Update: Half the year is now done and though 2020 hasn’t been the ideal year so far, there is still hope on the horizon for people expecting some new and exciting cars and SUVs Given the current automotive landscape, a sizeable portion of this list is made up of crossovers and SUVs. That shouldn’t be a surprise: trucks and crossovers dominated the 2019 sales charts. There’s still life in the regular ol’ car yet though, with hatchbacks, wagons, and sports cars dotting our want-to-drive list.
That’s really what this all boils down to: these are the cars we can’t wait to get behind the wheels of. They have buzz behind them, whether it’s for bringing back a storied name, putting a new spin on a classic formula, or for simply promising a cracking drive. Read on for our top picks.
SEE ALSO: 2020 BMW 330i xDrive Review
We’ll get our next real look at the i4 in just over a month, with a concept version set to take BMW’s stand at the Geneva Motor Show in early March, according to BMWBlog. It should be an evolution of the i Vision Dynamics concept of 2017, seen above with the upcoming iX3. Munich is targeting an impressive 372 mile (600 km) range on Europe’s WLTP cycle; expect EPA figures to sit a little lower. With an 80 kWh battery pack, the i4 will be able to sprint to 60 mph in a hair over four seconds, right in the realm of its main competition, the Tesla Model 3. It will also include fast-charging capability, allowing owners to add an extra 62 miles (100 km) of range in as little as six minutes.
As the Blue Oval answer to the Jeep Wrangler, the Bronco will act as more of a halo model than a mass-market volume leader. It’ll have to come correct, and all signs are positive on that front: patent filings suggest removable doors—and even an entire roll cage. We expect the engine lineup to closely mirror the Jeep’s too: a standard 2.3-liter turbo four-cylinder is likely, the same mill found under the hood of the Ranger the Bronco shares its platform with. A higher-powered turbo V6 might also find its way onto the menu.
The last Bronco was produced in 1996. That’s given it over two decades to build up a loyal following. If the new Bronco bucks tradition it could piss that fan base off, something another Ford will also face this year…
Ford Mustang Mach-E
Depending on which part of the Internet you listen to, the Mustang Mach-E could be the greatest Ford of modern times or an abhorrent blob that spits in the face of tradition (in the most eco-friendly way, of course). There’s seemingly no middle ground, and that’s what makes it fascinating.
Look past the name however, and the Mach-E is still a big deal. This is Ford, one of the biggest automakers in the world, putting its full weight behind a dedicated EV crossover. This isn’t targeting a single part of the market either, with everything from a reasonably-priced and -powered entry level to a GT performance trim. That latter one’s badge is significant, since it offers power and performance figures almost exactly in line with the classic V8-engined pony car. Now there’s an idea for a head-to-head…
The Kia Optima is no more. But don’t worry, if you were looking forward to the new generation Optima, Kia still has an option for you. When we say that the Optima is no more, we mean the name is no more. The mid-size sedan that has been loved by millions will carry on as the K5. In addition, it will now also offer AWD. Power will come from the Hyundai derived 1.6-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine that makes 180 hp and 191 lb-ft of torque.
However, we expect Kia to offer a second engine option as well but the turbo unit will probably be available with AWD only. According to the EPA, it will return a gas mileage of 26 mpg in the city and 34 mpg on the highway for an overall figure of 29 mpg. We expect the K5 to arrive in dealerships by fall of this year.
Acura pulled the wraps off its stunning new TLX sedan just a few days ago. The company is touting it as the “quickest, best-handling and most well-appointed sedan” the company has ever made and with good reason. It boasts of a double-wishbone suspension setup an engine that will be exclusive to the sporty Type S trim. It is also longer compared to the current car and has a three-inch longer wheelbase.
The powertrain lineup is an all turbo affair. The base engine is the 2.0-liter turbo from the RDX and the Civic Type R. In the TLX it will make a comparatively sedate 272 hp and 280 lb-ft of torque. The second engine, that will only power the Type S will be an all-new V6. Transversely mounted, turbocharged with electronic wastegates it will certainly be on the far side of dramatic. But Acura is staying mum on the final output figures. But if we had to take a shot in the dark, we would bet that it will make between 350-380 hp which will put it in the firing line of the AMG C43, Audi S4 and the BMW M340i, oh goody. The transmission though will be a 10-speed automatic regardless of the engine. AWD will be optional and will come with torque vectoring.
Set to go on sale by fall 2020, it will likely start in the mid-$30,000 range. The Type S though will not arrive before spring of 2021, so start saving up.
A band’s second album is almost more important than its first. We weren’t completely enamored of the Polestar 1 last year, mostly thanks to its heavy price tag (and general heaviness). But the company’s next act, the more proletariat Polestar 2, is the true test.
