I need to say right away that this list could have included an awful lot more than five cars. The next 12 months are shaping up to be very exciting indeed, fuelled (pun not intended) by the global shift to electrification, but also by an industry that is still playing catchup due to Covid, with cars missing their 2020 or 2021 goal arriving a little latter than anticipated.
But, as I write this on the eve of 2022, time is of the essence and I wanted to keep it brief. So, there are five cars, from five manufacturers and three different countries. I’m surprised to see no fewer than three entries from the UK, but two of those are extremely significant, once-in-a-generation vehicles. I hope American readers don’t mind my regional bias…
In no particular order:
GMA being Gordon Murray Automotive, the British carmaker headed by the genius behind numerous F1 championship-winning cars – not least the McLaren MP4/4 of 1988 which won all by won race that season – and of course the McLaren F1.
Revealed back in 2020, the T.50 is the fiftieth vehicle to be penned by Murray, hence the name. More significantly, it is the spiritual son of the McLaren F1, a three-seat, naturally-aspirated V12 supercar with its driver sat in the middle, shifting gears manually.
Lightweight, high-revving (to the tune of 12,100rpm, no less), and with massive downforce created with a carbon fan on its rear, sucking air through a gaping diffuser, the T.50 could well be the definitive internal-combustion supercar. I can’t wait.
Ferrari 296 GTB
It’s a beautiful thing, isn’t it? After the aggression of the F12 TDF, 488 Pista and 812 Competizione, I welcome with open arms Ferrari’s return to more classical styling, first with the Roma and now with the 296 GTB. This is Italy’s answer to the McLaren Artura. Both are hybrid mid-engined supercars powered by V6 motors with electrical assistance
I’m happy to cast aside this being the first six-cylinder Ferrari since 1974, and instead focus on the way it looks. Inspired by the 250 LM racer, the shoulders and buttresses are beautiful, while the front end is tidier and more classically good-looking than the 488 and other recent mid-engined Ferraris. At least to my eyes.
There have been a few face lifts and technical updates over the years, but the 2022 Range Rover is the first to be rightly called ‘all-new’ for a decade, and only the fifth Range Rover to date.
The design is very familiar at first glance, but look closer and everything has changed; it is a masterclass in reductive design, with the entire look simplified beautifully. The biggest tell-tale that this is the new one is the rear light cluster, which is ‘hidden until lit’, with its black glasswork hiding the red and orange LEDs behind. It’s a smart look that will doubtless be copied in the years to come.
First there was the Polestar 1 hybrid GT, then came the Polestar 2 EV, and next we’ll see the Polestar 3. Also fully electric (as all Polestars are, other than the 1), the 3 will be the Swedish firm’s first SUV. The company says it will be a premium car that is expected to “define the look of SUVs in the electric age,” and it is to be built in America.
Although closely related to the upcoming next-generation Volvo XC90 (both companies are owned by Chinese automotive giant Geely), Polestar says its 3 will be the quicker of the two. Only a camouflaged Polestar 3 has been shown for now, but we expect to see the finished article early in 2022.
Last but by no means least, we have the Lotus Emira. This is to be the last Lotus powered by internal combustion, as the British sportscar maker plans to go all-electric from here on out.
To replace the entirety of the Lotus range, which was retired towards the end of 2021, the Emira is, unusually, available with a choice of two completely different engines.
To rival the Porsche Cayman and Alpine A110, the Emira is available with either a 3.5-liter supercharged V6 engine from Toyota, or a Mercedes AMG-derived two-litre, four-cylinder, turbocharged motor. The latter is offered only with a dual-clutch gearbox, while the V6 can be had with either a six-speed manual or automatic.
Priced from $77,100, I think the Lotus Emira looks like it is worth significantly more than that.