Here’s an exclusive look at some of the hottest new cars yet to be revealed in 2015.
Maruti’s New Hatch
We take a first-look at Maruti-Suzuki’s brand new premium hatchback that’ll take the fight to the Hyundai i20 and upcoming Honda Jazz.
Codenamed YRA – this is the acronym of the project for this five-door hatchback. The YRA is larger than the Swift – it’ll be both longer and wider – in order to offer a spacious cockpit and spacious trunk.
Although it inherits its lights and fenders from the Swift, it won’t be a copy of its little sister. It’ll very much have it’s own stylistic identity, as evidenced by this rendering. The YRA will aim to differentiate itself from the Swift with a shapely rear end that consists of a steeply raked rear windscreen. Moreover, the front-end features a new grille and bumper design.
The goal is to compete with the Hyundai i20, which is enjoying fantastic success in the market, and the upcoming Honda Jazz that’s expected to be launched in the second half of this year.
The YRA will also hit the market in the second half, and it’s expected to come fitted with Maruti’s 1.2 and 1.4 litre petrol engines and the familiar 1.3 diesel.
The company is also said to be flirting with the idea of providing the option of its AMT (Automated Manual Transmission), which has proven to be quite popular in the smaller Celerio hatchback.
Year of the SUV
If you thought luxury carmakers were allergic to SUV’s, think again. Some of the biggest names in the luxury segment are lining up to launch their SUV’s. Given the popularity of SUV’s across the world, it’s perhaps not entirely surprising that the likes of Lamborghini, Bentley and Rolls-Royce have decided to join the bandwagon.
Forced to deal with the uncertainties of the global market, carmakers are more than happy that they can rely on a particular template of certain commercial success. SUV’s and crossovers seem impervious to the passage of time and market conditions, and hence are becoming more-and-more important.
Slew of launches
During this year, nearly 30 new products consisting of new generation versions of already established models, face-lifted versions of existing models, and brand new SUV’s will hit automobile showrooms across the world. This slew of launches indicates that automakers feel that growth in this segment is unlikely to slow anytime soon.
While 2014 ended with SUV’s and crossovers comprising of around 20% of the market, some experts believe that – by the end of the decade – that might even reach the 30% mark.
Spoilt for choice
So, by the end of the year, even ultra-luxury carmaker Bentley will reveal its interpretation of the theme – christened the Bentayga. But, for those customers who don’t have deep enough pockets to own a Bentley, there’ll be a rash of offerings from other brands to fit their requirements of mobility and social status. Among the premium brands is the second generation of the BMW X1 (which switches to front-wheel drive) and the Mercedes GLK (renamed GLC, and softened in appearance). Or, if a customer wants something different, there’s the Volkswagen Tiguan and the Hyundai ix35.
While Hyundai has reworked the ix35’s design in line with the Santa Fe, Volkswagen, without disrupting the aesthetics too much, has implemented a small mechanical revolution. The MQB platform now forms the underpinnings of the Tiguan, and expands the dimensions a little.
And, by the end of the year, Land Rover is expected to reveal the fifth generation of the iconic Discovery. And while the new Discovery will have its off-road capabilities intact, you can bet that it’ll also be a lot more attractive.
Super Luxury SUV's
A few years ago, it would have seemed blasphemous – a sport utility vehicle with the Spirit of Ecstasy on the grille. Similarly, the idea of a car from Sant’Agata Bolognese with high-ground clearance and big wheels probably still disturbs the traditional Lamborghini fan a little. While we may have to wait till next year to see SUV’s from Rolls-Royce and Lamborghini, the first of the super-luxury brands to debut in the category will likely be Bentley (right). At Crewe, everything is very secretive, but they’ve recently announced the name, and it’s very likely that Luc Donckerwolke – head of design for the brand since 2012 – has already finished his job. This would imply a likely debut after the summer for this car, which is still difficult to refer to as an SUV. The car’s arrival in showrooms is expected only in 2016.
Unveiled as a concept car at the Geneva Motor Show in 2012 (pictured), the Range Rover Evoque Convertible is expected in dealerships by the end of this year. This will be the first example of a convertible SUV with an electrically operated soft-top. And it’s going to be quite premium, featuring space for four passengers and fitted with the new Ingenium range of engines.
- Generational leap for BMW’s entry-level SUV, with the transition to the Ukl1 platform – which debuted in the Active Tourer.
- The most striking result is that it won’t be rear wheel driven anymore. But the xDrive all-wheel drive versions will still be available.
- Most likely, it’ll debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show and go on sale right before the end of the year.
MQB platform (same as the Golf) for the second generation of this German SUV, which changes under its skin more than on the outside.
- The size is expected to increase slightly
- Under the hood will be engines developed specifically for the modular platform, with the twin-turbo diesel producing 184bhp in the 4x4 version.
- Front-wheel drive and all-wheel drive (with a Haldex coupling).
- Expected to be unveiled in September, with sales in Europe beginning sometime in 2016.
Hyundai’s SUV portfolio will become even more daring with the ix35. The focus in India may be on the smaller ix25 for the moment, but the ix35 is an important model for the Korean manufacturer.
