New Cars 2012: Best new motors available in 2012
2nd Jul 2012 | 12:30
A beefier-looking version of the original family estate now comes with a built-in satnav and heads-up display.
Audi RS3 Sportback
Classic Recreations GT500 CR
Mercedes-Benz CLS63 AMG
BMW 1-series M coupe
Mercedes Benz C-Class
Aston Martin Vantage S
Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG
Renault Wind Gordini
Alfa Romeo returns to the small sports car market with a 1.7-litre, 230bhp, turbo road rocket. Weight is said to be under 850kg – incredible. Tech highlights include a version of Alfa’s electronic DNA system that controls suspension, steering and throttle settings. Price: £TBC www.alfaromeo.com
Another beautiful Aston, the Virage has an all-alloy, 5.9-litre V12 engine with 490bhp and a six-speed Touchtronic II automatic transmission with gearshift paddles. A new Adaptive Damping System (ADS) offers ten different settings in normal and sport modes. Price: £150,000 www.astonmartin.com
This actually looks like a British bulldog from the front. The fastest and most powerful series production Jag of all time it can reach 186mph and sprint from 0-60mph in 4.2 seconds. It’s a direct rival to Porsche’s 911 Turbo and Aston Martin’s V8. They should be worried. Price: £97,000 www.jaguar.com
What has considerably more power than a F1 car and a ski-box on the roof? The latest supercar from eccentric Swedes Koenigsegg has a 5.0-litre, twin-turbo V8 engine producing just over 1,100bhp and a fully carbon-fibre chassis. Price: £1,000,000 www.koenigsegg.com
The Geneva Motor Show is one of those things the Swiss do well, like skiing, clock-making and hiding investors’ cash from prying tax men. This Lamborghini LP700-4 Aventador was arguably the pick of the 81st show. It’s a car of extraordinary numbers. Here we have 690bhp, 12 cylinders, 0-60mph in well under three seconds, a 217mph top speed and peak power delivered at a screaming 8,250rpm. A new, seven-speed gearbox swaps cogs in 50ms. Remarkable. Inside, three TFT screens are fitted, including a seven-incher for the satnav. Lamborghini has worked hard to improve the driver environment with more head and shoulder room than the car it replaces and better ergonomics. As if you needed another reason to want one. Price: £242,000 Lamborghini.com
Yes: it’s the world’s first social networking car. Fitted with Wi-Fi and an Aha Radio app that translates text to voice it can monitor traffic, “hear” Twitter and Facebook updates, play podcasts or stream music. Emails and texts are also converted from text to speech. Price: £TBC www.rinspeed.com
Road-legal, single-seat track car from true Brits Briggs Automotive. Hits 0-60mph in 2.8 seconds.
Price: £80,000 www.bac-mono.com
German tuning firm Brabus is famous for its ridiculously powerful Mercedes conversions. With the iBusiness 2.0 (yes, really) it's turned a high-performance S-Class for CEOs into a mobile office stuffed with Apple products.
The iBusiness 2.0's twin-turbo V12 serves up an awesome 788bhp. Even more excitingly for tech heads, it's fitted with twin iPads - for the driver and their front-seat companion - Bluetooth keyboards, a Mac Mini and a 64GB iPod Touch, for your music-listening needs. The slickest, most touchscreen-filled car on the roads is also fitted out with yachting wood-trim and two-tone leather rather than the aluminium and magnesium alloy you might expect. Other than that, it's Apple through and through: desirable, pricey and prefixed with an "i".
Jaguar's tech-laden saloon gets a four-cylinder turbo diesel mated to an eight-speed auto gearbox.
Price: From £31,000
Designed to look like a 60s Porsche, but a very modern 425bhp engine lurks inside.
The Elise shaves off another 24kg but keeps a 134bhp 1.6-litre engine. Sublime.
The current crop of 911s, first introduced in 2005, is due to be replaced at the end of this year. But before the German classic goes to a better place (Exchange & Mart), the 1997 variant is having one last outing, with a production run of just 600 cars that are lighter, faster, and generally more brilliant than ever.
This, the 911 GT3 RS 4.0, is a four-litre version of the superb 911 GT3 RS 3.8. Under its bonnet sits the highest displacement engine of any road-going 911 ever. The chassis sits on a revised version of Porsche's computer-controlled Active Suspension Management system, and aerodynamics have been upgraded. It's born for pure driving thrills, hence there's no air-con, satnav or rear seats to hinder your enjoyment of pure cruising perfection.
