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New in 2018: Sportscar purple patch to continue

Hot seller: Despite not officially arriving until January, Ferrari’s new 812 Superfast is sold out for years to come.

Massive choice of affordable and expensive performance cars arriving in 2018

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Outlook logo29 Jan 2018

LAST year proved to be a bumper year for new sportscar launches, with a diverse crop of new vehicles hitting the market ranging from the Mazda MX-5 RF all the way up to the $788,914 544kW Lamborghini Aventador S.

The trend is set to continue in 2018, with plenty of new pulse-raising models set to land in Australian showrooms over the next 12 months.

Punters on limited budgets will be able to choose from a range of new sporty offerings, with the likes of Mazda, Hyundai, Renault and Volkswagen all bringing spicy new vehicles to market.

For buyers with significantly bigger bank balances, keep an eye out for new, fire-breathing releases from the likes of Ferrari, Aston Martin, McLaren and Porsche.

Sportscars

OF ALL the new sportscars arriving Down Under in 2018, one of the most hotly anticipated will be Ferrari’s aptly-named 812 Superfast, the F12 Berlinetta replacement that packs a 588kW 6.5-litre normally aspirated V12, making it the most powerful production car currently available in Australia.

Arriving in January, the 812 will be joined by other offerings from the Prancing Horse including the turbo V8-powered GTC4Lusso T in the first quarter, and the California-replacing Portofino in the third quarter.

British supercar manufacturer McLaren will bring its most powerful road-legal vehicle yet to market in the second half of 2018, with the 720S-based Senna – named after legendary Formula One driver Ayrton Senna – expected to be offered in strictly limited numbers.

Taking the fight to the 812 Superfast, the Senna features a 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 pumping out 588kW/800Nm, as well as a number of eye-catching visual enhancements.

Compatriot Aston Martin will have a busy 2018, with the release of the drop-top DB11 Volante in the second quarter, as well as the special Vanquish S Ultimate in the first quarter, followed by an all-new Vantage in July which uses a 375kW version of Mercedes-AMG’s twin-turbo 4.0-litre V8.

Other British offerings include the 423kW supercharged 5.0-litre V8 Jaguar XJR575 upper-large sedan arriving in March, and the all-new third-generation Bentley Continental GT around mid-year, replacing the second-generation model that went on sale in 2011.

Maserati will bring an updated version of its ageing GranTurismo and GranCabrio pair to Australia in February, with mildly tweaked styling and a slight bump in power from its sonorous 4.7-litre V8.

No sportscar list would be complete without a significant contribution from Germany, and 2018 is no different with performance specialists Porsche leading the charge.

In the first quarter, Porsche will launch the Panamera Sport Turismo wagon that joins the existing liftback sedan, as well as the GTS versions of the 718 Boxster and Cayman pair.

In the second quarter, the 911 range will be bolstered by the addition of the stripped-out Carrera T, as well as the ballistic 515kW GT2 RS, which upon arrival will stand as the fastest and most powerful road-legal 911 to date.

Audi will welcome a pair of new Audi Sport models in 2018, including the RS4 Avant wagon which eschews the previous 4.2-litre natural-breathing V8 in favour of a torquier 2.9-litre twin-turbo V6.

A rear-wheel-drive R8 V10 dubbed RWS and limited to just 999 examples worldwide is also expected. Both Audi models will arrive around March or April.

Not to be outdone, BMW’s M division is also busy in 2018 with the release of the all-new M5 arriving early in the second quarter, while the savage M3 CS will join its existing M4 sibling early in the third quarter.

The hybrid i8 sportscar will be joined by a roadster variant also in the third quarter, with an 11kW power boost that pushes the total output to 275kW. There is a chance the new reborn 8 Series coupe could also make it Down Under by the end of the year, but it could push out to 2018.

Towards the end of the year, Mercedes will roll out the AMG 53 nameplate to the new-generation CLS and the E-Class Coupe and Cabriolet. It uses a 3.0-litre inline six-cylinder engine combined with a starter motor and alternator and can produce 320kW/520Nm, while the EQ Boost starter/alternator can momentarily offer up to 16kW of power and 250NM of torque, while powering the 48-volt on-board electrical system.

Fans of revenant French brand Alpine will rejoice at its Australian return in the second half of the year with the release of the A110 performance coupe, which uses the same 1.8-litre mill from the Megane RS, tuned for 185kW/320Nm and driven through the rear wheels.

Hyundai’s Veloster hatchback/coupe will be replaced in the second half by the second-generation version that was revealed at this month’s Detroit motor show.

Sadly, the spicy 202kW/353Nm N version will not be offered in Australia as it is being built in left-hand-drive configuration only.

Lexus will launch 10th anniversary editions of the RC F coupe and GS F sedan to commemorate 10 years of the luxury manufacturer’s F performance division.

After its release last year, the Mazda MX-5 RF will get a Limited Edition version which is due to arrive locally in February.

Ford’s popular Mustang sportscar is due for its first facelift since its arrival at the start of 2016, with revised styling, a 10-speed automatic transmission and a new Drag Strip launch control mode.

On the local front, HSV will continue on after the death of the locally manufactured Commodore, by importing and converting versions of the Chevrolet Camaro.

Due here in July, the HSV version of the Camaro will not undergo any performance upgrades over the American model, however exact performance figures and outputs are yet to be confirmed.

What’s coming

Aston Martin Vantage – July
Aston Martin Vanquish S Ultimate – Q1
Aston Martin DB11 Volante – Q2
Audi RS4 Avant – March/April
Audi R8 RWS – March/April
Bentley Continental GT – Q2
BMW i8 Roadster – Q3
BMW M5 – early Q2
BMW M3 CS – early Q3
BMW 8 Series – Q4
Ferrari GTC4 Lusso T – Q1
Ferrari 812 Superfast – Q1
Ferrari Portofino – Q3
Ford Mustang facelift – mid 2018
HSV Chevrolet Camaro – July
Jaguar XJR 575 – March
Lexus RC F/GS F 10th anniversary editions – H2
Maserati MY18 Gran Turismo/Gran Cabrio – February
Mazda MX-5 RF Limited Edition – February
McLaren Senna – H2
Mercedes-AMG 53 CLS, E-Class Coupe and Cabrio – Q4
Porsche Panamera Sport Turismo – Q1
Porsche Boxster/Cayman GTS – Q1
Porsche 911 GT2 RS – Q2
Porsche 911 Carrera T – Q2
Renault Alpine – H2

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