2019 is well underway, with the first quarter almost firmly behind us. However, that still means there’s plenty more ahead of us. Whether you’re excited or full of dread; luckily, there are some lovely new cars to look forward to.
Expect to see hundreds of extra variations of SUVs on the roads in the next year or two. Also, almost every manufacturer is plugging themselves in and embracing electricity. Electric motors are going to appear on around 98% of the cars being launched in 2019 - either playing a supporting role to a petrol engine or taking centre stage on their own.
The surgeons must have been busy, as there are lots of facelifts happening too; with most of the major players unveiling some of their most popular cars in a new light - mostly with what is being called “Mildy Hybrid”, to reduce running costs and lower emissions. Yippee!
Now, considering I’m probably pushing my luck having lasted this long without mentioning the “B” word that ends with the opposite of entrance, let’s take a look at some of the most exciting reveals coming up in 2019.
Our Top Picks For 2019:
[1/28] Aston Martin Rapide E: Aston Martin is releasing a couple of company firsts in 2019. Their first SUV, the possibly named Varekai, will be followed by their first fully electric car, the Rapide E. Based on the existing Aston Martin Rapide, it looks to propel the luxury brand into the future. It’s a strange move to electrify one of the much lesser known Aston Martins, but we’re expecting the Rapide E to be aimed at besting the newly announced Porsche Taycan and equivalent models from Tesla. Top speed is 155mph from a motor output of 610PS, with 0-60mph in less than 4 seconds and range targeted to be 200 miles (as per WLTP real-world testing). Hopefully, we don’t lose any of the Aston Martin magic along with the most gorgeous engine noise.
[2/28] Audi A3: Audi are very very busy German bees this year. We’ll start with their new range of A3’s. Audi’s classic premium hatchback will look more like its bigger siblings in the front end and will be available with Volkswagen’s new WLTP compliant engines. Also expect to see the unveiling of the full range, including the A3 Saloon, S3, RS3 and an e-tron electric variant.
[3/28] Audi e-tron: Audi’s first release from its new all-electric e-tron sub-brand is called, the “e-tron”. Confusing? Not right now, but it will be when they release more under the moniker. They’ve already unveiled the e-tron GT Concept (which looks like it might secretly be an Autobot). Now, the first of the “e-trons” is an SUV, something that Audi already excels at. Set to rival the new Mercedes EQC and the well-received Jaguar I-Pace, the e-tron is on sale now and set to be very popular - especially as the Electric Vehicle Government Grant of up to £3,500 still applies to this one!
[4/28] Audi SQ5: The ever-popular Audi SQ5 is getting a facelift and re-launch. Its launch will also see the offering of Audi’s new top spec line - the Vorsprung. Set to be offered with both diesel and petrol (the same 349bhp 3.0-litre turbocharged V6 petrol engine found in an S4 and S5) and there are also rumours of the newly fashioned “Mildly Hybrid” technology being deployed to help with power, economy and emissions.
[5/28] Bentley Continental GT Convertible: Few collections of words ooze luxury and opulence like “Bentley” followed by “Continental”. The new rendition of the Continental GT, one of the most celebrated grand tourers in history, is getting a little taken off the top and is being offered as a convertible. No surprise there really. The Continental GT will come with a 6-litre engine that’ll take you from 0-62mph in 3.7s and tops out at 207mph. Looking at how gorgeously sleek, smooth and sophisticated it is, it inspires me… to buy more lottery tickets. It’s also rumoured to have an option of a tweed convertible roof - you can’t get more Bentley than that!
[6/28] BMW 1 Series: The evergreen family sized premium hatchback is getting a long overdue reworking. The prototype has been spotted out in testing livery and little is known at this point. However, it is rumoured that the standard drivetrain is being switched from rear-wheel-drive to front-wheel-drive. This is a bold move from BMW considering that the 1 Series is known as the pioneer of Rear-Wheel-Drive Hatchbacks.
[7/28] BMW 3 Series: The BMW 3 Series holds a place in the history books as one of the greatest family saloons ever created, so it’s no surprise that BMW is showing no signs of re-inventing the wheel too much - more just updating the tyre around the wheel. A couple of members of our management team recently attended the official launch of the new generation 3 Series at Thruxton Race Circuit - Europe’s fastest race track - and their words to describe it is “a luxurious and powerful driver’s car.” That alone will see these fly out of the showrooms before the dust can settle.
[8/28] BMW Z4: The mighty sports roadster returns and it looks gorgeous. It was developed in tandem with the re-imagined Toyota Supra and both share many technological and aesthetic aspects. One immediately noticeable difference is that the Z4 remains a soft top convertible and an ultimate driving machine! (Sorry, I couldn’t resist.)
