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New cars 2021: what's coming and when?

Autocar: New cars 2021

The next 12 months will see many all-new and updated models landing in showrooms. We round up every important arrival

After the misery of last year, many of you will want to treat yourselves to a new ride. And you will certainly be spoiled for choice, no matter what you fancy.

With just nine years to go until the sale of new petrol and diesel cars is banned, all eyes are on the landmark EVs hitting dealerships in the next 12 months, but there are still plenty of hugely exciting combustion models on the horizon.

Here’s your go-to rundown of every new car due before 2022:

JanuaryFebruaryMarchAprilMayJuneJulyAugustSeptemberOctoberNovemberDecember

January

Cupra Formentor

The Sporty Spanish SUV will gain a new entry-level option using a 148bhp 1.5-litre petrol unit familiar from other Volkswagen Group models. Prices start from £27,395 – undercutting the similarly conceived BMW X2 sDrive18i – with LED lights, 18in alloy wheels and three-zone climate control fitted as standard.

Ford Kuga hybrid

The non-plug-in hybrid version of Ford’s new Kuga is aimed squarely at long-distance diesel drivers, boasting a claimed total range of 600 miles at an average of 48.7mpg. The drivetrain has a 2.5-litre Atkinson-cycle petrol engine and a small 1.1kWh battery, so EV range won’t be comparable with the PHEV’s 35 miles, but it will no doubt appeal to eco-conscious buyers with limited charging facilities on hand. 

Hyundai Tucson

Bold exterior styling and a minimal interior stripped of many physical controls promise to give the fourth-generation SUV a more upmarket feel, with technology more commonly found in premium rivals. A diverse powertrain line-up includes plug-in, self-charging and mild-hybrid options, and while there’s no confirmation things will get spicier than the N-Line trim level, a hot Tucson N remains a possibility.

Jaguar F-Pace

A substantial facelift for Solihull’s answer to the BMW X5 brings a more upmarket interior, subtle exterior tweaks and – more significantly – a new plug-in hybrid option with a claimed 33-mile EV range. Reacting to customer feedback, Jag’s design team has removed all “scratchy” plastics from the cabin, boosted storage capacity and integrated the brand’s new Pivi Pro infotainment system, which made its debut on the Land Rover Defender. 

Jaguar XF

Tasked with reversing the trend for dwindling saloon sales, the refreshed XF has had a major interior overhaul and gains a simplified engine line-up that includes mild-hybrid diesel for the first time. It has been aggressively priced to undercut the rival BMW 5 Series.

Mazda 6

Mazda’s large saloon and estate are given a mild facelift, which is notable for what’s being taken out: diesel engine options. That leaves the CX-5 SUV as the only model in the firm’s UK line-up that drinks from the black pump, and means the 6 is now available exclusively with a naturally aspirated 2.0-litre petrol for motivation. 

Morgan 3 Wheeler P101

Limited-run of 33 models will be the final versions of the current 3 Wheeler before it undergoes a more significant reinvention. Additions include new disc wheels and a choice of art packs: Belly Tank, inspired by old lake racers; Spitfire-style Aviator; and black and white Dazzleship, which, the firm says, is the “boldest” of the three. 

Radical SR10 

Ford Focus ST engine is tuned to give this 725kg track weapon 425bhp and 380lb ft and. crucially, enhanced usability over the Nordschleife-destroying, V8-propelled SR8. It’s aimed at casual racers – think track day fanatics and car clubs – but still gives a better power-to-weight ratio than a McLaren Senna. 

Skoda Octavia iV

First electrified version of the big-selling Octavia has a benefit-in-kind tax rate of just 6% due to its impressive 43-mile range. Skoda reckons it’s “the most fuel-efficient Octavia ever built”, so it’s good news all round for the cash-conscious buyer, and the availability of hatchback and estate bodystyles only boosts its appeal. 

Skoda Octavia vRS

If performance, practicality and value are your core criteria, little else touches the Octavia vRS. Both plug-in hybrid and turbo petrol variants put out 242bhp, making it the most potent vRS car yet produced, and an estate is available so the dog need never be late for its walk again. 

Toyota Hilux 

A substantial facelift for the go-anywhere pick-up includes a new 201bhp, 369lb ft 2.8-litre diesel. There’s also a restyled front end that gives increased “road presence”, plus electrical and chassis revisions boost its credential off road, too.

Vauxhall Insignia

Facelifted and with a predictably large range of petrol and diesel engines, the Insignia remains Vauxhall’s flagship. A performance-oriented GSi version, introduced last year, packs 227bhp and 258lb ft and boasts a trick torque-vectoring four-wheel drive system for enhanced dynamics. Rumours of the hot Vauxhall’s demise, it would seem, have been exaggerated. 

Volkswagen Golf R 

The class benchmark – in sales terms at least – returns as the most powerful series-production Golf so far. It’ll go one up on its Cupra Leon sibling with 316bhp, is claimed to be more focused than ever, and even has a drift mode built in as part of a comprehensive drivetrain overhaul.

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February

Aston Martin V12 Speedster

Ultra-exclusive two-seater, limited to 88 units, is inspired by fighter jets, packs almost 700bhp and costs £765,000. Built using elements of the DBS Superleggera and Vantage, it takes its nearly 700bhp from a 5.2-litre twin-turbo V12 and, as if you needed reassurance, Aston promises its bespoke exhaust system gives a “rousing” soundtrack. 

Audi Q8 TFSIe 

Packing up to 456bhp from its electrified V6, this 2.4-tonne behemoth cracks 62mph in sub-6.0sec and has a 28-mile EV range. Two versions are available: the 55 TFSIe and quicker Competition 60 TFSIe, priced from £73,860 and £85,750 respectively, each offering bespoke hybrid drive modes and a ‘predictive operating strategy’ that suggests the most fuel-efficient route for a given journey. 

Bentley Bacalar 

All 12 examples of this ultra-luxurious roadster have been sold, for nine times the price of a standard Continental GT, but the firm has indicated that it believes in a future for exclusive coachbuilt models in the same vein. It’s hard to know what’s more exciting: the 650bhp W12 motor, the EXP 100 GT-inspired exterior or the dashboard trim formed from 5000-year-old riverwood. 

BMW M3 and M4 

The icons are back, only this time with a slightly controversial nose. Still, leaving that aside, each gets a twin-turbo six-cylinder engine to keep the purists happy, which is good for 503bhp and a 0-62mph time as low as 3.9sec. Both are rear-wheel drive as standard, but an optional four-wheel drive system will be available for the first time, complete with an M button to send more torque rearwards. There’s even more choice coming later. Not only will an M4 Cabriolet arrive in September, but the achingly desirable M3 Touring will be landing in 2022 as well. The M duo have got their mojo back.

Citroën C4 

Rather than copy its PSA Group siblings, Citroën is rediscovering its quirkiness by taking its own route with the new C4. Moving from a hatchback to a crossover-style design, it makes use of a different platform from the Peugeot 308 and Vauxhall Astra to allow a fully electric version to be sold from the off. Squint, and you might make out a passing resemblance to the 1970s GS saloon.

Ford Puma ST

It was inevitable that when Ford poached the Puma name from its revered small coupé for a new sporty crossover, an ST version wouldn’t be too far away. Combining its swoopy and surprisingly practical body with the running gear from the truly excellent Fiesta ST meant Ford couldn’t go too far wrong, right? Well, we weren’t totally in love with it during our first drive late last year. But it’s certainly fiesty, fun and firm, and should prove popular.

