Details of the new and updated performance cars and supercars launching in Australia in 2015.
Alfa Romeo 4C – February
The big news for Alfa’s long-awaited, oft-delayed product revival is the Giulia (see below) but in the interim a long queue is already starting to form in the CarAdvice garage to drive this Italian answer to the Lotus Exige and Porsche Cayman.
Alfa’s two-seat, rear-wheel-drive coupe is due about February and features a 177kW 1.75-litre turbocharged four-cylinder powering a lightweight body made from carbonfibre.
Pricing indications are in the $80,000 to $100,000 range – not cheap but more affordable than a Lotus or Porsche.
Read more about the Alfa Romeo 4C.
Ferrari 458 Speciale A – February
The first deliveries of the Ferrari 458 Speciale A will commence in February, but we’ve got bad news if you haven’t ordered one yet: they’re all sold.
In fact, the iconic Italian brand was only able to satisfy 40 per cent of demand for the $635,000 plus on-road costs convertible supercar in Australia, leading the region’s boss to label it “the most hotly contested special edition in Ferrari’s history”.
The 458 Speciale A (the ‘A’ stands for ‘aperta’, which means ‘open’ in Italian) is effectively a folding-roof version of the 458 Speciale hardtop.
It’s powered by Ferrari’s most powerful naturally aspirated V8 – the 4.5-litre unit churning out 445kW and 540Nm.
Tipping the scales at 1340 kilograms, the open-air model matches the fixed-roof Speciale’s 3.0-second 0-100km/h sprint and 1 minute 23.5 second lap time around the company’s Fiorano test circuit.
As with the 458 Speciale, the Speciale A gets louvre vents near the headlights, a more aggressive front bumper and air intakes, winged side sills, rear diffuser and five-spoke forged alloy wheels, along with lashings of carbonfibre throughout the cabin. The retractable aluminium roof takes 14 seconds to either open or close.
Read more about the Ferrari 458 Speciale A.
Lexus RC F – February
The Japanese brand’s new performance flagship model – the Lexus RC F – will arrive in February priced from $133,500 plus on-road costs.
The go-fast RC F has a 5.0-litre V8 petrol engine pumping out 351kW of power and 530Nm of torque, and is pitched squarely against the Audi RS5, BMW M4 and Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG Coupe. The Lexus is cheaper than all of those cars, too.
Buyers after more bling can opt for the $147,500 (plus costs) RC F Carbon model, which features a bonnet, roof panel, rear spoiler and interior trim made from lightweight carbonfibre, as well as alcantara seat upholstery.
Read our Lexus RC F Review.
Nissan GT-R update – February/March
The 2015 model year updates for Nissan’s twin-turbo supercar focus on the ‘GT’ end of its badge, aiming to make it a more comfortable beast.
Nissan claims its new tyres help improve ride comfort and its revised damper rates aid cornering and rough road stability, while brake noise has also been quietened and vibrations through the steering wheel and elsewhere have been reduced.
MY15 Godzilla is otherwise unchanged, carrying over its 404kW/628Nm 3.8-litre V6 and retaining its 2.7-second 0-100km/h acceleration ability.
Read more about the Nissan GT-R.
Aston Martin V12 Vantage S Roadster – Q1
The quickest series production roadster in Aston Martin’s history – the V12 Vantage S Roadster – will reach Australia early in 2015.
The V12 Vantage S Roadster shares its 421kW/620Nm naturally aspirated 6.0-litre engine with the V12 Vantage S coupe, propelling the open-top model from 0-100km/h in 4.1 seconds and on to a top speed of 323km/h thanks in part to its new seven-speed paddleshift automated manual transmission.
A carbonfibre grille (available with either black or titanium silver mesh), pronounced bonnet louvres, 19-inch 10-spoke forged alloy wheels, and new seat and upholstery trims distinguish the S Roadster from the regular Vantage drop-top.
The Aston Martin V12 Vantage S Roadster is priced from $418,525 before on-road costs.
Read more about the Aston Martin V12 Vantage S Roadster.
Aston Martin Vanquish Carbon – Q1
The first deliveries of the Aston Martin Vanquish Carbon edition will take place at the start of 2015.
Priced from $497,995 in coupe form and $535,000 as a roadster, the Vanquish Carbon gets tinted headlights, gloss-black alloy wheels and black window surrounds on the outside, as well as herringbone carbonfibre trim, new leather upholstery and anodised speaker grilles for the Bang & Olufsen audio system.
As with the regular Vanquish, the Carbon teams a 424kW/630Nm 6.0-litre V12 with an eight-speed automatic transmission and races from 0-100km/h in 3.8 seconds.
Read more about the Aston Martin Vanquish Carbon.
Lotus Exige S automatic – Q2
The hardcore Lotus Exige S will be offered with an automatic transmission for the first time ever from the second quarter of 2015 at the Malaysian-owned British sports car brand aims to make its cars “more accessible to customers worldwide”.
