Cars of 2012 A to Z

17 Май 2014 | Author: | Комментарии к записи Cars of 2012 A to Z отключены
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New cars of 2012

Big, small, petrol, electric. There’s plenty of new metal headed your way this year.

PT2M15S 620 349 January 5, 2012

The Italian brand will expand its Giulietta model range in February, adding a self-shifting, twin-clutch transmission to its 1.4-litre petrol model, and introducing a new 2.0-litre diesel model, also matched to an auto gearbox.

The company s new 4C sports car should appear in production form at the Paris motor show in September but won t make it here until 2013.

After a busy 2011 this year is expected to be a lot slower for the British brand. The Toyota-based Cygnet city car still hasn t been confirmed for Australia and Drive believes it s unlikely, which is hardly surprising given it s more Toyota than British supercar.

The controversial Cygnet was initially confirmed but it s understood some are pushing back through fear of damaging the brand with a circa-$60,000 hatchback.

As for the rest of the range the V8, Vantage and Rapide — expect updates to some models that will bring additional value and, possibly, some styling tweaks.

Don t expect any slowdown from the German brand as it continues its fight against BMW and Mercedes-Benz for luxury honours.

The highly-anticipated Q3 will arrive in the first quarter to take on the BMW X1 and Range Rover Evoque. The style-conscious compact SUV will come with a range of petrol and diesel engines and a starting price in the mid-$40,000 range.

Also due to launch in the first three months are the updated A5/S5 range and automatic versions of the TT 1.8 TFSI and diesel-powered 2.0 TDI.

The second quarter of the year will be crucial to Audi s sales success with the volume-selling A4 getting updated. The new model gets a redesigned exterior and interior, more efficient petrol and diesel engines and more technology.

Another potentially crucial model for Audi s sale chart hopes launches is the new A1 Sportback, due before the middle of the year. The five-door version of Audi s smallest car was unveiled at the recent Tokyo motor show.

It will be available with either four or five-seats, and boasts more space in the back seat than the current three-door thanks to a higher roof.

The final arrival for the second quarter will be a completely different story. Just five examples of the R8 GT Spyder will be available for wealthy customers wanting to feel the wind through their hair at super high speed.

The A4 range will expand in the third quarter with the arrival of the A4 Allroad. The Subaru Outback-style crossover will be a new addition to the local Audi range, having previously been an overseas-only proposition.

Another wagon will also hit local showrooms with the third quarter when the A6 Avant will finally join the A6 sedan on sale locally. Having previously been overlooked because it was considered unlikely to attract enough customers against the Q7 SUV, Audi is now confident it can make a success of it locally.

Its specification is likely to match the current sedan range with a choice of petrol and diesel engines.

The third quarter will also herald the arrival of three sporty new models; the S6 sedan, S7 Sportback and S8. All three cars are powered by the same all-new 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 but in two different states of tune.

The S6 and S7 use a 309kW/550Nm version coupled to a seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox. The bigger S8 gets a more powerful 383kw/650Nm output and an eight-speed automatic transmission.

All three cars get sportier design touches including a lower ride height, new bumpers and grilles and 19-inch alloy wheels.

Following the launch of the new Continental GT last year, 2012 will see the introduction of two new variants locally.

The Continental GTC Convertible will arrive in March, just in time to escape the heat of summer. The open-air cruiser packs a 6.0-litre W12 engine that pumps out 423kW and 700Nm mated to a six-speed automatic gearbox.

July will see the introduction of the much-anticipated Continental GT V8. With less power and performance than the 12-cylinder version, the V8 is more about saving fuel for the heavy and seriously thirsty Continental GT.

The new 4.0-litre twin-turbo in the V8 which will also drop the entry price of the GT (currently at $405,719) — is shared with the Audi S6, S7 Sportback and S8 and is good for 373kW and 660Nm.

It ll be a busy year for the German luxury brand, with a range of model facelifts, updates and new models due in 2012.

First to arrive will be the company s biggest seller, the new 3-Series sedan, which arrives in February, featuring a new look and a stretched body for extra space.

The new luxury sedan also brings with it a change in thinking for BMW with the higher performance variants, with the 328i (replacing the 325i) ditching its six-cylinder engine in favour of a more efficient four-cylinder turbo. The new engine produces 180kW and 350Nm and uses a claimed 6.3L/100km.

The entry-level 320d has increased in price to $60,900 and now gets fake leather in lieu of the stuff that comes from cows, although BMW says there are many more features than make it better value, including an eight-speed automatic and Bluetooth with audio streaming. The turbocharged 2.0-litre diesel is also a miserly machine, using a class-leading 4.5L/100km but still delivering a healthy 135kW/380Nm.

BMW isn t saying goodbye to six-cylinders just yet, though; the 335i will continue with a turbocharged 3.0-litre six-cylinder as the flagship (at least until the arrival of the all new M3), delivering 225kW/400Nm.

Arriving alongside the 3-Series sedan in February is the manic new M5 sedan. The high-performance saloon packs a new 4.4-litre twin-turbocharged V8 producing 412kW/680Nm and is available only with a seven-speed dual-clutch auto. The big sedan covers the 0-100km/h sprint in just 4.4 seconds, and is expected to be priced at about $240,000.

Mid-year, BMW will introduce its first hybrid to its lineup in the shape of the 5-Series ActiveHybrid. The sedan is powered by a 3.0-litre turbocharged six-cylinder combined with an electric motor to deliver a combined power output of 250kW/450Nm.

It s fitted with an eight-speed auto standard, and has a claimed consumption of 6.4L/100km. The 5-Series ActiveHybrid may not be one for golfers, though, with the boot-mounted battery bank cutting the cargo capacity from 520 litres to 375 litres.

BMW will join the four-door coupe segment in 2012 with the new 6-Series Gran Coupe. It will compete against the likes of similarly swoopy German rivals such as Mercedes-Benz s CLS and Audi s A7, when it arrives in the third quarter of 2012, sitting alongside BMW s two-door 6-Series coupe and convertible models with an expected starting price of at least $175,000.