Price: Circa £128,500
Italian styling house Zagato celebrates Alfa Romeo's centenary with a carbon-fibre, 8.4-litre, V10-engined beast.
This sports car is what happens when you mix design from an Italian styling house with the legendary expertise and power of Britain's Aston Martin. This is the V12 Zagato. Aston has worked with Zagato before, producing the swinging and groovy 60s classic the DB4 GT Zagato. In fact, the V12 is released to commemorate the 50th anniversary of that icon, and is built around the same Vantage V12 engine found in James Bond's DBS.
In typical Aston fashion, it'll be raced to prove its mettle. Not just any race, either; the testing ground is the fearsome, 24-hour endurance classic at the Nurburgring. Dr Ulrich Bez, CEO of Aston Martin, will be driving one of the two V12 Zagatos entered - now that's a hands-on management style.
Link: Aston Martin
Built for the 75th anniversary of the BMW 328, the Hommage concept has jaw-dropping looks.
This special edition of the Fiat 500 is customised by Gucci's creative director Frida Giannini. Stylish wheels, man.
Unique colours, side stripes and 19-inch alloy wheels, plus improved suspension for better cornering.
Third-generation SUV gets permanent all-wheel drive and new chassis and driving dynamics systems.
Mercedes' SLS was famed for its gullwing doors, but for the latest update, Merc's engineers have decided against the big flappy entry ports... And a roof, come to that. They evidently didn't think the original was quick enough either, so they've also added a proper, rumbling V8 with an engine note to die for.
The result is the open-top SLS AMG Roadster, which accelerates from 0-62mph in 3.8 seconds and is "limited" to a top speed of 196mph. AMG Ride Control lets you use built-in electronic dampers to adjust the ride and handling. Inside, as well as plenty of expensive feeling leather and carbon fibre, there's mobile internet access and AMG Performance Media, a system that displays engine performance, lap times and more.
Price: Circa £180,000
One-off speed demon with a 550+bhp engine running on 120-octane race fuel.
Mid-size coupé with four engine options: one diesel and three petrols with a high performance VXR to follow.
Price: from £18,495
Only 100 available in the UK, with titanium-effect paint and red brake callipers.
Tremble, mortals: this is the M5. The most powerful series production car that BMW has ever made. The M5 has a 4.4-litre, turbocharged V8 engine with 552bhp. It nails 0-60mph in 4.4 seconds, then, another nine seconds later, it reaches 124mph. The top speed has been limited to 155mph, although with a few sneaky tweaks it'll go all the way to 200mph.
Despite all that, there's also a big boot, rear seats and a more refined feel - it's a family saloon on amphetamines and steroids, in short, and as a result it's got a nasty temper. The paddle-shift gearbox uses two clutches and offers seven speeds in both manual and auto modes. Techheads will also love all the gadgetry, which includes night vision and a dash that displays Facebook and Twitter updates.
New Minis have four engine choices - three petrols and one diesel - with air-con and parking sensors as standard.
Price: From £16,640
Audi’s given its smallest model a large helping of five-door practicality. Despite the extra doors, the Sportback is still super compact. Clever.
We’re big fans of Fiat’s TwinAir engine. Slotted into the new third-gen Panda, it makes for a very efficient mini MPV with a unique character.
Burning up the tarmac, but not fossil fuels so much, this is the i8 from BMW. It’s an electric/petrol hybrid with four-wheel-drive and fuel economy to match a city car. BMW’s been testing the i8 for two years and it’ll go on sale next year. The i8 uses a newly developed petrolelectric hybrid drive system. Depending on conditions, it can run on a combination of the traditional internal combustion engine and electric, or solely the latter.
With both engines double-teaming, the i8 pulls 349bhp and delivers a 0-62mph time of 4.6sec, comparable with an Audi R8 or a BMW M3. Here’s the really jaw-dropping stat though: BMW claims 104mpg and just 66g/km of CO2 emissions. Beans on toast produces more pollutants.
Ford Focus Studio
Entry-level, five-door hatchback with a 1.6-litre Ti-VCT petrol engine, 16-inch alloys and USB connectivity.
Maserati Gran-Turismo S Automatic Sport Pack
Faster gearshifts and an exhaust that really wails.
This compact SUV is the first of Mazda’s new generation. CO2 ratings begin at under 120g/km.
