A-B of new cars

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Alfa Romeo 4C

From the stunning Alfa Romeo 4C to the new 3 Series and a V8 Continental, here's A to B of the hottest new cars for 2012

Alfa Romeo 4C
On sale: December
Price: £40k (est)

Alfa’s stunning new 4C is a rear-wheel-drive, Porsche Cayman-rivalling coupé that’s set to reinvigorate the firm’s line-up. It has striking lines, while under the skin lies a lightweight carbon fibre chassis – already used on the mighty KTM X-Bow – that was developed with experts at racing specialist Dallara. Tipping the scales at less than 1,000kg, the 4C will be powered by an all-new 296bhp 1.8-litre turbo hooked up to a twin-clutch automatic. Expect a 0-62mph time of around five seconds and a top speed of 150mph. The coupe is spearheading Alfa’s return to the US in 2012 – and the company expects to sell around 20,000 models over a five-year production run.

Alfa Romeo Giulietta Cloverleaf
On sale: October
Price: £26,000 (est)

The hottest Giulietta in the range is due for a few subtle changes in 2012. We expect Alfa Romeo’s twin-clutch TCT gearbox to make an appearance in the Cloverleaf for the first time, hooked up to the already very potent 235bhp 1.75-litre four-cylinder turbocharged engine.

Alfa Romeo MiTo TwinAir
On sale: April
Price: £13,500 (est)

Fiat’s tax-free two-cylinder TwinAir engine is coming to the Alfa Romeo MiTo. Developing 85bhp, the tiny 900cc turbocharged petrol will have stop-start fitted as standard for impressive CO2 emissions of 98g/km and fuel economy of around 60mpg.

Aston Martin V12 Zagato
On sale: November
Price: £400,000

The latest Zagato is based on the Aston Martin V12 Vantage, but with a special carbon-fibre body and a luxurious new cabin thanks to a collaboration with the legendary design house. Production will be limited to only 150 examples, priced at a steep £400,000 each.

Read our first drive >>

Audi A1 Sportback
On sale: February
Price: £13,980

Next year, Audi’s supermini will be available as a five-door for the first time. It’ll come with a triple-seat rear bench as standard, too – the three-door is a strict four-seater. The Sportback also gets an exclusive colour, Samoa Orange, and the full engine range is carried over.

Audi A4 Facelift
On sale: January
Price: £26,555

Only weeks after BMW announced the all-new 3 Series, Audi revealed it had given the A4 a subtly updated look and a range of mechanical tweaks to improve ride comfort and fuel economy. Cleanest of the bunch is the £26,555 2.0-litre TDIe, which produces 134bhp yet still manages CO2 emissions of only 112g/km. The new 201bhp 3.0-litre TDI V6 engine will be introduced to the range for the first time, too. The A4 also gets updated interior trim and a revised entertainment system. Audi’s MMI Plus system allows the car to be used as a wireless Internet hotspot, while the sat-nav uses Google Maps. The range also gets new safety kit, including a lane departure warning system.

Read our first drive >>

We’ve driven it…
Luke Madden, Motoring writer: “It’s evolution rather than revolution for the A4, but the improvements to the comfort and the lower running costs make sense. All that’s missing is the sense of fun that the BMW 3 Series has in abundance.”

Audi R8 e-Tron
On sale: November
Price: £120,000 (est)

A near-production-ready R8 e-tron was revealed at September’s Frankfurt Motor Show, powered by four electric motors producing a total of 308bhp. Acceleration from 0-62mph takes only 4.8 seconds and the large 53kWh battery allows a range of around 155 miles.

Read our first drive >>

Audi RS5 Cabriolet
On sale: July
Price: £60,000 (est)

Drop-top version of the latest RS5 will be powered by the same 4.2-litre V8 as the coupe, producing 444bhp. Extra strengthening and weight in the chassis will mean performance is very slightly down on the hard-top’s, but expect 0-62mph to take less than five seconds.

Audi S1
On sale: May
Price: £23,000 (est)

The hottest A1 yet will be powered by a turbocharged 1.6-litre engine producing 220bhp and will be the only car in its class to have four-wheel drive. It also gets lowered and stiffened suspension and wider tracks to improve handling. Expect 0-60mph in six seconds.

