* Audi RS5 Cabriolet * Fords Focus ST & Kuga *
* Mercedes E-Class 300 Bluetec Hybrid * Peugeot 508 Saloon HYbrid4 *
* Smart Electric Drive * Subaru BRZ * Toyota GT 86 * Volkswagen up! 5dr *
When it comes to new cars for 2012, there’s a grand total of 127 models scheduled for launch – a bumper crop to be sure! No matter where you look, from super minis to super cars, 4x4s to electric cars, there’s sure to be something to tweak your interest. Throughout the year, all of the major manufacturers are updating their ranges and introducing new models, so I’ll be keeping an eye on them as we go through 2012 and report on those scheduled for launch in the coming month. And of course I hope to bring you my views on each new car as they arrive…so let’s take a look at what’s new this month:
Audi RS5 Cabriolet
Price: £60,000 (est)
Drop-top version of the latest RS5 will be powered by the same 4.2-litre V8 as the coupe, producing 444bhp. Extra strengthening and weight in the chassis will mean performance is very slightly down on the hard-top’s, but expect 0-62mph to take less than five seconds.
Ford Focus ST
From £21,995 (ST 5-dr, 2.0T, 250PS, 6-speed)
Available as a five-door and an estate, the new Ford Focus ST will have a 247bhp 2.0-litre turbo four-cylinder engine driving the front wheels through a six-speed manual gearbox. Expect a 155mph top speed and 0-60mph in six seconds. That’s 5mph and six-tenths faster than the old 222bhp 2.5-litre five-cylinder ST. And it’ll be more economical, too. A Torque Steer Compensation system works with the electric power-steering to stop the steering wheel tugging under hard acceleration. Then there’s a three-stage ESP system that can be set to fully on, fully off or somewhere in between.
Price: £22,000 (est)
The all-new Kuga will come with two or four-wheel drive and be powered by a range of EcoBoost turbo petrol engines – including a 148bhp 1.6-litre – as well as 1.6 and 2.0-litre versions of Ford’s TDCi diesel. The latter deliver 114bhp, 138bhp and 161bhp. Ford has answered criticism of the current car by improving practicality. The new model has a maximum load area of 1,928 litres – that’s a whopping 600 litres more than before – as well as extra rear space for passengers. Additional new technology includes a hands-free boot lid that allows drivers with their hands full to sweep their foot under the rear bumper to open the boot. Factor in a precise drive and it should be a winner.
Mercedes E-Class 300 Bluetec Hybrid
Price: £40,000 (est)
It was a bold new dawn for Mercedes when the production-ready E-Class diesel hybrid made its debut at the Detroit Motor Show in January. The car mates a 200bhp 2.2-litre diesel to a 15kW electric motor and will return around 67mpg and emit only 109g/km.
Peugeot 508 Saloon HYbrid4
The 508 Saloon HYbrid4 carries a comprehensive specification similar to the well-specified 508 Allure but with the dynamic benefits of the HYbrid4 technology. Features like keyless entry with Stop/Start button, cruise control with speed limiter, automatic parking brake with Hill Assist, automatic dual-zone air conditioning, electric folding door mirrors, Peugeot Connect Navigation (RT6) with Bluetooth, Peugeot Connect SOS and Assistance, automatic headlamps and wipers, 18” alloy wheels and half leather seats are all standard equipment. CO2 is a very respectable and pocket-friendly 95g/km.
Smart Electric Drive
Price: £15,000 (est)
Following the success of the UK’s electric drive trial earlier this year, when 100 smart electric drives took to the roads, will the third generation smart fortwo electric drive be a huge success when it arrives this month? Smart hopes so. The ED is capable of covering up to 87 miles between charges, and together with nippy performance and a vivid white and green paint scheme, it’ll get you noticed around town.
Price: £28,000 (est)
Apart from a new front bumper and wheels, the BRZ is identical to Toyota’s new GT 86. It packs a 197bhp 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine and will cover 0-62mph in less than seven seconds. The lightweight (1,200kg) coupe will later be joined by a cabrio version, too.
Toyota GT 86
Price: £28,000 (est)
One of the most eagerly awaited Toyotas for years, the GT 86 is the Japanese firm’s back-to-basics sports car. It’s a lightweight, rear-wheel-drive coupe with a straightforward 2.0-litre flat-four engine and the aim of providing maximum fun-per-mile. Part of a joint venture, Toyota handled the GT 86’s exterior styling, while Subaru supplied the chassis, engine, transmission, brakes and suspension. Inside, the car has a 2+2 seating arrangement, but don’t expect to squeeze anyone over 5ft 7in in the back seat. However, the driver’s seat will accommodate those over six feet tall in comfort. Delivering 197bhp at 7,000rpm and 205Nm of torque at 6,600rpm, the GT 86 is capable of 0-60mph in around 7.0 seconds.
Volkswagen up! 5door
Price: £8,360 (Take up! 1.0-litre, 5-speed manual, 60PS)
The five-door version will have even more space and practicality than the hugely impressive three-door model, yet you can expect the same smooth, refined and economical drive. The only exterior styling difference will be a more upright rear, to allow for the extra doors.
- Ford Focus ST first drive (topgear.com)
- First Drive: 2013 Ford Focus ST (autoblog.com)
- Ford Focus ST: The Jalopnik Review [Jalopnik Reviews] (jalopnik.com)