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New in 2016: Spoiled for sportscar choice

Spider bites: Fiat’s co-operation with Mazda has resulted in the 124 Spider, which will arrive in Australia in the third quarter.

Car-makers respond to Australia’s passionate petrol-head demand


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21 Jan 2016

SPORTS AMID strengthening economic conditions in Australia, sportscar sales are back in vogue and it seems the world’s car-makers are responding to demand with new drop-top and sexy coupe offerings from a number of the key players this year.

Fiat is wasting no time with new Competizione and Turismo versions of its tiny 500-based Abarth coupe among the first sporty offerings to arrive in the first quarter of 2016.

The updated range will bring new power outputs across the board as well as a new entry-level offering. In the third quarter, the company will launch its intriguing Fiat 124 Spider, which shares a majority of its mechanicals with the new Mazda MX-5.

Porsche has a few dog-eared pages in its diary with the freshly turbocharged 911 Carrera turning up in January, its full-fat Turbo and Turbo S siblings joining it in quarter three, and the first four-cylinder versions of the Boxster and Cayman here in quarter two.

British supercar marque McLaren will follow Fiat and Porsche’s early start, introducing its most affordable model – the 570S coupe – in the first quarter. If you are after something from the other end of the McLaren spectrum, the manic 675LT Spider will come along in the third quarter.

Ford has already sold its entire 2016 allocation of its new right-hook factory Mustang, which officially launched this week. In February, Lexus introduces its new GS F sedan and Ferrari gets in its first launch of the year with the all-new 488 GTB.

The prancing horse brand has a steady flow of new arrivals for the year with the strictly limited-edition F12tdf here in March, followed a month later by the convertible Spider version of the 488, while a facelift is expected at some point in the year for its FF four-seater.

Ferrari’s main competitor, Lamborghini, is also looking to garner some attention with two new variants of its Huracan. Both the soft-top Spyder version of the LP610-4 and a new rear-drive LP580-2 will touch down during the second quarter of the year.

Towards the end of the first quarter Mercedes-Benz will lob its facelifted SL large drop-top GT, while the newly named SLC small sportscar is due in June. The year will be rounded out in the final quarter by the arrival of the ultra-luxury S65 AMG Cabriolet. Amid all this activity, the pretty C-Class coupe is also expected in March or April.

Arch-rival BMW will introduce the eagerly anticipated M2 coupe in April, while Audi will launch the Lamborghini Huracan-based R8 mid-engined supercar in the second quarter – the Ingolstadt marque’s sole sports offering for the year.

The busy second quarter continues for the segment with more British entrants in Rolls-Royce’s elegant Dawn drop-head and the new Mini convertible in April (with a JCW version likely to follow later in the year), while the delicious Aston Martin DB11 is also on its way.

Japanese brands round out the year of new high-performance choices with Nissan’ s even more vicious GT-R super-coupe rolling-out in Q3, while Infiniti’s all-new Q60 coupe is due in the final quarter.

WHAT’S COMING Abarth, Abarth Competizione, Abarth Turismo – Q1
Aston Martin DB11 – TBD
Audi R8 – Q2
BMW M2 – April
Ferrari F12tdf – March
Fiat 124 Spider – Q3
Ford Mustang – January
Ferrari 488 GTB – Mid-February
Ferrari 488 Spider – April
Infiniti Q60 – Q4
Lamborghini Huracan LP580-2 – Q2
Lamborghini Huracan LP610-4 Spyder – Q2
Lexus GS F – February
McLaren 570S coupe – Q1
McLaren 675LT Spider – Q3
Mercedes-Benz C-Class Coupe – March/April
Mercedes-AMG S65 Cabriolet – Late-2016
Mercedes-Benz SL – Q1/Q2
Mercedes-Benz SLC – June
Mini Convertible – April
Mini JCW Convertible – Q4
Nissan GT-R update – Q3
Porsche 911 Carrera turbo – January
Porsche 911 Turbo and Turbo S – Q3
Porsche Boxster/Cayman – Q2
Rolls-Royce Dawn – Q2

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