Best new cars for 2015
Our unmissable guide to the most exciting new cars heading for the showroom in 2015
Lexus GS F
Price: £75,000 (est)On sale: late 2015
Lexus has already wowed us with the RC F coupe, and the manufacturer will add another F-badged performance car to its ranks this year in the shape of the GS F. Up until now, the GS range has majored on being sensible, but the GS F adds some major spice to proceedings. Lexus has shoehorned the RC F's 5.0-litre V8 engine under the bonnet, which pumps out 471bhp, paired with an eight-speed automatic gearbox. More aggressive bodywork, 19-inch alloys and torque vectoring all feature.
Price: £17,595On sale: June
This will join the successful CX-5 in Mazda's SUV line-up when it goes on sale in June. Powered by a choice of petrol and diesel engines, with front or all-wheel drive, it's designed to cash in on the boom in small crossovers. The CX-3 will be available in SE, SE Nav, SE-L, SE-L Nav and Sport Nav trim, while Mazda is playing a full suit of safety cards, with all models boasting a host of airbags, hill hold assist, tyre pressure monitoring and dynamic stability control. Top-spec cars also get a lane departure warning system and autonomous emergency braking. Prices kick off at £17,595 for a front-drive petrol SE, and rise to £24,695 for the 104bhp SkyActiv-D diesel Sport Nav with 4WD. Mazda promises emissions as low as 105g/km in two-wheel-drive diesel models, making the CX-3 one of the most affordable small SUVs to run.
Price: £19,000 (est)On sale: summer
Mazda's MX-5 is the best-selling two-seat sports car in the world, having debuted in 1989. This latest fourth-generation model is 100kg lighter than the car it replaces, and returns the focus to dynamics and back-to-basics driver fun. Weighing in at only 1,000kg, it feels nippy and agile, with an eager engine that revs to 7,500rpm. The 1.5 and 2.0-litre petrols offer 129bhp and 155bhp respectively. Both come with a six-speed manual transmission and rear-wheel drive.
Mercedes C-Class Coupe/Cabriolet
Price: £30,000 (est)On sale: October (est)
The new Mercedes C-Class saloon went on sale last year, but those looking for the updated Coupe and Convertible have had to wait a little longer. Later this year, the company's answer to the BMW 4 Series, the C-Class Coupe, will hit showrooms, with a choice of turbo petrol and diesel drivetrains - as well as a BlueTEC hybrid for the first time. As our spy shot shows, the front end is unmistakably C-Class, while at the back, it takes cues from the S-Class Coupe.
Mercedes S-Class Convertible
Price: £110,000 (est)On sale: winter
The S-Class Coupe is one of the best-looking cars on sale, so how do you make it even more eye-catching? Chop off the roof, of course! While details on Mercedes' new S-Class Convertible are still quite scarce, our spies have already caught it testing on a number of occasions. It'll get a fabric hood - as opposed to the current SL's folding hard-top - and is likely to share its engines with the rest of the S-Class range.
Price: £30,000 (est)On sale: late 2015
Mercedes is finally bringing its BMW X3 and Audi Q5 rival to the UK. The old GLK - sold in left-hand-drive markets - was never engineered for right-hand drive, but the new GLC will be. Based on the current C-Class and boasting a similar front end, spied here, the GLC adds a practical but curvy rear and raised suspension. As with the GLA, it'll sit closer to the ground than SUVs usually do. Also expect the GLC to use the C-Class's range of petrol turbos and a selection of 2.1-litre diesels.
Price: £53,000 (est)On sale: May
The GLE is a BMW X5-rivalling version of Mercedes large SUV. The five-seater cabin is predictably luxurious, with premium woods, metals and leathers. Engines will be six-cylinder only; entry-level 350 models get a 254bhp diesel, while there'll also be a 364bhp twin-turbo V6 450 petrol and range-topping 585bhp AMG GLE 63.
