What do BMW, Lambo, and Tesla have in common? They’re 10 cars we want to drive in 2014

2013 was a great year for cars. Enthusiasts got to drool over three awe-inspiring hybrid supercars – the Ferrari LaFerrari, McLaren P1, and Porsche 918 Spyder – plus the all-new Chevrolet Corvette Stingray.

It’s a performance-car party that happens, at best, once a decade.

The year may be over, but there’s plenty of excitement still to come. Turning to 2014, there’s plenty of great metal (and carbon fiber) set to hit showrooms. Here are 10 new cars that should make 2014 an automotive year to remember.

BMW M3/M4

The BMW M3 is the gold standard of sports sedans, and a redesigned model – along with the newly-renamed M4 coupe – is set to debut at the 2014 Detroit Auto Show in January.

The latest M3 will ditch the previous car’s V8 for a twin-turbocharged, direct-injected 3.0-liter inline-six. While the new motor is smaller it also produces more power: 425 horsepower and 406 pound-feet of torque, compared to 414 hp and 295 lb-ft for the old car.

Equipped with the seven-speed M DCT automated transmission (a six-speed manual will also be offered) the new M3 and M4 will do 0 to 60 mph in 3.9 seconds. Thanks to lightened chassis, they should also be plenty of fun in the corners.

Chevrolet Corvette Z06

Every Corvette fan knows that a new base model is just the beginning.

The Corvette Stingray may have been the subject of countless plaudits and forum wars over the past year, but now all eyes will turn to the Z06 performance model.

Also set to be unveiled in Detroit, the new Z06 will push the Corvette performance envelope, just like the last one.

The Z06 will most likely be powered by a 6.2-liter small-block V8, just like the base car, but with as much as 650 hp.

That should make the Z06 into an Internet sensation, until the next ZR1 comes along, that is.

2015 Ford Mustang

The Ford Mustang turns 50 in 2014, and what better way to celebrate than with a redesigned model?

The 2015 Mustang was unveiled earlier this month, and should make it to showrooms in time for the car’s official 50th anniversary in April 2014.

The new model features updated styling that references Mustangs of old while still looking modern, along with a full lineup of four, six, and eight-cylinder engines.

Other notable features include a new independent-rear suspension system and a secret automated burnout control device.

Lamborghini Huracán LP610-4

It wouldn’t be a party without Lamborghini, which will replace its best-selling Gallardo with a new model next year. 

The Huracán LP610-4 takes the Gallardo’s place as the “entry-level” model in Lamborghini’s lineup. Following Lamborghini tradition, it’s named after a fighting bull, in this case one named after a Mayan god.

The Huracán’s LP610-4 designation refers to its mid-engine layout, its 5.2-liter V10’s 610 hp, and its all-wheel drive.

Encased in a lightweight carbon fiber-aluminum body, and hooked to a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission, that powertrain will propel the Huracán to 62 mph in 3.2 seconds, and on to a top speed of over 200 mph.

The Huracan will make its public debut at the 2014 Geneva Motor Show in March, and go on sale shortly after that.

Lexus RC F

Lexus will unveil its first F new performance model since the IS F sedan at the Detroit Auto Show. After that, it will take the fight to BMW M and Mercedes-Benz AMG.

The new model will probably be the RC F, a souped-up version of the RC coupe, which was unveiled at the 2013 Tokyo Motor Show.

The RC will hopefully get the performance its extroverted looks. Lexus is keeping the details under wraps, but a similar program of improvement to the RC’s German rivals seems likely.

That means a larger, more powerful engine – possibly a 450-horsepower 5.0-liter V8 – to get those back tires spinning, and possibly some carbon-fiber bits that would put knowledge gained building the LFA supercar to good use.

McLaren P13

McLaren has proven that it can take on Ferrari. Now it’s turning its attention to selling more cars.

Well, a few more cars, at least. The P13 will still be a supercar, but it will be less expensive than the existing MP4-12C, and compete with cars like the Audi R8 and Porsche 911 Turbo.

Styling is expected to take more than a few cues from the P1. While under the skin, the P13 will essentially be a shrunken 12C. It will use a shortened version of the 12C’s carbon fiber chassis and a de-tuned version of its 3.8-liter V8.

The P13 is expected to go on sale next year, so look for it at an upcoming auto show.

Mercedes-Benz S-Class Coupe

Mercedes’ flagship two-door will no longer be known as a CL-Class. Instead, it will wear the same S-Class badge as the sedan it’s based on.

Previewed by the Concept S-Class Coupe from the 2013 Frankfurt Motor Show, the production car will be based on the recently-redesigned 2014 S-Class sedan.

That means unparalleled levels of refinement and technology, but in a more stylish package.

Expect the S-Class Coupe to share the sedan’s range of V8 engines, as well as tech goodies like Magic Body Control intelligent suspension. We’ll have to see if the hot-stone massage seats and perfume atomizer make it onboard as well.

MINI Cooper John Cooper Works

The MINI Cooper Hardtop is all new for 2014, which means it’s time to start building out the lineup.

The inevitable parade of convertibles, Clubmans, and Countrymans is sure to follow. But gearheads will be most interested in the John Cooper Works (JCW).

MINI will show this hot-rod Cooper in concept form at the 2014 Detroit Auto Show. Expect a more powerful engine and upgraded suspension to match its racy exterior. 

It’ll be interesting to see how the latest Cooper’s extra girth affects the brand’s signature “go-kart” handling, but a juiced version of the new 2.0-liter turbocharged four-banger should be able to handle it.

Porsche Boxster/Cayman GTS

Porsche’s past GTS models have found a pretty good sweet spot between civility and performance, so the Boxster and Cayman GTS models should be sublime.

Rumor has it that both versions will be unveiled at the 2014 Beijing Motor Show, and each will get a little extra dollop of sportiness.

Enhancements will reportedly include a power bump of 15 hp, Porsche’s PASM stability control system, and some subtle exterior and interior changes.

Unlike the more intense 911 GT3 and Turbo, these pint-sized performance models will also be offered with manual transmissions when they go on sale, reportedly by mid-2014.

Tesla Model X

Tesla Motors had such a hit with the Model S electric sedan, that it postponed the launch of the follow-up Model X crossover.

However, 2014 will reportedly be the year the Model X spreads its gullwings.

Other than those unusual doors, the Model X should be familiar to fans of the Model S. It will ride on the same platform, and use the same electrical components.

That should make for a crossover that’s not just efficient, but also fairly sporty. It’s the perfect ride for environmentally-conscious soccer moms.

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