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25 Cars Worth Waiting For: 2016–2019

Car and Driver logo Car and Driver 2015-06-22

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Each forthcoming car, truck, and SUV is an as-yet-unrealized promise, but none emerges wholly from the ether. Clean sheets of paper are found at Staples not car companies, whose planners juggle plants, partnerships, powertrains, and platforms to feed global sales channels. This guarantees a high likelihood of product success, but often also a bland if competent uniformity. So, when something reaches off the page and slaps you in the face, when a just-launched online configurator has you rushing to check your bank balance—that’s amazing. We are celebrating that here.

These are the vehicles that make news each time they shed a bit of camo or whenever a jet-lagged executive reveals a detail about a redesigned wiper stalk. Mere rumors of their existence accelerate competitors’ product cycles. The wait to drive them—one, two, sometimes even three years—is rewarded with hoped-for revelations in advanced technology, structural integrity, mass reduction, fuel economy, features, and acceleration. Fun, too.

Curating this stream of information is nearly as fraught as managing the billions it takes to develop a new model. We beg and borrow insights from around the business, tap sources, and hold our bladders until after the wine glasses have been cleared from the dinner table before asking questions. This year we are even ranking them, counting down to the one that’s most worth waiting for.

Let’s do this.

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2017 Ford GT

Ford's most expensive car ever just may be its best car ever.

In an industry that tends toward superficiality in its anniversary observations—for the Corvette’s 50th anniversary, Chevy painted a handful of cars maroon—Ford goes big. It gave itself the 2005 GT to celebrate its 100th birthday; got around creating a special-edition 50th-anniversary Mustang by redesigning the entire car; and is now honoring the golden anniversary of its historic 1-2-3 sweep at Le Mans in 1966 with another interpretation of the winning GT40.

Click here to read the full story on the 2017 Ford GT.

© Land Rover

2018 Land Rover Defender

England's supreme utility vehicle will return to the States.

This British icon hasn’t been redesigned in more than 30 years and remains the direct descendant of the original 1948 Series I. The new model will finally make a clean break, ditching the ancestral corrugated-cardboard styling yet retaining its predecessor’s rugged, agricultural appeal. Land Rover last sold the Defender in the U.S. almost two decades ago, and the brand’s core identity needs some burnishing to offset the latte-and-smartphone crowd that, in the intervening years, has claimed it for its own.

Click here to read the full story on the 2015 Land Rover Defender.

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2016 Porsche Cayman GT4

Finally allowed out of the 911's shadow, this is the best Porsche Cayman ever produced.

Porsche’s mid-engined sports car is 18 years old. Having reached the age of majority, it is finally being allowed to strike out on its own this July. Back in 1996, the first Boxster was a cute, cheery, and relatively cheap addition to a stagnant product line. It and other bright ideas, including the Cayenne SUV, saved the company. Today the Boxster and its Cayman sibling have evolved beyond mere lineup entry points and that, plus Porsche’s enviable profitability, allows the brand to reconsider its long-running decree that the 911 must overpower the small mid-engined cars. So while the 911 further matures into a GT, Porsche gifts us with the ultimate Cayman, the GT4.

Click here to read the full story on the 2016 Porsche Cayman GT4.

Artist's Rendering © Provided by Car and Driver Artist's Rendering

2016 McLaren P14 Supercar

A junior P1... And that's definitely a good thing.

Keeping up with the frantic pace of  McLaren’s product launches requires the skills of a Cold War spy trying to monitor Soviet arms development. Woking­ologists know there’s always an even more ludicrously powerful weapons system around the corner.

Click here to read the full story on the 2016 McLaren P14.

Illustration by Christian Schulte © Provided by Car and Driver Illustration by Christian Schulte

2017 BMW 5-Series/M5

We hope to see a return to the athletic poise of generations past.

Once the king of fun four-doors, the increasingly heavy M5 has plowed strange ground over the past two generations, both as the ugly and weird V-10 scream-droid and as the current turbo luxury cruiser. We hope that the seventh-generation 5-series/M5 will mark a return to the athletic poise of the much-missed E39 (1997-2003).

Click here to read the full story on the 2017 BMW 5-Series/M5.

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2018 Honda Civic Type R

No less a mission than repairing the brand's relationships with enthusiasts.

Honda hasn’t fielded a real performance car since it killed the S2000 roadster six years ago, and despite still-robust sales the current Civic has been a critical failure. Importing the Type R should help resurrect the brand’s credibility with enthusiasts, while adding excitement to a model that’s grown too conservative.

Click here to read the full story on the 2018 Honda Civic Type R.

Illustration By CHRISTIAN SCHULTE © Provided by Car and Driver Illustration By CHRISTIAN SCHULTE

2017 Alfa Romeo Giorgio Sedan

If Alfa is to succeed in America, it needs this car to be great.

Alfa has to nail the engineering, the Italianesque styling, and the quality, because Giorgio will take the brand up against entrenched German competition. It will also serve as the foundation for a whole family of spinoffs over the next three years, including both a compact and mid-size SUV, plus likely Quadrifoglio performance models.