Also coming soon:
Mercedes S600 Maybach Price: £200,000 (est)On sale: mid 2015
Price: £22,865 (est)On sale: April
The John Cooper Works hatchback has always been the most focused MINI on sale - and that trend is set to continue with this latest model. Revealed at January's Detroit Motor Show, the new JCW gets 228bhp and is the most potent production MINI ever. It produces 10 per cent more power and 23 per cent more torque than the car it replaces, and is sure to be even more fun to drive.
A six-speed manual gearbox is standard, while a Steptronic auto is available as an option. The latter improves the car's 0-62mph sprint time, cutting it to 6.1 seconds - compared to 6.3 seconds for the manual model. Fuel economy and emissions for the manual version stand at 42.2mpg and 155g/km, with the auto claiming 49.5mpg and 133g/km.
All new MINI JCWs get upgraded suspension, steering and brakes, as well as a variety of styling tweaks to set them apart from the standard Cooper S. There are larger air intakes at the front, a JCW-specific spoiler at the rear and unique 17-inch alloys. On the inside is a set of new bucket seats and stainless steel pedals, as well as redesigned instrument displays specifically for the range-topper.
It looks as though the car will be competitively priced, too. It's set to cost £2,035 less than an Audi S1, at £22,865, with first deliveries from late April.
Price: £17,000 (est)On sale: November
Following the release of MINI's three and five-door hatches, MINI is preparing another new model - the ever-popular Convertible. The soft-top gets the same range of petrol and diesel turbos as its stablemates. As our spy shot shows, it retains the familiar fabric roof, and from the windows down seems identical to its fixed-roof sibling. We also expect MINI to offer a hot 228bhp 2.0-litre JCW version, capable of 0-62mph in 6.5 seconds.
Price: £17,000 (est)On sale: late 2015
Sales of the new MG GTS are set to kick off in China in May, while UK buyers have to wait until the end of the year. The family sized SUV is aimed directly at the Nissan Qashqai and Kia Sportage, and will be made available in 2.0-litre petrol or 1.8-litre diesel guises when it heads to the UK. Like its rivals, the GTS will come with a choice of front or four-wheel drive, channelled via a six-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox. Styling, meanwhile, takes cues from the brand's familiar MG3 and MG6 models.
Price: £10,000 (est)On sale: June
Although the exterior tweaks are subtle on the refreshed Peugeot 208, the sharper front bumper design, wider grille and new LED light signature undoubtedly lift the car's looks.Peugeot has moved the interior more upmarket, too, with upgraded soft-touch materials and an easier-to-use seven-inch touchscreen. Under the skin, the changes are even bigger - every diesel's CO2 emissions have been brought down below 95g/km, while the big hitter is the 100bhp BlueHDi diesel, which offers a class-leading 94mpg and 79g/km of CO2. There's also a new three-cylinder 110bhp 1.2-litre turbo petrol, plus the limited-edition GTi 30th Anniversary model will become a permanent fixture.
Porsche 911 GT3 RS
Price: £131,000On sale: May
An evolution of the already-impressive GT3, the RS gets 493bhp from an enlarged 4.0-litre six-cylinder engine, making it the most powerful naturally aspirated 911 ever. Its revisions and additions have made it quicker around Germany's Nurburgring race track than Porsche's old Carrera GT hypercar. Alongside the new engine, the GT3 RS gets a special PDK twin-clutch box. Add weight savings, and it does 0-62mph in 3.3 seconds. Setting it apart from the GT3 is a wider stance, borrowed from the 911 Turbo, plus a racy front splitter, enlarged air vents and huge adjustable rear wing, which also enhance aerodynamics. The stripped-out cabin features carbon sports seats from the 918, with six-point harnesses, a roll cage and a fire extinguisher as standard.
Range Rover Evoque
Price: £30,000 (est)On sale: summer
Land Rover's most style-conscious SUV has been given a series of updates to keep it fresh and competitive with its German challengers - namely the facelifted Audi Q3 and next-generation BMW X1. Although exterior changes appear light, there are full-LED adaptive headlamps for the first time, plus a muscular new front bumper and grille design.