The 6-Series Gran Coupe will be available in three trim levels: the 640i, which is powered by a six-cylinder turbo engine producing 235kW/450Nm; the 650i, with a 330kW/650Nm twin-turbo V8; and the 640d, which gets a six-cylinder twin-turbo diesel producing 230kW/630Nm, however it is not yet confirmed for Australia.

The 6-Series two-door coupe and convertible will receive a halo M model, the M6, late in 2012. It s expected to be powered by a 4.4-litre twin turbocharged V8 pumping out 412kW/680Nm.

Other changes to the BMW range in 2012 include facelifts for the slopey-roofed X6 SUV due on sale in the third quarter, while the awkward looking X1 will also receive a facial update late in the year.

BMW s alternative-powered i-Series range will be previewed throughout the year, however there will be no product movement in Australia in 2012.

The slow-starting Chinese brand is looking to consolidate for at least the first part of 2012 according to the brand s importers, Ateco Automotive. Don t expect any new models, but both the J1 city car and J11 SUV may receive much-needed automatic variants during the year.

Also likely some time during the year is stability control, which would finally green-light the brand for sale in Victoria; the lack of the crash avoidance system that is credited with significantly reducing crash rates has so far seen Chery banned from Victoria. It s likely to arrive first on the Corolla-sized J3 before working its way on to the even smaller J1 and J11 SUV.

It will be another quiet year for the struggling American brand, but fortunately the one new model on its arrival schedule is the most important. The new 300C range is set to arrive locally in June and should provide a much-needed boost to the brand.

The 300C range will feature the company s new Pentastar V6 petrol engine and the V6 turbo diesel used in the Jeep Grand Cherokee.

Chrysler Australia has vowed to be aggressive on pricing and specification to give the car its best chance in the flagging large car market.

But while those two are likely to make up the majority of sales, the headline grabber will be the new SRT8. Powered by a 6.4-litre Hemi V8 the range-topping 300C will have its sights set on snatching sales from HSV and FPV.

Local specifications haven t been announced but in America the Hemi pumps out 350kW and 637Nm to comfortably put ahead of the local competition; at least in the grunt stakes. But it s not all about power with Brembo brakes and forged alloy wheels to help it get around corners.

Citroen has a busy year lined up as it continues to roll out a new DS line of more upmarket offerings.

The DS4 hatch, a more luxurious version of the C4 with a longer equipment list, is scheduled to arrive in February. The local line-up will include three models: a 115kW, 1.6-litre petrol automatic version, an 82kW 1.6-litre turbo diesel auto and a range-topping 170kW 1.6-litre petrol model matched to a six-speed manual.

The DS4 will be joined by the larger DS5 crossover in June. Conventional diesel and petrol versions will be available to start with, although a hybrid diesel version could arrive before the end of the year.

Also on the agenda for Citroen is the C4 Air Cross, which should arrive in September. The compact SUV, which is based on Mitsubishi s ASX, is likely to be available in front-wheel-drive and all-wheel-drive variants. Mitsubishi sells the ASX from $25,990 for 2WD models, but expect a premium for the Euro badge.

There will also be new engines for the Picasso people-mover and the C5. The Picasso will get a new diesel variant with 20 per cent more power than the current engine, while the turbocharged 1.6-litre petrol engine in the DS4 will provide the power for a new cheaper C5 variant starting at $35,990.

It looks like Dodge is lining up for another lean year with no new models locked in. The only good news is the moderately successful Dodge Journey received an update in December 2011, getting a new interior and the 3.6-litre Pentastar V6.

The radical four-seat, four-wheel-drive FF arrives in January, priced from a cool $625,000 plus on-road costs. Powered by a 6.3-litre, 486kW V12, the FF is designed to offer fans of the Prancing Horse a more practical alternative to the brand s hard-edged sports cars.

Ferrari describes it as a decisive break with the past , and says the combination of more space, added practicality and four-wheel-drive traction will appeal to buyers who want to use their Ferrari every day.

The FF will be followed in June by the Spider version of the stunning 458 Italia. The Spider is more performance-focused than the grand tourer California, and will come with a price tag of about $600,000.

At about the same time the California is expected to get an engine and transmission upgrade that will bring it in line with the 458. The California currently has a 4.3-litre V8 putting out 338kW, while the 458 has a 4.5-litre V8 putting out 425kW.

Production of the 599 finished a couple of months ago so there could be a new model unveiled at the Geneva motor show early next year. It would be unlikely to reach our shores before the end of next year, though.

Fiat s diminutive 500 will get an engine update in the first quarter of the year. The new TwinAir engines are just 875cc and have only two cylinder, but put out a respectable 63kW and 145Nm. They also use less fuel than the Toyota Prius hybrid, sipping just 3.6 litres per 100km.

Fiat claims performance is on par with the 1.4-litre engines they replace, but with 30 per cent better fuel consumption. The engines will be matched to self-shifting gearboxes and will be available on both the hatch and 500C cabriolet.

In other news, the Abarth 500C is now available with a self-shifting gearbox.

The struggling locally-produced Falcon large car will get another shot in the arm in the form of the its first four-cylinder Falcon in the nameplate s 50-year-plus history.

To be known as the Falcon EcoBoost, the long-running 4.0-litre six-cylinder engine makes way for a 2.0-litre turbocharged four-pot powerplant that looks the part on paper, producing about 177kW of power and a decent 320Nm of torque.

We’re yet to see the figures for the Falcon’s version of the engine, but by all accounts, it drives pretty well and is claimed to save fuel along the way. As for prices, expect them to be about the same as those for the six-cylinder.

Meanwhile, the Ford Kuga soft-roader — a replacement for the aging Escape that wins the gong as Ford Australia’s slowest selling passenger car — arrives in March.

The car maker has already spilled the beans on the two-model line-up that will include Bluetooth, voice control for various functions, an eight-speaker audio system, cruise control and keyless start.

The higher-spec model will get dual-zone climate control, a sunroof, and standard reversing sensors — important in a class of vehicles where rearward visibility is an issue.