Price: CIRCA £20,000
Another diesel-powered, MPG-heavy take on a classic topless model. Anyone would think fuel was expensive…
Coupé style and hatchback utility in one. Driver’s side has a single door, passenger gets a pair. Techy interior includes a touchscreen.
Porsche 911 Carrera
All-season, every-reason supercar updated with part-aluminium construction and, somehow, sub-200g/km carbon emissions.
Updated for 2011 with a more premium cabin, sleeker looks and a V6 growl that would scare a hungry polar bear.
Link: Lotus Cars
VW’s tiny, clever Up! is small in stature but big on features and quality. An extra touchscreen satnav is particularly good value at just £275.
New, economical, diesel version of the fi ve-door supercar that Porsche claims can do 745 miles on one tank.
It’s compact, it’s fuel efficient, it’s luxurious and it’ll go anywhere. That’s the pitch for Audi’s new fun-sized car bar.
Nissan has actually made the GT-R even more powerful and agile. The turbo V6 now cranks out 560hp, Porsche 911s eaten on demand.
BMW 3 Series
BMW’s new 3 brims with tech. Highlights include “aero curtains” which shave a whole 1g/km from emissions. Greenpeace will be chuffed.
BMW 640i Gran Coupé
Blending slinky style with four-door practicality, this boasts a turbocharged, six-cylinder engine.
Sick of digital precision. This has no turbos, no traction control… Not even ABS brakes. Just pure power in a lightweight package.
Toyota GT 86
Rear-drive fun rebooted for the new millennium. The new BRZ is compact, light and ultraefficient. But with 200hp through the rear wheels.
Vauxhall Astra GTC
The new Astra GTC is as close as you’ll get to a modern-day Calibra. Striking to look at and a genuinely different drive to the five-door model.
Volvo V60 Plug-in
Awesome, 42g/km diesel-electric hybrid hits 60mph in under seven seconds, thanks to a lithium-boosted, five-cylinder engine.
The original new Beetle was a bum steer. Not so the new, Golf-based model. A hi-tech, 1.4 TSI engine combines 160hp with modest emissions.
Packs a high-end lithium-ion battery, a combined 335bhp and emissions of just 149g/km. Enough to make anyone consider going green, surely…
If you prefer your sporty numbers a little more on the compact side, the feisty new Roadster is a drop-top take on the go faster-striped Mini Coupé packing a 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine with Mini Connected kit also in tow.
Price: £20,900, mini.co.uk
The V8 is far from efficient, but an increase in fuel economy from 17mpg to 27mpg helps. A 4.0 litre V8 engine provides the grunt, while hitting 0-60mph takes just 4.6 seconds and a potential speed of 188mph. It'll also turn heads with its jewel-like LED lights and huge dark mesh metallic grille.
Price: £122,000, bentley.co.uk
Audi’s über estate is back, powered by a tweaked V8 engine, boasting 444bhp and a seven-speed gearbox. Expect to get 0-62mph in 4.7 seconds and if you are willing to part with more of your money you can increase the maximum speed to impressive 174mph.
Price: £55,000, Audi.co.uk
Sporting F1-inspired looks, the Renaultsport packs a two litre turbo engine to help pump out 265bhp, and should deliver aggressive suspension, a trick torque-biasing differential and a whole hill of turbo-charged performance. The central dashboard will also display information on real-time engine performance and acceleration times so you can feel like you’re a real race driver…
Yes it’s a car to pack the kids in the back and does 0-62mph in 8.6 seconds, but the DS5 with its quirky, snub-nosed styling and a torquey but efficient diesel electric engine delivers 99g/ km emissions which means it’s exempt from road tax.
ABS, DSC, ASC, CBC, DBC, DCT... keeping up with the new M6’s tech spec is tricky; keeping pace with its 550hp performance is harder. Like the M5, you’ll find a 4.4-litre twin-turbocharged V8 engine under the hood, a 552bhp grunt and will do 0-62mph in under 5 seconds. The M6 will be available as a Coupe and a Convertible.
Estate car, SUV or radical diesel-electric hybrid? The 508 RXH is all of the above, in a way. It sports the same advanced Hybrid4 system to give you four drive settings EV, Hybrid, Sport and 4WD that aim to let you make the most of any environment and keep polar bears alive. 200hp plus 107g/km makes for a very impressive combo.