[9/28] Cupra Ibiza: SEAT decided that rather than limiting the Cupra name to its top spec performance cars, it has branched it out into its own performance car manufacturer. You can’t accuse SEAT of lacking ambition. The Spaniard’s Frankenstein experiment seems to be picking up momentum following the successful launch of the Cupra Ateca earlier this year. The Cupra Ibiza has head-turning aesthetics, noteworthy performance stats and seeks to make you think twice about signing for a Fiesta ST. Definitely not lacking ambition.
[10/28] Fiat 500: The king of the ‘60s comeback stories (sorry, Mini!), the Fiat 500 has been a hugely popular little car. The new version looks just as stylish as you’d expect from an Italian city car and is expected to employ mild-hybrid technology, to improve performance, reduce carbon emissions and running costs. On the horizon is a 500e, an all-electric variant. Expect to see city centres filled with these motoring beanie babies in the next few years.
[11/28] Ford Focus ST: Oh, yes. It’s coming! One of the legends of the hot hatch arena is being revisited, revised and remastered. Inheriting the petrol engine from the previous generation Focus RS, expect the performance stats to read around 275bhp. The new ST will also be available with diesel engines and in hatchback and estate variants.
[12/28] Ford Ranger Raptor: Across the pond, the massive Ford F-150 Raptor pickup truck has sparked viral videos galore, achieving an almost mythical status of the feats it can achieve. Whilst we don’t get the F Series pickups on these shores, we do get its competent little cousin, the Ranger - which has just inherited the F-Series’ Raptor performance package. This means higher and better suspension, underbody protection and a unique styling overhaul. Overall, a much more performance orientated off-road experience than before.
[13/28] Mercedes-Benz CLA: One of the most timelessly good-looking cars on the market returns. The Mercedes CLA has all of the desirable personality of the very popular A-Class but has a better figure and dresses sexier. The new CLA continues the trend of replicating the front half of an A-Class and adding a longer sloping back end. Not quite a C-Class, but much more affordable and just as enjoyable. Expect the Shooting Brake estate to follow later in the year.
[14/28] Mercedes-Benz EQC: Another sub-brand being launched this year is Mercedes-EQ. This all-electric manufacturer will be launching with the GLC sized EQC SUV. Although inspired by the GLC, it is almost unrecognisable in detail to the fossil-fuelled Merc. Expect to see many more from EQ-branch, such as a GLA inspired machine and a B Class alternative - likely named EQA and EQB. Mercedes may build fantastic vehicles, but their naming needs more imagination.
[15/28] Mercedes-Benz GLA: There’s not much to report on the facelifted hatchback sized SUV, other than Mercedes are likely to bring the styling and technology in line with its other recently updated releases. If the above photo is anything to go by, it looks a lot meaner.
[16/28] Peugeot 208: Peugeot. I know, I know. Not everyone’s cup of tea and certainly a victim of badge snobbery. However, something has been added to the water in Sochaux, France; Peugeots are now really, really, REALLY, good looking. From the angular and curvaceous bodywork to the front grille and Cheetah-like headlights. Don’t expect Cheetah-like performance, but the double centenarians seem to have turned a major corner. The new 208 is arriving shortly, having been recently revealed at the Geneva Motor Show, with the GTI coming later and an electric e-208 on the horizon.
[17/28] Polestar 1: The average human and fair-weather car fan may have never encountered the name Polestar before and you’re excused for not doing so. Polestar started as a tuning house working with Volvo and upgrading some of their higher-end vehicles. However, Volvo has bought them out and are launching them as their own brand; focussing on luxury hybrids and electric cars. You may recognise a few design aspects, most notably the Thor’s Hammer headlights (yes, that IS what they are called). The 1 is being launched as a 600 bhp Plug-In Hybrid coupe to rival entries from Tesla and Porsche. A very exciting venture from Volvo.
[18/28] Polestar 2: Adopting a more aggressive and rugged exterior than the 1, the Polestar 2 is a pure EV with a 5-door fastback body style. Power comes from 2 electric motors that provide 408bhp, which get you from 0-60 in 4.7s and has a maximum range of 500km (310 miles). Figures like these suggest that the 2 is being pitched directly against the “production hell” riddled Tesla Model 3 and the upcoming BMW 3 Series EV.
