Sure, electricity may be all the rage in the automotive world these days (GM alone has plans to roll out no less than 20 battery-powered vehicles by 2023), but that doesn’t mean there isn’t plenty of exciting action happening in the carbon-burning segment, as well.
From the hottest electric to enter BMW’s fleet to a drool-worthy new E-Class Mercedes convertible (yes, convertible), we’ve compiled all of the future cars we simply can’t wait to drive—regardless of their power source. So read on, and enjoy—and for more great car coverage, don’t miss the 10 Things We Love About the New Kia Soul Turbo.
BMW “i5” (official name TBD)
With BMW’s electric i sub-brand stalled in the market, the company has fast-tracked its i Vision Dynamics program to jolt the lagging division into position to rival Tesla, and, in particular, the new Model 3.
Likely to be badged the “i5” when it launches in 2021, the concept teases a four-door coupe, expanding the i-series lineup to three, slotting in as the first of 25 new electrified vehicles BMW plans to field by 2025. Range will be in the area of 373 miles with a top speed of 120mph. The i sub-brand, according to development chief Klaus Froehlich, “is the innovation driver for the BMW Group.” He adds: “It also acts as a spearhead of innovation” for other group brands, including Mini Cooper and Rolls-Royce.
Honda Urban EV
With the future getting closer all the time, Honda pumps the brakes with their endearingly retro-inspired Urban EV Concept, due to launch in 2019.
Calling to mind simpler times, the Urban EV’s look is refreshingly uncomplicated. The interior features a navigation screen that stretches nearly the entire width of the car, adaptable for the fully autonomous iteration that’s sure to follow. The Urban EV marks the debut of Honda’s all-new platform designed to underpin its future fleet of electric-based models.
Jaguar Electric E-Type
Widely considered the most beautiful car ever built, it’s nearly inconceivable to imagine an E-Type Jag powered by anything other than a carbon-chugging piston engine. But Jaguar’s popular classic division has managed to retrofit a 220kW electric powertrain into the E-Type, while leaving the chassis intact with original suspension and brake components.
The idea is not as mad as it seems, since it allows the car to be re-fitted with its original internal combustion burner. The company’s directors believe that as major cities like London ban gas engines, there will be a demand for adapting classic cars for the new era of emissions-free propulsion.
“We know there’s an audience out there that are attracted to the style of a classic car,” said JLR Classic director Tim Hannig, “but doesn’t want the inconvenience that can sometimes come with it. We also understand it’s not for everyone, and the guys who crave originality might have issues with it. But we think this is a way of future-proofing classic car ownership.”
How they intend to reconcile the resulting absence of Jaguar’s famous straight-six exhaust gurgle remains to be explained.
Mercedes E-Class Cabriolet
Convertibles are difficult to rationalize. You can’t say you need one, but there’s no denying you want it. Mercedes, acutely aware of the seduction power inherent in a Cabrio has engineered the newest E-Class sibling to a level that methodically breaks down the will to resist.
The new model shares its platform with the E-Class coupe, featuring a twin-turbo V6 producing 329 horsepower and 354 lb-ft of torque. That gets paired with Benz’s stellar nine-speed automatic, available with rear-wheel, or 4MATIC all-wheel drive.
Mercedes takes hedonistic open-air motoring seriously, as evidenced by thoughtful touches like the Aircup, a windshield header deflector that rises automatically to reduce wind buffeting, and the airtight, multilayer power-folding soft top that feels as secure as a coupe when raised. Its Airscarf provides a gentle breeze of warm air that caresses your neck through vents in the headrests, allowing top-down driving in cooler weather.
In fact, there are so many luxury and tech features in the new E-Class, you’d be forgiven for thinking you were driving a top of the line S-Class. With prices yet to be announced, the new E400 Cabriolet and E400 Coupe hit showrooms in late 2017.
Porsche Cayenne, Cayenne S, and Cayenne Turbo
The new third-generation Cayenne, introduced at the 2017 Frankfurt Auto Show, assumes fight-ready form to do battle with a legion of formidable contenders in a segment it once owned. It packs a choice of three powerplants, from a 330 horsepower turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 in the Cayenne, to a 440-horse twin-turbo 2.9-liter V6 in the Cayenne S, to the punishing 550-hp twin-spool 4.0-liter V8 in the Cayenne Turbo. Plug-in hybrids to follow with a range-topping model that shares the Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid’s V-8 and electric hardware for around 680 horsepower. Let the games begin.
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