As for the tiny, Indian-built Figo city car? Ford Australia says it has no current plans to introduce the price-leading cheapie during 2012.

Ford s other upcoming Indian-made model the Fiesta-based Ecosport compact SUV will be unveiled this month, but it s not scheduled to arrive until 2013.

The on-again, off-again importation of Chinese brand Foton appears to be on again, with a possibility the range of utes known as Tunland could be in dealerships in 2012.

The previous would-be importer stepped away from the brand because it says the Chinese head office would not supply vehicles at a competitive price.

However, a new Queensland-based company is working to secure a dealer network with the aim of bringing in a range of utes to compete with the likes of Chinese rival Great Wall Motors.

A fresh-faced FPV range makes its debut alongside the restyled Falcon FG Mark II early next year, but otherwise Ford’s go-fast division is keeping its plans under wraps.

The update introduces styling tweaks to bring the brand more in line with the Mondeo-esque kinetic signature that’s creeping across the entire Ford brand. Apart from the cosmetic changes on the outside, expect a touch-screen control panel, and on upmarket models, a green route calculator for the satellite navigation system.

Turning back the clock may give a few small clues as to what to expect on the limited-edition front this year — 2012 marks the 45th anniversary of the XR Falcon GT, so an anniversary showpiece could be in the works.

Already on sale in Western Australia, Chinese brand Geely was due to roll out across the Eastern seaboard late in 2011, but the brand s importer, the John Hughes Group, says that Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane are not likely to see Geely cars on their roads until late in 2012.

Other Geely news includes the cancellation of the tiny Panda city car, which was due on sale in Australia in 2011, but the plans have been abandoned by Geely head office.

In its place, Geely will bring the EC7 a Camry-sized sedan which recently received a four-star EuroNCAP crash rating and the CE, a Corolla-sized sedan and hatch that replaces the MK which is currently on sale in WA. Both of those cars are due in the third quarter of 2012.

Australia s highest-selling Chinese brand Great Wall Motors will further expand its range in 2012, with a range of new engines and transmissions scheduled for the first part of the year.

The V-Series ute will be offered with a diesel four-wheel-drive powertrain in the first quarter, followed by the X-Series SUV, which will get a diesel manual variant in the first quarter and an automatic oil-burner in the second.

Great Wall will also bring a new small car either the Yaris-sized C10 city hatch or the Corolla-sized C30 sedan/hatch which will be offered with both manual and CVT transmissions late in the year.

The major focus over for Holden over the next 12 months will be building a buzz around its plug-in hybrid hatchback, the Volt, which is due to arrive in the last three months of the year.

The Volt is expected to cost around $60,000 and is fitted with an electric motor capable of travelling 60 to 80 kilometres, while a petrol engine generates additional charge to extend the Volt s range up to around 500km.

In February Holden will also roll out a new dedicated LPG system for its Commodore, which has been repackaged to remove intrusion on the family car s cavernous boot space.

A sedan version of the Barina light car will slip into the range shortly afterwards, featuring the same simple one-model, two-transmission choice as the hatchback already on the market.

The Thai-built Colorado ute was initially expected early in the year but flooding in Thailand (where it is produced) has delayed the launch until towards the middle of the year. Holden is hoping to be able to offer the full range of single and dual cabs, plus petrol and diesel options, at its launch.

The Colorado 7 — seven-seat SUV to be spun off the same ute platform could sneak in before the end of the year but will otherwise arrive early in 2013.

After a relatively quiet 2011, this year is a big one for Honda.

It starts in March, with an all-new Civic sedan arriving, powered by traditional petrol engines as well as an updated hybrid drivetrain. The ninth generation of the small car will include software that will help drivers save fuel, much like the car maker already does in its Insight hybrid hatchback.

Later in the year will mark the arrival of a new hatchback version of the Civic. The car maker will be hoping this generation of the British-built car will have a stronger market presence than its predecessor.

Interestingly, the version of the car that will go on sale in Europe is expected to offer diesel and hybrid engines. Nothing yet is confirmed for Australia.

A new version of the CR-V compact soft-roader arrives in the second part of the year, with exact timing dependent on when the recovery from 2011’s devastating Thai floods is completed.

The all-new CR-V features more conservative styling, but with a few carry-over design cues to show that it is still the CR-V. Expect a 2.4-litre petrol version featuring a redesigned all-wheel-drive system, as well as a front-drive version powered by a 2.0-litre petrol engine but without the all-paw underpinnings.

The performance arm of Holden typically plays its cards extremely close to its chest, so no admissions from the maker of a range of Commodore-based V8s on what may or may not be arriving.

But with the brand gearing up to celebrate its 25th anniversary there s little doubt there will be some popping of champagne corks that will involve a range of limited edition models.

No word on whether a new engine will arrive with the special editions, though, although our spies tell us it s unlikely. While the power of the HSV V8 engines hasn t changed much in recent years, those of its main rival, FPV, have with the addition of a supercharged V8.

HSV is also working on a supercharged engine, although best guesses have it arriving in 2013. Still, HSV has been a global leader with the introduction of new technologies (consumer-friendly data logging being the most obvious) so it would be fair to assume there could be something in the wings when it comes to the wow factor.

February marks the start of an important year for the Korean car maker with the arrival of the funky Veloster three-door coupe in February.

It’s a bit like the Mini Clubman, in that it has a rear-opening … door on the driver’s side to give access to the rear seats. It won’t have the fireball under the bonnet to match the looks, as it’s likely to use the already familiar 1.6-litre four-cylinder petrol engine mated to either a six-speed auto or manual gearbox.

About half way through the year we can expect the second-generation i30 small hatchback.

Essentially the Elantra sedan without the boot, the i30 fills an important hole in the Hyundai line-up as one of the biggest sellers for the brand.

It’s not confirmed yet, but 2012 could just herald the introduction of the Veloster wearing a turbocharged 1.6-litre engine. It could add the sparkle under the bonnet to back up the svelte lines of the compact coupe.

