Some of us seemingly never tire of the latest and greatest in electronic and/or mechanical geekery. Automotive fans are definitely no exception. From the latest rumors about the newest Mercedes hatchback, to sightings of a four-door bull-on-wheels (*clears throat*: Lamborghini), here are five automobiles in either concept-only form or near-production guise.
2012 Lamborghini Estoque 4-door
Porsche did it. So did Aston Martin and Maserati—that is, produced a four-door car after decades of only sports cars. But let’s be realistic: It was only a matter of time before Lamborghini jumped on the bandwagon, too.
Hence, the concept version of the 2012 Lamborghini Estoque is now likely headed for standard production, and perhaps none too late. Lamborghini, a subsidiary of Audi and the Volkswagen Group, has been vying for its own four-door supercar for several years now—a marquee that would nicely compliment the Gallardo and Murcielago exotic coupes and fill the “four-door void” in Lamborghini’s inventory. When it hits dealerships next year, the big-wigs at Lamborghini expect the Estoque to account for up to one-half of the manufacturer’s sales!
Many of the specs are still unknown, but automotive authorities say that it is likely that the Estoque will boast a 500+ horsepower, front-engine (as opposed to the other two mid-engined cars), twin-turbocharged V8 based on the forthcoming Audi S8 super sedan. The price, though, may come as a mild shocker; company officials have hinted at a price of just around $150,000. For a Lambo, or even Ferrari or Bentley, that’s a helluva bargain.
2012 Mercedes-Benz A-Class
Until present, it’s been the consensus of most that the current Mercedes A-Class—while certainly practical and efficient—is about as exciting as in-depth book of U.S. tax code. But ALAS, 2012 is upon us and Mercedes is putting the final touches on its new, sporty, and chic little hatchback.
Debuting at the New York and Shanghai auto shows earlier this year, the radically new A-Class will boast more aggressive (or ‘edgy’, whichever term you fancy) styling, a new Powertrain (2.0L, turbocharged I-4), and dual-clutch tranny. Mercedes touts the new design, flaunting sharp creases and mesmerizing, flowing lines, is inspired from wind, waves—and perhaps as a homage to Saab (or not)—avionics on the exterior and interior. Elsewhere, especially in the front- and rear-quarters, influences from the 2012 CLS are readily palpable to anyone even remotely familiar of Mercedes design philosophy.
Expect the new A-Class to hit showroom floors later in 2012, possibly as a 2013 model and carry a base price just north of $28k.
2012 Hyundai Veloster: Hyundai
Hyundai’s been on a roll in the States for several years now. First in establishing itself as a legit competitor to the likes of Lexus, Acura, and Infiniti with the Genesis Sedan a few years back, and subsequently introducing the totally revamped Sonata (competing with the likes of the once-unbeatable Camry and Accord), the Equus ultra-luxury sedan, and the Genesis coupe—Hyundai’s on its way to the top.
But a few (monumental) successes just isn’t going to satisfy the Korean auto manufacturer. Now it’s pushing the Veloster concept, an ultra-sleek “coupe”. It’s a “coupe” instead of ‘coupe’ because it’ll have three doors, an extra one on the passenger side for easier entry/exit to and from the rear seats. Furthermore, the Veloster, in its current phase, has a 1.6L V4 and tips the scale at only 2,580 lbs.: Certainly no rocket, but considering its 40-mpg aspirations and sporty handling, it’ll more than satisfy its likely customer base.
Oh, and expect the much-coveted six-speed, dual-clutch tranny as standard equipment.
2012 Scion FR-S Axis
Making its U.S. debut at the New York auto show earlier in 2011, the 2012 Scion FR-S Axis was one of the hottest rides among spectators. It looks to be the much-anticipated Toyota FT-86 rear-wheel drive coupe (with Hyundai badges, nonetheless) that enthusiasts have waited years for (only they wanted a reincarnated Toyota Celica or Supra). Further, the FR-S Axis represents one of the first rear-drive coupes from Toyota (parent company) in over a decade (first ever for subsidiary Scion).
Many a Celica or Supra fan will be upset, even pissed at this latest move. Nonetheless, Scion is apparently moving forward with the rear-drive coupe, which will boast a flat-four under the hood that’s coupled to either a 6-speed auto or dual-clutch manual tranny.
Expect the Scion FR-S to hit dealer lots around this time in 2012 and carry a price circa $22k.
2012 Ford Focus ST
Ford made an instant star with the original 2000 Focus—a compact sedan/wagon/hatchback that effectively replaced the then woefully-outdated Escort. Since then, we’ve seen the Focus go through several changes—sporting different nomenclatures like Focus “SES, SEL, SVT, ST, RS, or Saleen 121” and being alternatively available in wagon, hatchback, or sedan form.
The front-drive 2012 Focus ST touts a turbocharged 2.0L I4 (worth some 240 horses) and will likely come outfitted with niceties like a sport-tuned suspension, Recaro seats, larger rims, “premium” color coat, dual chrome exhaust tips, and upgraded brakes.