The six-speed paddleshift unit trims one tenth of a second off the manual’s sprint time, racing from 0-100km/h in 3.9 seconds.
The auto option is expected to cost around $9000, suggesting the Exige S coupe and roadster variants will set Australian enthusiasts back about $136,000 plus on-road costs.
Read more about the Lotus Exige S automatic.
Mercedes-AMG GT – June/July
A pair of hardcore performance models will also arrive around the middle of the year. The Mercedes-AMG GT coupe will give the company a rival to the Porsche 911 at the upper echelons of the sports car market.
Expect the 4.0-litre V8-powered GT to be priced from around $240,000 when it arrives locally. You can read all about the car’s specifications here.
Alfa Romeo 4C Spider – October
A spin-off version with a canvas roof will follow the coupe about October time. Expect to pay an extra premium for having less bodywork but access to open-air motoring.
The convertible 4C sees only 60kg added to the mass, with the chassis tuned to mirror the coupe’s handling as close as possible.
Read more about the Alfa Romeo 4C Spider.
Ferrari 458 M – December
Ferrari will continue its transition from natural aspiration to forced induction when it unveils the updated 458 at March’s Geneva motor show.
The upgraded version, speculatively known as the 458 M, is expected to be powered by an uprated version of the twin-turbocharged 3.9-litre V8 from the California T.
The engine produces 412kW and 755Nm in the entry-level convertible, but could be tweaked to pump out up to 500kW for the updated 458.
Spy shots captured in August revealed the updated model’s more muscular rear wheel arches and a new set of exhaust outlets, which move away from the current car’s triple-pipe layout.
With Ferrari Australasia priding itself for its ability to get cars to our market within nine months of their global unveilings, expect the first deliveries of the updated 458 to take place from December.
Read more about the Ferrari 458 M.
Porsche 911 update — Q4
A revised version of the current-generation 911 is expected to take a bow late in the year.
The update of the 991 Series, if you believe European reports, could have a new range of turbocharged six-cylinder horizontally opposed engines replacing today’s naturally aspirated units.
Porsche Cayman update and GT4 — Q4
Speculation suggests a revised Cayman range is on the horizon by year’s end, headlined by a new hardcore GT4 version that will sit above the GTS.
Spy images that we have run, taken in Europe, suggest a racy exterior that features larger air intakes than the GTS , a cooling duct along the bonnet lip, a prominent lower front splitter and a massive rear spoiler.
It also appears to sit lower than the GTS, indicating a more performance-oriented suspension set-up, and gains large ceramic brake discs for enhanced stopping power.
Lotus Evora update – Q4
An updated version of the Lotus Evora is set to debut at March’s Geneva show and could reach local roads towards the end of 2015.
The 2015 Evora will get a fresh look inside and out, as well as more power and less weight for enhanced performance.
A roaster version seems a no-brainer to join the coupe, while rumours are also swirling about the possibility of an SUV-inspired Evora variant for further down the track.
Expect Lotus’ refreshed flagship to carry over its circa-$130,000 starting price when it launches in Australia in around 12 months’ time.
Read more about the Lotus Evora.
McLaren Sport Series – Q4
A whole new buyer demographic will set foot into McLaren showrooms next year when the British supercar maker launches its entry-level Sport Series.
The Sport Series will target the likes of the Porsche 911 and Audi R8 with an anticipated price tag between $300,000 and $350,000 – well below the $441,500 McLaren 650S.
The McLaren Sport Series will use a modified version of its big brother’s carbonfibre composite chassis and is expected to feature a distinct tune of the brand’s twin-turbocharged 3.8-litre V8, propelling it from 0-100km/h in an estimated four seconds.
Styling inspired by the P1 hybrid hypercar and upward-folding scissor doors should ensure the Sport Series stands out from the crowd when it arrives late in 2015.
Read more about the McLaren Sport Series.
BMW M2 – Q4/2016
BMW still refuses to official confirm the existence of the M2 coupe, numerous set of spy images captured throughout 2014 clearly showed the Bavarian car maker hard at work creating a flagship 2 Series sports car.
Broader wheel arches, blue brake calipers, cross-drilled rotors, gloss black alloy wheels borrowed from the M3/M4 twins and low-profile Michelin tyres are not-so-subtle hints at the test car’s performance credentials.
The BMW M2 is expected to be powered by an uprated version of the M235i’s 240kW/450Nm 3.0-litre inline-six turbo petrol engine. The uprated motor’s output is likely to split the difference between the M235i and the 317kW/550Nm M3/M4.
The M2 is also tipped to inherit much of the chassis technology from the M3/M4, including an electronically controlled limited-slip rear differential, and feature upgraded suspension and M-tuned stability and traction control systems.
Read more about the BMW M2.