Nissan s luxury brand will launch in Australia in the third quarter of 2012. Going up against Lexus, BMW, Audi and Mercedes-Benz, Infiniti will have its work cut out for it as it once again tries to find a foothold in the Australian market.

Infiniti s lineup will be spearheaded by the FX performance crossover , an eye-catching, boldly designed SUV that will be pitted against BMW s X5 and X6, Audi s Q7, and even Porsche s Cayenne.

The all-wheel-drive FX will likely be offered in three trim levels: the FX37, a 3.7-litre petrol V6 with 235kW/360Nm; the FX30d, a 3.0-litre turbo diesel V6 with 175kW and 550Nm; and the top-end FX50 which is powered a 287kW/500Nm V8 petrol and can sprint from standstill to 100km/h in just 5.8 seconds.

Expect long lists of standard equipment, including leather interior trim and some overtly large wheels. The FX range should start close to the $90,000 mark.

Infiniti will also bring the G37 coupe and hard-topped convertible which is based on the stretched underpinnings of Nissan s 370Z. The sporty two-door four-seater features a 3.7-litre V6 producing about 240kW of power and 350Nm of torque which is mated exclusively to a Nissan-sourced seven-speed automatic.

It will likely be priced close alongside bigger-engined versions of Audi s A5 and BMW 3-Series convertibles, with a starting point of more than $100,000 expected.

Infiniti will also offer a luxury sedan to take on Audi s A6, BMW s 5-Series, Lexus s GS, Jaguar s XF and Mercedes-Benz s E-Class.

The M sedan range is likely to be offered with a choice of three engines: the M37, a 3.7-litre V6 petrol model with 235kW/360Nm; the M30d with a 3.0-litre turbo diesel producing 175kW/550Nm; and a high-performance hybrid variant with a 3.5-litre V6 petrol engine and a 50kW electric motor, which produce a combined 268kW and 358Nm.

Long equipment lists are likely to be standard, and the M range should start at just over $100,000.

Isuzu s new D-Max ute will arrive in the second quarter of 2012.

The Japanese brand s new Thai-built ute has undergone a ground-up redesign, with updated styling that gives the D-Max a more muscular stance than the current model.

It s bigger, safer and more powerful the existing model, with the 3.0-litre turbo diesel now producing 130kW of power and 380Nm of torque (up 10kW/20Nm). It ll be available with a five-speed manual or five-speed automatic transmission.

The D-Max will be available in single-, space- and dual-cab body styles, with two- and four-wheel-drive variants expected.

A seven-seat SUV version, similar to Mitsubishi s Triton-based Challenger off-roader, could also appear before the end of the year.

March will see the launch of Jaguar s XKR-S Convertible.

Powered by a 5.0-litre supercharged V8 engine producing 405kW of power and 680Nm of torque, the drop-top version of the XKR-S matches the manic performance of coupe version with a 0-100km/h time of just 4.4 seconds.

Jaguar presumably opted for a soft top rather than a folding metal roof to save weight. The roof opens and closes in 18 seconds, and the overall impact on the car s kerb weight is just 42 kilograms. Jaguar claims that despite losing its roof, the XKR-S is the stiffest car in its class thanks to its lightweight aluminium architecture.

Along with chopping off the roof, Jaguar has made a number of adjustments to the underpinnings. The drop-top XKR-S gets revised front and rear suspension that Jaguar claims means increased agility, precision and control without sacrificing comfort .

It also receives a revised stability control system that allows the enthusiastic driver to safely exploit the exhilarating handling .

Jaguar may also add a wagon body variant to the XF range by late 2012.

Dubbed the Sportbrake, the Jag-wagon is likely to be unveiled at the Geneva motor show in March but is still under consideration for Australia. If it does, a starting price of about $85,000 is likely to compete with Germany’s trio of large luxury wagons, including the Audi A6 Avant, the BMW 5-Series Touring and the Mercedes-Benz E-Class Estate.

The rear cargo area should offer ample luggage space, which means a capacity of about 560 litres to rival the BMW and Audi wagons.

The Sportbrake is likely to be powered by a similar engine line-up to the XF sedan, which includes 3.0-litre V6 petrol and diesel units, a naturally aspirated 5.0-litre V8 and the recently launched 2.2-litre turbo-diesel four-cylinder.

America s four-wheel drive brand will start the year strongly with two important updates and a new model.

January will see the re-introduction of the new Compass. The compact SUV will sit alongside the ageing Patriot and features an all-new design inside and out as well as changes under the skin.

Also scheduled for January is the arrival of the Pentastar V6-powered Wrangler. The rugged off-roader will get the more powerful and more efficient petrol engine.

It ll only sell in small numbers but the Grand Cherokee SRT8 will give the Jeep brand a new hero model when it arrives in March.

It will use the same 347kW/630Nm 6.4-litre Hemi V8 found in the Chrysler 300C SRT8, making it a bahnstormer, at least in a straight line.

Kia has finally added a cheaper variant of its mid-size Optima sedan after having to make do with a single Platinum model since it arrived 12 months ago.

Priced from $30,490, the Optima Si is $6500 cheaper than the Platinum (from $36,990) and is powered by the same 148kW/250Nm 2.4-litre four-cylinder petrol engine mated to a six-speed automatic transmission.

Notable differences include cloth trim (instead of leather) with manual seating adjustment, smaller 17-inch alloys, and the absence of the Platinum s LED daytime-running lights and dual sunroof.

From mid-February Kia will also add two new body variants of its recently launched Rio light car. A three-door hatch and four-door sedan will join the five-door with the choice of three familiar trim levels: S, Si and SLi.

Finally, an updated Sorento mid-size soft-roader will arrive from in the third quarter featuring engine and suspension changes in its quest to take on class leaders such as the Ford Territory and Toyota Kluger.

With its $754,000 Aventador flagship supercar in full swing, the House of the Raging Bull will continue to set tongues wagging with two more editions of its Gallardo entry level supercar.

Priced from $451,800, the rear-wheel-drive Gallardo LP550-2 Spyder Italian speak for convertible arrives in March some $63,000 less than its all-paw sibling, the LP560-4.