Jaguar F-Pace SVR

The final model in Jaguar’s current range to be updated is its potent supercharged V8 SUV, which gets a power hike, fresh looks and an interior technology upgrade as part of its mid-life refresh. Subtle boosts in performance accompany a similarly subtle MPG uptick, with chassis revisions promising more focused dynamic behaviour.

Kia Sorento PHEV 

An upmarket, all-wheel-drive plug-in variant will make the new-generation Sorento one of few seven-seaters capable of pure-electric driving. Full efficiency figures are yet to be detailed, but Kia claims the Sorento is its most efficient PHEV yet, and says the electric element of the drivetrain incurs minimal impact on cabin and boot space. 

Kia Stinger 

Executive saloon’s mild refresh largely focuses on in-cabin technology, and will now be sold with only the flagship 3.3-litre twin-turbo V6, which has proved more popular with buyers since launch. Tweaks include a new variable exhaust system, which uses a butterfly valve to change the engine note according to the drive mode, and reshaped lights front and rear. Look closely and you’ll see the rear indicators look like chequered flags.

Mazda CX-5

Mazda’s popular SUV is given a minor update in bid to keep pace with ever-growing list of rivals in its ultra-competitive class. Diesel option – the last in the Japanese brand’s UK line-up – is in the firing line, too. 

Nissan Micra

Another diesel ditcher, Nissan’s supermini gains more standard kit and adopts a more efficient 1.0-litre petrol as its sole powertrain. The motor is claimed to give a smoother torque curve, meaning fewer gearshifts are necessary, but it is likely to take a bit of a performance hit over the outgoing unit, which cracked the 0-62mph sprint in 9.9sec. 

Volkswagen Arteon eHybrid

The addition of a shooting brake variant and plug-in powertrain to VW’s heavily restyled second-generation executive fastback should help it better compete with rivals from Volvo and BMW. The PHEV is available in both fastback and shooting brake bodystyles, and can be driven for 33 miles with the engine off. 

Volkswagen ID 4

VW’s first ‘global’ EV comes with both rear- and four-wheel drive. Maximum range is a useful 323 miles, with the larger 77kWh battery option compatible with 125kW rapid charging. Inside, you’ll recognise the same minimalist, touch-control-heavy interior styling as applied to the smaller ID 3, which also influenced its aerodynamically optimised exterior. 

Volkswagen Tiguan R

Capable of 0-62mph in 4.9sec, packing a seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox and with Dynamic Chassis Control functionality, this could be the perfect school-run tool. One of three SUVs now available in full-fat R performance guise, the hot Tiguan features the same torque-vectoring four-wheel drive system and 316bhp turbo four as its Arteon and Golf siblings. 

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March

Audi Q3 45 TFSIe

Audi’s expansion of its plug-in hybrid powertrain will reach its compact range for the first time with the Q3 45 TFSIe and the more sportily styled Q3 Sportback. Both models will feature a four-cylinder 1.5-litre petrol engine that combines with an electric motor for a maximum system output of 242bhp and 295lb ft of torque, along with an electric-only range of 31 miles.

Audi Q5 Sportback

With the new Audi Q5 Sportback, Audi continues to fill in the (increasingly niche) gaps in its considerable SUV line-up. It’s essentially the mid-sized Q5 redesigned from the B-pillar back with a more rakish, coupé-style body. It will be launched with a mild-hybrid turbocharged diesel, with more powertrain options, including a plug-in hybrid, to follow. 

BMW 4 Series Cabriolet

Unlike BMW’s grille designers, the engineering team behind the 4 Series Cabriolet clearly believe that less is more, switching from a folding hard-top to a lightweight soft-top for this new generation. That means the new car’s roof weighs 40% less than before, which should aid ride and handling, especially on the range-topping 369bhp all-wheel-drive M440i xDrive. The potential downside? It will be easier for passers-by to tell you what they think about the front-end design… 

BMW M440d 

BMW’s 4 Series gains a punchy new mild-hybrid diesel variant. Using a 3.0-litre turbocharged V6 with a 48V booster system, the M440d can put out 335bhp and 516lb ft while achieving an average of 42mpg. It’s largely mechanically identical to the M440i elsewhere – which is a good thing.

Cupra Formentor PHEV

As the first stand-alone model from Seat’s spin-off brand, the Formentor is intended as a statement of intent for Cupra – and, as a sporty SUV coupé, it’s aimed firmly at the ‘premium performance’ market. This plug-in hybrid powertrain, based around a 1.4-litre petrol engine and offering 201bhp or 242bhp, will be a key part of the range.

Cupra Leon

We’ve already driven Cupra’s spicy hot hatch in its new plug-in hybrid form and weren’t entirely convinced – so purists might be better served waiting for the purely petrol-powered version to arrive. Given it’s a VW Group performance car, you probably know what to expect: the use of the ubiquitous EA888 2.0-litre TSI engine and up to 306bhp. 

Fiat 500e

As Coca-Cola discovered in 1985, you mess with a classic formula at your peril. Yet Fiat has taken its only really successful model, the 500, and reinvented it. The new version of the city car maintains the retro styling, but it’s an all-new, electric-only offering, with a 199-mile range and 117bhp. Even with the old model (now the 500 Classic) remaining on sale, taking such a radical step with such a popular model is a brave step. So will it be the start of a new era, or another New Coke? 

Ford Mustang Mach-E

An electric Ford Mustang SUV? Not quite: Ford is simply using the fabled pony badge to add some sporting credibility and premium styling to its vital first bespoke electric production car. If you approach it with an open mind, it’s an approach that works: on our first experience, this is one of the best electric crossovers on the market.

Ford Mustang Mach 1

The Mustang Mach-E is a future-proof electric SUV. The Mustang Mach 1… isn’t. It’s a Mustang that isn’t at all concerned about the future, because it’s too busy putting a big grin on your face using its utterly old-school charms. The limited-run Mach 1 will be the fastest Mustang yet sold in Europe, pairing classic retro styling with a 454bhp 5.0-litre V8. 

Hyundai i30 N

Hyundai’s Golf GTI rival gains a mid-life facelift in line with the standard i30, along with several mechanical tweaks in a bid to offer more rounded appeal. Upgrades will include greater use of lightweight material to boost agility and a 5bhp boost (to 276bhp) in its most powerful tune. An automatic transmission is also an option for the first time.

Hyundai Santa Fe hybrid and plug-in hybrid

Hyundai’s flagship SUV gains two new electrified powertrains to go with its major makeover. Both hybrid systems are based around the firm’s 1.6-litre Smartstream turbocharged petrol engine: the hybrid is mated to a 59bhp electric motor and offers 227bhp, while the PHEV version uses a larger 90bhp motor and sends 261bhp to all four wheels. 

Jaguar E-Pace

Jaguar’s smallest SUV is given a comprehensive reworking, switching to a new platform designed to boost ride, handling and refinement – and enable the addition of mild-hybrid and plug-in hybrid powertrains. There’s also a major interior overhaul, including the latest version of Jaguar Land Rover’s infotainment system.

Land Rover Defender P400e

Plug-in hybrid technology means so much more to the Defender than a mighty 398bhp and 27 miles of electric range. Land Rover says it will be the most capable off-road version of the Defender due to the greater control and torque offered by its electric motors. P400e is offered on the 110 only.

Land Rover Discovery

The Discovery’s polarising rear end hasn’t been fixed with this facelift. A bold call, one might argue. Another curious omission from this facelift is a plug-in hybrid version, which makes the Discovery the only Land Rover without such an option. Mild-hybrid tech is added, though.

