The auto industry has slowed down, but it isn't stopping.
Working in the automotive industry, we have a wealth of things to get excited about, including classic cars, current cars, imminent arrivals, future cars, and possible cars. They're mostly self-explanatory, but possible cars are concepts that manufacturers tease as possibly becoming production vehicles. In contrast, future cars have definite, or close to definite, plans to make it onto the road. These are the cars promised in the future or come with a nudge and a wink from manufactures we are fairly sure will make it to market.
Maserati first presented the Alfieri concept car in 2014 as a rear-wheel-drive coupe and was initially slated for production in 2016. However, it was delayed until 2020, and then the COVID-19 pandemic raised its ugly head. Initially, the Alfieri was to be offered with a choice of three V6 engines and topping out with a 520 horsepower lump driving all four wheels. Since then, Maserati has announced a plug-in hybrid, and an all-electric version will be available further down the line. Due to the pandemic, we can't predict the production model's actual debut time, but we know Maserati will want to make a big splash with it. However, it may now be further delayed as the brand looks to punt its new MC20 supercar.
When Hennessey first showed its plans for the Venom F5, it was in the form of an engineless shell with no interior at the SEMA show in 2017. It stank of vaporware, but Hennessey has been dogged in developing its first scratch-built car. Hennessey claims the first production example is nearly complete and planned its debut for Pebble Beach this year. However, the pandemic has also put paid to those plans. Still, the American company promises the hypercar with a 7.6-liter twin-turbo V8 producing 1,600 horsepower, and 1,300 lb-ft of torque will enter full testing in early 2021.
We already know the Cadillac Lyriq electric SUV is going into production at GM's Spring Hill facility after a $2 billion investment. The Lyriq shows off Cadillac's new design language, and the automaker claims it will have a sporty 50/50 weight distribution due to its 'skateboard' chassis being able to spread the weight of the batteries. However, the luxury SUV isn't expected to launch until late 2022 as a 2023 model. Following that will be the hand-built Celestiq flagship luxury sedan. The sedan was due to debut as a concept before the pandemic struck, so now it's anybody's guess when we'll see the real thing.
We've seen no formal announcement, but word is strong that BMW is already working on the i8 plug-in hybrid's replacement based around the BMW Vision M Next concept. There's no word on the actual name of the hybrid supercar, but as it's going to be more performance-oriented than the outgoing i8 we expect the M division to be heavily involved. Word also has it that it will be a supercar mullet - all business at the front and fun at the back. An electrified front axle working with a mid-mounted turbocharged gas engine is expected to generate a total of 600 hp. It sounds like BMW has learned a lot of lessons from the i8, and this time it should be a direct competitor to Acura's NSX. It's unlikely, but we would dearly love BMW to resurrect the M1 name for the electric supercar.
Cadillac is going on a tear with new vehicles and hasn't forgotten it needs to bring the noise in the performance department. We have high hopes for CT5-V Blackwing, which is due to be revealed in the spring of 2021. As the successor to the Cadillac CTS-V, the new car uses an updated version of the 650 hp supercharged 6.2-liter engine found in the Chevy Camaro ZL1. To go up against the German and Italian rivals such as the BMW M3, Mercedes-AMG C63, and Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio, Cadillac is going to have to produce something with more than brute power under the hood. We can't wait to see how it takes to the track and the back roads.
Ferrari swore it was never going to resort to building an SUV. After all, it would be absolute sacrilege and a blatant cash grab. Enzo Ferrari would roll in his grave then come back from the dead to express his disgust. Ferrari purists would throw up their hands in despair, climb into their helicopters, and find something else to spend their money on. Hence Ferarri refers to the Purosangue as an FUV (Ferrari Utility Vehicle).
Purosangue is Italian for 'thoroughbred,' and it'll be based around the company's scalable front-mid-engined architecture. That means it will take any of Ferrari's V6, V8, or V12 engines, and hybridization. We're expecting a price tag of over $300,000, and for it to fit all the golf clubs a Ferrari enthusiast could want in the back. It'll likely be debuting next year, but don't expect to see it on the road until 2022.
Hyundai has been touting the idea of a mid-engined version of the Veloster for production for a while now. The current model in its line of prototypes is RM19, and at the end of last year, we got to experience driving it on Hyundai's proving grounds in the Mojave desert. The company won't commit to telling us it will make production, though, but we're ever-hopeful. Given Hyundai's newfound commitment to performance through its N division, we'll bet it'll become at least a limited production road vehicle arriving around 2023.
In other parts of the world that aren't the US, the Toyota GR (Gazoo Racing) Yaris is a big deal for such a little car. The little hot hatch won't be coming to the US, but it looks like we might get the upcoming Toyota hot hatch - the Corolla Sport GRMN. Whether that's the name it gets when it reaches the US, or it's called the GR Corolla, or even the Corolla TRD, it should be powered by the same 1.6-liter three-cylinder engine making 268 horsepower and 273 lb-ft of torque. Also, expect an all-wheel-drive system and a manual transmission. The rally-inspired Toyota hatchback is expected to launch sometime towards the end of 2021.
While the Mazda 6 always impresses, it's not a car you would typically expect to be on a list like this. However, big changes are afoot for the mid-size sedan as Mazda makes a move further upmarket. Solid reports are coming in that the next generation will be on sale by the end of 2022 with the longitudinally-mounted inline-six engine up front powering the rear wheels with help from a 48-volt hybrid system. Given Mazda's consistent approach to delivering a sporty chassis and premium level interiors, going rear-wheel-drive will be a direct shot at BMW's 3 Series. However, reports indicate there won't be a big hike over the current generation's price tag.
The new mid-engine Corvette is a stunningly capable car, but we know it's just the start of the range we see right now. The model everyone is waiting to see in action is the Z06 version, likely arriving late in 2021 now as a 2022 model. The four-wheeled thriller will have a flat-plane DOHC 32-valve 5.5-liter V8 engine cranking out 600 hp as it revs out between an expected 8,500 and 9,000 rpm. Even without seeing it, we can say with confidence that the Z06 model will corner like a scalded cat on a carpet and howl like a banshee imitating a Ferrari. The term 'race car for the road' has become a cliche, but considering this one will be using the C8.R's racing engine, it could be truer than ever.
What's more hardcore than a Porsche with a GT4 badge? A GT4 RS, of course. The even more track-focused Cayman will either arrive late in 2021 or early in 2022 and feature a 4.0-liter flat-six engine making around 500 hp, possibly more. Porsche needs to really crank things up over the standard GT4 to tempt people into spending the extra cash, so we're expecting it to be a firecracker of a car. We've already spied it on track wearing a massive wing, but considering its track-focus, we're expecting it to be a PDK-only model gunning for laptimes.
California EV startup, Karma Automotive, is planning to launch its second electric vehicle, the GSe-6. The company was born out of the remains of Fisker Automotive, and its first car, the Revero, is based around the Fisker Karma. However, the GSe-6 is based on a new modular platform known as E-Flex. The new electric vehicle will be a sedan with a reported price of $79,900 and have a range of 300 miles. Only a few teaser images have been released at the time of writing, and a full reveal is expected in 2021.
BMW appears to have decided that what the world needs is a giant coupe-style SUV packed with the latest tech and drivetrains. The first X8 is slated for the 2022 model year, and little is known about it. BMW has given us a big clue as to the drivetrain, though. The words "hybrid test vehicle" printed boldly across the back of the prototype. Of course, BMW may have developed a sense of humor and is plotting to fill the engine bay with a hulked up V12, so we will see. Either way, we expect it to be a technological tour de force that will become a true flagship for the German luxury marque.