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New in 2019: Sportscar buyers spoilt for choice

Bevy of new sportscar choices to continue for Australian buyers in 2019

29 Jan 2019

DESPITE never topping the list of best-sellers, the Australian new-vehicle market has been spoilt in recent years with a broad selection of brand-new sportscars to inflame the passions of driving enthusiasts.
This trend is set to continue into 2019 with a range of sportscars to land ranging from the affordable Hyundai Veloster all the way up to bank-breaking supercars like the Ferrari 488 Pista Spider and Lamborghini Huracan Evo.
The legendary Supra nameplate is set to return for Toyota, as is the 8 Series moniker for BMW, which rose to prominence in the 1990s with is sleek coupe body style and choice of V8 or V12 engines.
Whatever your budget, there is sure to be a new sportscar coming in 2019 to tickle your fancy.
AS BRIEFLY mentioned, probably the most hotly-anticipated new sportscar release of 2019 – possibly of any type of car – is the Toyota Supra, which is officially reborn for the first time since the fourth-generation version ceased production in 2002.
Officially unveiled at the Detroit motor show and set for an Australian launch in either the third or fourth quarter of this year, the new Supra will land in Australia powered by a BMW-derived 3.0-litre turbo-petrol inline six-cylinder engine outputting 250kW/500Nm, driving the rear wheels via an eight-speed ZF transmission.
Less powerful 2.0-litre turbo-petrol four-cylinder variants have also been revealed, but have not yet been confirmed for Australia.
Sharing the underpinnings of the Supra is BMW’s new-generation Z4 roadster, which is due to touch down locally in March with the same four-and six-cylinder engines as the Supra, headlined by the top-spec M40i variant.
The main difference with the Toyota coupe will be the Z4’s convertible soft top, as well as some major styling differences.
With the removal of the 6 Series coupe from BMW’s line-up, a new, stylish and expensive two-door is ready to take its place in the form of the reborn 8 Series, also landing in March with coupe and convertible body styles.
The $272,900 M850i xDrive coupe and $281,900 drop-top are both powered by a 390kW/750Nm 4.4-litre twin-turbo V8, with power fed to all four wheels.
A range-topping M8 version as well as other less potent, rear-drive offerings are expected to also land at a later date.
Taking on the drop-top M8 will be the third-generation Bentley Continental GT Convertible, set to land in Australia in the second quarter.
The Continental GT Convertible will ask buyers for $462,240 before on-road costs, and carries over a 6.0-litre twin-turbo W12 engine pumping out a considerable 467kW/900Nm.
Arguably the most iconic sportscar nameplate of all time, the Porsche 911, is arriving in all-new form in April, initially launching with the mid-spec Carrera S and Carrera 4S versions that crank out 331kW from its 3.0-litre twin-turbo flat-six donk.
More variants, including Carrera, GTS and Turbo, as well as the convertible and Targa body styles can be expected to join the range in coming months and years.
Completing the Panamera upper-large sedan and wagon range, Porsche will also be releasing the mid-spec GTS variant in the first quarter of the year, bringing variant choice to seven in the sedan and six in the Sport Turismo (aka wagon).
Under the bonnet, the GTS packs a detuned version of the Turbo’s 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 outputting 338kW/620Nm, allowing for a zero to 100km/h sprint time of 4.1 seconds.
The drop-top McLaren 720S Spider is due to touch down in the first half of the year, featuring a one-piece folding hardtop that can be raised or lowered completely in 11 seconds.
Power output is the same as the coupe – 530kW/770Nm from its 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 – and can match its 0-100km/h sprint time of 2.9s.
Speaking of expensive, super-fast convertibles, the Ferrari 488 Pista Spider will launch in the second quarter, following the release of the exclusive Pista coupe which was revealed last February.
Oddly, the 488 Pista outputs the exact same power and torque as the 720S from its 3.9-litre twin-turbo V8, however fans looking to get their hands on one are already too late – local 488 Pista Spider orderbooks filled up before the car was even revealed.
The Prancing Horse brand will also be releasing its stylish and old-school Monza SP1 and SP2 pair in the fourth quarter of the year, as one- or two-seater open-air roadsters that evoke the look of mid-century racecars.
Based on the 812 Superfast, the Monza twins both employ the same free-breathing 6.5-litre V12 engine as the 812, which at 603kW/719Nm will be the most potent internal-combustion powertrain available in Australia.
Italian supercar fans will have ample choice in 2019 with Lamborghini set to release the Huracan Evo in the third quarter.
