Why 2013 will be a great year for cars

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2013 is already here, and the future so far is looking great. There are a number of great things coming from the automotive world, and many of them are going to provide an interesting change to the soundscape of the roads. I thought I might share a few of these with you, and why they will be important too.

Porsche 918 Spyder
This car has been fascinating as its development has been rather open to the public, especially by supercar standards. Its first public appearance was in 2010, showing off just a conceptual body shell at the Geneva Motor Show. This car is most significant because it features a hybrid drivetrain, including two 120ish HP electric motors in parallel with the 500+ HP 4.6L V8. This car is an engineering and design marvel, and a spiritual succession to the Carrera GT. Production is slated to start in September, with first deliveries expected in December of this year (though they will be called a 2014 model).
Here’s Chris Harris having a ride and lovely chat with the design team, well worth the watch.

McLaren P1
This beauty was revealed just last year, in concept form, though is expected to be nearing production already. The P1 not only looks striking (and that wing!) but also will make ties between both the F1 supercar of the late 90’s, but also the formula one racecar. Not only is the P1 rumored to have the nearly-600 HP 3.9L twin turbo V8 on-board, but it is also rumored to have a KERS system similar to modern F1 racecars. The combined power output should land somewhere in the 900+ HP range.
The video below is a test mule and likely does not have the final drivetrain, but it looks cool and makes a sound, so hey.

Ferrari F70
This is the least-known-about car on the list, as it has not yet been publicly rumored yet. What is known is that this car will be a successor to the Enzo, the racer-for-the-road. It will likely feature a 6.3L V12 and will also likely have a KERS function similar to the P1. At the time of writing, all that Ferrari has released on the topic is a pair of teaser photos, which have been stitched together below for your enjoyment. All of this coming hot on the heels of the brand new F12 Berlinetta, which is taking the GT coupe world by storm.
Ferrari F70 teaser photos

So there you have it, 3 major “halo” supercars all coming out, all from major manufacturers. Two of them featuring technology straight from F1, straight from the teams that race them. One of them featuring hybrid technology which has already been to LeMans. If ever there was a bright future for the supercar world, this would be it.

But it’s not just supercars that are changing the face of motoring this year. A step down from there will be the high-performance cars that are also going to be a bit less out-of-reach.

C7 Corvette
The long-anticipated next iteration of the Corvette is expected to begin production in the fall, with the first run being called a 2014 model year, hitting showrooms in winter. GM has not officially unveiled anything yet, though an announcement is expected an announcement is expected January 13th. Rumors on powertrain have been all over the map, but it’s expected that there will also be a new iteration of small block V8, which they are (annoyingly) dubbing the LT1. GM has also announced that there will be a C7.R hitting the ALMS-Successor racing series starting on the 2014 calendar.

SRT Viper
This car was officially announced early last year, and has already enjoyed a half season of 2 cars in ALMS, and the famous media car has already been auctioned off meaning the first Viper technically sold in 2012, but customer orders will not be filled until early this spring. Now that SRT is officially a separate brand under the Chrysler umbrella, the Viper has become top pony in the stable. Producing 640HP and 600 lb-ft from its naturally aspirated, massive 8.4L V10, this car will hold the record for the most torque produced by a naturally aspirated engine in a production car. SRT’s CEO and twitter hero Ralph Gilles has done a phenomenal job of generating excitement around this car, both through conventional media and via returning to racing. Look forward to seeing these on streets near you.

Jaguar F-Type
Sticking very close to the C-X16 concept car on which this is based, the new 2-seater from Jag uses either a supercharged 3.0L V6 or supercharged 5.0L V8. If you forced me to tell you my favorite sounding 8, this 5.0L might well be it. This is also the car that I am the most excited about, as Jag have stepped away from trying to compete head-on with other brands (ie making “3 or 5 series competitors”) and decided to go back to what they do best – beautiful 2-seaters. While the car was first unveiled at the 2012 Paris motor show, we can expect to see the first ones on the road mid-summer.

Alfa Romeo 4C
Finally. Finally the glory of Alfa is returning to the USA. The 4C is a very small sports coupe (think S2000 or Exige size) featuring a 230 HP turbo 1.8L in the rear-mid position. The concept car was revealed in 2011 at the Geneva motor show. Production will begin as early as May. And wow, is it ever beautiful. The only question I have, is where will you be able to buy one from in the USA? Chances are likely that Alfa will use its parent Chrysler’s dealership network to get sales out. Hopefully we look forward to the Giulia and other great Alfas in the near future, too.

Mercedes SLC
Not a lot about this car is known quite yet, but what we do know is the SLC will be a smaller version of the SLS AMG. Rumored to feature an all-new 4.0L twin turbo V8, it is expected to be a direct competitor to the Porsche 911 Turbo, both in terms of cost and performance. Expect much more detailed news by summer, and for production to start by the end of the year, though I suppose it’s likely they won’t be on the streets until late 2014.

And how about some four door excitement?

Mercedes CLA
A smaller version of the current C-class lineup, the CLA is intended to compete with the BMW 1-series and the Audi A3 line (which was just updated and began selling last September). The CLA will be officially announced at the Detroit Auto Show, which opens January 14th. Leaked photos (heavily stylized, so “leaked” is debatable) depict an AMG version. Sales in Europe are expected to start this summer, with the US slightly behind.
Mercedes CLA concept

BMW 2 Series and 4 Series
BMW is having a bit of a naming restructure (as is Infiniti) this year, but finally it’s becoming more similar. Each odd-number series is a sedan, with an upgrade in size and quality at each increment, while the even-number up from a given series is the coupe-and-convertible version. So, the 1 series will continue to be 4 doors while the new 2 series will be coupes. The 3 series will be sedans and the 4 series will be coupes. The 5 series will be sedans and the 6 series will be coupes. Or will it. Expect official announcements very soon at the Detroit Motor Show, January 14th. Expect sales to start in late 2013, but the M2 and M4 are likely to not appear for another year after that.

BMW M6 Gran Coupe
Breaking what seems to be the new naming conventions, the M6 Grand Coupe is by far the oddest car of the year. It has the same drivetrain (4.4L twin-turbo V8), same dimensions, and same layout as the M5. What’s different? The body work and gold-painted brake calipers. And, it has 4 doors. Meaning this is a 4-door version of a 2-door series of the 4-door car. I don’t understand it either, but BMW says it will take the fight to the Mercedes CLS and Audi A7. That all being said, it definitely is a great looking coupe. Expect to see these on the street mid-summer.

Chevrolet SS
Ever since the death of Pontiac, the Holden Commodore knockoff (ie G8) has been away from US shores. But with Chevrolet announcing the SS for the 2013 Nascar calendar, it was only a matter of time before the SS would also be available in the US. Citing a 2014 model year, sales should begin in late fall this year. Rumors suggest it will feature the new LT1 engine that the C7 Corvette is likely to have, too. I have a lot of love for the Commodore so I’m excited to see them back on US soil again. The below video is from the official Nascar SS launch, but does include some “sneak previews” of the street car around the 10:40 mark.

And those are just the cars that are new! A number of models are getting significant updates across many manufacturers. 2013 is going to be a fantastic year for car lovers (and car media). The Detroit motor show is just around the corner, where we can expect quite a bit more information on nearly all of the above models. I know I am excited and I hope you are too!

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