It shapes up as a sizzling year for supercars, whose importance to regular motorists shouldn’t be overlooked.

Dream machines such as Tesla’s Model S and BMW’s i8, pictured on the cover, contain myriad new technologies that will transfer quickly to cheaper cars.

As well as cutting-edge electrified drivetrains, such cars use futuristic lightweight materials that have the power to transform car design.

Lightness, when combined with great strength, allows designers to develop vehicles that are much more agile, responsive, safe, spacious and green.

Other coming sports stars include the Alfa Romeo 4C, Honda NSX Hybrid, Lexus RC F, Mercedes-Benz AMG GT S and Porsche Cayman GT4.

Look out, too, for a soft-top Toyota 86, remade Mazda MX-5 and the debut of Nissan’s Nismo sports brand.

For those with particularly lofty aspirations — not to mention $3 million — the world’s fastest production car, the 431km/h Bugatti Veyron will be available.

But, dream as we might, it’s the new-gen bread-and-butter cars that most of us will be eyeing seriously.

Recently remade cars are usually packed with the latest technology, funnelled down from ooh-aah luxury cars.

Among smaller cars, the Suzuki Celerio will replace the Alto while the Mini and Skoda Fabia will be revamped.

Mid-size cars getting full rebuilds include the Mitsubishi Lancer, Kia Optima, Volkswagen Passat, Ford Mondeo and Hyundai Sonata while the Toyota Camry’s makeover might hinder the Hip To Be Square ad campaign.

Mid-sizers that are sure to be hip though will be this sports-luxury duo — Ford’s right-hand-drive Mustang and Jaguar’s XE.

Finally, look out for the Aston Martin Lagonda and the return of the Maybach.

They’re limos from dreamland.


Jaguar XE. Picture:

The Lowdown:

Abarth: A two-door roadster based on the Mazda MX-5 due in spring.

Alfa Romeo: A lightning start to the year with the 4C coupe with supercar performance. Also coming are a QV version of the Giulietta and, later, a 4C-based roadster.

Aston Martin: Rapide-based Lagonda a possibility.

Audi: Busy, busy, busy. The A1 gets a facelift, the TT Coupe a total revamp and the A3 Sportback a plug-in hybrid version. The R8 will spawn an LMX version and the A3 an RS.

BMW: The i8 arrives in autumn with a convertible to follow. Set for plug-in power is the 3 Series while the 2 Series adds a soft-top. Facelifts for the 1, 3 and 6 ranges.

Citroen: New is a five-seat Picasso while the DS3 coupe gets a makeover.

Ford: Highlights are the Mondeo, a refreshed Focus and a new Focus ST while 2015 finishes on a high with the Mustang.

Holden: Likely from Opel are the Astra, Cascada convertible and Insignia. We will take Cruze sedans and wagons from Thailand.

Honda: The NSX hybrid supercar, turbo-petrol Civic Type R and hybrid versions of the Accord and Jazz are all due.

Hyundai: At last count with top-three status for sales in Australia, the brand unveils a new Sonata and face-lifted Veloster, Santa Fe, i30 and i40 models while the Genesis coupe is a possibility.

Jaguar: Hopes are high for the XE, which should start at about $55,000 (pictured above). The XF and XJ will get a touch-up.

Kia: A new Carnival is due while the classy Optima should go to new heights.

Lexus: The RC F and NX 200t roar in while also new is the IS convertible.

Mazda: Overhaul for MX-5 and makeovers for the Mazda3 and Mazda6.

Mercedes-Benz: Frenetic. The AMG GT S, V-Class eight-seater, GLE Coupe, S-Class Cabriolet, Maybach and CLA Shooting Brake are all new. There are face-lifted B and CLS ranges, plug-in hybrid C and S, and new AMG versions for C, CLS and S.

McLaren: Rival for Porsche 911 to be unveiled.

Mitsubishi: Ageing Lancer gets a welcome redesign.

Mini: Third-generation models arrive.

Nissan: Performance sub-brand Nismo will provide GT-R, 370Z and Juke versions. Cute Micra gets a nip and tuck.

Peugeot: The excellent 308 gets extra variants including a 133kW diesel.

Porsche: Facelifts galore, for 911, Boxster and Cayman while the latter adds a hard-core GT4 variant.

Renault: New-generation Megane range.

Skoda: Fab transformation for Fabia.

Subaru: Levorg sports wagon a possibility.

Suzuki: Celerio to replace Alto.

Tesla: Model S on the way.

Toyota: Soft-top 86 and final facelifts for Aussie-built Aurion and Camry.

Volkswagen: All new will be the Polo GTI and Passat while the Golf GTI and Jetta will get makeovers.


IMAGES: BMWi8 via Bmw website & Jaguar XE via Jaguar webesite


© The West Australian

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