Welcome to the long list, but this one is your guide for a full year, the story to cut and keep aside for all the hot pieces of metal coming your way this year.
Excited for 2020? If you aren’t in the month of January, the famous month of resolutions, then I’ve got just the story for you. As far as new year resolutions go, buying your dream car is a great one to keep.
And choices are seldom limited, with the year 2020 being no exception. In fact, this year will see a wider variety of interesting cars and SUVs coming our way with the advent of desirable electric vehicles in every major car manufacturer’s stable. There are plenty of loud and shouty internal combustion engine cars in there too, so here’s our top twenty heaven on wheels list that we think you should look forward to, in alphabetical order of course. You can pick your favourites.
- Aston Martin DBX
This one’s huge, not just in size but also in terms of what it means for Aston Martin. Their first SUV that’s hoping to be a runaway success and fund a modern line of supercars Aston has planned to immediately succeed it. A lot rests on the DBX’s shoulders then and Aston knows that, which is why no stone has been left unturned. Arguably the best design among SUVs by luxury brands in recent years, the DBX retains classic British styling cues, and packs a major punch under the hood with the AMG derived 4-litre engine. It’s hugely capable off-road and is also designed to excel at touring, which means a comfortable adjustable suspension, a luxurious cabin and a creamy wave of torque. Number geeks will love this – 542bhp/700Nm and a 0-100kmph sprint in just 4.3 seconds, for a 2.25 tonne SUV. First deliveries begin in the USA in the second quarter of 2020, and we are sure Indian dealers already have itchy hands to land as many as they can in India.
- Audi Q3 and RS Q3
The new generation Q3 is set to take on the BMW X1 and GLA this year. A lot more grown up now with the latest update of Audi’s virtual cockpit, high quality materials in the cabin and possibly the option of 2-litre TFSI and TDI engines. The previous generation Q3 was an excellent entry level luxury SUV and with good space and features, proved to be the more likeable of entry-luxury SUVs in India. The new Q3 will be backed up by the highly desirable RS Q3, a first for this space to take on the likes of the GLA 45 AMG. Packing in an angry 2.5 litre TFSI motor that was awarded the engine of the year award, the RS Q3 punches 400 horsepower and 480Nm of twist through its wide and sticky tyres. One-part SUV, one-part sports car, just the way we Indians like it.
- Audi Q8 and RS Q8
The car industry is getting into the space race. Well, not sending vehicles in orbit, but going one up on size and luxury. So, when the big and burly Merc GLS felt just perfect and a notch above the BMW X5 and Audi Q7, BMW got the X7 to beat the Merc. How could Audi stay behind? However, the Q8 comes with a twist. It doesn’t dwarf the Q7; it instead makes it sportier, and seats only 5 instead of 7. New engines are on offer and there’s also the crazy RS Q8 to bring the violence in you. Packing 591bhp and 800Nm, AWD and all wheel steering, the RS Q8 might just mask its size and performance unlike any other SUV this side of a Lamborghini Urus.
- Audi RS6 Avant
This one is special, as the last RS6 Avant that came to India was literally ‘love on wheels.’ You can’t but love the estate for its beautiful proportions, convenience and, when in the mood, total nuttery. It’s the proverbial wolf in sheep’s clothing but if you have a keen eye, you will notice wide and wafer-thin tyres shod on it, and an exhaust burble that sings to Satan. The new one is easier to drive, with more suspension tech, and it even sends vibration feedback through the throttle pedal when you stray off your lane or exceed speed limits.
- Bentley Flying Spur
I love Bentley’s new design direction that sprinkles a bit of sportiness to its sedans too. The new Flying Spur just steers clear of the boring character of Rolls-Royces. With a W12 engine under the hood this luxury barge will do the 0-100kmph sprint in just 3.7 seconds, and it’s so well built and insulated, you won’t know when you are on the wrong side of the law. It’s cool and gangster in equal measure.
- BMW 8-Series Gran Coupe
Missed a sporty BMW? 2020 could change that, with possibly the 8-Series Gran Coupe taking over the mantle from the 6 Series GC and possibly the 8 Series coupe/convertible with their M versions coming as well. The latter is more speculation though, as it would be logical for BMW to bolster its model portfolio. A range of engines are on offer – straight-6 and V8 petrols and a straight-6 diesel. Sporty and luxurious, the Gran Coupe could well up BMW’s luxury game in India.
- New BMW M3/M4
We are excited about this one because we know very little about it. Spy pictures have surfaced online showing the large gaping kidney grille and reports of over 500 horsepower. BMW will make RWD and AWD versions of the coupe and sedan, and we expect things like drift mode to come in to beat the C63 AMG at its own game. BMW has a lot of catching up to do with this new model and M division will take its time to get things right, so don’t wait with bated breath for them. Possibly end of the year or early next year is what we hear.
- BMW X5 M and X6 M
BMW’s erstwhile flagship SUV and its coupe version in their M guise were mental beasts around a hill climb. You’d think they were made for devouring highways but the xDrive system coupled with excellent front-end grip made them hunters of a different kind up a hill. Now the new generation X5 M and X6 M are coming and do 0-100kmph sprints in under 4 seconds. 600 horsepower and 750Nm will take these beasts up to 290kmph on a long enough road. Big 390mm discs up front and 380mm in the rear help bring them to a grinding halt when required.
