Every year, car fandom reaches fever pitch when the big brands unveil their latest concepts and line-ups destined for the market. However, in 2020, setbacks caused by the uncertainty of lockdowns, dealership closures and paused production lines means many manufacturers were forced to stall new releases.
But, hopeful as ever, 2021 is anticipated by many pundits to be a productive year for the automotive industry and beyond.
Resting the rumours of 2020 aside, our most highly anticipated newcomers of 2021 illustrate how, sometimes, the best things are worth the wait. Full of style, substance, and everything in-between, our most anticipated cars of 2021 feature electric, performance and a line-up of the usual suspects, including a few controversial ones.
Best Electric Car of 2021: Audi Q4 e-tron
Advancing on its all-electric offering, the Audi Q4 e-tron is a compact, four-door SUV with all the luxury trimmings and features. Mobilised by two electric motors, generating 225kW of power, the Q4 e-tron concept enjoys all-wheel quattro drive and great traction. In terms of performance, it can sprint from 0-100 km/h in 6.3 seconds with a total range of over 450 kilometres, which establishes a benchmark for its class.
Establishing a positive direction for the familiar manufacturer, the Audi Q4 e-tron is an impressive concept for the company’s future electric mobility options. Stiffer competition in the electric market is less a likelihood than it is inevitability: the Q4 e-tron is a strong contender for rivalling Tesla’s upcoming Model Y as the market’s best answer to an electric SUV.
A buzzword heading into 2021, EVs are likely to challenge past and present car standards and push the envelope a little further towards sustainable energy and cleaner driving experiences. The Q4 e-tron is an upmarket favourite to win favour from both Audi’s existing drivers and those keen to experience a full-electric alternative to the Q3.
This isn’t so much about a new model in Audi’s sometimes familiar line-up, but it represents a new era altogether. The new Q4 is Audi’s first (and only) entry into VW Group’s MEB (modular electric-drive matrix) platform.
Most Unexpected: Alfa Romeo Guilia Quadrifoglio GTA
Similar to its predecessor, the Alfa Romeo Guilia Quadrifoglio GTA relies on a faithful 2.9-litre twin-turbo V6, yet can lift power to a much more playful 533 bhp. Its revamped performance brings much more substance to its style.
In its final stages of development, this car was further enhanced when F1 drivers tested its agility to help improve the productivity of its performance. Its engineering, including new weight reductions and widened wheel tracks, are a few of the new performance quirks that should help Alfa Romeo’s new Guilia Quadrifoglio GTA establish a firm reputation by mid-2021.
Best Reimagined Car: Hyundai’s Facelifted Kona
Hyundai’s facelifted KONA is just as chic as Range Rover’s Evoque with an abundance of style. This compact SUV represents a sporty and smart redesign of the KONA franchise: the new design is more than a simple refresh on the nose, it carries on into the cabin with an eight-inch touchscreen and rear-view cameras.
The sportier N-line, offering its athletic trim, offers more luxury than its pared back predecessor in the pre-facelifted package. Inside and out, the mild changes are all pleasant upgrades on the older models, with new safety-first features making the SUV even more dependable. Powered by a turbocharged 1.0 litre petrol engine with mild-hybrid assistance, (though the KONA has an electric alternative) the SUV is showing evidence of a reliable motor.
SUV production has defended itself against fatigue in recent times by reinforcing its presence with practical, well-composed cars like Hyundai’s KONA. It’s this versatility, curiously satisfying sporty edge, and added style that makes the KONA feel that little more luxurious than it did before.
Most Playful: 2021 Porsche 911 GT3
There’s always a firm favourite when it comes to yearly car roundups, and Porsche’s newest GT3 is a likeable contender.
With its race-car hardware, the new 911 GT3 feels like a bargain. It boasts a nimble design with improved aerodynamics, and Porsche’s latest GT3 holds a naturally aspirated 4.0 litre flat six engine, producing 503 bhp.
After a few exterior mods to lighten the frame – a new bumper shaves off a kilogram – and a few interior tweaks to keep the overall weight at 1430kgs, the new GT3 has composure and a tasteful design that keeps it competitive. It offers a responsive, well-rounded package that can either run tracks or everyday routes in the most memorable way.
Most Controversial: Tesla Cybertruck
The Cybertruck first attracted headlines during its infamous unveiling and subsequent test-drives that, judging by the excited crowd, found early success from Tesla’s established fandom.
Not only known for his faith in electric mobility, Tesla’s founding figurehead Elon Musk is also known for his gambles on ambitious projects, such as Tesla’s self-pilot auto-driving feature. And the futuristic, out-of-this-world Cybertruck is no exception.
Tesla’s dual-motor Cybertruck feels nearly cinematic with its crisp, angular bodywork and consistent metallic finish. It’s kitted with the usual of Tesla’s digital mods – including the central entertainment console – but under the slick surface it feels rather mysterious. In terms of performance, the Cybertruck is reported to reach 0-60 mph in 4.5 seconds (with a top speed of 120 mph).
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