Click here to read the full story on the 2017 Alfa Romeo Giorgio Sedan.

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2019 Lamborghini Asterion

Lambo's potential answer to the 918 Spyder, P1, and LaFerrari.

Alongside the Ferrari LaFerrari, McLaren P1, and Porsche 918 Spyder, the Asterion further cements hybrid systems as appropriate kit for future supercars. At the very least, hybridization will be one stopgap Lamborghini employs to postpone its inevitable adoption of boosted and downsized engines.

Click here to read the full story on the 2019 Lamborghini Asterion.

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2016 Cadillac CT6

We're eager to drive it—but we're even more eager to see where it takes Cadillac.

No, this is not the crown jewel you were looking for. This new sedan from Cadillac, the CT6, doesn’t look a thing like the gorgeous Elmiraj coupe or the brash Ciel convertible concepts that Cadillac showed recently. Try to contain your disappointment because while this car is lacking in flamboyance, it indicates that Cadillac is setting the stage for even bigger things. Cadillac’s global project manager, Bill Mack, notes that the CT6, though positioned a category above the CTS, is “not the end of our aspirations.”

Click here to read the full story on the 2016 Cadillac CT6.

Illustration By RADOVAN VARICAK © Provided by Car and Driver Illustration By RADOVAN VARICAK

2017 Lexus SC

The SC badge returns on a (relatively) attainable convertible.

Why it matters? Well, your health and your family are all that really matter. But to Lexus, having a stylish halo grand touring car might not be such a bad way to telegraph the brand's newfound, German-baiting performance pretensions.

Click here to read the full story on the 2017 Lexus SC.

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2016 Ford Focus RS

We've been waiting for a U.S.-market RS for a long time.

The RS looks good in the metal, a measure more muscular than a Focus ST. A retuned version of the Lincoln MKC’s 2.3-liter ­EcoBoost four with a low-inertia turbocharger makes the power. As is Ford’s way, there’s an official promise of “well in excess of 315 horsepower,” and insiders hint at an output around 340. The only transmission will be a six-speed manual; there’s never been an automatic Focus RS, and Ford has no plans to offer one now. Adjustable dampers will be standard, and on optional track-appropriate tires the RS is claimed to be capable of delivering more than 1.0 g of  lateral acceleration. This certainly looks set to be Ford’s hottest hatch yet when it goes on sale early next year priced around $35,000.

Click here to read the full story on the 2016 Ford Focus RS.

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2017 Volkswagen Beetle Dune

The unicorn of bugs.

The current Beetle’s demographic has solidified, and the Dune seems like an easy way to expand its appeal without the cost of engineering a new vehicle. Conjuring images of wild ’70s beach orgies can’t possibly be bad for business, can it?

Click here to read the full story on the 2017 Volkswagen Beetle Dune.

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2017 Maserati Alfieri

Twin turbochargers and stunning design.

Named for one of the three Maserati brothers who opened their workshop in 1914, the Alfieri will compete against the Jaguar F-type, the Mercedes-AMG GT, and the Porsche 911 with a starting price around $100,000. Expect the production car to be built from a mix of steel and aluminum, sharing key parts of its structure with the next GranTurismo. Maserati will separate its Alfieri and GranTurismo coupes with $30,000 between their base prices and a 9.4-inch difference in wheelbases. A cabriolet is also guaranteed, likely arriving a year after the coupe.

Click here to read the full story on the 2017 Maserati Alfieri.

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2016 Infiniti Q30/QX30

Infiniti's new compact hatchback and crossover will pack Mercedes engines and chassis tech.

The four-door Q30 hatch will slot into the lineup beneath the Q50 sedan. And because that lineup isn’t confusing enough, there will also be a QX30 using the same sheetmetal but crossoverized with more cladding and a slight lift. Nissan’s luxury division wants to play in the same down-market space that Audi, BMW, and Mercedes-Benz have recently entered, but recognizes that going tête-à-tête will require more than just fielding correlative products. Appealing to younger buyers, however, could prove easier and more rewarding in the long run for Infiniti than trying to battle the Germans on higher ground, their traditional areas of strength.

Click here to read the full story on the 2016 Q30/QX30. 

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2017 Jaguar F-Pace

It's late to the party, but should quickly become Jaguar's bestseller.

Only a decade or two behind trend, Jaguar will soon have its first sport-utility vehicle. Once content to let corporate brother Land Rover handle the SUVs, Jaguar sees a desperate need to grow sales via a more complete luxury catalog. We fearlessly predict that the F-Pace will quickly become Jaguar’s bestseller. It should easily outsell the entire ­current lineup, which garnered a relatively ­paltry 16,000 sales in the U.S. last year (Land Rover moved more than 51,000 units).

Click here to read the full story on the 2017 Jaguar F-Pace.

© Illustration by Nick Kaloterakis | Provided by Car and Driver

2017 Chevrolet Corvette Zora ZR1

The mid-engined Corvette we've demanded for about half a century.