Arriving around the same time will be the most extreme Gallardo ever the track-focused LP570-4 Super Trofeo Stradale.

Priced between $580,000 and $590,000 (before on-road costs), the final Gallardo derivative will also be the ageing model s most expensive and exclusive, with only 150 examples built.

The 1340kg Super Trofeo features a race-style aerodynamics package including a huge adjustable carbon-fibre rear spoiler and quick-release removable engine cover and is powered by an unchanged 419kW/540Nm 5.2-litre V10.

With the all-new Range Rover expected to arrive back from weight-loss boot camp some time in 2013, it will be a bit of a lean year for the British off-road brand.

The only excitement will be a mid-life refresh of the Land Rover Freelander 2, due in about November. Expect some visual tweaks to the exterior and some repackaging inside the mid-size off-roader, but nothing significant happening under the bonnet.

The all-new GS is one of the most important new Lexus models and spearheads a model revival that s aimed at helping revive lacklustre sales. The GS350 sedan will arrive in April to take on Germany s trio of large luxury sedans, followed by the GS450h hybrid in June.

Lexus is strongly tipped to offer its first four-cylinder-powered GS model in the second half of the year. With an estimated price of around $80,000, the 2.5-litre GS250 will directly compete with the cheapest four-cylinder variants of the Audi A6, BMW 5-Series, Mercedes-Benz E-class and Jaguar XF.

Toyota s luxury brand has committed to offering more F-Sport variants across its range featuring sportier looks already available with the CT and IS models. These model lines will include the GS and LS sedans as well as the RX mid-size soft-roader.

Following its global debut at the Detroit motor show this month, Lexus will also introduce a facelifted version of the Toyota LandCruiser-based LX570 off-roader in March.

Meanwhile, Lexus will unveil a fresh-faced RX soft-roader at the Geneva show in March, which is likely to arrive here sometime mid-year.

Finally, the next generation of the LS flagship limousine is expected to make its international debut at September s Frankfurt motor show, with Australian deliveries likely from early next year.

Lotus s supercharged Evora S will get a new Serial Precision Shift (SPS) automatic transmission with paddle shifters in the first quarter of the year.

A self-shifting version of the Elise will also arrive next year, while in the third quarter the Exige V6 lands Down Under with a supercharged V6 putting out 257kW and claimed to launch the car from 0-100km/h in 3.5 seconds.

Australia has also put up its hand for the 327kW Evora GTE, and that could conceivably make it here before the end of the year.

The GranCabrio Sport arrives this month. It uses a more powerful and more fuel efficient version of the 4.7-litre V8 in the standard car, with power rising to 331kW and torque to 510Nm. The car s transmission and suspension have also been fettled to improve performance, while exterior styling cues give it a more aggressive appearance.

A new version of the Quattroporte sedan should arrive in Europe towards the end of the year, but won t make it here until 2013.

In addition to single-cab body styles of its BT-50 commercial vehicle this month, Mazda will launch one of the most significant cars of 2012, the CX-5.

Arriving in the first quarter, the all-new compact soft-roader will have a starting price below $30,000 and step in for the CX-7 as Mazda s entry-level SUV.

Combining Mazda s latest SkyActiv fuel-saving technologies, the CX-5 is expected to become the most fuel-efficient model in its segment. On the European cycle, a manual-equipped front-wheel-drive diesel CX-5 uses as little as 4.5L/100km.

The 2.2-litre turbo-diesel engine produces 129kW of power and a V8-like 420Nm of torque from just 2000rpm.

The CX-5 will be available with the choice of petrol or new diesel power as well as a six-speed manual or redesigned six-speed automatic transmission.

Mazda has yet to confirm fuel economy details for the new generation 121kW/210Nm 2.0-litre petrol engine (detuned to 118kW/208Nm in AWD form), which is shared with the Mazda3 SP20 model.

The brand with the three-pointed star will have a busy first half of this year with the arrival of five models.

First out of the gate is the drop-top version of the SLS AMG flagship in Janaury.

The SLS AMG Roadster eschews the Gullwing s unique top-hinged doors for conventional items and a canvas roof and is powered by the same 420kW/650Nm 6.2-litre V8. Despite carrying a 40kg weight penalty, the Roadster matches the Gullwing s claimed 0-100 km/h time of 3.8 seconds.

Priced from $487,500 (plus on-road and dealer costs), the SLS Roadster is $18,680 more expensive than the Gullwing.

More AMG models will follow with the SLK55 AMG roadster (March) and the exclusive C63 AMG Black Series Coupe (from $245,000), which has already sold out before it arrives in April.

Mercedes-Benz s fastest-ever C-Class dashes from 0-100km/h in 4.2 seconds (0.3 seconds faster than the standard C63 Coupe) courtesy of a 380kW/620Nm 6.2-litre V8 up by 44kW and 20Nm.

April will also see the arrival of the all-new B-Class hatch and ML-Class SUV.

Said to be priced from around $40,000, the longer, wider and roomier B-Class will be offered with the choice of petrol and diesel engines. It will also come standard with an anti-collision warning system typically seen in far more expensive vehicles.

The redesigned ML-Class is bigger and more efficient than its predecessor and will come with four-cylinder power for the first time in Australia.

The new ML250 BlueTec is powered by a 150kW/500Nm 2.1-litre turbo-diesel four-cylinder engine that uses just 6.0L/100km (on the European cycle), which makes it as fuel efficient as a Toyota Hybrid Camry.

An ML63 AMG performance variant will arrive featuring the performance arm s latest 386kW/700Nm 5.5-litre twin-turbo V8, which is claimed to be almost 30 per cent more efficient than the current model s naturally aspirated 6.2-litre V8.

At the other end of the economy scale, the production version of the diminutive A-Class will make its global debut at September s Paris motor show before arriving in local showrooms sometime between late this year and early 2013.

The A-Class will be a dramatic departure from the tall, one-box design of its predecessors and feature low, sleek styling and a more upmarket cabin.