Range Rover Velar

The Velar’s exterior looks weren’t broken, so haven’t been fixed. Inside, Jaguar Land Rover’s new Pivi and Pivi Pro infotainment systems have been added. But the big changes are under the bonnet: the engine range is completely overhauled. Most notable is the new P400e plug-in hybrid. 

Mazda MX-30

Mazda’s first production EV is a compact crossover that offers an intriguingly different take. It looks good, drives and rides well, and is well kitted out for its price – but the flipside is that a small battery means it has a low range of just 124 miles. Mazda reckons that’s perfect for its intended urban usage, but that could put off buyers.

Mercedes-AMG One 

We should have seen more of the One than some official development photos by now, but it seems that adapting a Formula 1 engine for use in a road car is not without challenges. Who knew? Still, Mercedes-AMG says the hybrid hypercar is back on track, and it should be the closest thing to Lewis Hamilton’s F1 title winner that you can drive on the road. Expect a 0-124mph time of around six seconds.

Mercedes-Benz C-Class

Completely new from the ground up, the new C-Class will major on more hybrid variants – both mild and plug-in – thanks to its new 48V architecture. As ever, buyers will have plenty of choice: estate, coupé, cabriolet and a new All-Terrain version are planned, alongside a radical four-cylinder-based AMG hybrid. 

Toyota Highlander

The motto of the immortals in the Highlander film series is ‘there can be only one’ – a belief car firms clearly don’t apply to SUVs. This fourth-generation Highlander will be the first to be sold in the UK, joining the Yaris Cross, C-HR, RAV4 and Land Cruiser in the firm’s high-riding range. The large seven-seater will be offered here in all-wheel-drive plug-in hybrid form only. 

Toyota RAV4 PHEV

Plug-in hybrid power comes to the RAV4 line-up for the first time, with a 302bhp powertrain offering all-wheel drive and up to 46 miles of electric-only running and emissions of just 29g/km of CO2. The signs are promising: the RAV4 PHEV reaches the UK (strangely) after its badge-engineered Suzuki Across twin, which we regarded highly.

Vauxhall Mokka-e 

All but unrecognisable from the outgoing car, the dramatically restyled Mokka will be available in full-electric guise, powered by the same 134bhp motor and 50kWh battery as its Peugeot e-2008 sibling. Priced from £30,840, the Kia e-Niro rival can cover 201 miles between charges and is equipped with 100kW DC rapid-charging capability. 

Volkswagen Arteon R

Volkswagen’s performance division applies the hugely successful Golf R formula to the German firm’s stylish saloon and its Shooting Brake sibling. So you get 316bhp and 310lb ft from a 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo petrol engine, all-wheel drive and torque vectoring – and more than 560 litres of boot space. Expect some very quick trips to the local furniture shop.

Volkswagen Touareg R

The rapid expansion of Volkswagen’s R performance sub-brand continues with the introduction of its first PHEV. The Touareg R packs the same hybridised 2.9-litre petrol as the Porsche Cayenne E-Hybrid, endowing it with 456bhp and 516lb ft, but prioritises comfort and refinement over outright punch.

Volvo XC40 Recharge Pure Electric P8

Volvo’s first fully electric model takes the familiar packaging of its hugely popular XC40 SUV, but switches the petrol engine for a pair of electric motors with a combined output of 402bhp. There’s also a range of 260 miles from a 78kWh battery. While it’s impressive to drive, the asking price is steep, but more cost-effective EV variants will follow.

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April

Abarth 595/695 

While the Fiat 500 has been radically transformed into an electric city car, don’t expect the hot Abarth variants to be quite so bold: the latest 595 and 695 are both based on the previous, combustion-engined 500 (which will continue to be sold alongside the new one, now badged 500 Classic). Still, given the hatches already do a great job of providing fun, accessible performance, that’s likely not a bad thing.

Alpina B8 

The Buchloe-based tuner will continue it expand its line-up by working its magic on the BMW 8 Series. Expect the normal subtle but comprehensive reworking that will turn the enlarged coupé into a 200mph autobahn weapon, extracting 600bhp from the  4.4-litre twin-turbo V8 used in the M850i. Alpina’s chassis engineers will also be doing their thing to ensure that power can be deployed with ease.

BMW M5 CS

As if the 616bhp M5 Competition – which cracks 0-62mph in 3.3sec – wasn’t quick enough, the Clubsport will turn up the wick with a power hike and track-spec chassis tweaks. That means it’s going on a strict diet to strip out any excess weight, combined with performance upgrades that include firmer suspension, upgraded brakes and various new aerodynamic accoutrements.

Cupra Formentor

The powertrain line-up for the Seat spin-off brand’s sporty-styled SUV coupé expands further with a 187bhp 2.0-litre TSI petrol engine. That gives it a welcome boost of power above the 148bhp entry-level model, but without the extra weight and cost that comes with the 242bhp plug-in hybrid version. Depending on how you like your porridge, that balance could be just right for many buyers.

Dacia Sandero

In a world where even a mid-spec Ford Fiesta has smashed the £20k list price barrier and a new wave of electric superminis takes the upper cost limit of the segment to never-before-seen heights, it’s refreshing that Dacia refuses to shake off its value-centric roots. At £7995, the new Sandero’s starting price is about half that of even the cheapest Fiesta, but it’s not likely to be a shambles, with the same CMF platform as the new Renault Clio for improved ride, handling and safety. There’s even some big car kit options this time around, but for many, the no-frills, back-to-basics approach is what makes that Romanian brand unique these days. 

Ford S-Max hybrid

You might be surprised to see the S-Max in a list of 2021’s new cars, but that isn’t a typo. Ford is out to prove that MPVs still have some life in them with this new hybrid version of the long-running S-Max. It uses a 2.5-litre Atkinson-cycle petrol engine mated to a 48V motor, with a resulting boost in fuel economy and the promise of limited electric-only running. That should help to make airport private hire cab runs a little bit more fuel efficient.

Lamborghini Huracán STO

Essentially a GT3 racer with numberplates, the Lamborghini Huracán Super Trofeo Omologata matches the Performante’s 631bhp output, but weighs 43kg less and has half the driven wheels. At around £260,000, it’s certainly not cheap, but our first experience in a prototype version showed that this really could be the ultimate version of the Huracán. That said, it really is designed for track use, so if you are planning to spend more time at Bedford Tesco than Bedford Autodrome, you might want to think carefully.

Mini hatchback

Hybrid power beckons for the updated version of Mini’s hatch, in order to stay competitive with premium rivals that have gone plug-in, such as the Mercedes A250e and VW Golf GTE. Visual updates should bring it closer in line with the Countryman, while cabin technology improvements will include the digital instrument cluster seen in the Mini Electric.

Peugeot 508 PSE 

The 508 PSE is significant not just for being Peugeot’s most powerful production car yet, but because it’s the first model to bear the badge of its new electrified performance brand. Drawing 355bhp from a system comprising a 1.6-litre petrol turbo and two electric motors, it will hit 62mph from rest in 5.2sec and travel 26 miles on electric power.

Porsche 911 GT3

“Emotion is the reason people buy a GT3. It’s the enjoyment of driving the car. That’s definitely the main driver: to be driving just for the sake of it.” Not our words, but those of Andreas Preuninger, the engineering virtuoso charged with ensuring the next 911 GT3 is both Porsche’s finest yet, and a fitting send-off for the naturally aspirated flat six from which it draws its power. 

Early indications are promising. Our first ride in a prototype suggested that a subtle size increase over the previous 991-generation car has wrought minimal dynamic penalty – largely because it hasn’t brought any extra weight with it, and the intimidating aero package has increased downforce by 50%. 