What is it? The mid-engined Corvette that GM has teased us with—and that Don Sherman has demanded—for about half a century.

Click here to read the full story on the 2017 Chevrolet Corvette.

© Illustration by Radovan Varicak

2017 Bugatti Chiron

The Veyron replacement you've been waiting for—particularly if you have millions to spare.

The 258-mph Veyron 16.4 Super Sport currently wears the crown of fastest production car, but the Chiron, named for Monaco-born racer Louis Chiron, should reach 288 mph, assuming you can rent Nebraska.

Click here to read the full story on the 2017 Bugatti Chiron.

© Illustration By Radovan Varicak | Provided by Car and Driver

2017 Honda Ridgeline

Honda reloads its unibody pickup.

The first Ridgeline had its fans—us included—and some novel features, such as a two-way tailgate and a lockable trunk/beer cooler recessed in its bed. But it also had critics, traditionalists who insisted that trucks without separate frames are as useless as stockings without garters. A decade has now passed since that first Ridgeline launched and, with unibody crossovers having all but supplanted body-on-frame SUVs, the market might be more accepting. 

Click here to read the full story on the 2017 Honda Ridgeline.

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2018 Mercedes-Maybach Pullman

An emperor-class luxury liner.

The luxurious Maybach S600 put onto the rack, stretched to more than 21 feet long, stuffed with enough extravagant trimmings to choke a Trump, and proffered for the pleasure of the one-hundredth of one-percenters. Notable features include a pair of emperor-class executive rear seats; jump seats for aides-de-camp, bodyguards, or mere hangers-on; an audio system tuned specifically to the ear of the buyer; and Magic Chauffeur Control, a glass partition that can be lowered or made opaque at the press of a button.

Click here to read the full story on the 2018 Mercedes-Maybach Pullman.

2017 Mercedes-Benz C-class Coupe © Illustration by Christian Schulte | Provided by Car and Driver 2017 Mercedes-Benz C-class Coupe

2017 Mercedes-Benz C-class Coupe

The C coupe promises to be luxurious and stunning to behold.

When the last C-class made its debut, the exterior aesthetics were right-on, but the interior was quite a bit off. During a period where BMW finally felt compelled to dispense with cheap-as-free cabins, and Audi’s across-the-board improvements resulted in positive unit-shifting juju, the C’s insides reeked of the DaimlerChrysler peace dividend. Which is to say, costs were cut. Worse, the car itself was of little note dynamically, the mighty C63 AMG Black Series notwithstanding.

Click here to read the full story on the 2017 C-class Coupe.

2017 Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk © Illustration by Chris Doane Automotive 2017 Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk

2017 Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk

As much as 707 horsepower in a Grand Cherokee? Hell yes!

Dodge now claims exclusive rights to the SRT badge, but the Jeep Grand Cherokee is currently the bestselling vehicle to wear it. FCA isn’t about to shut down its hot-rod-Jeep money mint, so the hi-po Grand Cherokee will now be known as the Trackhawk.

Click here to read the full story on the 2017 Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk.

2016 Ferrari 488GTB © Provided by Car and Driver 2016 Ferrari 488GTB

2016 Ferrari 488GTB

Speed, style--and a price to match.

As great as the 458 still is, it’s about to become the oldest car in its profoundly fashion-conscious segment. The revised styling will keep it fresh for several more years, while the turbocharged 488’s power hike and aerodynamic improvements will make it quicker. Speed never goes out of style.

Click here to read the full story on the 2016 Ferrari 488GTB.

2017 Ram Rampage © Illustration by Radovan Varicak | Provided by Car and Driver 2017 Ram Rampage

2017 Ram Rampage

A new entry level truck for Ram via Fiat.

The Rampage will exploit Fiat’s small-truck expertise (yes, it has some) while expanding the Ram product range. And the right-sized Rampage shouldn’t poach lucrative full-size-pickup customers.

Click here to read the full story on the 2017 Ram Rampage.

2016 Bentley Bentayga © Illustration by Radovan Varicak | Provided by Car and Driver 2016 Bentley Bentayga

2016 Bentley Bentayga

Bentley's new Range Rover fighter is on the horizon.

The height of  luxury or vulgarity, depending on your point of view. Also, a five-seat SUV for the Uruguayan ranch you’re planning to slip away to when the revolution comes.

Click here to read the full story on the 2016 Bentley Bentayga.

2018 Chevrolet Bolt © Provided by Car and Driver 2018 Chevrolet Bolt

2018 Chevrolet Bolt

Chevy's new entry-level EV looks to take the fight to Tesla and Nissan.

Bolt will complement the new, second-gen 2016 Volt in Chevrolet showrooms while also helping to amortize some of GM’s electric-car development costs. Chevy wants the Bolt to be the first affordable EV lunchbox with a 200-mile range, counting on both mass-market sales to all the commoners who can’t splurge for a Tesla, and public acceptance of GM’s broad definition of the word “affordable.”

Click here to read the full story on the 2018 Chevrolet Bolt.

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