​Best new performance cars 2023

From a new V12 Lamborghini to the next Honda Civic Type R, these are the most exciting new performance cars coming next year

Some of you might think the era of the performance car is coming to a close. Yet despite the continual pressures on manufacturers of cutting their carbon emissions, limited production on the back of strained supply chains and a looming recession, 2023 isn’t the year that’ll signal their end. 

Lamborghini, Ferrari and Aston Martin are all expected to introduce new V12-powered models to their portfolio in 2023. Lamborghini is on the cusp of introducing a new hybridised V12 flagship that will replace the Aventador, while Ferrari continues to work on its new front-engined V12 812 Superfast replacement that will reignite that classic Northern Italian rivalry. This is, of course, on top of its new V12-powered Purosangue

Aston Martin’s new V12 models will be very heavy updates of its existing front-engined range, focusing on both V8- and V12-powered models. As confirmed by Aston Martin Chairman Lawrence Stroll earlier this year, these will be large-scale updates due to be revealed in late 2023.

> BMW M4 CSL review

Of course the Germans can’t be forgotten, with Mercedes-AMG readying a new GT with V8 and hybrid power, not forgetting the new C63 S E Performance that promises to revolutionise the compact sports saloon class. BMW’s more old-school approach is just as exciting, with its limited-run CSL hommage due right at the end of this year ahead of the first M3 Touring, new M2 and the next M3 CS. 

Porsche is also in for a busy 12 months, with its updated 992.2 911 likely to reveal itself later in the year, and there’s heavy updates due across the Cayenne and Panamera model lines to come too. Its EV expansion will finally come to bear fruit, with a new 600bhp Macan EV due to be revealed in the middle of the year, with an updated Taycan not far behind. 

Things are a little more quiet further down the pricing order. Lotus’s more affordable AMG-powered Emira is on the cards early in 2023, and Alpine’s hardcore A110R should provide some entertainment in a quiet year before it’s electric revolution is revealed in 2024, but it’s expected to be priced well above £70,000, hardly making a case for it as an affordable sports car. Honda’s Civic Type R will reach customers in 2023, but other than that the hot hatchback market is frustratingly quiet.

Still, there’s plenty to look forward to in 2023 if you’re waiting for the next big thing in performance cars. Here’s what to expect. Image removed.

Aston Martin 

Aston Martin’s financial and management structure continues to be of interest as we move into 2023, but following a recent focus on the DBX SUV and the neverending roll-out of the Valkyrie, Aston’s bread and butter models are next in line for some much-needed attention. The Vantage, DB11 and DBS are all due to receive major updates, with current Aston Martin Chairman Lawrence Stroll confirming that they’ll be ‘almost’ all-new models, despite sharing much of their hardware under the skin. 

We don’t yet know how Aston Martin will structure this near range-wide update, but expect significant design and interior changes, with further refinement of the dynamic packages. The AMG-sourced V8 powertrains will likely see a boost in their outputs, with the V12 hanging on at the top of the range.

Alpine

Next year will be a relatively quiet year for Alpine as it prepares for its all-electric relaunch in 2024 when it will reform into a high performance out-post for Renault’s all-electric models. In the meantime, we have the long-awaited A110R to tide us over, with a more focused dynamic package and extensive lightweighting that adds exotic elements like carbonfibre wheels and a titanium exhaust to the brilliant little sports car. 

After this point, it’ll be something of a wait to see Alpine’s take on the Renault 5 due in ‘24, before it branches out into a new high performance SUV and finally an all-electric A110 replacement that’ll be co-developed by Lotus. 

Audi 

After a collection of small updates to its existing range at the end of this year which saw updates for the RS3, RS4 and R8, Audi Sport is in for a quiet 2023 in terms of all-new models. Audi’s decision to kill off the R8 next year comes without a direct replacement, and with Lamborghini’s decision to base its next generation Hurácan replacement on the larger Aventador, means that there’s no longer any rush to decide on a new direction to take. 

Audi itself has a much bigger year ahead with the launch of a new A4 Avant on the cards, complete with an S4 counterpart. Its EV range is also due to grow, with the Q6 and A6 e-tron models both getting closer to production, if not quite ready for a full debut. The TT has a rough ride ahead, without a direct replacement in the works.Image removed.

BMW 

BMW had a huge 2022 as it was their 50th anniversary year, so 2023 will yield the spoils of their almost continual new model reveals. This will start with the new M2 that’ll reach customers early in the year, with the M3 Touring and CSL Hommage due soon after. As for new models, a new M3 CS will arrive with an all-wheel drive powertrain in contrast to the M4 CSL’s more stripped-out rear-drive setup, while an updated X5M and X6M will also arrive alongside their standard derivatives. 

Next year will also be the year we will see an all-new 5-series, this time available in pure petrol, plug-in hybrid and all-electric forms. An M Performance model will almost certainly be revealed alongside with a plug-in powertrain, but it’s the next M5 that will also apply PHEV to greater controversy. There will be a delay between the new 5-series and next M5, but we won’t have to wait anything like as long as previous iterations, with the new model due in 2024.

Ferrari

Ferrari’s new Purosangue will be the big story of 2023, having already been revealed to much fan-fare. The not-an-SUV-SUV isn’t the only V12 due in 2023 from Ferrari, though, as we know it’s also working on a new front-engined replacement for the 812 that should debut some time in 2023. Despite running around in a chopped-up Roma body, we expect the new V12 model to feature its own styling and a two-seater layout. 

There’s also been progress on the SF90, with a heavily updated model also spied testing in Italy with an elongated rear end and more aggressive aero. On top of these visual changes, the new SF90 derivative will also feature a fettled hybrid system, with lessons in calibration and usability derived from its brilliant little brother, the 296 GTB.

