From superminis to hybrid supercars, 2014 is set to be a real treat for car-lovers, as the industry continues its fight against recession, eco-fears, and Generation Y’s apparent disillusionment with the automobile.
There’s a wealth of stunning new metal on the way this year, and CAR has prepared previews of the top 20 hottest vehicles coming your way in the next 12 months. Follow the links below to check out each of our ‘Most Wanted of 2014’ reports, featuring first drives, development insight and technical specs of all of the cars we can’t wait to get behind the wheel of in 2014.
• Alfa Romeo Giulia – The 3-series and C-class are about to meet a sexy new Italian rival, with rear-drive and show-stopping looks assured by Alfa’s top brass
• Audi A4 – Can the four-ringed favourite finally challenge its rear-drive competitors for driver enjoyment? The spec of the all-new 2014 model is the most promising yet
• Audi Sport Quattro – Three years after Audi first teased us with a reborn Quattro, the idea is back, with plans to fill the gap between the RS5 coupe and R8 supercar
• Audi TT – Lighter than ever, and boasting a delightfully minimalist cabin, the new TT is aiming to be as desirable as ever – and to finally drive like a class-leading sports coupe
• BMW i8 – Welcome to the 21st Century’s supercar – BMW style. M3 pace, 114mpg, and sci-fi-spec styling is offered by the all-wheel drive Ultimate Driving Machine
• BMW M3/M4 – The return of an icon, now split into M3 saloon and M4 coupe variants. Turbos are in, weight is down, and the debate between saloon and coupe grows louder
• Ferrari 458 Speciale – The world’s best supercar gets lighter, louder, more powerful and more aerodynamic. Is this Ferrari’s crowning achievement?
• Honda Civic Type R – Honda promises that this circa-300bhp front-driver will be the fastest hot hatch ever to lap the Nurburgring. It’s also the first turbocharged Type R
• Jaguar C-X17 SUV – Aluminium underpinnings, gorgeous Ian Callum-penned looks: it’s the stuff of Land Rover nightmares, and it’s coming very soon
• Jaguar F-type Coupe – One of the world’s prettiest cars gets a lighter, stiffer, faster coupe sister – and it’s fabulous to drive. Could Jaguar be about to overhaul the mighty Porsche 911?
• Lamborghini Huracan – Son of Gallardo, but it’s not gone soft. 601bhp of V10 fury, a dual-clutch paddleshift gearbox, all-wheel drive and Aventador-inspired styling inside and out make for one hell of a ‘baby Lambo’
• Land Rover ‘new Freelander’ – Entry-level model pushes upmarket, gets a new Discovery family name, and a luxurious Range Rover-inspired cockpit
• Maserati Levante – Yes, it’s based on Jeep underpinnings, but once Maserati has finished honing its super-SUV, even the mighty Porsche Cayenne will be looking nervously over its shoulder
• Mazda MX-5 – How do you evolve the world’s best-selling sports car? More power, less weight, improved fuel economy, and an Alfa Romeo-badged sister car that heralds a new Spider
• McLaren P1 – The last time McLaren built a no-holds barred supercar, it gave the world the F1. Though the 903bhp hybrid P1 isn’t quite as fast flat out, it monsters the old-timer everywhere else. It’s a new dawn in the realm of the performance car – and we’ve already ridden shotgun
• Mercedes C-class – Tongues were set wagging at the 2014 Detroit motor show by the new C-class’s stunning cabin, which Mercedes reckons has taken a ‘two-generation step’ up. If the lighter, more fuel-efficient C-class drives as smartly as it looks, we’re set for a new benchmark in the compact exec class
• Mercedes GT AMG – RIP SLS. Mercedes’ next flagship isn’t a bona fide gullwing supercar like the SLS, but instead a wieldier, lighter, but just as potent 2+2-seater sports coupe. The £85k super-coupe market just became even more interesting
• Mini Cooper – The bulbous styling is divisive, but you’ll love what’s under the skin. Adaptive suspension, rorty downsized engines and a cabin that at last trades Play School ergonomics for quality befitting the British-built Mini’s premium price. Plus, the oily hardware will underpin a new range of front-wheel drive BMWs – no pressure then, Mini…
• Porsche Macan – If Porsche has worked the same magic it did with the Cayenne on this smaller, Audi Q5-based SUV, 2014 will be the year Stuttgart once again rewrites the rulebook on how to set up a brilliant-driving 4x4
• VW Golf R – Will the hottest Golf once again be outshone by its cheaper GTI sibling? The new £30k R stands the best chance yet of mounting a comeback. A 296bhp turbo four-pot from the Audi S3, all-wheel drive and the ability to switch off all of the safety nannies could see to that
>> Which cars are you most excited for in 2014? Tell us your suggestions in the comments below