It's testament to the original's radical looks that only minor tweaks are required to keep the Evoque stylish. Inside, there are improved materials and a new, more comfortable seat design, as well as more advanced technology including Jaguar Land Rover's new InControl touchscreen interface. The latest generation of active safety kit also features.
The biggest news is that the Evoque has become Land Rover's most frugal car to date, with the new Ingenium diesel claiming up to 68mpg and 109g/km of CO2. Petrol fans can still choose the 237bhp 2.0 turbo, while engineers have retuned the suspension to deliver improved handling and refinement.
Renault Twingo GT
Price: £13,000 (est)On sale: summer 2015
Renault's radical new rear-engined Twingo will soon become even more enjoyable to drive thanks to imminent Renaultsport upgrades. Although it's likely be badged â€˜GT' so it doesn't dilute the image of faster cars in the Renaultsport range, we expect the Twingo to get at least 120bhp from a tuned version of its 0.9-litre petrol engine. Plus, chassis tweaks and styling upgrades inside and out will ensure it feels racy enough to rival cars such as the Abarth 500.
Renaultsport Clio 220 Trophy
Price: £21,000 (est)On sale: summer
The Clio 220 takes the Trophy name from its hardcore Megane brother, but is more civilised, with 217bhp. That's 20bhp more than standard, due to a bigger turbo and uprated exhaust. For a sportier sound, the rev limit's higher, at 6,800rpm. The dual-clutch gearbox shifts faster, while handling has been improved with lowered, stiffer suspension and quicker steering.
Price: £17,000 (est)On sale: autumn
The Kadjar is Renault's attempt at capitalising on the success of the Nissan Qashqai by becoming a serious contender in the lucrative mid-size crossover market.
It features a similar design to the Qashqai - which shares its platform - but features Renault's bold family face to stand out. Buyers get a choice of three engines from launch: 110bhp 1.5 and 130bhp 1.6-litre dCi diesels, as well as a 130bhp 1.2-litre turbo TCe petrol unit. The smaller diesel is said to be capable of 74.3mpg, with emissions as low as 99g/km. Front-wheel drive will be standard, with four-wheel drive optional, and the cabin will get more upmarket materials and added practicality. It'll also gain Renault's latest technology, including the R-Link 2 multimedia and infotainment system and road sign recognition.
Price: £18,640On sale: summer
Designed for those wanting executive-style space and grace at a less premium price, the Superb features legroom to rival a limo, but will cost around a third of the price. Its classy yet restrained styling is a step away from the rather cumbersome previous model, and inside is Skoda's traditional high-quality look and feel.The brand promises a host of clever gizmos not found on the lesser Octavia, like Apple CarPlay and wireless smartphone charging. The engine range will be four-cylinder only.
Also coming soon:
Skoda Octavia vRS 230 Price: £24,000 (est)On sale: June
Price: £13,000 (est)On sale: summer
SsangYong's first-ever supermini-SUV, the Tivoli, will go head-to-head with the likes of the Renault Captur, Peugeot 2008 and Mazda CX-3 when it hits showrooms in the summer. It rides on an all-new platform and comes with the choice of 1.6-litre petrol or diesel engines. Four-wheel-drive models will uphold SsangYong's reputation for developing rugged off-road cars, but the more efficient, front-wheel-drive version is likely to be the crowd-pleasing option. A six-speed manual gearbox will be fitted as standard, while the same CVT six-speed auto from the MINI is optional. The Tivoli is spacious, too, with a 423-litre boot only trumped by the Captur's 450-litre space.
Price: £25,000 (est)On sale: winter
The Levorg is currently on sale in Japan, and will squeeze into Subaru's model range in the UK beneath the recently introduced Outback. While it may look like a replacement for the ageing Legacy, it has been designed as an all-new car aimed at a younger demographic. It's shorter and lower than the new Outback, but it will still be available with the brand's four-wheel-drive system for go-anywhere ability.
