloon and wagon later in the year and is essentially a shared architecture with the rorty 2.0-litre, four-cylinder turbo in the A45 AMG. So it won’t be lacking in attitude. There’ll also be smaller-engined versions later in the car’s life, undercutting this range-topper’s mooted £100k price tag.

  14. Mazda MX-5 (TG render)

    Due: November

    What is it? New MX-5 is being produced as a joint venture with Alfa Romeo, with the 237bhp, 1.75-litre turbo Alfa Spider due in late 2015. The MX-5 looks good: 1,000kg, 6spd manual, RWD and a 1.6-litre, 130bhp SkyActiv motor. Under £20k, too.

    Should I be interested? Yes. If Mazda can keep the weight down, then the MX-5 will claw back ground lost to the GT86/BRZ in the RWD/fun-to-drive/reasonable-money arena.

  15. Citroen C4 Cactus

    Due: March

    What is it? A mid-sized, mid-price hatchback that aims for calming simplicity. Conventional 4cyl engines to start, followed by 3cyl and PSA’s Hybrid-Air powertrain later, though the concept came with a 100bhp diesel hybrid (78g/km CO2 and 97mpg). Should I be interested? Maybe. The real car won’t look quite like the concept above, but will feature the AirBump panels that fend off small bumps and scratches. Cheerful, rather than cheap.

  16. Volkswagen Golf R

    Due: February

    What is it? The range-topping VW Golf with a 296bhp turbocharged 4cyl engine, AWD and 62mph in 5.3 seconds (DSG 4.9), plus 40.9mpg if you drive carefully. Quad exhausts, 20mm lowered suspension, massive brakes and a bodykit, too. Should I be interested? Ish. The basic R costs £29,900 for a 3dr with a 6spd manual ‘box, £31,970 for a 5dr DSG. Which is a lot for a Golf, especially as the similar Audi S3 is £30,500.

  17. Mercedes S-Class Coupe

    Due: July

    What is it? The replacement for the massive, two-door luxo-behemoth that was the CL. So, essentially, an S-Class with smaller back seats, two doors and a lower roofline. To drive, not be driven. Should I be interested? Yep. There’ll be a lot of luxury waft blended with a bit of attitude in the S Coupe, and the saloon is a most excellent thing to drive. The S63 AMG Coupe should be lightly epic, though all the other S-Class engines will feature.

  18. McLaren 12C Sprint

    Due: June

    What is it? McLaren’s Porsche GT3/ Nissan GT-R Nismo/Ferrari 458 Speciale moment. A bit of a hardcore special, in other words. Think stiffer, stickier and with a fixed rear wing for extra attitude. Should I be interested? Yes. The 12C makes a decent fist of being a track car in the first place, so the Sprint should be awesome. Power won’t be massively increased, but it will be noisier and more visceral. Mostly on the King’s Road, unfortunately.

  19. BMW X6

    Due: December

    What is it? A coupe-ish roofline on an X5, with four seats. So basically the same love-it-or-hate-it X6 formula. It should have the same engine line-up as new X5, without the four-cylinder options. Should I be interested? If you like the idea of a slightly less practical BMW SUV, then the X6 will be lighter, more efficient and with a bit more space than before. It’ll also feature the new, larger kidney grille, LED lamps and EfficientDynamics tech.

  20. Qoros 3

    Due: Sooner than you think

    What is it? A new car from a Chinese maker, the 3 is a £17,200 punt at the mid-size saloon market. It’s a front-driven modular architecture, and it’s just got five stars from Euro NCAP. Expect a 1.6-litre turbo petrol with 140bhp and 155lb ft for a kick-off, with other options as the cars come on stream. Much kit, too. Should I be interested? Yes, but not just yet. The Qoros 3 will be on sale in Europe this year, but won’t be in the UK until later.

  21. Nissan X-Trail

    Due: April

    What is it? A Qashqai/Murano mash-up on the new Nissan/Renault Common Module Family (CMF) platform. Basically, it’s a standard mid-sized soft-roader. Downsized, more efficient engines, 2WD and 4WD versions and a seven-seater option. Should I be interested? Probably not. The X-Trail will no doubt be acceptable, but this ‘world car’ will see duty in 190 countries, so the pitch will probably feel a little bit ‘global compromised’.

  22. Vauxhall Corsa

    Due: August

    What is it? The new version of Vauxhall’s perennial supermini. Will spawn many variants. Should I be interested? The Vauxhall Adam is a decent little car, so yes.

  23. Subaru WRX

    Due: July

    What is it? New version of the ugly duckling sports saloon with a 2.0-litre flat-four. Should I be interested? Well, 264bhp and 258lb ft for around £27k isn’t bad.

  24. Seat Leon Cupra R

    Due: September

    What is it? Very quick version of the nicely respectable Leon, with AWD and 300bhp. Should I be interested? Yes. This will be a weapon: 0-62 in 5.0, 155mph.

  25. Porsche Cayman R

    Due: June

    What is it? The slightly-hotter Cayman - less luxe, more deft to drive. Last R was legend. Should I be interested? YES. We said that loudly on purpose. Will be mega.

  26. Mercedes GLA 45

    Due: February

    What is it? It’s a toughened-up soft-roader with the A45’s 355bhp four-pot stuffed in it. Should I be interested? Interesting, but why would you not just buy an A45?

  27. Honda Civic Tourer

    Due: February

    What is it? Swindon-built Civic Estate for practical usefulness (1.6 i-DTEC = 99g/km). Should I be interested? £20,265 for the 1.8 petrol. It’ll be value. But dull.

  28. Land Rover Freelander

    Due: October

    What is it? Not called a Freelander. But the smallest Land Rover in the range. And new. Should I be interested? Yes. Not-Freelander will be more of a small Discovery.

  29. Toyota Aygo/C1/107

    Due: September

    What is it? Triplet of tiny budget-friendly city cars from the Franco-Japanese joint venture. Should I be interested? Student or generous parent? Then yes. Cheap.

  30. Mercedes GLK

    Due: October

    What is it? The Evoque-sized SUV has been in Europe for years. Due in the UK this year. Should I be interested? Yep. The GLK is a handsome, if blocky, thing.

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