- Ferrari Roma
The stunning Roma is in a Ferrari representative’s words, a ‘less intimidating car’. What that means is that performance is toned down marginally for customers who feel that Ferraris are too fast for them to handle. Expect the steering to be easier with more play, a suppleness to the suspension never experienced in a Ferrari and an interior that is bathed in luxury. That said, 620 horsepower is plenty good in this baby Ferrari, and it isn’t for the faint hearted.
- Ford Mustang Mach-E
Some would call it sacrilegious but I think its smart naming their first electric SUV after the most popular nameplate in their portfolio. It signifies intent to build credible electric vehicles. The Mach-E makes 342kW and 830Nm of torque, does 0-100kmph sprints in under 5 seconds and can deliver almost 600km on a full charge. Ford is also building a charging network to support it and other future electric vehicles in their fleet that stands at 125000 locations across America and Europe. For India, it could be a halo product, but even the updated regular Mustang will do, thank you very much.
- Jaguar I-Pace
The first proper luxury electric car from a conventional car manufacturer, the I-Pace stunned the world with how well it was made and how marketable it was. Jaguar taught the Germans a thing or two about EVs with it. Desirable, bloody quick with a 0-100kmph of 4.5 seconds and, with its 90kWh battery, it can go 480km on a full charge. It will most likely launch by mid-2020 and will be a premium offering sitting above the locally assembled F-Pace. But a properly rounded luxury EV in such ever changing times could just be a tempting proposition for environmentally conscious HNIs looking for an unconventional SUV.
- Land Rover Defender
Enthusiasts have been waiting for the Defender for a long time, but thankfully, Land Rover has delivered a smashing product. In 90 and 110 guises, the latter being a 7-seater, it’s likely that both will make it to our shores. Land Rover has huge history in India from the pre-independence era and many expeditions in and around India have been documented. This reimagined icon is something historians and enthusiasts would love to get reacquainted with. Its go-anywhere ability is a story in itself altogether.
- Lexus LC 500h/500 convertibl
Not many expected Lexus to make a mark in India with their petrol hybrid powertrains but their fresh take on luxury and genuinely unique styling has caught the fancy of Indians looking for cars with a difference. Now to turn a page to their flashy side, the LC 500 coupe and convertible will fit in just perfectly. The LC 500 convertible unlike its sedan and SUV siblings won’t employ a petrol hybrid powertrain. Instead a naturally aspirated 471 horsepower V8 will tickle your senses.
- Mercedes-AMG CLA 45
The very special CLA 45 AMG in its previous form popped and banged its way to the hearts of enthusiasts. Low slung, sexy and hard core, the CLA 45 was a rocketship with its 2-litre turbo petrol engine making massive power for its size. It was the most powerful 2-litre production engine in the world, and now, there’s a new one. And it’s more mental than before, offering an additional S variant to sit above the CLA 45. Pumping in a crazy 421 horsepower and 500Nm of twist to all four wheels now, it does the 0-100kmph sprint in just 4 seconds. It should be a firecracker of a drive.
- Mercedes-Benz EQC
Mercedes has had a flurry of models come to India in the past. However, in 2020, the story is slightly different. The good news is that their first electric vehicle, the EQC, will come to India but not many other new cars will come besides the EQC and GLE. The EQC is that rare electric car that doesn’t try to reinvent the wheel, looking and feeling much like conventional SUVs. It packs 300kW and 750Nm of torque and can do 450km on a full charge. Built with comfort and efficiency in mind, the EQC isn’t going to challenge for sprint times. However, high cruising speeds and a good range are what its USPs are.
- Mercedes-Benz GLE
The new GLE is coming early this year with a GLE43 AMG also likely at a later date. This fourth generation premium SUV keeps the classic floating rear screen style from the ML era but is fully updated now with the latest in connectivity and engines. The GLE sits in a sweet spot in the Mercedes range above the smallish GLC and below the big and burly GLS. Four- and six-cylinder engines and a 9-speed automatic gearbox will be offered just like before with power ranging from 245 to 367bhp.
- Pininfarina Battista
Well, don’t hold your breath too long. It’s as gorgeous as they come and coming from the house of Pininfarina, you wouldn’t expect any less. The design house that designed many Ferraris in its chequered history is now a proper electric vehicle manufacturer, and since it is owned by the Mahindra group, when the near-2000 horsepower supercar is launched internationally, it could come to India too. Save the world at break-neck speeds.
- Porsche Taycan
Like the Basttista, Porsche gets plenty of EV tech from Rimac Automobili through its strategic investment. With Porsche’s first electric super sedan, things are a little subtler than the Battista and C-Two but that doesn’t make it too slow. Expect Tesla Model S levels of performance at least and coupled with Porsche engineering and build quality, this could well be the best sport sedan on the market this year.
- Tesla Cybertruck
Alright don’t take the Cybertruck too seriously right now, it’s still a concept and in all likelihood, it could be almost a year till we know more about the bug that bit Elon Musk’s brain. But he knows a thing or two about making news and with this child’s design for a pick-up, he has made big news. The Cybertruck is supposedly going to be bulletproof, will be a lot more aerodynamic than conventional pickup trucks and the torque could make it a beast off-road.
- Volvo XC40 Recharge
Volvo is looking at electrification with a practical eye, which is why its compact SUV, the XC40 is going under the EV scalpel as their first SUV. Specifications seem to be impressive with over 400 horsepower and a 78 kWh battery offering a range of over 400km. The electric portfolio comes under the Recharge sub-brand, which is strange as their reinvented performance arm Polestar is also making EVs. There are plenty EVs to look forward to in the future now.