From performance cars like the SRT Viper to the paradigm-shattering Tesla Model S, 2012, was a great year for cars. Saying that 2013 will be even better treads dangerously close to hyperbole, but what else can you say about two hybrid supercars made by two of the most legendary names in the business, a redesigned version of a sports car icon, or new green luxury cars? You can expect all that and more, now that we know the Mayans were wrong.
Cadillac’s first plug-in hybrid is based on the Chevy Volt, but will take its styling from the 2009 Converj concept. A high tech plug-in that bears more than a passing resemblance to the CTS Coupe sounds like a pretty good package, so we’re eager to see whether the ELR will perform like a luxury car while still sipping fuel like a Volt. It will also be the only green car that wouldn’t look out of place in an F-117 Nighthawk stealth fighter’s hangar. The ELR will make its public debut at the Detroit Auto Show in January, and will go into production sometime after that as a 2014 model.
A new Corvette is always a big deal, and 2013 will see the introduction of seventh model to bear the name. The new Corvette, known as the C7 to its close friends, promises to be leaner and greener, while still giving sports car fans everything they expect.
Under the hood will be the newest version of General Motors’ evergreen small block V8. Codenamed LT1, it will displace 6.2 liters and include variable valve timing and direct injection, two technologies that are new to the ‘Vette. The new V8 will make the C7 the fastest accelerating standard Corvette ever (0 to 60 mph in under four seconds) and the most fuel efficient (26 mpg highway), Chevy says.
Other improvements include a hydroformed aluminum frame with carbon fiber body panels, an impressive touch on a car that will cost less than $60,000. Another impressive touch is the manual transmission which, like the 991 Porsche 911’s, will have seven speeds.
The redesigned innards will be clothed in updated styling that should resemble the current C6 Corvette, but with new touches like square taillights and a more expressive front end. That new look will be unveiled on the eve of the Detroit Auto Show: January 13, 2013.
As the successor to the 2003 Ferrari Enzo, and the Prancing Horse’s first hybrid, it goes without saying that the F150 (also known as the F70) is a car we’re very interested in. It will feature the F12berlinetta’s V12 and an electric motor, potentially producing more than 800 hp. A Formula 1-style Kinetic Energy Recovery System (KERS) will provide the electricity. Ferrari also intends to make the F150 one of its lightest cars ever, with a target weight under 3,000 kilograms. Look for the F150 to bow at the Geneva Motor Show in March.
The first sub-Tesla luxury electric car will wear the Mt. Fuji badge of Nissan’s luxury division. This isn’t that surprising, since Nissan already has the Leaf to work off of. Introduced in concept form at the New York Auto Show last April, the LE will probably borrow heavily from the Leaf.
Infiniti will wrap those Leaf mechanicals in its signature styling, and says the LE will be as engaging to drive as its other products. It will also equip the LE with some unusual features: a wireless charging mat for owners’ garages, and a light-up grille (this admittedly, may not make it to production).
Jaguar will return to the two-seat sports car segment with this sexy roadster. The F-Type (son of E-Type, get it?) is wrapped in styling from the 2011 C-X16 concept, and will come with a variety of supercharged V6 and V8 engines. Maximum power is 495 hp in the F-Type V8 S. Each engine is paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission, although Jag eschewed its rotary knob for a more traditional shift lever.
Jaguar promises Porsche Boxster-like handling and a 4.2 second 0 to 60 mph time and 186 mph top speed for the V8 S. Aiding handling and acceleration is a a lightweight aluminum body.
The F-Type will go into production as a 2014 model and will slot below the XK in Jag’s lineup. The base model with a 3.0-liter, 340 hp, supercharged V6 will start at $69,000, a midrange F-Type S with the same V6 and 380 hp will cost $81,000, while a fully loaded F-Type V8 S will cost $92,000.
The McLaren MP4-12C is a technological marvel, but its Woking, England-based maker is just getting started. The last time McLaren went all-out on a car, it built the fastest one in the world. With that pedigree, the McLaren P1 should be something special.
It certainly looks special. Remarkably, McLaren says the P1’s shape is purely the result of aerodynamics (it generates a staggering 1,320 pounds of downforce) and the packaging requirements of mechanical components; there was no traditional “styling” involved. Still, the P1 looks pretty dramatic for a car shaped entirely by science.
As with every other McLaren, performance will be dramatic too. Specific horsepower has not been released, but McLaren says the P1 will have a power-to-weight ratio of 600 hp per ton. Over 700 hp seems likely, and the P1 will also be very light thanks to a mostly carbon fiber chassis.
The P1 was first shown as a concept at the Paris Motor Show last November, and production is expected to start in late 2013. McLaren will only build 500 of these exotic cars, so place your order now.
The Ferrari F70’s natural rival takes the hybrid supercar game up a notch. Porsche’s first supercar since the 2004 Carrera GT will be a plug-in hybrid, with a 500 hp, 4.6-liter V8 and two electric motors providing an additional 280 hp. That brings the total to 780 ponies.
Porsche says the 918 Spyder will sprint to 60 mph in 2.9 seconds, and reach a top speed of 210 mph. At the same time, Zuffenhausen is claiming 78 mpg, thanks in part to the fact that the 918 can propel itself to 94 mph on electricity alone. Drivers will be able to switch between electric, gasoline, and hybrid propulsion, depending on their mood.
If the 918’s hybrid powertrain doesn’t wow the public, its price will. Porsche is asking $845,000, and deliveries start September 18, 2013 (9/18).