Mini will introduce a pair of new models in February. The Mini Coupe and Mini Convertible not to be confused with the Mini Cooper and Mini Cabriolet boast slightly more slippery styling and are aimed more at the style-conscious and/or performance-focused end of the market.

The helmet-head coupe will be priced at $42,990 in Cooper S guise, powered by a 1.6-litre turbo four-cylinder producing 135kW and 260Nm. A more powerful and faster John Cooper Works version is also due to debut, expected to be priced about $50,000.

The Convertible version is due on sale at the same time and while pricing isn t yet confirmed, you should expect it to cost at least $2000 more than the Coupe in both Cooper S and JCW guises.

Mini will also reveal a production version of the high-riding three-door Paceman concept a more compact version of the Countryman SUV. While it will be unveiled in the first half of the year, the new crossover may not make it here in 2012.

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Having updated the majority of its model range late in 2011 the start of the year will be a quiet time for Mitsubishi. But there are two major developments planned for the second half of year.

The discontinued Colt city car will be replaced by an all-new model, reviving the once-popular Mirage nameplate.

Revealed at the 2011 Tokyo motor show the five-door hatch has a strong focus on fuel economy. There will be two engine choices, a 1.0- and a 1.3-litre three-cylinder petrol, both mated to a CVT gearbox to keep fuel consumption low.

Although the company hasn t revealed official figures it has declared it intention to hit 3.3L/100km in the Japanese-spec model. If the local version achieved the same number it would make it the most fuel-efficient petrol-powered car in the company.

There is also the possibility that a petrol-electric hybrid version of the Outlander SUV could be on sale by the end of the year. Mitsubishi Australia hasn t commented officially but there remains a strong chance that the concept known as PX-MiEV II will hit Australian showrooms this year.

Mitsubishi has confirmed there will be another round of updates across its range later in the year as 2013 models come on stream. There will also be a number of limited edition sale models.

The Japanese brand is set have an electrifying year in 2012, with the Leaf electric car arriving around June priced from $51,500.

The plug-in hatchback won the 2011 World Car of the Year award, with the Corolla-sized five-seater offering a range of up to 160km on a single charge. Its purely electric drivetrain produces 80kW of power and 280Nm of torque, and Nissan says it can charge in about eight hours from a standard 240V plug.

Mid-year will also see the arrival of Nissan s new Almera city sedan. It may be offered with a choice of 1.2-litre three-cylinder or 1.5-litre four-cylinder petrol engines as are currently seen in the Micra hatchback on which it s based.

The Almera will compete against four-door versions of Ford s Fiesta, Hyundai s Accent and Kia s Rio. Expect it to start under $20,000.

Nissan will also the Pulsar nameplate in 2012 (it will replace the largely unloved Tiida), with the new small car due to arrive late in the year, available in sedan and hatchback body styles. Pricing and equipment details aren t available as yet, but Nissan Australia says it hopes to offer a performance-tuned Nismo version which may bring back the iconic SSS nameplate as part of the new Pulsar lineup.

The brand s performance car hero, the GT-R, will receive another yearly update around March. This time around, the GT-R will gain more power (again!), with the 3.8-litre twin-turbo V6 now good for 405kW and 632Nm of torque (up from 390kW/612Nm). A few interior updates will also appear, including an upgraded stereo and revised instrument cluster.

The long-overdue replacement for the Patrol 4WD is also due to arrive, however Nissan has put this in the maybe pile for 2012.

Another model expected to arrive late in 2012 is the Pathfinder SUV, which promises to be more car-like than the current Navara-based model as it will revert to a monocoque chassis rather than the more truck-like ladder-frame version.

Holden doesn t have a great track record for premium brands (Hummer, Saab or Cadillac spring to mind) but it s hoping for different fortunes with Opel, which is designed to tackle the might of Volkswagen.

So it s a massive year is in store for the new-to-Australia Opel, the German-based arm of General Motors.

Several of its products have been here before wearing Holden badges Barina, Astra and Vectra, to name a few — so the company will leverage some badge recognition, especially for the well-known and fondly remembered Astra model.

But there s a big challenge ahead in cementing a new brand and convincing customers to pay premium prices for cars that previously sat at the more affordable end of the market.

Opel will hit the market hard early in the second half of the year with a launch that includes hatch and tourer (wagon) variants of the small Astra, three- and five-door versions of the light Corsa (formerly the Barina) and the debut of the mid-size Insignia in sedan and tourer body styles.

The newly-formed local arm is also keen to secure the Astra GTC a turbocharged three-door performance model — as a hero car for its launch, but is yet to lock it in.

The French giant will launch its third SUV in the space of two years in May, with the compact 4008. Like the 4007 (which is actually bigger go figure. ) it s based on a Mitsubishi, in this case the ASX. Fresh styling gives it a Peugeot look, but under the skin it s pure Mitsubishi.

Expected to kick off around or even under $30,000 in a bid to grab a slice of Australia s fastest-growing market segment, the price-leading base model will be a petrol model that drives the front wheels only but it s expected that all-wheel-drive and a choice of petrol or diesel engines plus a high level of specification will be offered elsewhere in the range.

Later in the year Peugeot will reveal the 208 city hatch at the Sydney motor show. The replacement for the tiny 207 is expected to offer fuel-efficient three-cylinder petrol engines plus at least one diesel option, and variants will be priced both below and above $25,000.

Peugeot Australia is still petitioning its head office for the diesel-electric HYbrid4 version of its 3008 soft-roader, for which it put up its hand two years ago and is still waiting in the hope it will arrive in 2012.

It will also roll out upgrades to its Partner and Expert light commercial vans in August including more gear, Euro 5 compliant engines and new transmissions.

It s a big year for Porsche, with the arrival in March of the new generation 911, codenamed 991.

The all-new 911 it s the biggest ever change to the iconic model will initially be offered as the Carrera and Carrera S coupes.

Price rises in the order of 3 to 4 per cent over the soon-to-be-superseded 997 models will be offset by the addition of a fuel-saving stop-start system and other fuel management technology, plus the company’s first seven-speed manual gearbox and increased use of lightweight aluminium panels.