- No aesthetic revolution here – there’s continuity, with a strong family resemblance to the larger Santa Fe.
- A fuel cell version of the ix35 has been confirmed.
- Expected to be unveiled at Geneva, and on sale towards the end of the year in Europe.
The new nomenclature hints at the GLC’s family ties with the C Class, and this is confirmed by an all-new shape that clearly demonstrates this visually.
- The GLC – previously the GLK – will lose much of its ‘4x4 edginess’ in order to fit into its new positioning as a crossover of the C Class.
- Under the hood are a range of four-cylinder turbo engines, without renouncing the six-cylinder in-line engine completely.
- The program also includes a hybrid plug-in, and perhaps even an AMG version.
- To be unveiled in September, with sales starting in 2016.
Land Rover Discovery
The brand new Discovery Sport is followed by the fifth generation of the most important model for the Land Rover brand.
- The styling is similar to the Vision Discovery concept presented at New York last year.
- The more polished design and its premium ambitions don’t overshadow its off-road capabilities.
- Under the hood, it has the four-cylinder Ingenium engines, developed and manufactured in-house and shared with the Jaguar range.
- Will be unveiled sometime this year, with sales starting in 2016.
The fifth generation of this model, which turned 20 last year, invests a lot in technology.
- A virtual cockpit, as on the TT, and a multi-functional touch pad.
- Beside the classic petrol and diesel engines, there’ll also be a CNG version and a plug-in hybrid for certain markets.
- Expected to be launched at the Frankfurt Motor Show, with sales in India starting in 2016.
BMW 7 Series
The flagship model of the Munich based manufacturer features its sixth generation and renews its styling (which is more fluid), as well as its platform (which is now a modular architecture with lightweight technology).
- The usual V12, V8 and six-cylinder engines might be complemented by a four- cylinder unit. An M version is also expected.
- A glut of sophisticated driver assistance systems.
- A Frankfurt Motor Show launch, with sales in India in 2016.
While the current model (launched in 2009) is based on a Ford platform, its heir features a stretched version of the XE’s aluminium architecture.
- The dimensions have been kept pretty similar to those of the present model (approximately 5 metres in length).
- Under the hood, the modern four-cylinder petrol and diesel engines from the Ingenium family represent the core of the engine offerings, but the option of a more powerful petrol V6 engine is also expected.
- Rear wheel drive, to be followed with all-wheel drive.
- Expected to be unveiled at the New York Motor Show, with sales starting before the end of the year.
It employs the same aluminium platform that debuts under the skin of the XE sedan.
- The size is similar to a medium-big sized SUV, with a length of 4.70 metres and a height of 165cms.
- Under the hood, there will be four-cylinder engines from the Ingenium family – which will debut on the XE this year, and then will be fitted to the Land Rover Discovery Sport.
- Rear-wheel drive, with automatic all-wheel drive functionality, according to the terrain and driving conditions.
- Expected to be unveiled in September this year, with sales starting before the end of the year.
F-Type: Now both all-wheel drive and manual
By March, the F-Type range will be boosted by all-wheel drive versions (both V6 and V8, as well as for the spider and coupe models), and by the 6-speed manual gearbox – mated only to the V6 (with 340bhp and 360bhp versions), while the R convertible (available with two and all-wheel drive) will replace the V8 S. The all-wheel drive versions feature a ‘torque on demand’ system, which diverts part of the torque to the front wheels when the conditions demand it.
This is the second generation of the sportiest model in Audi’s portfolio, with a centrally mounted engine that’s been on the market since 2006.
- The style evolves with a wraparound bumper, which is now split, and a new design for the grill and air intakes .
- Initially, it’ll only be available with the V10 engine. Also confirmed is the e-tron electric version (with an expected range of 450 kilometres).
- Will be launched at the Geneva Motor Show.
Lamborghini HuracÁn Spyder
The Gallardo Spyder was a striking machine, and now the Huracan will also have its own convertible version.
- Unlike the Aventador Roadster, which features a removable top, the Huracan – like the Gallardo before it – retains a fabric soft-top.
- The engine is still the V10 5.2 producing 610bhp, as in the coupe version. The weight, though, is expected to increase.
- To be unveiled later this year, and go on sale in 2016.
The NSX Reopens The Challenge
This year will also mark the return of Honda’s NSX. The Japanese sports car, with a centrally mounted engine, has been away from the automotive scene for ten years. And it’s no coincidence that its re-entry took place at the Detroit Motor Show in January, because it’ll be manufactured in the US. In the 1990’s, the Honda NSX was often referred to as the Japanese Ferrari – and not without valid reason. The new version, expected in autumn, aims once again to take on a scarlet machine – the Ferrari 458 Italia to be precise, which itself will be replaced this year. It’s tough to imagine a more fitting scenario to revive a classic challenge. The Japanese car has a centrally mounted engine as well – a 3.0 litre V6, which is boosted with the “Super Handling All-Wheel Drive” hybrid system. Two electric motors on the front axles make it an all-wheel drive machine.
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