New cars for 2012 - Part 3 - Performance cars: Audi - Ford
What is it? High-performance flagship for updated A4 range
Price from £55,000 (est)
On sale Summer
Audi has timed the launch of the RS4 to perfection: an all-new 3 Series goes on sale in February, but the M3 (or possibly M4) version isn’t due for at least a year after that.
Full details of the RS4 have yet to be confirmed, but it’s expected to use the same powertrain as the RS5, so that means four-wheel drive and a 444bhp V8 engine.
Although most spy shots of the RS4 show Avant models, we’d be amazed if Audi didn’t also launch a saloon version. Flared wings and bespoke bumpers, wheels and trim will mark it out as the high-performance model.
Ford Focus ST
What is it? Hot hatch in five-door or estate form
Price from £25,000 (est)
On sale Summer
Fast Ford fans had a treat when ST versions of both the Fiesta and Focus were revealed at the Frankfurt motor show in September. The Focus ST arrives first: it’ll reach showrooms in summer 2012 and will be available in either five-door hatchback or estate form.
Power comes from a 247bhp, 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine, mated to a six-speed manual gearbox; Ford says the new car is 20% more efficient than the old 2.5 ST, yet sounds just as sporty.
Ford is also promising ‘unprecedented driving dynamics’. The Focus ST has a new steering system that increases in sensitivity when cornering, and a three-mode stability control system.
A deep bumper and higher front grille give the ST a very different look to the standard Focus at the front, while there are also sill extensions and a new rear bumper, with centre-exit exhaust tailpipes. The cabin has specially designed pedals, steering wheel and gearlever, and Recaro sports seats.
- Executive and luxury: BMW - Chrysler
- Executive and luxury: Lexus - Mercedes
- SUVs: Citroen - Dacia
- SUVs: Ford - Hyundai
- SUVs: Mazda - Mercedes
- SUVs: Mercedes - Vauxhall
- SUVs coming in 2013
- Coupes & convertibles: Ferrari - Jaguar
- Coupes & convertibles: Mercedes - Mini
- Coupes & convertibles: Porsche
- Coupes & convertibles: Subaru - Vauxhall
- Coupes & convertibles coming in 2013
- Performance cars: Audi - Ford
- Performance cars: McLaren - Vauxhall