Released as part of a range update, the Evo features the same 5.2-litre aspirated V10 as the rest of the range, with power being bumped up to 470kW/600Nm, as well as some new styling touches to keep the Huracan fresh.
The Huracan’s mechanically related sibling, the Audi R8, is due for an update in the fourth quarter, with some mild styling updates, a refreshed interior and uprated engine performance. 
Two states of tune will be available from the 5.2-litre V10, either 419kW/550Nm from the V10 quattro or 456kW/580Nm from the V10 Plus quattro.
In the first quarter, Audi’s A5 Sportback will be made available in hi-po RS5 guise, to match the coupe version that arrived locally in December 2017.
The RS5 Sportback scores the same 2.9-litre twin-turbo V6 as the coupe, producing 331kW/600Nm and driving all four wheels via an eight-speed automatic transmission.
Lastly for the four-ring brand, the TT coupe range will be facelifted around the second quarter, with new styling and upgraded technology inside.
The mid-spec S grade scores a new seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission, and while other markets get a power boost from the 2.0-litre turbo-petrol engine, the changes are unlikely to carry over to Australia due to our hot climate.
Mercedes-AMG’s popular C63 range is due for a refresh in the first quarter, with light styling changes and tweaked suspension to aid dynamics.
All four body styles – sedan, wagon, coupe and cabriolet – receive the changes, however outputs from the 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 remain the same at 375kW/700Nm in the C63 S.
The A35 nameplate will be making its first appearance in a Mercedes-AMG vehicle in the second half of 2019, as the A-Class scores two different AMG-tuned variants for the first time.
Pumping out 225kW/400Nm from its 2.0-litre turbo-petrol four-cylinder engine, the A35 will sit underneath the A45, which is rumoured to produce over 300kW from the same engine.
Following the successful release of the i30 N hatch in 2018, the hot hatch will be released in four-door Fastback sedan guise in the first quarter.
Still packing the same front-drive 202kW/353Nm 2.0-litre turbo-petrol layout as the hatch, the Fastback also gives buyers 69 litres of extra boot space, at 450L.
Hyundai will also release the all-new second-generation Veloster coupe in the second half of the year, with the entry-level engine increasing in size from 1.6 to 2.0 litres.
The more potent Turbo retains the 150kW 1.6-litre turbo-petrol engine, while the N-fettled version is still off the table for Australia.
Volkswagen will release its most potent GTI variant yet – the TCR – in the fourth quarter, as a nod to the TCR racing series that the Golf won on multiple occasions.
The TCR uses the GTI’s 2.0-litre turbo engine tuned to 213kW/370Nm, with power fed though the front wheels with a limited-slip differential on hand to assist.
Despite dropping the regular Fiesta range from its local line-up, Ford will launch the performance-fettled ST version in the second quarter to take on the likes of the Volkswagen Polo GTI, Renault Clio RS and Peugeot 208 GTi.
The ST comes equipped with a 1.5-litre turbocharged three-cylinder petrol engine producing 149kW/290Nm, a 15kW/50Nm lift over the previous generation.
To commemorate 70 years of building sportcars, Jaguar has created a special-edition version of its F-Type coupe called the Chequered Flag limited edition, which will land locally in June.
The Chequered Flag will be made available with either four- or six-cylinder engine variants, and adds some light flourishes inside and out to separate it from the regular F-Type. The rest of the range will also score a model-year update upon the arrival of the Chequered Flag.
And lastly, Aston Martin will launch its first all-electric vehicle, the Rapide E performance sedan, in the fourth quarter, marking the first step in a shift towards electrification for the Gaydon brand.
While concrete details are yet to be confirmed, the Rapide E will output around 450kW from its battery-electric powertrain and will be able to complete the 0-100km/h sprint in around four seconds. Availability is scarce, however, with just 155 units being produced globally.
What's coming
Aston Martin Rapide E – Q4
Audi RS5 Sportback – January
Audi TT facelift – Q2
Audi R8 facelift – Q4
Bentley Continental GT Convertible – Q2
BMW 8 Series – March
BMW Z4 – March
Ferrari 488 Pista Spider – Q2
Ferrari Monza SP1 and SP2 – Q4
Ford Fiesta ST – Q2
Hyundai i30 N Fastback – Q1
Hyundai Veloster – H2
Jaguar F-Type Chequered Flag edition, MY20 update – June
Lamborghini Huracan Evo – Q3
McLaren 720S Spider – H1
Mercedes-AMG C63 – Q1
Mercedes-AMG A35 – H2
Porsche Panamera GTS – Q1
Porsche 911 S, 4S – April
Toyota Supra – Q3/Q4
Volkswagen Golf GTI TCR – Q4

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