J-L of new cars

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Jaguar C-X16

From the Jaguar C-X16 coupe to Kia's new Mondeo-rivalling family saloon, here's J to L of the hottest new cars for 2012

Jaguar C-X16
On sale: December
Price: £50,000 (est)

The new E-Type is coming. Jaguar took the wraps off its C-X16 concept car at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September, and it previews an upcoming two-seat sports coupé which will give Jaguar a cut-price rival to the Aston Martin Vantage V8 and Porsche 911. The concept featured a 3.0-litre supercharged V6, producing 375bhp, paired with a 95bhp electric motor. According to Jaguar, the C-X16 will be capable of going from 0-62mph in 4.4 seconds with a limited top speed of 186mph. Expect the production model to get a normally aspirated V6, with a supercharged version for the top-spec R. A drop-top is on the cards, too.

Jaguar XF Sportbrake
On sale: September
Price: £33,000 (est)

The XF estate is finally coming. The Sportbrake will major on style and offer a bit more space than an Audi A4 Avant – just don’t expect a boot to match a Mercedes E-Class Estate. Engines will be carried over from the XF saloon, which means a 2.2-litre diesel, a V6 diesel and petrol V8s.

Jaguar XJ Speed & Sport Packs
On sale: May
Price: £60,000 (est)

From next year, XJ owners can choose from two packs. The Sport Pack gets a host of aerodynamic tweaks, red brake calipers, sports seats and 20-inch Venom alloy wheels. The Speed Pack lifts the electronic limiter on the supercharged model, allowing it to reach 174mph.

Jaguar XKR-S Convertible
On sale: May
Price: £103,000

It’s the fastest Jaguar convertible ever – and also the most expensive, starting from £103,000. The 5.0-litre supercharged V8 sees power increased from 503bhp to 542bhp, while steering, suspension and ride are all upgraded. All this means the XKR-S takes only 4.2 seconds to go from 0-60mph; top speed is 186mph.

Read our first drive >>

We’ve driven it…
Steve Fowler, Editor-in-chief: “The XKR-S Convertible isn’t short of charisma. With the roof folded you get to hear every single note of the 542bhp 5.0-litre supercharged V8. But is it worth £20,000 more than the XKR? No.”

Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8
On sale: April
Price: £59,000 (est)

With a 470bhp 6.4-litre V8 engine, sports suspension, huge brakes and an aggressive bodykit, the SRT8 is not for shy or retiring types. But it’s a lot of fun. Porsche and Mercedes rivals will have the edge on cabin quality, but can’t match the Grand Cherokee’s bangs for your buck.

Read our first drive >>

Kia Cee’d 5-dr
On sale: June
Price: From £14,000 (est)

Sharing a platform with the new Hyundai i30, the all-new Cee’d should move Kia closer to the VW Golf and Ford Focus than ever before. We’ve already driven the new i30 and were impressed by its quality and value. The Cee’d will add a sharper design and sportier handling.

Kia Cee’d SW
On sale: Oct
Price: From £15,000 (est)

With many families downsizing, compact estates are more popular than ever. The Cee’d SW goes on sale four months after the hatch, and it will share the same styling, influenced by the Kia GT (above). It should offer nearly 400 litres more loading space, with the rear seats folded.

Kia Optima
On sale: January
Price: £18,000 (est)

Kia’s answer to the Ford Mondeo replaces the lacklustre Magentis and gives the firm an excellent addition to its fast-improving line-up. The big saloon is not only stylish and good to drive, it’s also spacious inside and comes with lots of standard equipment.

Read our first drive >>

Lexus GS
On sale: May
Price: £50,000

Charged with adding some excitement to the Lexus line-up, the latest GS is much better looking and has a rear-drive chassis with a host of gadgets to improve handling. The top-spec GS 450h hybrid is roomier than before, and has been joined by an entry-level 2.5-litre V6 GS 250.

Read our first drive >>

We’ve driven it…
Sam Hardy, Motoring editor: “The GS 450h is more spacious than before, with a bigger boot. Sadly, it’s still no BMW 5 Series to drive, with a whining CVT gearbox and numb steering. It remains a fast and relaxing motorway cruiser, though.”

Lotus Evora GTE
On sale: April
Price: £100,000 (est)

Blurring the boundaries between a race and road car, the GTE gets a 438bhp version of the Evora S’s 3.5-litre supercharged V6. With its wild bodywork, wider track and 105kg stripped from the kerbweight thanks to carbon fibre panels, the GTE is the most extreme Lotus to date.

Lotus Exige S
On sale: January
Price: £54,900

A host of new Lotus models will begin to arrive in 2013, but until then the current range is being tuned up. The Exige S gets a 345bhp 3.5-litre supercharged V6, a more extreme exterior and a more luxurious interior. It goes from 0-62mph in 3.5 seconds on its way to 170mph.

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Chart position: 4

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