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The most exciting new cars to look forward to in 2015

21 December 2014

There’s nothing more exciting than hearing about the release of next year’s new car models, so we decided to make a list to keep you in the loop. Over the last few months we have been leaking different cars in the magazine — here’s our picks.

Honda Civic Type-R

By far the wildest-ever production Honda, the new Type-R (pictured above) features a turbocharged two-litre VTEC engine pumping out a massive 206kW. The Civic Type-R will be quicker than any Honda to ever wear the ‘R’ badge, including the supercar-destroying NSX. One of the coolest new features is the ‘+R’ button, which, when pressed, heightens the engine’s responsiveness, changes the power curve, and increases the steering response.

But don’t think that the Type-R will host an intelligent automatic gearbox just because it has all of this fancy technological wizardry — Honda have stated that the car will feature a six-speed manual gearbox, which should keep the purists happy. With this much power being put through the front wheels, torque steer is your worst enemy. Honda have managed to combat this with the use of a new steering system dubbed ‘steer axis’. This new mechanical system ensures the hyped-up Civic does what it’s told and goes where you point it. We wonder how long it will take us Kiwis to get our hot little hands on this hot little hatch.

Subaru WRX STI

One of our most anticipated vehicles to be launched in 2015 is the Subaru WRX STI. We have done a full review on this vehicle, which is available here. The STI version we received was the highest-specced model available, and in six-speed manual we knew we were in for some serious fun. Power has been increased to 226kW and torque bumped up to 402Nm, which was instantly noticeable over the WRX model with acceleration in both cornering, and in a straight line, improved.

Although its 2500cc engine is larger compared with earlier models, the compression still sits low at 8.2:1, which means it still isn’t that responsive given its capacity with power really coming in strong at 4000 rpm. Probably one of the biggest improvements from the base model is the rigidity. The STI is a huge 40-per-cent stiffer overall, both a good thing and a bad thing depending on where you do most of your driving. Road handling in the STI is simply incredible, no other car for this money offers this much confidence no matter the driver’s talent, or lack of.

Too much over or understeer and the DCCD all-wheel drive system splits torque and delivers it where required to keep you going in the right direction; something which came in handy during our challenging quest to find its limits. Gone are the days of Subaru’s rough and ready WRX STIs; these days they feel more like a European car. Subaru really has come a long way in their design.

In previous models, the STI version was simply a WRX with STI bolt-ons or upgrades; this STI is actually an entirely different car. Wheelbase has been extended 25mm, and the body has been lengthened which gives a huge two-inches of extra legroom for passengers in the back over the base model, but who really cares about that? Overall we hugely enjoyed our time with the WRX STI, we still can’t think of any other new package that performs this well straight out of the box.

Ford Mustang

The 2015-year Mustang has begun production at Ford’s Flat Rock Assembly Plant. The all-new Mustang will be built for global export for the first time in its 50-year history, going on sale in the United States during New Zealand’s spring, and in more than 120 countries next year.

Adding a right-hand-drive Mustang to Ford’s global vehicle line-up means Ford can export the iconic pony car to more than 25 right-hand-drive markets across the globe, including the United Kingdom, New Zealand, Australia, and South Africa.

April of this year saw Ford celebrate the Mustang’s 50th anniversary, and to commemorate this milestone each 2015 model will get an instrument-panel badge that features the galloping pony logo and the words “Mustang — Since 1964”.

The top-of-the-range Mustang GT is powered by the latest 5.0-litre V8 engine, yielding 435bhp and 400lb·ft of torque. A 3.7-litre V6 and an all-new 2.3-litre EcoBoost engine will also join the range. The EcoBoost utilizes direct injection, variable cam timing, and a twin-scroll turbocharger to deliver an outstanding 310bhp and 320lb·ft of torque. Equally impressive are its economy figures, rated at 22mpg (10.7l/100km) in the city and 31mpg (7.6l/100km) on the highway for those equipped with a manual transmission.

As well as featuring completely redesigned front and rear suspension systems it is worthy of noting the all-new independent rear suspension, the geometry, springs, dampers, and bushings of which have all been specifically tuned for improved ride and handling.

When this all-new Mustang lands here — most likely in the latter half of 2015 — it will no doubt provide a refreshing addition to our sports-car market, and have some manufacturers looking nervously over their shoulders.

Lexus RC-F

When it comes to hyper coupes and sedans destined to take on the likes of BMW, Audi, and Porsche, nobody does it better than Lexus. Previous monsters such as the Lexus IS-F have been known to rustle a few feathers, so what has Lexus got for us next year?

Enter the Lexus RC-F. With the great success of the IS-F, Lexus decided to put a huge amount of effort into building a high-performance coupe to add to their line-up of performance cars. The RC-F is made up of three other models of Lexus; the front clip of the GS sedan, the centre section of the IS C convertible, and the rear end of the IS sedan.

The move was made to take the best components from each of the aforementioned chassis. The IS rear end was used to keep the RC-F’s dimensions clean, and the IS C centre section was used for the rigidity and shorter wheel base. The 2UR-GSE engine has seen an increase in power to 348kW (467hp), which is up from the previous 310kW (416hp) seen in the IS-F; this is thanks to an array of titanium valves, lighter crank, and con rods, which has allowed the redline to be raised to 7300rpm.

Peak power is now available at 7100 rpm, but peak torque (527Nm) is available down as low as 4800 rpm thanks to a larger throttle body and larger injectors. What you really wanted to know however, is if the RC-F sounds just as good as the IS-F, and yes, we have great news for you.

The engine note is identical to the IS-F as Lexus knew just how successful it was. The RC-F has 19-inch alloys fitted with Michelin Pilot Super Sports, which combined with the stiff chassis and comprehensive driving mode selections, aids the large 1800kg-plus coupe to pull an impressive 0.95G on the skidpan. All of this combined with your usual Lexus luxuries and the result is something at the top of its league; the RC-F is unsurpassed in the high-performance luxury coupe market — especially for the price.