Price: £63,104On sale: late 2015
The Mirai is the world's first mass-produced hydrogen fuel-cell vehicle. Under its radical body is an equally futuristic powertrain that emits nothing more than water vapour from the tailpipe. The 153bhp hydrogen fuel-cell stack is capable of 111mph and a 300-mile range, and takes as long to refill as a conventional petrol or diesel car. Europe's been allocated 50-100 models per year, each carrying a price tag of £63,104.
Secondly, if you do want one – and if you manage to work your way on to the waiting list in the first place – you’ll have to stump up more than £60,000, as there are no electric car-style subsidies currently in place despite the FCV’s zero tailpipe emissions.
The good news is that the funky-looking Toyota is likely to be one of the first in a long line of clever fuel-cell vehicles – and while the technology is expensive, it’s well refined. So well refined, in fact, that the Mirai drives just like a normal car. We’re itching to try one on UK roads, and excitedly await the next step for hydrogen-fuelled cars.
Also coming soon:
Toyota Avensis Price: £17,000On sale: June
Toyota Auris Price: £14,000 (est)On sale: summer
Price: from £13,000 (est)On sale: late 2015
Vauxhall will introduce an all-new Astra later this year. To compete with the likes of the Ford Focus, the brand will dress the car in a fancy new suit - not that you can see this in our disguised spy shot. This will bring a weight reduction, as well as several updates under the bonnet. It's yet to be confirmed, but we can expect the Corsa's downsized 1.0-litre three-cylinder engine to be carried over, with tweaked petrol and diesel engines from the current model also likely.
Price: around £7,995On sale: summer 2015
The Viva name is back after 35 years in the dark, in the shape of Vauxhall's all-new city car. Going head-to-head with the Hyundai i10 and VW up!, the Viva will become one of the largest yet cheapest cars in the class. It'll be 200mm longer than a Peugeot 108, while the cabin layout is similar in design to the Adam's and borrows its touchscreen infotainment system. One engine will be made available at launch - a 74bhp 1.0-litre three-cylinder unit capable of 70mpg and emitting less than 100g/km of CO2.
Also coming soon:
Vauxhall Corsa VXR Price: £20,000 (est)On sale: May
Volkswagen Golf R Estate
Price £32,000 (est)On sale: spring
The storming Golf R is about to be turned into a family friendly wagon with a 605-litre boot - and in the process, VW will produce the fastest mid-size estate around.
The four-wheel-drive Golf R Estate will have over 50bhp more than one of its closest rivals, the Ford Focus ST Estate, as it's powered by the same 298bhp 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol turbo as the hatch. In the UK, it'll only be available with the slick-shifting DSG auto, yet despite being 100kg heavier than the hatch, the Estate will still deliver 0-62mph in 5.1 seconds.
VW Golf GTD Estate
Price: £27,000 (est)On sale: October
Alongside the Golf R Estate, VW will launch a more frugal fast load carrier this year. The new Golf GTD Estate is primed to take on the new Ford Focus ST diesel estate. It carries over the GTD hatch's sporty styling and 2.0-litre diesel engine, meaning 181bhp and 380Nm of torque. That takes the GTD Estate from 0-62mph in 7.9 seconds with the six-speed manual gearbox - four-tenths slower than the hatchback, due to the load carrier's weight penalty of around 100kg.
Also coming soon:
Volkswagen Sharan Price: £25,000 (est)On sale: October
VW Passat Alltrack Price: £25,000 (est)On sale: mid-2015
Volkswagen Golf Alltrack Price: £23,000On sale: summer
Volkswagen Touran Price: £19,790On sale: november
Price: from £46,550On sale: June
A whopping 13 years after the first XC90 arrived, Volvo has finally introduced the second-generation model. The new car is smarter, safer and more stylish than before, and features an all-new platform and engine range.
It'll rival the BMW X5, Porsche Cayenne and Land Rover Discovery, but Volvo has focused on comfort and efficiency rather than trying to compete on sporty dynamics. Only four-cylinder engines are available, plus a super-efficient 390bhp plug-in hybrid. Another focal point is safety, with the XC90 key to Volvo's plan to ensure nobody is seriously injured or killed in any of its cars by 2020.
Now check our our run down of the best cars due in 2016...