Powertrain tweaks are more subtle, with total output up by only 10% over the 991.2-generation car, but given how strict emissions and noise regulations are these days, the fact that this race-derived motor can still be homologated for road usage is cause for celebration in itself. The Mercedes-AMG GT Black Series may not be wearing its Nürburgring lap record crown for long.

Skoda Octavia 4×4

The range of the new Octavia continues to be filled out, this time with a new all-wheel-drive version.

Suzuki Jimny

The Suzuki Jimny is dead; long live the Suzuki Jimny! The achingly cute rugged off-roader has been withdrawn from sale in the UK and EU due to the need to cut passenger car fleet emissions – but it will now return in two-seat Commercial form. There are minimal mechanical alterations, so it still offers four-wheel drive and a 1.5-litre engine, although there is now a flat load bed in the back with a capacity of 863 litres.

Toyota Land Cruiser

The long-running off-roader gains a raft of updates, with the most notable addition a new 2.8-litre turbo diesel engine. The unit, which was also recently added to the Hilux range, raises power from 174bhp to 201bhp and torque from 331lb ft to 369lb ft. There’s also an overhauled trim level, with entry-level options now starting from £42,345.

Vauxhall Mokka

Vauxhall’s compact crossover is radically restyled – and the changes extend far beyond removing the X from the title. There’s a bold – and quite interesting – look. Underneath the bodywork, the new Mokka will shift to the PSA Group’s CMP platform and will be launched with two petrol and one diesel engines (as well as the electric Mokka-e). Prices for the petrol models will start from £20,735.

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May

Audi E-tron GT

Set to arrive first in top-spec RS guise, the E-tron GT is Audi’s take on the Porsche Taycan. The two electric sports saloons will share a platform, and an early test of a prototype revealed an unsurprisingly similar driving experience, but there are worse things to be than a rebadged Porsche. It will arrive with 646bhp, around 250 miles of electric range, and a scary ability to hide its 2.3-tonne weight while pressing on.

Bentley Bentayga Hybrid 

Set to further expand the appeal of what is already Bentley’s most popular model, the plug-in hybrid Bentayga will return with a fresh, more purposeful look that better matches the Continental GT coupé and Flying Spur saloon. Upgraded infotainment and interior technology should help it compete with luxury SUV rivals, and while the 3.0-litre PHEV powerplant remains the smallest yet fitted to a Bentley, its zero-emissions driving ability is a necessary first step as Crewe aims for an electrified  line-up by 2023.

Bentley Flying Spur PHEV

Set to borrow its hybrid powertrain from the Porsche Panamera, the Flying Spur PHEV will join existing V8 and W12 engine options, ahead of the company’s promise of plug-ins and electric power from 2026 onwards. The Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid’s 671bhp petrol-electric powertrain seems the natural bedfellow for the Flying Spur, offering 0-62mph in 3.4sec.

Ferrari SF90 Spider

The drop-top hybrid SF90 promises to be the most powerful series-production convertible on sale, a title it steals from Ferrari’s own 812 GTS. The four-wheel-drive plug-in powertrain is carried over wholesale from the SF90 coupé, meaning a twin-turbocharged 4.0-litre V8 mated to a pair of electric motors on the front axle, plus a third at the rear. An overall power output of 986bhp and 664lb ft of torque helps the Spider to match the Stradale’s 2.5sec 0-62mph sprint time, and dips short of its 212mph top speed by just 1mph.

Fiat 500X

The compact crossover has now passed its fifth birthday, and seems set to receive another life-extending update this year ahead of an all-new model, which could see it merged with the 500L MPV and made electric only. Fiat may opt to use the same mild-hybrid unit used in the 500 supermini or could borrow plug-in power from the Jeep Renegade, with which the 500X shares a platform.

Hyundai i20 N

Taking inspiration from the successful i20 World Rally Championship car, Hyundai’s eagerly awaited Ford Fiesta ST rival will arrive with a 1.6-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine that produces 201bhp and 203lb ft. The hot supermini promises one of the best power-to-weight ratios in its class, and will be capable of 0-62mph in 6.7sec and a 143mph top speed. It sits on a retuned and uprated chassis compared with the standard i20, with larger brakes, an optional mechanical limited-slip differential and six-speed manual gearbox fitted with rev-matching technology for smoother downshifts. It will likely aim to undercut the fast Ford on price.

Kia Ceed

Kia’s family hatchback is set to receive new mild-hybrid powertrains and intelligent manual transmissions this year as part of a modest mid-life update. Opting for electronic, rather than mechanical linkages, should help boost efficiency, and interior technology should improve in order to bring the model further from its value roots and closer to mainstream rivals.

Mercedes-AMG GT73 

A combined output of more than 800bhp from its electrified, twin-turbo 4.0-litre V8 will make the GT73 the most powerful four-door GT car yet made. Its exterior and interior will not differ wildly from the GT63 currently on sale, but expect some hybrid-specific design cues to point to its 30-mile-plus electric range. 

Mercedes-Benz EQA

The all-electric EQA is set to be much closer in size and ride height to the GLA crossover than the A-Class hatchback. It will take design inspiration from the EQC SUV, with a similar blanked-off front grille and bespoke lights that help it stand out from Mercedes’ combustion-powered models. It will arrive with a range of around 250 miles, and will be priced from about £35,000.

Nissan Qashqai

Without question the most important car Nissan makes from a business perspective, the second-generation Qashqai will add to the five million examples sold globally to date. Designed, engineered and built in the UK, externally it’s an evolution of the current car to keep loyal buyers happy. But everywhere else it’s new: it’s grown in every dimension to boost interior space, features a new, stiffer and lighter platform and, for the first time, no diesel will be offered. Instead,  there’s a line-up of mild-hybrid petrols and a new 188bhp e-Power full-hybrid option to boost efficiency. 

The new Qashqai even uses composite materials and aluminium in the body to keep weight down further. Overhauled suspension features, too, while a choice of front and four-wheel drive and manual or CVT auto options will be available. Nissan is claiming best-in-class cabin features and technology alongside a more premium look and feel than ever, too.  

Porsche Taycan RWD

The rear-driven, entry-level Taycan has been on sale in China for a while now, but will finally head to Europe in 2021. Ahead of its arrival, Porsche used one to take the EV production car drift record, managing 42.171km (26.203 miles). The Chinese model uses a single electric motor to power the rear axle, with 402bhp when paired with the standard 79.2kWh battery, or 469bhp with the 93.4kWh Performance Battery Plus. 

Skoda Enyaq iV 

Skoda’s first dedicated electric car, the Enyaq iV shares its MEB platform with the Volkswagen ID 3 and will be sold in multiple configurations. Entry-level versions of the compact SUV get a single 177bhp motor and 62kWh battery for a 242-mile range and 0-62mph time of 8.7sec, with more powerful front- and all-wheel-drive variants bridging the gap to the flagship Enyaq vRS, which gets 302bhp from two motors, an 82kWh battery capable of 285 miles of range, and a 0-62mph sprint time of 6.2sec.

Toyota Yaris Cross

The jacked-up Yaris Cross is designed to take on compact crossover rivals including the Ford Puma and Nissan Juke. It will be offered with the same 114bhp 1.5-litre petrol-electric hybrid Atkinson-cycle powertrain as the Yaris supermini and, unusually for the class, will be made available with four-wheel drive. We’ll have to wait until we drive one to see if that’s enough to convince owners of larger, more capable SUVs to downsize.

Volvo EV

While it already has an electric version of the XC40 compact SUV, Volvo is tipped to expand its EV range in 2021 with a larger electric model. It will likely get technology already being used on the Polestar 2, and should help the Swedish company compete with the upcoming BMW iX. A wider electric line-up is a crucial step for the company, which is planning for EVs to account for half of its sales by 2025.

