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Cars for 2008

2008-01-11 07:38
Wheels24 looks into a crystal ball and predicts which new cars are to make an appearance on the international motoring scene and what we can expect for the local market.

Alfa Romeo

Without doubt the Fiat Grande Punto-based Junior will be the definitive hatchback launch for 2008.

Featuring all the striking Alfa styling cues designers could sculpt into the bodywork, it will be powered by engines ranging from a 1.4 petrol turbo right up to a 1.8-litre 170 kW turbocharged version making use of the Q2 limited slip differential.

The 147 is set to be replaced by the 149, which should easily become one of the best looking hatchbacks available, however it might only come here in 2009. The 159 range is topped off with an AWD 3.2-litre, 193kW 3.2 V6 GTA version.


The contemporary premium car specialist will attempt to successfully navigate downmarket in 2008 with its smallest model yet, the A1.

Featuring a massive front grille - echoing Audi's current design language - and dished bonnet, A1 should be powered by 91- and 112-kW versions of the 1.4-litre TFSI engine, a 76kW 1.9-litre TDI and a range topping 2-litre TFSI featuring quattro four-wheel drive.

Off-road, the Q5 will enter Land Rover Freelander/BMW X3 market space, whilst a tremendously brisk 373kW, 6-litre, V12 turbodiesel Q7 should share performance headlines with the new twin-turbocharged 432kW 5-litre V10 RS6 Avant.

The TTS just made its appearance but rumour has it that Ingolstadt is developing a rapier-like RS model, employing a twin-turbo 2.5-litre five-cylinder engine producing 260kW. Style orientated buyers also have the tantalising prospect of choosing between the new A3 convertible.

Then the A3 and A3 Sportback models are to get a new face too, taking design cues from the new A3 drop-top. Expect the fresh A3 range here in second half of 2008. Audi will take the battle to BMW and Merc too, with the highly anticipated A4. Also expect the stunning A5 and S5 coupes to arrive here this year.


The show-stopping X6 coupe will be the major new Bavarian market shaker during 2008.

Furthermore, the diminutive 1 Series will have its roof chopped off and replaced with some canvas to herald the 1 Series convertible, featuring both 3-litre normally aspirated and twin-turbo straight-six power.

The expanded 1 Series range will find its way to SA too this year. Family oriented BMW performance acolytes will be heartened at the launch of a 4-door M3 during 2008 too.

Apparently a facelift for the 3 Series is also on the cards.


Despite lacklustre local sales the CTS could reverse fortunes for the American luxury auto maker.

Distinctively Eurocentric in ride and handling, CTS features a full complement of both automatic and manual six-speed transmissions driving through a range of engines, including a very un-American 1.9-litre, 110kW turbodiesel.


From one of the world's biggest car makers comes a very important small model for 2008. The new Aveo, with its sharp, angular styling and 1.2-litre 62kW as well as 1.4-litre 73kW powerplants is set to shake up the supermini market.


After the traumatic Daimler-Chrysler split of 2007, 2008 will usher in a new version of the car which saved Chrysler in the early 1990s - the Voyager. New features should include Swivel 'n Go that enables the second row of seats to swivel around and face the third row.


Fiat will launch the 500 early this year in South Africa, while more derivatives of the small car will make their appearances on the international motor scene. Rumour has it that the small Sedici SUV will at last make its appearance finally in SA too.

Abarth, the performance arm of Fiat, is now set to become a completely independent brand. As a result, the striking Abarth Grande Punto SS version should be a compelling addition to the hot hatch market, featuring a crazy 134kW 1.4-litre turbo engine.


The Blue Oval chaps will shake up the SUV market in 2008 with an uncharacteristically sorted and small SUV, the Kuga.

Neatly proportioned, a strongly sculptured roofline and contemporary interior shows Kuga means business. Engines range from the 101kW 2-litre TDCi through to the 2.5-litre five-cylinder ST-sourced turbo engine. All powerplants will drive all four wheels through six-speed gearboxes.

The Fiesta replacement, a striking new vehicle called the Verve, should debut during 2008, and will ride on a Mazda2-based chassis. But local sales could only kick off in 2009.

The facelifted Focus will be launched locally and we should also see the introduction of a twin-clutch VW-style DSG gearbox.


Expect the Japanese engineers to move uncomfortably close to the premium Germans with the new Accord.

Styling cues should echo those of the 2007 Frankfurt Motor Show Tourer estate concept, and power should come from a host of typically advanced Honda i-VTEC petrol and i-DTEC turbodiesel engines.

The all-new Jazz will have its European debut later this year, and it might even reach South Africa before the end of 2008.


Korea's largest car maker will be replacing the Atoz with its new i10 city car slotting in at Kia Picanto-level which will come here too. However, the best news for South Africans are that Hyundai's Golf rival, the i30, is due here too later in 2008.

As the only Korean manufacturer with an inkling of sporting intentions, a new Coupe in 2008 is set to revolutionise the way people perceive Hyundai products by being rear-wheel driven and having V8 power.


Despite uncertainty over its future, Jaguar will launch the eagerly awaited XF here in 2008.

With a charmingly contemporary interior and distinct exterior styling as well as a range of powerful engines, ranging from a 2.7-litre twin turbodiesel to a 4.2-litre V8 petrol, the XF is taking aim straight at the 5-series/E-Class market space.


The American manufacturer is now under the auspices of a private equity fund and will roll out an all-new version of its journeyman model, the Cherokee.

