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New in 2015: Big year for big ticket models

Pony up: Ford's highly anticipated Mustang will finally hit the market this year with a choice of either a 2.3-litre EcoBoost four-cylinder or a 5.0-litre V8 engine.

Australia's luxury love affair continues with 40 posh cars set to launch in 2015

Outlook logo19 Jan 2015

By DANIEL GARDNER

SPORTSTHIS year promises to be an exciting 12 months for Australia's petrol heads with high-performance and premium models arriving from almost all the major brands, but the German car-makers will be putting in the greatest appearance.

Volkswagen has already opened the 2015 proceedings with a facelifted Scirocco R priced $2000 cheaper than the outgoing version.

Over the course of the year, Audi will be rolling out three variants of its new TT starting with the coupe in February and the convertible Roadster in the Q2, while the sportier S version in both bodystyles lands in quarter three.

BMW will chop the top off its little coupe with the 2 Series Convertible in the first quarter and its big 6 Series sibling will follow it in the first half of the year.

Mercedes-Benz will join the sportscar party in the middle of 2015 when its AMG GT two-seater coupe and C63 AMG sedan arrive, sharing the same twin-turbo V8 engine design.

Porsche completes the German assault with the purist's 911 GTS next month while an unconfirmed but already spied Cayman GT4 could arrive before the year is out.

The Italians get a good look-in this year with the most compact of the sports offerings arriving in the form of Abarth's Fiat 500-based 595 Biposto road-racer in the first quarter followed by the eagerly anticipated and gorgeous Alfa Romeo 4C mid-engined two-seater.

Ferrari is lining up two further enhancements of the 458 starting with the targa-roofed Speciale A next month and a later 458 M variant could mark the end of the normally aspirated V8 with the turbocharged donk of the California T.

The mid-engined machines continue with a new automatic transmission finding its way under the Lotus Exige S in quarter two while more conventional front-engined rear-drive offerings are on their way from Jaguar, Lexus and Ford.

Lexus kicks it off next month with the hotter V8-powered RC F, Jaguar follows the Japanese coupe in the second quarter with a four-wheel drive F-Type, while Ford will deliver the potentially game-changing Mustang at the end of the year.

The latter two will be available in both coupe and convertible models.

Two more hot-hatches will touch down in 2015 with Renault Megane RS 275 Trophy R arriving this month and a new-look Hyundai Veloster turning up in showrooms during the second half of the year.

The convertible Cascada was originally supposed to launch in Australia as an Opel until the company pulled out last year. Therefore the General Motors five-seat drop-top will now arrive during the second quarter wearing Holden badges.

WHAT'S COMING

Abarth 695 Biposto (500) - Q1
Alfa Romeo 4C Coupe - February
Audi TT coupe - Q1
Audi TT Roadster - Q2
Audi TT S Coupe/S Roadster - Q3
BMW 6 Series facelift - June
BMW 2 Series Convertible - Q1
Ferrari 458 Speciale A - February
Ferrari 458 M - December
Ford Mustang - Q4
Holden Cascada - Q2
Hyundai Veloster facelift - late 2015
Jaguar F-Type AWD - Q2
Lexus RC F - February
Lotus Exige S auto - Q2
Mazda MX-5 - late 2015
Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG - June
Mercedes-Benz AMG-GT - July
Porsche 911 GTS - February
Porsche Cayman GT4 - Q4
Renault Megane R.S. 275 Trophy-R - January
VW Scirocco R – Q1
PRESTIGELIKE the sports category, the German manufacturers dominate the prestige segment during 2015 but go even further with 14 of the 17 new arrivals originating from a German or German-owned brand.

At the more affordable end of the spectrum, Audi, BMW and Mercedes will battle it out in the small hatchback segment with a facelifted 1 Series and A-Class going head to head, while Audi will add the e-tron plug-in hybrid to its A3 range in March.

At the top end the big three also introduce a model each with the delicious S-Class Coupe from Mercedes and restyled Audi A6/A7 in quarter one, while BMW introduces a new 7 Series limousine in the last part of the year.

The propeller badge will also be seen on a lightly facelifted 3 Series in the second half of the year but Mercedes is getting a majority of its launches out of the way early with a facelifted B-Class and CLS-Class in the first quarter.

Audi completes its offerings with yet another facelift – this time to the baby A1 hatch and all eyes will be on the diary for a vicious RS3, which could just sneak in to 2015.

The German big-hitter had better watch out from quarter three when Jaguar's XE mid-size sedan arrives with ultralight construction, attractive styling and a diesel engine variant that reportedly goes 100km on just 4.0 litres of diesel.

Infiniti will also lob a lightly refreshed Q70 in the third quarter with looks that more closely align with its smaller Q50 sedan sibling.

The super-luxury brands will deliver a 300km/h Bentley Mulsanne Speed at an unconfirmed point in 2015 and Rolls-Royce is due to wheel out a convertible version of its Wraith with the glam moniker of Drophead at the end of the year.

Mini won't miss out on the action with the high-performance John Cooper Works tuned models starting to filter in from the middle of the year and Tesla keeps up the environmentally sensitive team with the supercar performance matching Model S P85D in August.

WHAT'S COMING

Audi A3 Sportback e-tron - March
Audi A1 facelift - Q2
Audi RS3 - Q4
Audi A6/A7 facelifts - Q1
BMW 1 Series facelift - late 2015
BMW 3 Series facelift - late 2015
BMW 7 Series - late 2015
Bentley Mulsanne Speed - late 2015
Infiniti Q70 facelift - Q3
Jaguar XE - Q3
Mini JCW - July
Mercedes-Benz S-Class Coupe - Q1
Mercedes-Benz B-Class facelift - Q1
Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class facelift - Q1
Mercedes-Benz A-Class facelift - Q4
Rolls-Royce Wraith Drophead - Q4
Tesla Model S P85D - August

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