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June

Audi Q4 E-tron

The first Audi to sit atop the VW Group’s MEB platform will be available in conventional SUV and coupé-style Sportback guises, offering up to 311 miles of range in rear-wheel-drive form. A sloping roof Sportback will follow later in July, but looks and lowered suspension aside, both are closely related and are expected to hold true to their radically styled respective concepts.

DS 4

PSA’s upmarket brand is hoping to upset the sales dominance of cars such as the Mercedes A-Class with its all-new DS 4. Offering a more luxury-focused approach, it will give new PSA Group tech its debut, such as advanced level two driver assist tech, night vision and an augmented head-up display. Pitched somewhere between a hatchback and crossover, the model will arrive with a plug-in hybrid powertrain shared with the Peugeot 508, Citroën C5 Aircross and Vauxhall Grandland X.

DS 9

The low-slung saloon is set to arrive as the new flagship model for the French brand, promising to better compete with other premium models such as the Audi A4 and Mercedes C-Class. It will be offered with a range of petrol and plug-in hybrid powertrains, including a four-wheel-drive E-Tense range-topper that mixes a 1.6-litre turbo petrol engine with two electric motors for a combined 355bhp. It will be built exclusively in China, where DS hopes to make the bulk of its sales, and exported worldwide.

Ferrari Portofino M 

The entry-level Ferrari gets the ‘Modificata’ treatment with sportier styling and a power boost, its twin-turbocharged 3.9-litre V8 taken from 592bhp to 612bhp. It also gains a new eight-speed transmission, the first in a Ferrari drop-top, which helps trim the 0-62mph time from 3.5sec to 3.45sec, and improves the 0-124mph sprint by a full second. Drivers also benefit from the full five-position manettino driving mode switch seen on pricier Ferraris.

Hyundai Bayon

The new entry-point to Hyundai’s SUV range will sit below the Kona to better compete with the Ford Puma and Toyota Yaris Cross at the affordable end of the price spectrum. Underpinnings and powertrains are expected to be shared with the i20 supermini, with styling (although not capability) influenced by off-roaders.

Hyundai Ioniq 5

Based on the Giugiaro-inspired ‘45’ concept, the 5 will spearhead Hyundai’s new Ioniq-badged EV family, and be the first model to sit atop the brand’s new E-GMP architecture. It marks a break from the styling of the brand’s combustion-car-based EVs, and is equipped with 800V charging capability for an 80% charge in as little as 18 minutes.

Hyundai Kona N

The Kona N is the latest spoke in the wheel of the Korean company’s still-young performance brand and has its sights fixed on the Ford Puma ST. Although it has not been revealed just yet, we expect the Kona N to share much with the soon-to-be-launched i20 N hot hatch, meaning a 201bhp turbo four-cylinder unit, rev-matching tech and an uprated chassis with an optional limited-slip differential. 

Lotus Esprit

The Evija hypercar is just the start. And, as spectacular as the electric hypercar should be, it’s this follow-up car from the rejuvenated Lotus brand that will be key to the firm’s future. Expect a Ferrari-rivalling V6-powered sports car built on an all-new platform with Evija-esque styling and all the lightweight goodness you’d expect of a Lotus. We understand it’s also likely, although not certain, to use the Esprit name. 

Maserati MC20

The new Maserati MC20 isn’t just a supercar: it’s a mission statement. “You need to have something that pulls up the tempo,” says company boss Davide Grasso. “You need the crown jewel, the shiny object.” There’s no doubt the MC20 is very shiny. In fact, there’s likely already a queue of Instagrammers lining up to take pictures of it. But, significantly, Grasso promises there’s more to it than that: “It can’t be something just to be noticed, because then it becomes crass. This goes back to the roots of the brand, which was born on the circuit to go to the road.”

Effectively, the MC20 is designed to relaunch the Maserati brand, to pitch it back into the rarefied premium Italian air after years of muddled machines that have lacked both cachet and quality. It will be followed by a new SUV, the Grecale, refreshed Granturismo and Grancabrio models and a range of electrified powertrains – including, in 2022, an electric MC20. This year, though, the MC20 arrives with a £187,230 price, a mid-mounted V6 producing 621bhp and 538lb ft, and a top speed exceeding 202mph. If the handling and performance match that potential, it should be an exciting prospect – and much more than a shiny object.

Mercedes-Maybach GLS

Mercedes’ ultra-premium brand turns its attentions to the firm’s largest SUV. The result is the world’s plushest tank, a 2710kg limo that can be optioned with a near-endless list of customisations including a four-seat layout with folding tables and a refrigerator. The sole drivetrain is a mild-hybrid unit, combining a turbocharged 4.0-litre V8 petrol engine with a 48V integrated starter motor to provide an overall output of 550bhp. It should be good for 0-62mph in 4.9sec, and top speed is electronically limited to 155mph.

Mercedes-Maybach S-Class

Merc’s answer to the Bentley Flying Spur gets the choice of a 496bhp V8 or a 603bhp V12 to propel all five and a half metres of it. The styling won’t be to all tastes, but those being chauffeured in the rear won’t mind too much, with the level of pampering on offer there. 

Polestar 2

The new Swedish brand’s first EV is set to gain a more affordable base variant this year, reducing the motor count along with costs to better compete with the Tesla Model 3. Performance should also take a dip, but it is currently unknown whether it will also receive a smaller battery pack, which could mean fewer miles between charges.

Porsche 911 GTS

The sports-suspended GTS is set to return this year to bridge the gap between the standard 911 and the forthcoming GT3-badged variant. The outgoing model had 444bhp, and its replacement should get a small power hike in addition to the 992-generation car’s new eight-speed dual-clutch transmission. Customers should be able to choose from coupé, cabrio and Targa bodystyles.

Porsche Taycan Turismo

Our favourite electric performance car is set to get a more practical estate bodystyle, which has been delayed until 2021 because of robust demand for the saloon version. It will retain the Taycan’s powertrain and battery line-up, meaning 523bhp in entry-level 4S guise from two electric motors across both axles, rising to 671bhp for the Turbo and 751bhp for the Turbo S variants.

Volkswagen ID 4 GTX

This is the big one: can VW build an electric GTI? Because that is essentially what this car is aiming to be. The GTX badge will sit alongside the GTI tag and features a dual-motor, four-wheel-drive set-up producing a combined 302bhp and 339lb ft. It will do 0-62mph in 6.2sec and have a range of 286 miles. If the ID 4 GTX proves electric cars can be fast and engaging, VW could just have a winner on its hands.

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July

Alfa Romeo Giulia GTA

Alfa’s wildest and most powerful road car yet draws 533bhp from a tweaked version of the standard Quadrifoglio’s 2.9-litre V6 – boost power by 30bhp. That’s not all, though: the car is up to 100kg lighter thanks to liberal use of carbonfibre throughout most of the body and in some key mechanical components. It’s more than twice the price of the standard GTA, though, so it deserves to be good. 

Alpina B4

Alpina will likely try to soften the visual impact of the controversial new BMW M4 a little with its take on the fast coupé formula. The B4, like its recently launched B3 sibling, will be the first to use the same basic engine as the M4. Power will be down to 456bhp, but torque rises to a chunky 516lb ft. A comfort-focus chassis tune is the order of the day.

Lotus Evija

The Lotus Evija hasn’t had the smoothest of developments after the pandemic caused the launch to be pushed back. But plans are now back on track and customers should start to take delivery of the 1923bhp electric hypercar in mid-2021. They won’t be disappointed when it arrives. A development video was released this year, showing the car’s five driving modes: Range, City, Tour, Sport and Track. Only Track gives the full 1923bhp, but it’s unlikely anyone will feel short-changed in the other modes. Even Range gives 1000bhp and 590lb ft.

