The growth of electric vehicles and the move towards driverless
Although electric cars are now very much normal, they still only make up a small percentage of sales. They do, however, continue to grow and 2018 is sure to see them grab a bigger slice of the market.
There will be several new electric cars hitting the road in 2018, with the new Nissan Leaf one of the most anticipated.
With registrations of alternatively-fuelled vehicles trebling over the past five years, it’s set to be a big year for electric. And, although somewhat further off, expect to see real progress in driverless cars in 2018. Sure, they won’t be on the roads any time soon, but manufacturers are working hard on them and expect to see big strides made.
New models – electric and alternative fuel
Audi has been waiting, it says, for battery tech to improve enough to give any all-electric cars it produces a 300-mile range. That time has come, so expect an e-tron SUV to come along in 2018.
Hyundai is planning a dedicated fuel cell model, previewed by the FE Fuel Cell concept. It’ll follow the ix35 FCV, which brought the tech close to production territory.
Jaguar will bring its I-Pace to the market, with a range of at least 300 miles, power of 395bhp and 62mph in four seconds. And the best-selling fully electric car in the world will get a major facelift. The second-gen model gets a more powerful battery pack which, crucially, on paper, increases its range to 235 miles.
New models – supercars
While electric cars are sure to make big progress in 2018, that doesn’t mean that the other end of the scale – supercars – is any less lively.
Bentley will unleash its new Continental GT, which shares a platform with the Porsche Panamera and will have the flagship twin-turbo W12 petrol engine at launch. That means a whopping 626bhp, 62mph in 3.6 seconds and a 207mph top end. A cheaper V8 and a hybrid V6 version will follow.
BMW’s hi-tech i8 supercar will go topless in 2018 with the launch, at last, of a roadster version. The petrol-electric drive system will remain and the roof will be fabric to keep weight down and use as little space as possible.
Ferrari’s California T will be replaced by the beautiful new Portofino. Even the name is sexy. It’ll remain front-engined, rear-wheel drive and a 2+2. Power will come from a mighty 592bhp, twin-turbo V8, giving it 40bhp more than its predecessor. It’ll make 62mph in 3.5 seconds and hit 199mph. Despite all of that, it will be the cheapest Ferrari on sale.
Lamborghini’s Aventador will continue its evolution with the roadster version of the S model. It’ll give drivers the chance to enjoy the 730bhp V12 with the roof down, with 62mph in three seconds and a top speed of 217mph.
The best of the rest
SUVS and superminis are set to be the biggest news in 2018 for those of us who can’t afford supercars.
Highlights will include the new Mercedes-Benz A-Class, Audi A1 and VW Polo.
For those who like their hatches hot, Ford will give us the Fiesta ST, with 197bhp and 62mph in 6.7 seconds. All that with CO2 emissions of just 114g/km.
In the SUV sector we can look forward to the hot version of Alfa Romeo’s Stelvio – the Quadrifoglio. A 2.9 V6 twin-turbo petrol with 500bhp will get it to 62mph in less than four seconds.
Audi is set to replace its Q3, set to be lighter and more economical than the outgoing car, which is the oldest in its current range. The German marque will also launch the Q8 – a flagship SUV set to have lots of top-end tech on board. BMW will fill another niche with the X2, set to be a sportier version of the X1 and based on the same platform.
Citroen will bring us the C5 Aircross, its biggest SUV to date, which will feature hydraulic cushion suspension and double-glazed front windows to reduce noise.
At the cheapest end of the market Dacia will update the Duster, with all new body panels aiming to make it look more upmarket.
For those looking for a posher French SUV, we will welcome the DS 7 Crossback.
Ford will also update the EcoSport with a new front, new tech and four-wheel-drive.
Honda will ditch diesel for the new CR-V, meaning buyers will have a choice between a 1.5 petrol or a hybrid setup.
At the posh end, Lamborghini will launch the Urus, its first SUV, as it looks to tap into the market. It’ll have a 4.0 twin-turbo V8 and share a platform with the Audi Q7, Bentley Bentayga and Porsche Cayenne.
Talking of the Cayenne, the third-gen car will join us 15 years after the original was launched. Its smaller sibling, the Macan, will get a refresh as well.
SEAT will launch a third SUV to join the Ateca and Arona. Based on the large Skoda Kodiaq, it’ll be called either Alboran, Aranda, Avila or Tarraco after bosses launched an online competition to decide the name.
Volvo will continue with its XC range, with the XC40 joining the XC60 and XC90. It’ll have plenty of tech from those cars.