Vaccines, a semblance of normality, international travel… if you’re optimistic, there’s much to look forward to in 2021.
On the automotive front, there’s a lot of exciting metal scheduled for launch in Australia and across the world.
The GR Yaris Rallye I have on order
The GR Rallye turns the Yaris up to 12 with track-ready suspension, front and rear locking differentials, 18-inch BBS alloy wheels, and Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tyres.
The regular car’s 200kW/370Nm 1.6-litre turbo and all-wheel drive drivetrain is unchanged.
Porsche 911 GT3
We’ve seen it largely without camo going hammer and tongs at the Ring. Given that it was flat to the boards through Hohe Acht and up through Wippermann, I can see that it’s got way more grip and downforce than the outgoing model.
Although I’m on record as saying I’ll never sell my 991 Carrera S, it’s as good as gone to the highest bidder. It’s only got 23,000 kilometres on it, if anyone’s interested.
2021 Toyota Landcruiser 300 Series
It’s a massively important model for Toyota and with news of Toyota axing the V8 diesel to make way for a hybrid drivetrain, it’ll be interesting to see how it’s received.
I’m really liking most of Audi’s latest products, and the new A3/S3 look fantastic. The S3 in particular looks great to my eye, and has the performance to match its new angry face. Maybe it’ll be time to upgrade my GTI when it comes around…
It took 50 years for Ford to introduce a right-hand drive Mustang here that was more than just a low-volume model. General Motors took almost as long bringing the Chevrolet Camaro here, and we still don’t have a factory right-hand drive Dodge Challenger.
Meanwhile, Chevrolet has been making the Corvette since 1953, and we’re just about to get an official right-hook one.
We’ve missed out on seven generations of arguably the most iconic front-engine, V8-powered American sports car, but GM is finally making it up to us by bringing the mid-engined C8 Corvette, which from all accounts is one impressive machine.
Although some past Corvettes have been a bit rough around the edges, the C8 promises a heretofore unreached level of material quality and mechanical refinement. Throw in the Corvette’s reputation for being an entirely livable daily driver sports car and you can see why I’m excited.
Rivian R1T and R1S
Can an electric car startup focussing on premium succeed? Rivian will give us an indication about whether Tesla is a one-off or just the first in a new wave.
On the plus-side it has investment from Ford and Amazon, as well as an order for 100,000 electric vans from the online retailer.
Running counter to this, it will have to face up to Tesla’s charging infrastructure advantage, and its incredibly loyal fanbase.
Hold the M4, the new BMW sports car I’m most excited about is the four-door M3.
Sure, the nose is a bit iffy, but the fact BMW is still doing a proper rear-wheel drive and manual option is worth celebrating. The initial reports from Europe are good, but the proof will be in the driving on Australian roads.
Hyundai’s decision to adhere the Ioniq badge to a new EV sub-brand is a smart one, and it’s my current understanding that its first model – called Ioniq 5 – will come to Australia next year.
It is expected to look like the lovely little Concept 45 we saw during 2019, and that car’s minimalist aesthetic really grew on me.
We also know it’ll use the Hyundai Group’s trick new E-GMP modular (stretchable) electric platform that should give it a flat floor and tons of space, allow ultra-rapid DC charging, and handle vehicle-to-load power generation, meaning it can act as a generator.
Given so many cool EVs won’t be coming to Australia, this one strikes me as a huge opportunity for a new sub brand.