Mercedes-Benz CLS

The pedant-bothering ‘four-door coupé’ is updated with minor design tweaks outside but a more significant interior makeover is likely to bring its technology into line with the latest offered by the Stuttgart brand. The current car has just two engine choices, so expect more to be added and the possibility of a plug-in variant in due course. 

McLaren Artura

The Artura represents a new era for McLaren’s ‘entry-level’ line – and not just because it has an actual name, unlike the 620R and its Sport Series predecessors. More significantly, the Artura is the firm’s first series-production hybrid – or a High-Performance Hybrid, as the Woking firm would have it. It will use a new platform and a new V6-based PHEV system, with all the electrified power set to be sent to the rear axle.

Porsche 911 GT3 Touring

Love the idea of a new 911 GT3 but need something capable of being a bit more under-the-radar? Enter the Touring. Offering a more comfort-oriented, road-focused package, the Touring will still feature the same chassis hardware and high-revving naturally aspirated flat six on which it’s based. A wingless body adds subtlety, too. 

Seat Tarraco PHEV

Seat launched the standard Tarraco in 2018 and first detailed the plug-in hybrid version the following summer. So why is it only arriving in showrooms this year? You can blame Covid-related delays forcing it down the VW Group launch priority list. Anyway, once it finally arrives, the Tarraco PHEV will make use of a 1.4-litre turbo petrol engine mated to a 113bhp electric motor and 13kW lithium ion battery for 242bhp – and an electric-only range of over 31 miles. 

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August

BMW iX3

The Chinese-built iX3 is essentially an electric version of the third-generation X3, so is largely familiar save for its blanked-off grille, aerodynamically optimised wheel designs and blue trim elements. It uses the same fifth-generation EV powertrain as the iX, but swaps the dual-motor set-up for a single unit on the rear axle producing 282bhp, and is powered by a 74kW battery giving up to 285 miles per charge. Premier Edition trim starts at £61,900, but cheaper variants are likely to follow. 

Citroën C3 Aircross

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that a revised C3 Aircross will follow its lower-riding C3 brethren, itself updated earlier this year. Don’t expect dramatic changes, but we will see a tweaked exterior design with standard-fit LED lights on every model, additional equipment in a lightly redesigned cabin and additional personalisation options. 

Nissan Ariya

The Ariya was effectively branded as a ‘Leaf SUV’ prior to its unveiling, but it’s turned out to be much more than that. The bold, high-riding fully electric model is unlike any Nissan we’ve seen yet, and promises both new standards of technology and “exciting” handling. Up to 389bhp and a 310-mile range? It certainly sounds promising. 

Renault Arkana

The Arkana was revealed rather quietly at the 2018 Moscow motor show, with no official plans to bring it to Western Europe. Clearly, Renault’s new management thought the SUV coupé had greater potential, so it’s now decided to bring the model into further European markets, including the UK. Sitting alongside the Kadjar and Captur, the Arkana will offer a range of mild-hybrid turbo petrol engines and a full-hybrid E-Tech model. 

Seat Arona

Such is the fast pace of the new car market these days that the relatively new Arona somehow seems in need of an update. Thankfully, it’s mid-life revamp time, and we can expect the Ford Puma rival to benefit from an external nip and tuck, a revamped cabin and improvements to the car’s array of tech. No big changes under the bonnet are anticipated. 

Seat Ibiza

It’s only natural that Seat will update the strongly related Ibiza at the same time as the Arona. It’s still one of the best superminis on the market, we reckon, and its continuing popularity means it’s unlikely the Spanish firm will go back to the drawing board. Expect a mild refresh inside and out, and better connectivity.

Toyota Mirai

You might have been lucky (or perhaps unlucky) to come across the controversially styled Mirai in its first generation, but the hydrogen-powered model didn’t exactly fly out of showrooms. That’s why Toyota has gone in a totally different direction with the new car’s design – as well as updating the powertrain, drafting in a more appealing rear-driven platform and, Autocar understands, dropping the price. It’s a pity the UK’s hydrogen refuelling infrastructure is as limited as ever. 

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September

Vauxhall Grandland 

Luton’s SUV flagship will follow its Mokka and Crossland stablemates in gaining the dramatic new ‘Vizor’ front end. It’s intended to inject a bit of visual flair into the model, as part of Vauxhall’s plan to be much bolder with its styling. Don’t expect too many other mechanical or powertrain changes, though, given a plug-in hybrid was introduced only recently. 

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October

BMW iX 

One of the most hotly discussed cars of 2020 was BMW’s somewhat belated answer to the Audi E-tron and Mercedes-Benz EQC. The controversially styled iX has been touted by BMW as a “technology flagship” and, as such, represents a radical departure from the i3, which has led the brand’s electrification drive since 2013. 

The five-seat, four-wheel-drive SUV packs up to 500bhp, will cover 0-62mph in less than five seconds and is claimed to offer a range of more than 373 miles. While comparable in size to today’s X5, it’s said to feature an interior that feels as spacious as an X7’s, courtesy of its flat floor, lack of centre console and predominantly touchscreen-based control panel.  Specifications of any variants beyond the officially detailed range-topper have yet to be confirmed, but each axle can support between 121bhp and 402bhp, hinting at the potential for the line-up to expand at both ends, taking in a lower-powered entry-level iX and more potent performance-oriented versions.

BMW X3 

BMW’s big-selling mid-sized SUV has avoided the styling controversies of some of its newer siblings, but a planned facelift will see to that as the larger grille of other recent BMWs will now feature on the X3, too. Less controversial will be the interior updates to the infotainment system. The M version will be revised at the same time. 

BMW X4

The X4 has gone from being the only real model in its class to having several new rivals in the shape of the Mercedes-Benz GLC and the new Audi Q5 Sportback. Changes to the X3 will be applied to the X4 at the same time, meaning that front end and those interior changes. Like the X3 M, the X4 M will also be facelifted, too. 

Citroëen e-Berlingo, Vauxhall Combo-e, Peugeot Rifter EV 

The PSA Group’s plan to spin EVs and combustion-engined models off the same platform is bearing fruit, and attention has now turned to to fleet-focused van-based MPVs. The Citroën e-Berlingo, Vauxhall Combo-e and Peugeot Rifter EV models will use a 50kWh battery mated to a 134bhp electric motor, promising decent performance and a respectable 200-mile range. 

Jeep Compass 4xe PHEV

The petrol-electric Compass will share its powertrain with the plug-in Renegade, promising greater off-road capability as well as zero-emissions driving. A 1.3-litre turbocharged petrol engine powers the front wheels and twin electric motors the rears. CO2 emissions will be sub-50g/km and the electric range around 25 miles. 

Peugeot 308

Peugeot has enjoyed a few years of strong success with its 3008 and 5008 SUVs, but the 308 still remains a core car vital to its fortunes in Europe and wider markets. The current generation is now overdue a replacement, and that new car’s reveal will take place during the first quarter of 2021. It won’t arrive in showrooms until the autumn, however. We’re expecting a substantial generational leap for the new 308, which is hotly tipped to lay the groundwork for a new design era at the brand. Expect new technology to be introduced, too, although the car’s platform will be an updated version of the current model’s. However, that platform will enable the first plug-in 308. A front-wheel-drive ‘mainstream’ variant will be offered, but significantly Peugeot’s new PSE arm is developing a 300bhp-plus four-wheel-drive PHEV version to rival the latest crop of 4WD hot hatches. 