The drop-top version of the 991 911 arrives one month later, in April, but the halo 911 Turbo model won’t arrive for at least another year.

An all-new Boxster convertible will break cover internationally in January and is expected here in the second half of the year. Expect a similarly dramatic change to what occurred with the new 911, although the styling will continue in the same vein.

However, the Cayman — a coupe version of the Boxster is unlikely to be refreshed until 2013 at the earliest.

Porsche also expects to roll out the range-topping GTS version of its four-dour sedan, the Panamera, in April.

The struggling Malaysian car maker will launch two all-new models its first since 2009 — including its first people-mover, and a facelift of its bargain basement light car, the S16.

The Exora seven-seater is due to arrive in the middle of the year with two models that will feature stability control and at least four airbags. It will be aimed at Kia s Rondo7 and priced to undercut the Korean.

Around the same time Proton will wheel out a larger replacement for its Persona small car, which it says will push the unnamed new model into the medium car class. It will arrive in sedan form only, with a hatchback version due in early 2013.

The S16 will be updated early in the year, finally adding a second (front passenger)airbag as well as standard anti-lock brakes and stability control. Pricing is not confirmed but will be more expensive than its current $11,990 sticker, providing more challenges against its rivals, which include the hard-charging Chinese brands such as Chery.

Prior to the Persona s mid-year replacement, the company will launch the Persona Elegance in March. The range-topping model will feature a higher equipment specification including leather seats and a CVT transmission plus some cosmetic changes.

Basking in the glory of an almost totally refreshed model range, Renault plans a quiet year that will be highlighted only by the arrival in the second quarter of an all-electric version of its Fluence small sedan.

Dubbed the Fluence ZE (zero emissions), the elongated sedan has been stretched to fit a battery bank in the boot, and it will be the first electric car to arrive in Australia capable of swapping its battery pack for a fresh one rather than submitting to a lengthy recharging process.

While the Phantom is getting on in life (it s been on sale here since 2004) the smaller, more affordable (relatively speaking, of course) Ghost is still pretty fresh, and the range is set to expand in 2012 with the arrival of the Extended Wheelbase.

Measuring 17cm longer than the already large Ghost it should arrive around March, translating all that length into rear legroom, which stretches to a generous 33cm. Power comes from a 6.6-litre twin turbocharged V12 that ll launch the luxury limousine to 100km/h in just five seconds.

Even with the stretch, though, Rolls-Royce is eager to point out that the Ghost is still a metre shorter than the flagship V12-powered Phantom, a car that sells for upwards of $1 million.

The Czech brand had a relatively busy 2011 with two new models, the Yeti and the Fabia, arriving in local showrooms.

This year it will expand the number of models offered for the new nameplates, with a petrol all-wheel-drive version of the Yeti arriving in the first quarter of the year. The Fabia city runabout will get an automatic version in the second quarter, while a wagon variant and a hot hatch — the vRS will launch in the second quarter.

The Fabia vRS is powered by the same 1.4-litre supercharged and turbocharged engine that powers the Polo GTI. The 132kW engine will be mated to a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic with steering wheel-mounted shift paddles. Skoda says it will sprint from 0-100km/h in a lively 7.3 seconds.

Nothing new for 2012 but expect the all-new ForTwo in 2013, which should kickstart a revival of the city car brand.

The other Korean brand’s major focus will be the relaunch in March of its Actyon dual cab ute featuring three specification levels Tradie, Sports and SPR. No pricing detail is available yet but Ssangyong says it will be competitive in the rejuvenated workhorse ute market that has seen several new and refreshed entrants in the past 12 months.

The Actyon ute will follow the company s dedicated to diesel mantra with no petrol variants offered, but will be available in 4×2 and 4×4 style with a choice of a six-speed manual or Australian-sourced six-speed auto. Other, unspecified model upgrades are likely to be applied elsewhere in the range throughout the year.

It s a big year for Subaru, with the arrival of the all new Impreza, hoped to lift the small car s standing in one of the most competitive and, now, the largest segments in the country.

Set to tackle the sales might of the Mazda3, Toyota Corolla, Holden Cruze and Volkswagen Golf, the new Impreza brings a new body and more upmarket interior as well as fuel saving features including an engine stop-start system. To be powered by a 2.0-litre engine driving all four wheels, the turbocharged WRX and STi models won t arrive until 2013.

Prior to the arrival of the Impreza, though, will be its high-riding cousin, the XV. The Subaru XV uses the body and mechanicals of the Impreza but sits the higher that before and with some tough-looking styling additions to make it an alternative to the bigger compact SUVs such as the Honda CR-V, Toyota RAV4 and Subaru s own Forester.

But the big news for Subaru is the June arrival of the BRZ, the brand s first ground-up sports car (as opposed to regular car made to go fast) in more than a decade.

Jointly developed with Toyota (it will be selling the almost identical 86 coupe) Subaru will initially have the challenging task of explaining that the four-wheel-drive systems it s largely developed its brand on need not apply in this case.

Once over that, though, there s a great value little sports car to be had and all for less than $40,000. The 147kW 2.0-litre engine may look modest on paper but makes for perky performance once mated to the lightweight two-door body.

Another car maker expecting a quiet year, although for Suzuki it starts with a bit of a bang.

Suzuki will launch the Swift Sport early this year — a higher-powered hero version of its small city car. When it arrives in March it will get rid of the low-out 1.4-cylinder engine seen in more civilised Swifts, replacing it with a 100kW 1.6-litre powerplant. A six-speed manual is already confirmed, but Suzuki has already hinted at a self-shifting version, too.

We also had to ask about the Kisashi Turbo, a vehicle mooted as a potential starter for Australia after it was shown in concept form earlier this year. The response? We like your optimism, is the terse reply.

The fledgling electric car maker is settling into life in Australia during 2012 and eagerly awaiting the arrival of its much hyped new luxury car contender, the Model S.

Bigger, better appointed and generally more useful than the Lotus-based Roadster that put Tesla on the map, the Model S won t arrive here until 2013.