Audi S6
On sale: August
Price: £50,000 (est)

The new A6 is by far the best Audi has ever produced, so we can’t wait to test the S6. Power comes from a twin-turbo 414bhp 4.0-litre V8 and is delivered to all four wheels through a new seven-speed, twin-clutch automatic. Avant estate should be the most popular.

Audi S7
On sale: August
Price: £60,000 (est)

The S7 is sure to get pulses racing. It’s powered by a 414bhp version of the Audi/Bentley 4.0-litre twin-turbocharged V8 engine (see left), and that means a 0-62mph sprint time of 4.9 seconds. However, it’s still surprisingly fuel-efficient, thanks to cylinder-deactivation technology, stop-start and regenerative braking. The cabin gets a few special updates, too, including sports seats and a red ring around the starter button.

Audi S8
On sale: June
Price: £80,000 (est)

The S8 produces 513bhp from its 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 and can accelerate from 0-62mph in 4.2 seconds with a limited top speed of 155mph. Refinement will still be fantastic, though, thanks to an active noise-cancelling system that can keep unwanted sounds out of the cabin.

Bentley Continental GT V8
On sale: February
Price: £120,000 (est)

It’s the start of a new era. A joint development between Bentley and fellow VW Group brand Audi means both are benefiting from a new 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8, which not only powers a new ‘entry-level’ Continental GT coupe and GTC convertible, but also the Audi S6, S7 and S8. For the Crewe-built luxury car, the V8 comes in 500bhp form. But in true Bentley tradition, it boasts more torque, with an incredible 660Nm from only 1,700rpm. A slick eight-speed automatic gearbox, cylinder deactivation and direct injection combine to ensure the Continental GT V8 will be the most efficient Bentley yet, returning around 25mpg and capable of up to 500 miles between fuel stops.

BMW 1 Series 3dr
On sale: September
Price: £18k (est)

At the moment, if you want a three-door 1 Series, your only choice is the old model – but BMW will introduce a sporty-looking three-door version of the all-new 1 next year. It’s set to get the same line-up of powerful and efficient new turbocharged petrol and diesel engines.

BMW 116d ED
On sale: March
Price: £18,500 (est)

Want a 1 Series that costs pennies to run? You need the 115bhp 1.6-litre diesel EfficientDynamics, which will be road tax and Congestion Charge-free thanks to 99g/km CO2 emissions. BMW claims 74.3mpg, too. Expect the pin-sharp driving dynamics of other 1 Series to remain.

BMW 3 Series Saloon
On sale: February
Price: £28,080

A new 3 Series is always big news. And the latest car is undoubtedly the best yet. It’s the largest, most efficient and quickest ever – and BMW has another class leader on its hands, judging by our drives of the excellent 320d Efficient Dynamics (which emits only 118g/km of CO2 and returns 62.8mpg) and 328i. That’s not all, though. With a frugal 316d ED model emitting only 109g/km on the way, and a flagship 335i that will be capable of 0-62mph in 5.5 seconds, there really is a 3 Series for everyone. What’s more, there’s a Touring estate in the pipeline, plus a GT-badged hatchback (similar to the larger 5 Series GT), not to mention the usual two-door coupe and convertible versions as well.

Read our first drive >>

We’ve driven it..
James Disdale, Deputy road test editor: “The hype has been justified. The new 3 Series is so good to drive that it’ll take years for the Audi A4 and Mercedes C-Class to catch up. All engines deliver a blend of pace and economy. I can’t wait for the M3!

BMW 5 Series ActiveHybrid
On sale: March
Price: £46,860

The first BMW hybrid to go on sale in the UK, the 5 Series ActiveHybrid combines a 335bhp 3.0-litre six-cylinder turbo petrol engine with a 53bhp electric motor and does 0-62mph in 5.9 seconds. It returns 44.1mpg and can run on electric power for 2.5 miles at speeds of up to 40mph.

BMW 6 Series Gran Coupe
On sale: June
Price: £40,000 (est)

At last, BMW has a rival to four-door coupes such as the Mercedes CLS and Audi A7. The Gran Coupe is simply a stretched 6 Series that can take two tall passengers in the back. Engines will be carried over from the coupe, and include a 313bhp 3.0-litre diesel.

BMW 7 Series facelift
On sale: October
Price: £60,000 (est)

Spy shots show that BMW is planning to introduce a slightly updated 7 Series with a few visual tweaks to the lights and bumpers. Engines will also be more efficient and an ActiveHybrid petrol-electric model is expected to be offered in the UK for the first time.

 

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