Who’s excited about 2021, then? No? OK, we totally get that, after all it does feel a bit like 2020 has just been extended but normality will resume, albeit perhaps slightly differently as we take on some of the ways of working and living adapted to during the pandemic for good.
Of course, the world still keeps turning and so do the wheels of the automotive industry, which means lots of new models heading to SA dealerships in 2021. There will be more luxury, more performance and a few more environmentally friendly plug-in hybrid models. The rush to electric still seems a way off, but expect a few electric vehicles (EVs) to arrive this year, including the BMW iX3 and the EQ range from Mercedes-Benz.
2021 is going to be a year of change for Aston Martin. It has a new boss in Tobias Moers, the former boss of Mercedes-AMG and he will continue to shake things up after cancelling a couple of models days after arriving at Gaydon. There are a couple of new Astons on the way in 2021, though, including the droptop Vantage Roadster early in the year and, at some point, the mighty Valhalla sports car developed jointly with Red Bull Racing will charge into town.
Audi might as well just call this year RS21 because it’s all about performance for the German carmaker, with the exception of the new A3 and Q5 Sportback models. Almost every performance model is getting a refresh, from the S3 to the S8 and the RS Q3 to the RS Q8 and everything in between, as well as a facelift for the R8. If you’re hoping for something you can plug in from the four rings, then the E-tron might still be on charge.
Not surprisingly there’s lots of speed going on for Bentley this year, with the introduction of the new Bentayga Speed and the Continental GT Speed. If you want a slightly more refined pace, then the new Flying Spur V8 will be wafting into town.
There’s a bit of everything for BMW this year, starting off with the arrival of the facelifted 5 Series in the first quarter. Also arriving this quarter is the 128ti, a tribute to the famous original. The first half will also see the new 4 Series convertible and Gran Coupé arrive and, let’s face it, with those grilles you aren’t going to miss them. Big news for performance fans will be the launch in the first half of the new M3 sports sedan and M4 coupé.
In the last quarter of the year it will be time to plug in, not to the iX, that’s still a bit further off, but the full-electric iX3 SUV.
It’s all about plugging in at Jaguar this year, with plug-in hybrid versions of the E-Pace and F-Pace, as well as some upgrades to the I-Pace electric SUV. A number of models will also get the new D200 diesel engine.
Lamborghini only has one new model coming, but it’s one that has lots to make a noise about. The Huracán STO is basically a GT3 race car for the road with a stonking V10, a 0-100km/h time of 3.0 seconds and enough aerodynamic wizardry to make you consider wearing racing overalls to go to Woolies for milk.
Like Jaguar, Land Rover will be launching a bunch of plug-in hybrids this year, with PHEV versions of the Defender 110, Discovery Sport, Evoque and Range Rover Velar. Many models will also be available with a new D200 diesel and there will be a 50th anniversary edition of the big daddy Range Rover. Possibly its most important new model, though, will be the short wheelbase Defender 90.
Maserati put on a big show in 2020 for the reveal of its new MC20 supercar, which will arrive in SA late in 2021. Initially it will only be available with the new Nettuno V6 engine, but more versions will follow, including a convertible and an electric version, the latter not yet confirmed for SA.
As well as the new Ghibli hybrid and Trofeo versions of the Ghibli and Quattroporte, the Modena marque will have an all-new model later in the year in the form of the Grecale. Smaller than the Levante and sharing the same underpinnings as the Alfa Romeo Stelvio, the Grecale has already been seen undergoing hot-weather testing in SA and is likely to arrive towards the end of the year.
McLaren will launch what could be its most important model since the modern company was formed with the debut of the MP4-12C. We’ve seen the new Artura, but can’t tell you anything more than that without fear of men in dark suits coming to our door, but it will be officially revealed in February and arrive in SA in the second quarter. Before that the 765LT is due any minute, as is the windscreen-less Elva speedster. A 765LT Spider will arrive towards the end of the year.
The Mercedes-Benz S-Class has long been seen as the benchmark for luxurious limos and this year we will get the new one. It’s not only about luxury but the latest S is also a veritable tech fest with everything from touchscreens to massaging seats and more.
Talking of more, Merc will launch the updated E-Class range, sporty versions of the GLE and GLS and the mighty AMG GT Black Series. For many, though, the big news will be the arrival of the all-electric Mercedes EQ range later in the year.
Porsche is likely to have a few secrets up its sleeve this year, but what we do know is that the new 911 GT3 is arriving, as well as the 718 Cayman GT4. There will be PDK versions of the Cayman and Boxster GTS and the facelifted Panamera should already be in showrooms.
The post-opulence new Rolls-Royce Ghost is on its way to wealthy customers as you read this. Nothing else officially from Goodwood for 2021 but we suspect there will be a few announcements from the house of Rolls-Royce regarding special derivatives and updates during the year.