This is the best of the current forbidden fruit.
The world is big and round and full of all kinds of cars we don't see here in the US. Many countries and continents have their own smaller brands, and the global automakers often have models specific to different markets. There are many reasons some of the better vehicles don't make it to the US. Mainly it's a case of having to meet different safety criteria regulations then whether or not the car would actually sell enough units to justify exporting or setting up production elsewhere.
Before we get into this list, let's pour one out for Holden. The Australian brand's Commodore Sportwagon model would have been featured if Holden hadn't had its plug pulled by General Motors recently. The Commodore in any form isn't making it into a 2020 model year but plenty of other cars we won't see here are. These are the cream of the crop.
If you live in Europe and want a lighter sports car in the vein of the Porsche Cayman or Audi TT, the Renault Alpine A110 is just the ticket. It has a modest 1.8-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine but weighs just 2,425 lbs to match up against 252 hp and 236 lb-ft of torque. That little equation adds up to a 0-60 mph time close to the four-second mark. What sells it in Europe is the attention to detail in the A110's engineering and the precise and agile driving experience. It has been around a few years now, but we're still not going to have it in 2020 here in the US.
This gloriously styled wagon is shifting onto Subaru's global platform for its second generation in 2020, but it still eludes the US market. The Levorg shares its platform with the Subaru Impreza, WRX, and Legacy, and its name is an acronym of LEgacy, reVOlution, and touRinG. Subaru has just debuted the STI Sport version for 2020 as well, just to add insult to injury here in the US.
The Levorg has also been racing in the British Touring Car Championships with a rear-wheel-drive configuration rather than its standard four-wheel-drive setup. The engines for the race cars are prepared by Mountune, who we're more familiar with in the US for its Ford hot hatch performance parts.
Honda recently announced some updates for its little Japanese Domestic Market only mid-engined and rear-wheel-drive S660. However, none of those announcements involved the US, despite the preceeding rumors of an engine upgrade from 660 cc to 1.0 liter so the S660 micro-supercar could come to America. While it would undoubtedly gain a cult following over here because a tiny mid-engined sports car is cool, it just wouldn't sell in enough numbers to justify it for Honda.
We would join that little cult in a heartbeat, though. The S660 weighs just 1,830 lbs, has the engine behind the driver, a manual transmission, and redlines at 7,700 rpm. Granted, the 660 cc engine only makes a Kei-car limited 63 hp in Japan, but that's not the point.
Audi will happily sell you an RS 3 sedan in the US, but if you like a German hot hatch, then you're out of luck. It packs the same 400 hp turbocharged inline five-cylinder engine as the sedan, but in a more practical five-door body style. It has all the fire and fury of the competition's more boisterous hot hatch's power and handling, but with a more understated sense of style.
Honda's super-cute little electric car is due to go on sale in Europe during the summer of 2020 with a 35.5-kWh battery capable of taking the vehicle 137 miles on one charge. The little town car was originally planned to come to North America, but Honda feared low demand would result in disastrous sales. Unfortunately, that was probably the right move as America doesn't tend to warm to tiny cars, and the electric market isn't exactly growing at an electrifying pace.
The mid-engined and incredibly agile Lotus Exige was sold in the US until it couldn't pass new crash test safety laws. It's still available in Europe, though, and still powered by a supercharged 3.5 liter Toyota V6 in all its forms. The most powerful variant is the Lotus Exige Cup 430 that makes a little over 430 hp and exactly 352 ft-lb of torque with help from an Edelbrock supercharger. The power is put down through a 6-speed Toyota EA60 transmission, but can still hit 60 mph in 3.2 seconds on its way to a top speed of 180 mph.
It has been called the Japanese Rolls-Royce, but the Toyota Century really is a whole different flavor of extreme luxury car. Toyota hasn't seemed interested in bringing it to the US, even under the Lexus badge. That does make sense as other luxury cars that don't have European badges haven't fared well here, like the Genesis G70 or the Kia K900. Saying that, those don't compare to a Rolls-Royce like the Century does. The Century features a handmade and serene interior made of the finest fabrics available, a whisper-quiet and cloud-like ride, and the Yen equivalent of a $180,000 price tag.
The same fate befell the more wallet-friendly Lotus Elise as the Exige with crash testing forcing its exit from the US market. The most hardcore production model is the Cup 260, whose mid-mounted engine is a supercharged version of the 1.8-liter Toyota 2ZR-FE inline-four making 253 hp and 195 lb-ft of torque. The Lotus Evora is on sale in the US and starts at around $96,000 which would be somewhere between the two models on this list.
If you want the best of British hair-on-fire style sports cars, the TVR Griffith is due in 2020. Unfortunately, 2019 deliveries were delayed on the Gordon Murray Design engineered car due to regulations preventing the company from performing necessary upgrades to its factory in Wales. TVR is working on getting things ironed out, though, and people are excited to get their hands on the low-production volume car weighing just 2,756 lbs and powered by a 500-hp Ford 5.0-liter Cosworth-tuned V8. The chances of the new Griffith making it across the pond are minuscule, but we're just happy the fire-breathing monster exists.
Top Gear described the Peugeot 308 GTi as a "surprisingly wild hot hatch." The surprise comes because it has been brought up to spec by Peugeot Sport, and the 1.6-liter engine has real bite with 268 hp and 243 lb-ft of torque being put through a Torsen limited-slip differential. It also has a wide track and refined suspension to help generate grip and better handling.
Peugeot's parent company, PSA Group, is merging with FCA, but that doesn't mean we'll be getting any of the PSA brand's cars over here. Even if we did, hot hatches just aren't as popular here as they are in Europe.
In Europe, the Renault Sport Megane is hot hatch royalty. It sits on Renault-Nissan's Common Module Family platform, meaning it's distantly related to the Rogue and Rogue Sport crossover. However, the Renault Sport Megane models have much more sophisticated suspensions as well as a rear-wheel-steering system. They also use a turbocharged 1.8-liter engine shared with the Alpina, but, in the RS 280, it makes 275 hp and 288 lb-ft of torque. It also comes with a six-speed manual transmission as standard, with a six-speed dual-clutch automatic offered as an option. There's also a 300-hp RS Trophy version available in Europe, but we won't be seeing any on American roads.