Sharing the Dodge Nitro chassis, Cherokee adds its own new front and rear suspension and is powered by a 2.8-litre turbodiesel. A full-length canvas roof, similar to one found on the Wrangler Unlimited, will be an option.


Toyota's premium division will unleash its IS-F performance model during 2008. Featuring a 317-kW 5-litre V8 engine and Lexus reliability, it is sure to give the techies at Mercedes' AMG and BMW's M-divisions some sleepless nights.

Hybrid derivatives of the RX and LS ranges are apparently on the cards for South Africa, too.


After unbundling struggling partner Chrysler this year, Mercedes will have a quiet 2008. However, locally the big news will be the launch of the C63 AMG model, while the new C-Class estate will arrive here too.

Apparently the new CLC sport coupe will arrive year by June, while the freshened-up SLK will hit showrooms too.

We also expect the all-new E-Class to finally break cover.


Following on popularity of the massively successful Mazda2, the Japanese manufacturer will roll out its new Mazda6 here.

Larger than its predecessor, and featuring aggressive styling with a V-shaped grille and LED-headlamps, Mazda6 should feature a new 2.5-litre 125kW petrol engine too.

Elsewhere in the range an insane 210kW version of the Mazda3 MPS could become available too.


The Mini icon is set to become even more desirable during 2008 with the introduction of an all-new convertible version.

South African buyers can also look forward to the launch of the Clubman estate model.


Playstation gaming fans and serious petrol heads will be keenly awaiting the new Lancer Evolution X.

All the traditional Evo ingredients will remain, such as all-wheel drive and a 208kW turbocharged, 2-litre engine. Expect an absolute gaggle of electronic traction and drive trickery, too.

The list of acronyms present is extensive and includes Active Yaw Control (AYC), Active Centre Differential (ACD) and Super All-Wheel Control (S-AWC). Evo X will also feature a new gearbox with a twin-clutch set-up and paddle-shift gears.


Certainly the most eagerly anticipated new car from the Orient in 2008 should be the Nissan GT-R.

Replacing the vanguard Skyline, GT-R pays lip-service to the 208kW blanket power ceiling agreement amongst Japanese manufacturers and features a twin-turbo, 3.8-litre V6 worth 352kW.

Reputedly faster around the fabled Nurburgring than a 911 Turbo, the GT-R, with its highly sophisticated all-wheel drive system and trick differentials, could be the performance benchmark for 2008.


A quiet year is expected from this French manufacturer. The new 308 hatchback and cleverly-packaged SW estate models should feature strongly, along with a rumoured 207GTi with 156kW on tap.


The French giant will have an exceptionally busy 2008.

The carmaker will spice-up its local range with the new Laguna and Twingo models. Also, a new-look Modus is on its way here and hold thumbs to see the estate version of the Clio in SA, too

The most important new model for Renault this year is the introduction of its first proper SUV, the Koleos.

A production version of the Laguna Coupe concept car will also be unveiled and is set to feature Renault's innovative new ActiveDrive four-wheel steer technology, which is also set for introduction across the Laguna range of sedans and estates 2008.

Buyers seeking more practicality can await the new long-wheel base Grand Modus or the quirky new Kangoo, which is set to be 180mm longer than the current model.

And who knows, perhaps an all-new Megane might make a surprise appearance at the Paris Motor Show?


The Korean company renowned for building some of the ugliest, yet practical, vehicles in the world has taken aim, we kid you not, at the BMW 5 Series and Mercedes E-Class.

Codenamed the W200 and based on the striking World Zenith concept unveiled at this year's Frankfurt Motor Show, the new luxury model should offer both 5-litre V8 and 3.6-litre V6 power, all-wheel drive, self-levelling suspension and externally mounted cameras providing blind-spot-free motoring.


After bravely repositioning the popular Impreza range as a hatchback, the big news for 2008 should be the fire-breathing STI and diesel-powered versions.

The 2-litre turbodiesel is set to follow the characteristic boxer layout of four-cylinder Subaru engines and should produce 110kW and 250Nm.

Of course, the next Forester will go on sale in Europe later in 2008, and subsequently make its way here.

A facelift to the Tribeca SUV is also expected to arrive in South Africa.


The world's largest car maker will have a relatively quiet 2008, with only further development of the IQ city car concept.

Locally the Fortuner and Hilux models will receive a nip-and-tuck, while the Yaris TS performance derivative makes its way here, too.


The Vectra replacement, set to be named Insignia internationally, will prove a revelation in ride, handling and general refinement featuring new powertrains and interior infotainment systems.


The German giant will unleash a bevy of key new models across the market sphere.

In the highly competitive SUV market space the Tiguan - which underwent extensive testing in Namibia - will debut with both 110kW 1.4-litre TSI petrol and 125kW 2-litre turbodiesel power.

Resurrecting a great name in VW history will be the job of the stunning all-new Scirocco Coupe. With a sleek profile, muscular hatchback proportions and the same powerplants as the Tiguan SUV, Scirocco should have definite "wow factor" for 2008.

The eagerly-awaited Golf VI should debut towards the end of 2008, whilst the rather insane Passat R36, featuring 4Motion all-wheel drive and a 3.6-litre 220kW engine, should appease VW performance fans requiring a boot.


The suave Swedes will give the XC90 a smaller sibling in the form of XC60, featuring unusually aggressive styling for a Volvo.

Drivetrain is set to be lifted from the V50 T5, whilst the addition of Hill Descent Control should give it some extra off-road credibility.

Expect a typically cosseting Volvo interior with a spacious five-seat layout and the familiar floating centre console rounding off near perfect ergonomics.


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