SEE ALSO: 2020 Polestar 1 First Drive Review
One thing the 2 won’t mess with—thankfully, in our opinion—is the smooth, Scandinavian style so emblematic of the young brand. More high-riding sedan than low-riding crossover, the 2 drapes its all-electric drivetrain in chiselled, ice-cool looks. Power is a heady 408 hp, with an electric motor for each axle drawing from a 78 kWh battery. Stomping the go-pedal produces a 0-62 mph time of 4.7 seconds; a lighter foot should see a single-charge range of 275 miles. Prices start at $63,000.
Genesis GV 80
Possibly one the most anticipated, if not the most anticipated SUV of the year is the 2021 Genesis GV80. After the success of the sedans, it was only natural that Genesis adds an SUV to its portfolio. Based on the same RWD platform as the upcoming G80, the opulence in the GV80 is possibly second only to the flagship G90 sedan.
Two engines will be available on the GV80, a 2.5-liter four-pot, and the 3.5-liter V6. Power outputs will be around 300 hp for the 2.5-liter turbo and near 380 hp for the V6. The “mobile oasis” cabin offers plush lear upholstery along with all you would want in terms of modern technology. It will come with a 14.5-inch touchscreen infotainment system that comes with a Captive Control Pad that allows you to control it remotely. Safety tech includes highway driving assist, forward collision avoidance, blind-spot monitoring, and smart cruise control with machine learning.
Prices start from $49,925 (incl. destination) and top out at $60,175 without add on packages which can add up to $12,000 to the final price.
Porsche Taycan Cross Turismo
Look, we couldn’t put the regular Taycan on this list. We’ve already driven the 4S version of it, and found Porsche’s first all-electric model deeply impressive. But what we can put on the list is the upcoming long-roof version of it, because who doesn’t love a good wagon?
Don’t count on many surprises with the Cross Turismo. If it follows the script of Porsche’s other wagon, the deeply desirable Panamera Sport Turismo, the lineup will mirror that of its sedan sibling. So far, that means the “entry level” 4S—if you can call it that—plus Turbo and Turbo S variants, with anywhere from 453 hp to a frankly obscene 751 hp. Prices will start firmly in the six-figure range.
Volkswagen Golf GTI and R
We’ll wax lyrical about cars like the afore-mentioned Porsche 718s for what seems like unnatural lengths of time, but they’re still essentially made of Unobtanium. If you want the working man’s (or woman’s) performance car of choice, you have to look at the hot hatch. And this year, we get the latest evolution of the original, the Golf GTI.
SEE ALSO: 2019 Volkswagen Golf GTI Review
We’ve already seen the eighth-gen Golf (shown above), and even got a taste of it in electron-munching GTE mode. Don’t get us wrong, that sounds cool too, but it’s distinctly lacking in plaid seats, a turbocharged gas engine, and a row-your-own gearbox. Volkswagen is expected to show off the GTI at the Geneva Motor Show in March, with the latest rumors suggesting anywhere from 230 to 286 hp. What’s more, the 330 hp R should show up later in the summer, potentially at the Goodwood Festival of Speed. Power to the people, indeed.
Full disclosure; the name 400Z is not confirmed yet for the 370Z replacement. But we are happy that Nissan has confirmed via teaser image that it will finally replace the decade-old 370Z. Although, don’t expect it to be new from the ground up. It will most probably be built on the existing Infiniti Q60 platform and will also borrow the 3.0-liter turbo V6. Expect it to put out around 400 hp to help keep up with the competition.
If the teaser image is anything to go by, the 400Z is drawing inspiration from its retro roots. The low-slung long hood and the low sloping roofline are both reminiscent of the original Fairlady. Plus, you also have the retro Z badge which in our opinion, is a dead give away. And there is another caveat, though we’ve listed it here and despite the knee-deep speculations regarding its release, it is possible that the new Z replacement will not see the reveal floor till 2021. So in essence, it will most probably be a 2022 model year car.
Honorable Mention: Toyota GR Yaris
We couldn’t end this list without a parting shot of the mad Toyota GR Yaris. This rally car for the road will feature the world’s most powerful three-cylinder engine, a 257 hp triple sending power to all four wheels. It’s an old-school homologation special in the truest sense: Toyota let its Gazoo Racing division create a custom three-door shell just so the rally team could use it. The team’s involvement also means this is light, tipping the scales on the right side of 3000 lb. The biggest concession to road use? There’s no sequential shifter here: just a six-speed manual, for maximum giggles.
SEE ALSO: 2020 Toyota Supra First Drive Review
It’s the sort of spec that turns enthusiasts into blubbering piles of drool. We know the chances of this showing up in North America are about on par with a speedy visit to the DMV, but we don’t care: we want it. Badly. Who would’ve thought that in 2020 Toyota would be the coolest, most enthusiast-friendly of the mainstream manufacturers? We dig this timeline.
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