Porsche Macan

Porsche’s entry-level SUV is to be substantially upgraded before a next-generation electric-only version comes in 2022. This petrol-only and hybrid-powered Macan will stay on sale alongside that car, though, and for the foreseeable future at that, much like Fiat is doing with its new 500. Expect both dynamic and visual changes to this Macan.

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November

Alfa Romeo Giulia 

Comprehensive mid-life update will bring the Giulia into line with the BMW 3 Series and Mercedes C-Class. 

Alfa Romeo Tonale

While its German rivals have been flooding the market with SUVs in recent years, Alfa Romeo only has one. That changes this year with the Tonale, which will rival the likes of the BMW X1. It might be smaller than the existing Stelvio, but expectations for the Tonale are bigger: it’s hoped to quickly become the brand’s biggest-selling model. If it can mix Italian style with new tech – including a PHEV version – it should stand out against its rivals.

Audi RS3

The Mercedes-AMG A45 won’t be lonely at the top of the four-wheel-drive mega-hatch tree for much longer. Audi’s storming RS3 returns for its third generation towards the end of the year, and fans will be delighted to hear it’s set to keep the warbling 2.5-litre five-cylinder turbocharged motor that graces the RS Q3. Power will be boosted to at least 394bhp, if not more, and the 0-62mph time will fall below the four-second mark. Expect to see typically aggressive styling outside and an RS interior makeover. If a hatchback isn’t to your liking, there will also be a saloon variant. 

BMW 4 Series Gran Coupé 

With the controversial nose still in place but this time with an additional pair of rear doors to boost practicality, the 4 Series Gran Coupé will be launched at the tail end of 2021. Excitingly, the Gran Coupé will be also available as the full-fat M4 for the first time. The popularity of the Gran Coupé in the US and China has driven this decision: 50% of 4 Series global sales are the four-door. So thanks to those two superpowers, it’s good news for the Brits as well.

Chevrolet Corvette C8 

It’s a Corvette but not as we know it. For starters, the ’Vette has undergone its most dramatic evolution in 66 years and is now mid-engined. Secondly, it’s officially heading to the UK as a right-hooker. Don’t panic, though: the 6.2-litre V8 remains, delivering 0-62mph in under three seconds. UK cars will start at £81,700 and get manually adjustable suspension, electronic limited-slip differential and performance exhaust as standard. The 911 has a new rival.

Cupra el-Born 

With an ‘E-boost’ mode, unique chassis set-up and sports suspension only, it’s clear that Cupra is pitching the el-Born at the sportier end of the electric hatchback market. The first all-electric Cupra will also be the first performance-oriented model based on the VW Group’s MEB electric platform. 

Originally destined to be a Seat – even the concept was branded Seat – the car has since shifted brands and will in fact appear as a Cupra only.

Details remain scarce ahead of the launch at the end of 2021, but we do know it will run a 77kWh battery pack (82kWh gross) that sends power through a rear-mounted electric motor of undisclosed output. 

The 0-62mph time remains a closely guarded secret, but a 0-31mph time of 2.9sec has been quoted. For reference, the concept el-Born promised a 0-62mph time of 7.5sec from a 201bhp motor. That’s on the money with rivals like the VW ID 3.

Kia sports EV 

The first bespoke electric Kia model is as yet unnamed, but the crossover hatchback will be based on the company’s new E-GMP platform – meaning a potential range of more than 310 miles and high-speed 800V charging, allowing an 80% charge in as little as 18 minutes from a 350kW rapid-charger. That sort of charging capacity is currently offered on only the Porsche Taycan, so it shows how seriously Kia is taking electric cars. 

Maserati Levante hybrid

Maserati is updating its SUV late this year, dropping a plug-in hybrid version into it in a bid to help it keep pace with rivals like the Porsche Cayenne and Jaguar F-Pace ahead of an all-new car arriving in 2023. 

Mercedes-Benz EQB

Sibling to the EQA, the EQB  will in turn be more GLB than B-Class. Promising similarly optimised aero tweaks as the EQC, the EQB is rumoured to feature a 60kWh battery and should manage a claimed range of 310 miles. It forms one part of a large electrification push from Mercedes, which has plans for 10 EQ models in total.

Mercedes-Benz EQS 

The expansion of the Mercedes range will swell the total number of models beyond 50, boosted further by the likes of the new EQS, its range-topping electric car. Think of the S-Class as an EV and you’re well on the way to working out the crux of EQS.

A range of 435 miles is being targeted alongside performance to rival the Porsche Taycan. Mercedes boss Ola Källenius has also said the EQS will “set the benchmark” in terms of luxury, comfort and safety.

But the growth of Mercedes’ range has now seemingly peaked. Last March, Mercedes R&D chief Markus Schäfer told us that after the roll-out of its range of dedicated electric vehicles, “we are definitely reviewing our current line-up. The idea is to streamline – taking car variants out, but also platforms, powertrains and components.”

Porsche 911 Carrera T 

As with the last 911 T, Porsche will be hoping it can sprinkle a little fairy dust across its 911 range by linking this car to other stripped-back 911s. This ‘back-to-basics’ 911 gets lightweight window glass and door pull straps (very much like the hallowed GT cars), alongside lower suspension and optional rear-wheel steering. 

Rolls-Royce Ghost Black Badge

Just like the other models in the range, the latest Rolls saloon is in line for a menacing Black Badge edition, featuring plenty of… you’ve guessed it… black detailing to dull down any chromework on the car. A lack of brightwork should help it to stand out from other Ghosts, while additional power will also give the car a point of differentiation from its more (comparatively) run-of-the-mill siblings. 

Skoda Kodiaq

Although the flagship vRS Kodiaq was recently withdrawn from sale due to emissions regulations, engineering tweaks as part of next year’s facelift will mean that it’ll return in 2021. Other changes in the update include new interior tech to keep the seven-seat SUV up to date with the latest software, as well as mild styling changes.

Tesla Model S Plaid

Tesla has given the Model S what it really needed: more power. The addition of a third motor creates this Plaid version. It gets 1100bhp, a 200mph top speed, and sub-2.0sec 0-60mph time. If you don’t black out from that sort of acceleration, the car will also manage a claimed 520 miles between charges. Prices are set to start at £130,980, so warp factor doesn’t come cheap.

Toyota GR86

We’ve not seen it yet, but we know the new GT86 – now called GR86 – is coming this year and will be sold in the UK, unlike its new-generation Subaru BRZ cousin. Its predecessor quickly became an Autocar affordable driver’s car favourite, but the new model will court some controversy by donning turbocharging, with a new 2.4-litre flat-four engine putting out 252bhp. It’s understood to be based on Toyota’s TNGA platform, and should feature a significantly updated cabin.

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December

Alfa Romeo Stelvio

Similar revisions to the Giulia’s will give fresh life to Alfa’s SUV, likely bringing mild-hybrid tech and infotainment upgrades.

Bentley Blower 

Bentley is embracing a bold, all-electric future – but the Crewe firm is still in touch with its past. Witness the ‘new’ Blower Continuation, a piece-by-piece recreation of the machines raced pre-war by the likes of Tim Birkin. To make the 12 new models – all now sold at £1.5 million-plus – Bentley’s Mulliner division took apart one of the four surviving Blowers to study, scan and recreate every part. It’s an audacious, inspiring project: British engineering at its finest.