[19/28] Porsche 911: “If it’s not broken, don’t fix it” must be stitched onto jackets of every member of Porsche’s design team since the 1960’s. The new generation, the 992, clearly follows tradition and retains the iconic styling of all of its 911 predecessors, other than a couple of modernising flourishes. Underneath the heraldic robes are where the real advances lie; boosted engine power and improved technology. Keeping with parent company Volkswagen’s practice, the electrical skeleton has been revamped to accommodate a Plug-In Hybrid (PHEV) variant in the near future; with rumours of a pure electric model being available after that.
[20/28] Porsche Taycan: Developing further on the engineering success of the Porsche 918 Spyder - part of the Holy Trinity of Hybrid Performance Cars - Porsche has announced that the Mission E concept car is being put into production and has been named the Taycan. Sticking with the equestrian theme and familiar naming pattern of Cayman and Macan, Taycan merges the Turkish words for “spirited young horse” and “soul”. A true thing of beauty and another huge leap into the future. Expect a larger Grand Turismo version to be announced later down the line too.
[21/28] SEAT Leon: The “baby Golf” has done an excellent job at being successful in its own right and moving from its more famous relative’s shadow. The new edition of the SEAT Leon is set to make a daring leap forward in design and technology, including touchscreen software. It still won’t threaten the position of the Golf, but hatchback manufacturers outside of the VW group might be getting a little nervous.
[22/28] SEAT Tarraco: Following the major successes of the mid-sized Ateca and the diddy Arona, SEAT has added a behemoth to its SUV range. Only available in the UK with 7 seats as standard, the Tarraco is set to match up with the platform-sharing Skoda Kodiaq, Kia Sorento, Hyundai Santa Fe and, very ambitiously, the Land Rover Discovery Sport. If the Tarraco delivers on SEAT’s reputation of comfort, good build quality and easy-going driving experiences, then we may have a new ruler of the roost.
[23/28] Skoda Kamiq: Not to be outdone by their stablemates at SEAT, Skoda has announced a new SUV too. Although, this will be on the opposite end of the size spectrum. Unveiled originally as the Vision X concept car, the newly dubbed Skoda Kamiq will be based on the same platform as the SEAT Arona. However, the Kamiq will be made slightly larger to fit with Skoda’s image of rugged practicality.
[24/28] Toyota Supra: There is a very welcome return of the Toyota Supra happening in 2019. Developed in conjunction with the BMW Z4, the reimagined Supra is a thing of beauty. A dedicated hardtop coupe roadster, set to rival the Porsche Cayman, Audi TT RS and its twin, the BMW Z4. The Supra’s 338bhp comes from a 3-litre petrol engine that is found in the top-spec Z4 M40i, which gives a 0-62 time of 4.3s - actually faster than the Z4 and regular editions of the Cayman. A hybrid version is also rumoured to be available at some point.
[25/28] Volkswagen T-Cross: Volkswagen seem to have filled every niche already and even created some just to put a vehicle into it. Going down the SUV size ladder from Touareg, Tiguan and T-Roc, VW is now introducing the Arona sized T-Cross. Based on the VW Polo, it will rival the SEAT Arona, Skoda Kamiq, Nissan Juke, Kia Stonic and Renault Captur; to name a few of the ever-expanding list of small SUVs. Essentially a small hatchback with a higher driving position, it will no doubt be incredibly popular because of those 2 attributes alone.
[26/28] Volvo V40: Volvo hasn’t just been putting all of their eggs in one basket getting Polestar going, they’ve been revamping some of their popular models too. First up is the ever-popular hatchback from the Chinese owned Swedish outfit, the V40. You will be forgiven for not recognising that it is a V40 as it has had a total styling overhaul and looks more like the incredibly successful XC40. The new version of the V40 will also begin Volvo’s plan to introduce electricity into all of its models; the new V40 will be available with an electric, hybrid, petrol or diesel engine.
[27/28] Volvo S60: Already announced and almost here, the gorgeous sports saloon from Volvo is topped out in R-Design Edition trim, with a Volvo T5 petrol engine and Automatic gearbox and costs around £37,920. Up against BMW, Mercedes, Audi and Jaguar, its easy to see why the Volvo usually falls short of the mark. However, this may all change, as this is an extremely good-looking car and offers a very enjoyable drive.
[28/28] Volkswagen Golf Mk8: Honey, its home. The 8th edition of the iconic, wonderful and standard-setting Volkswagen Golf is almost upon us. The newly added technology and equipment is so advanced that it is delaying the official launch of the model. However, you can expect that the entry-level S and upscale Match editions to be fully launched in 2019, with the saliva-inducing GTI and R variants being displayed and on sale sometime next year. You can also expect to hear of the launch of VW i.d. - Volkswagen’s own all-electric sub-brand, which will incorporate a new version of the e-Golf.
Let us know which car you’re most looking forward to and why.