But already 60 Australians have put down deposits of at least $6000, with Telsa planning to increase the order list throughout the year. The California-based brand will also look to set up a store, which it says will be in a high traffic area and be more like an Apple store than a traditional car dealership.

The Japanese giant will launch a bevy of new models this year including three hybrids plus the return of a Toyota sports car the rear-wheel-drive 86.

Facelifted versions of the world s best-selling hybrid, the Prius, and RAV4 compact soft-roader will arrive in March, with the latter featuring sharper front-end styling and a more refined cabin. The Prius upgrades will be mainly cosmetic with revised frontal styling and extra standard equipment, but no increase in efficiency, which continues at 3.9L/100km.

Toyota s hybrid offering will be broadened with two new Prius bodystyles the all-new compact Prius C arriving in March and the Prius V wagon from around May.

The Yaris-sized, five-door Prius C (as in City) will become the company s entry-level hybrid model and will target younger buyers. It is expected to use less than 3.0L/100km of fuel from its 1.5-litre petrol-electric drivetrain, which will make it one of the most fuel efficient cars on the market.

The seven-seat Prius V (for Versatility) uses a more compact and more expensive lithium-ion batteries to free up space for the foldaway third-row seats. Like the regular Prius hatch, the Prius V is powered by a 1.8-litre petrol engine and an electric motor to produce a combined 100kW while consuming 5.6L/100km in the US.

Toyota s Australian-built Aurion sedan will also feature a face similar to the forthcoming RAV4 when it comes on stream around the same time. Said to be around 50 kilograms lighter than the current model, the V6-powered Commodore fighter will continue as a mildly restyled version of the Camry but will feature more formal front and rear styling and a more upmarket interior.

While technical details remain few, the updated version of the slow-selling Hybrid Camry will benefit from even more Australian engineering input and a 17 per cent reduction of fuel use over the current model to 5.0L/100km.

Meanwhile, the 86 coupe — its name harks back to the rear-wheel-drive AE86 Corolla of the mid-1980s — goes on sale in around June with an expected circa-$35,000 starting price.

Developed in conjunction with Subaru, the 86 two-door is powered by a Subaru-sourced 147kW/205Nm 2.0-litre naturally aspirated four-cylinder boxer engine.

Finally, the 11th generation Corolla hatch will arrive in October to rival the giant-selling Mazda3 small car. Toyota s volume-selling model is expected to continue to be sourced from Japan, at least initially, before shifting to Thailand.

You could forgive Volkswagen for having a quiet year on the launch front in 2012, after a frantic couple of years in which nearly every model in its range has been updated and many others added.

But the German brand isn t resting on its laurels. The new model activity kicks off in January with dealerships receiving stock of the sporty Scirocco two-door. Some cars arrived late last year, but this month will be the first full month on sale for the turbocharged sports coupe.

The car, which is powered by the same 188kW engine as the Golf R, was launched overseas in 2008 but local management originally baulked at importing it for fear of cannibalising sales of the Golf R three-door. With the three-door Golf now gone, the Scirocco has been deemed suitable for local consumption.

Prices start at $47,490 for the six-speed manual and $49,990 for the six-speed dual-clutch auto.

At the other end of the scale, the company s workhorse one-tonne ute, the Amarok, will get an eight-speed automatic transmission by the middle of the year. The new transmission is a traditional torque-converter auto rather than the dual-clutch self-shifter favoured on other vehicles in the VW range.

It will only be available on 4WD models and will bring with it a higher torque output and greater towing ability. Expect a $2500 premium over the manual version.

Also expected to arrive in mid- year is an updated version of the Volkswagen Passat CC. The new model will be simply called the Volkswagen CC and will be offered with a five-seat option, an admission that the four-seat layout of the previous model wasn t to everyone s tastes. Expect the 2.0-litre diesel and 3.6-litre V6 engine options to continue.

Another Passat derivative, the Alltrack, should also arrive before mid-year. Designed to rival the Subaru Outback, the Alltrack gets a higher ride height and the option of all-wheel-drive on some models. The line-up should include two diesel engines putting out 103kW and 125kW and two petrol ones, the 118TSI and the 155TSI from the Golf GTI.

Expect a premium over the Passat wagon.

The most significant new model for Volkswagen will arrive at the end of the year in the form of the diminutive Up city car. The car will be VW s cheapest model, with a circa-$15,000 price tag that will see it slot it beneath the Polo.

The car will initially be available as a three-door, powered by a tiny 1.0-litre, three-cylinder petrol engine that will put out either 44kW or 55kW. No word yet on whether a five-door version of the Up will be offered here.

But that s not the end of the new model launches for VW. A new, sportier Beetle will squeak in before the end of the year. Engine choices are likely to mirror those available on the Golf, potentially kicking off with a fuel-sipping 77kW, 1.2-litre engine turbocharged petrol unit and including 90kW, 118kW and 147kW petrol variants, as well as a 103kW diesel.

Dual-clutch autos will probably be the only choice of transmission. In Europe, the Beetle is priced below the equivalent Golf model, but whether that translates to Australia remains to be seen.

It s a quiet year for Volvo following the arrival of new models and model variants in 2011. While the new Golf-rivalling five-door hatch tipped to be called V40 will be unveiled internationally earlier in the year, it won t arrive here until next year.

Expect the usual range of annual updates (model year 13) about October.

Yet another Chinese brand will be rolled out in Australia from April 2012. The light commercial vehicle brand will compete directly against Great Wall Motors, selling a range of utilities at attractive-to-tradies prices.

The ZX utes which may or may not go by their Chinese name, Grand Tiger will initially be available in petrol manual only, with a choice of single and dual-cab body styles as well as 4×2 and 4×4 drivetrains.

A number of the Grand Tigers are already in Australia undergoing assessment from automotive engineering group Prodrive, which is expected to give input on the suspension, steering and load carrying.

The brand s importer, WA-based John Hughes Group, says there will be 50 dealerships servicing the ZX Auto brand by mid-2012, with a number scattered around the major centres on the Eastern seaboard.

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