BMW 2 Series Coupé 

Bucking the trend for platform sharing, BMW has opted to make next year’s 2 Series Coupé rear-wheel drive, as opposed to the Gran Coupe’s front-drive layout. The good news is that this paves the way for a second-gen M2 hot version. In the meantime, engines will likely be the usual smattering of three- and four-cylinder petrols, with maybe even a diesel. One last bit of news surrounds the latest spy shots we’ve seen: it looks like the 4 Series grille has been dropped for this particular coupé.

BMW i4

Munich goes after the Tesla Model 3 with a 373-mile electric performance saloon. Based on the Gran Coupé that’s also due next year, the i4 runs an 80kWh battery under the floor powering a 523bhp electric motor that produces more oomph than the M4. It should see off 0-62mph in less than four seconds. As a final fact, movie buffs will appreciate that Hans Zimmer has had a hand in the car’s acoustics.

Hyundai Ioniq 6 

Expected to make its debut towards the end of the year, the Ioniq 6 will become the flagship model for Hyundai’s all-new Ioniq electric sub-brand. The EV saloon will be heavily based on the swooping Prophecy concept first seen in March 2020, and will ride on the firm’s new Electric Global Modular Platform, which has been designed around a long wheelbase and flat floor for maximum interior space. The cabin will be modelled on a “smart living room”, with various possible seating configurations.

E-GMP-based cars will be rear-wheel drive as standard, with an optional second motor on the front axle for adaptable four-wheel drive. A high-performance Ioniq 6 will likely use dual motors to deliver a top speed of around 162mph, and a 0-62mph sprint time of less than 3.5sec. Range will vary between models, with the most capable variants expected to manage more than 310 miles between charges. High-speed 800V charging capability at up to 350kW will be standard, and models will be backwards-compatible with existing 400V charging stations.

The Ioniq range will sit separately from existing electric Hyundai models such as the Kona Electric, and is due to kick off with the Ioniq 5 in the coming months. The compact crossover will take its design cues from the radical 45 Concept seen at the 2019 Frankfurt motor show, with a wedge-like shape, low bonnet line and heavily sloping rear being a dramatic departure from the current Hyundai range. A larger Ioniq 7 SUV is expected to follow from 2024. Each Ioniq model will have a distinctive and different design, although all will feature the innovative ‘pixel’ headlights seen on the 45 and Prophecy concepts.

Ineos Grenadier

Fresh off the back of securing a factory off Mercedes-Benz and signing a hydrogen deal with Hyundai, Ineos is gearing up towards launching the Grenadier at the tail end of 2021. Designed to fill the gap left by the old Land Rover Defender, the Grenadier brings modern running gear (BMW petrol and diesel engines, along with a ZF eight-speed auto) with rugged 4×4 looks.  

Jaguar XJ

Are you there, XJ? There’s still no sign, despite Jaguar starting a ‘teaser’ campaign leading up to its launch. Some reports suggest it’s on ice. If it does arrive, the all-electric luxury saloon will have vastly altered styling from the most recent XJ and be both wider and taller. The car will hopefully be built at the Castle Bromwich factory, alongside a host of other electric vehicles. But the continuing silence is becoming deafening. 

Jeep Wrangler 4xe PHEV

America’s answer to the Defender gains a 370bhp plug-in hybrid option, with power coming from a 2.0-litre, turbo four and a 400V, 17kWh battery. The 470lb ft of torque is a handy 59% increase over the most powerful existing Jeep and the set-up is claimed to improve on- and off-road capability. The latter is crucial for Jeep, because heritage is so important to the brand.

Kia Sportage

It’s Kia’s best-selling model here in the UK, but that doesn’t mean the brand will be playing it safe for the fifth-generation car, due towards the end of the year. A radical design overhaul is promised, along with multiple electrified powertrains, although it’s still unclear whether a plug-in hybrid model is on the way. A diesel is still likely to be offered, though.

Range Rover

So much is up in the air at Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) at the moment around future product plans. Under new CEO Thierry Bolloreé, a leaner showroom of JLR models is set to emerge, and the rapid expansion of all different shapes and sizes of SUVs in particular will end as the company instead focuses on its core – and highly profitable – models. 

One of those will be the Range Rover, which will retain its role as the flagship of the Land Rover range. An all-new model arrives this year as the first model built on JLR’s new MLA architecture, which will ultimately underpin anything bigger than a Range Rover Evoque.

A huge investment, MLA can house petrol, diesel, hybrid and full-electric variants, all of which will emerge on the fifth-gen Range Rover’s watch. Up first will be petrol and diesels in both mild-hybrid and plug-in hybrid forms. An all-electric version isn’t due for some time yet, although it is understood to be a priority for Bolloré ahead of any stand-alone electric Range Rover that had previously been planned. 

Don’t expect any great departure in the styling, more a refined look honed under design boss Gerry McGovern before his recent promotion to a group design role. An ever-more luxurious interior is a given, too, as are more potent and plusher versions from JLR’s Special Vehicle Operations using a BMW-sourced V8.

Mercedes-AMG S63e

Affalterbach’s take on the S-Class will pack a hybridised twin-turbo 4.0-litre V8 good for around 700bhp – and that’s in standard form: a new S73e variant will take output over 800bhp. The lower-powered version mates a 134bhp electric motor to the V8, while the S73e gains a more powerful 201bhp electric boost. Anyone waiting for the S65 will be disappointed because Mercedes has announced that the 2019 S65 Final Edition was just that.

Mercedes-Benz SL

The SL is back – but not as you know it. It will switch to being more of a sports car, deriving its underpinnings from the GT and sharing that car’s aluminium-intensive platform, known as the Modular Sports Architecture (MSA), which has been developed by AMG. This brings a useful economy of scale to these top-end models. Another significant change is around the roof, which will switch back to fabric instead of the current metal top.

MG electric hatch

The as yet unnamed supermini could be one of the most affordable EVs to hit the market in the coming years.

MG E-Motion

MG fans have been crying out for a revival of the brand’s sports cars from its 1960s heyday and 2021 could be the year to provide it in the form of a two-door, four-seat flagship. The as yet unnamed model is based around the MG E-Motion concept that was shown at the Shanghai motor show in 2017, but recently leaked patent drawings show the styling has moved on considerably since then. Technical details are scarce, but we do know that it uses parent company SAIC’s twin-motor, four-wheel-drive powertrain. A sub-4.0sec 0-62mph time is likely. 

Nissan X-Trail

A new version of the large SUV will take styling cues from the latest Juke and Qashqai, and also gains a much-improved interior featuring a large touchscreen set-up. Nissan will likely add electrified engine options to its Skoda Kodiaq rival, as it seeks to sell one million electrified vehicles a year by 2022.

Porsche Taycan GTS

Porsche’s first EV is all set to gain greater driver appeal with a performance-biased GTS variant. Likely to arrive as a rear-wheel-drive version (a standard, non-GTS version of which is already on sale in China and has recently set a world drift record), the Taycan GTS will follow the tried and tested formula of previous models by gaining additional standard equipment and engineering tweaks to deliver a more focused driving experience.

Skoda Fabia

Skoda has brought the launch of its new Fabia forward by a year, and rightly so given the current car’s platform was first used in 2008. This time it’ll share the latest VW Group MQB A0 underpinnings with the latest Polo, with an overhauled interior with more space and technology expected. It won’t be electrified initially to keep it in line with its affordable roots, but we won’t see any diesels, either. 

Vauxhall Astra 

Newly integrated PSA Group brand Vauxhall will benefit from its parent company’s scale by sharing development of the new Astra with the 308. While both cars are expected to share underpinnings and engines, Vauxhall promises a substantial design differentiation for its hatch inside and out, similar to that already seen on the upcoming Mokka. Plug-in hybrids will feature and there may even be a return for the VXR badge.

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