Details of the new and updated performance cars launching in Australia in 2015.
BMW 2 Series Convertible – Q1
BMW Australia will complete its 2 Series family early in 2015 with the launch of the Convertible range.
The successor to the old 1 Series Convertible boasts a 20 per cent increase in torsional rigidity and promises to offer a considerably sportier drive.
Available engines should mirror those of the 2 Series Coupe, meaning we can expect 220i, 220d and 228i 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo variants and a high-performance M235i 3.0-litre six-cylinder turbo with 240kW and 450Nm.
Expect prices to range between approximately $55,000 to $85,000 plus on-road costs.
Read more about the BMW 2 Series Convertible.
BMW 6 Series/M6 update – Q2
The upgraded BMW 6 Series luxury sports car family and the high-performance BMW M6 halo models will arrive in the second quarter of 2015 with fresh styling, extra technology and features, and updated interiors.
The 6 Series Coupe, Convertible and Gran Coupe models get a newly designed kidney grille, LED headlights, restyled bumpers, larger tailpipe finishers for six-cylinder models, and six new metallic colours.
The cabins gain new high-quality materials, including two-tone leather upholstery, a new head-up display, and an embedded SIM card for BMW’s ConnectedDrive Services system, which introduces internet-based functions including access to millions of music tracks, Facebook and Twitter integration, and the Concierge Service that links drivers to a personal assistant for all information requests.
Read more about the BMW 6 Series/M6.
Nissan Pulsar SSS sedan – March/April
The Nissan Pulsar SSS sedan will finally reach Australian showrooms by April – 12 months later than originally planned – after being delayed to allow Nissan to reduce existing stock of the outgoing luxury Ti sedan.
The sporty SSS sedan will be powered by the same turbocharged 140kW/240Nm 1.6-litre four-cylinder petrol engine that’s fitted to the hatch, and feature similar equipment levels and exterior enhancements.
The Pulsar SSS sedan will be priced from about $30,000 before on-road costs, likely wearing a price tag slightly higher than the SSS hatchback that costs $29,790 with the six-speed manual transmission and $32,390 with the automatic continuously variable transmission (CVT).
Read more about the Nissan Pulsar SSS sedan.
Holden Insignia VXR — May
The Insignia was sold here in numerous form with Opel badges, but only the 239kW/435Nm turbocharged 2.8-litre V6-powered all-wheel-drive Insignia VXR will return.
Expect it to cost less than the $60K Opel charged for it. Once again it will be pitched as an upmarket Euro-flavoured mid-sizer with some serious punch. See our review of the Opel version here.
Holden Cascada — May
The final member of this Euro-flavoured Holden trio — for the short-term — is the Cascada soft-top convertible, powered by a 1.6 turbo-petrol engine via the front wheels.
With Insignia insides mixed with Astra styling, the Opel measures the same width the Audi A5, but is slightly longer at almost 4.7 metres. That makes it larger than its price-point rivals in Europe at least, including the BMW 1 Series Convertible, the VW Golf Cabriolet and A3 Cabriolet.
Check out our European review of the Opel/Vauxhall here.
Tesla Model S P85D – June
The all-wheel-drive Tesla Model S P85D will begin shaming supercars in June when it launches from $133,500 plus on-road costs.
With a 165kW electric motor spinning the front wheels in addition to a 365kW motor powering the rears, the Model S P85D produces eye-watering combined outputs of 515kW and 930Nm.
The added traction helps it sprint from 0-100km/h in a claimed 3.4 seconds – blitzing the rear-drive P85+ by a second and even outgunning the $236,500 Audi RS7 Sportback by 0.5sec – all while emitting zero CO2 or other harmful emissions.
It will also be available with Autopilot technology, which includes radar-based cruise control and automatic lane-keeping steering, among other features.
Read more about the Tesla Model S P85D.
Hyundai Veloster update – Q2
Arriving in the first half of the year is an updated version of the Veloster, which will get some styling tweaks inside and out and some new colour options.
Despite being axed in the UK recently, the Veloster and Veloster SR Turbo remain popular sellers here, and regularly battle the Toyota 86 for top spot on the segment sales charts.
Mercedes-AMG C63 – June/July
Launching mid-year also is the new Mercedes-AMG C63, the latest iteration of the wildly successful C-Class-based performance model that has sold in staggering numbers in Australia.
Under the bonnet is a new 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 that is up to 32 per cent more efficient than its 6.2-litre V8-powered predecessor, and produces (in regular form) 350kW between 5500-6200rpm and 650Nm between 1750-4500rpm. Most Australians will opt for the 375kW/700Nm C63 S version though, and the former may not even come here.
Mazda MX-5 – Second half 2015
The Mazda MX-5 sports car won’t be the biggest-selling car the brand launches in 2015, but it will arguably be its most pivotal.
The drop-top Japanese car is shorter than the car it replaces, but it is slightly wider and it is also considerably lighter – up to 100 kilograms less thanks in part to its aluminium bonnet and boot, as well as a new, more lightweight soft-top.
There will be a choice of either a 1.5-litre four-cylinder or 2.0-litre four-cylinder Skyactiv-G direct-injection petrol engine. Power figures aren’t confirmed yet, but expect less than 100kW and 170Nm in the 1.5, while the larger engine should pump out about 130kW and 200Nm.
Expect the price to be more aggressive for the new fourth-generation model, with a sub-$40,000 starting point for the iconic roadster.
Read more about the Mazda MX-5.
Lexus GS F – Q4/2016
There’s a chance the Japanese brand’s performance model ranks will be bolstered by the addition of a new go-fast Lexus GS F sedan.
The new model is expected to use the same 5.0-litre V8 petrol engine that is used in the RC F, pumping out 351kW of power and 530Nm of torque. Power will go to the rear wheels via an eight-speed automatic.
As well as the bolshy big engine, the GS F is set to feature an aggressive styling update, with the brand’s now-trademark tick-like headlights to be integrated as part of the new-look front bumper.
The new GS F – which will rival the likes of the BMW M5, Jaguar XF RS and Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG – may arrive here late in 2015.
Read more about the Lexus GS F.
Bentley Mulsanne Speed – 2015
If the 377kW and 1020Nm of the regular Bentley Mulsanne isn’t enough for sir, the Mulsanne Speed is coming to the rescue.
The British ultra-luxury marque has reworked the 5.6-metre-long barge’s 6.75-litre twin-turbo V8 to deliver 395kW and 1100Nm – helping haul its 2685kg heft from 0-100km/h in 4.9 seconds and on to a top speed of 305km/h.
The Mulsanne Speed is identifiable by its new 21-inch alloy wheels, darkened mesh grille, and tinted headlights and tail-lights. Speed badges can also be found on the front guards and door sills.
Inside the Speed is available with carbonfibre inlays, a new selection of colours for the quilted two-tone interior, a 2200-watt Naim audio system, WiFi hotspot, 60GB music and video storage, and electric folding tables with recesses suitable for iPads, frosted bottle coolers and bespoke champagne glasses.
The Mulsanne Speed will command a healthy premium over the standard Mulsanne, which costs from $662,857 plus on-road costs.
Read more about the Bentley Mulsanne Speed.