Ford

News surrounding Ford in 2023 might seem to have a negative tone upon the demise of the Fiesta, but Ford Performance will have two new models arriving in 2023 – the new Ford Mustang and the Ranger Raptor. Ford’s not wasting any time putting the new generation Mustang into right-hand drive production, meaning we should see it from the middle of next year in both coupe and convertible forms. 

It’s also great news that the more focused Dark Horse model is due alongside the standard GT, with around 500bhp expected from its Coyote V8 and significant upgrades to the chassis. The Ranger Raptor is perhaps less of a core evo car, but if your idea of driving thrills is more aligned to all four wheels being off the ground, Ford’s new petrol-powered pick-up might be for you.

Honda

There’s absolutely no doubt that one of the year’s most exciting new cars is the next Honda Civic Type R. It might have some huge boots to fill given the sheer brilliance of its predecessor, but every indication so far says that Honda’s on track for another triumph. That’s because Honda seems to have taken the best bits of the old car and made them better, with a chassis that’s largely the same in terms of proportion and make-up, but honed yet further.

The powertrain should also be similar to that of the old model, and that’s no bad thing. But best of all, Honda has fixed both the interior design and the old car’s challenging exterior looks. If the new Civic is as good as we all hope it is, it’ll surely be one of the year’s best cars, and given the sheer quality of the new high-performance cars on their way, that’s a big claim.

Hyundai

Hyundai is readying a high-performance N version of the Ioniq 5, one that could share the 571bhp electric powertrain with Kia’s EV6 GT. We’ve already gotten an insight into how Hyundai plans to integrate its rambunctious N brand into the popular EV from our initial go in a prototype version of the incoming Ioniq 6 N, with all manner of software-based toys to give Hyundai’s all-electric N model the character to go with its on-paper performance. 

Lamborghini

Lamborghini’s 2023 will be dominated by the launch of its new V12-powered flagship. It will directly replace the Aventador with a similar mid-engined package, only this time hiding a new hybridised V12 powertrain. If you’re under the impression that a hybrid element to the new Aventador replacement will smooth off too many of its edges, don’t be, because as Lamborghini’s last V12 model to be developed before it too switches to EV, accentuating its emotion and charisma has been key to its development.

Lamborghini’s Hurácan Tecnica will also reach the road after a delayed production period, with a Roadster version not far behind. The Hurácan’s ultimate replacement is still a few years away, but with the demise of the Audi R8, it will share more of its structure with the Aventador replacement, combining this with its own, smaller hybrid powertrain. Image removed.

Lotus

Lotus might have been at the mercy of supply chain and production constraints, but 2023 will finally be the year its new Emira enters production at full capacity. This stagnated rollout has delayed the AMG-powered four-cylinder model, but will come with a new dual-clutch transmission to compensate. After initially being impressed by the Emira, we think the new powertrain is only good news for the mid-engined sports car. 

The Emira will be joined by the all-electric Eletre SUV later in the year, representing the real fruits of its new Geely ownership. The SUV will plunge Lotus right into a marketplace it has little experience of, but signifies the first step of the British brand turning from a niche sports car manufacturer into a full-scale performance brand.

Maserati

Maserati’s buoyant 2022 will continue in ‘23 with the launch of the new GranTurismo in both petrol and electric variants. The new 542bhp GranTurismo Trofeo will top the IC range, which will arrive six months before the electric Folgore, with the GranCabrio due a further six months after that. This will join the MC20 in both coupe and open-top forms, with its own Folgore variant in an earlier stage of development. 

Maserati is hoping that its Grecale SUV will be of even greater success, though, arriving (around nine years late) to rival the Macan with turbocharged four- and six-cylinder engines. An all-electric Grecale Folgore is also in the wings, and is also still in an earlier stage of development.

McLaren

McLaren’s 2023 will doubtlessly be focused on getting its Artura out to customers, having undergone another complicated 12 months with production and development issues that have kept cars from reaching customers. This has also delayed the development of future models, but with new management on board, namely ex-Ferrari and Porsche executive Michael Leiters, McLaren’s future looks to be heading in the right direction. 

Unfortunately, his influence will take some time to filter down to the cars found in McLaren showrooms, which means it’s likely to be a quiet year for McLaren, with little in the way of new car reveals in the diary looking forward, although we suspect an open-top version of the Artura is on the way, with potential updates to the existing 720S and GT also on the cards.

Mercedes

Even motoring juggernauts like Mercedes-AMG have been feeling the pressure of  challenging production and development cycles, but 2023 will signal the year that its plug-in hybrid models finally hit the ground running with the C63 S E Performance reaching customers at the beginning of the year. 2023 will also see the introduction of a new E-class, which means an AMG flagship won’t be far behind, reigniting the classic AMG vs BMW M rivalry against the next-gen M5. 

AMG will also reveal its new GT in 2023, which will replace the existing model with a similar front-engined package to the 911. It’ll share its underpinnings with the latest SL, and is expected to expand upon its powertrains with further variants including some with hybrid-assistance. AMG’s also hard at work on its bespoke EV architecture, but despite a few EVs arriving with an AMG badge attached to its bootlid, the first ‘true’ AMG EV is still a few years away. 

Porsche

Porsche has had a busy 2022, specifically launching two hardcore RS models within its GT division, but 2023 promises to be more diverse. Firstly, Porsche has committed to a mid-2023 reveal of its all-new Macan EV, a model that will be sold alongside the existing petrol-powered model. It’ll be topped by a 600bhp variant, and has been developed on a new platform co-developed by Audi, just like the standard Macan. 

Alongside this, we also expect to see both the Cayenne and Panamera model lines feature extensive upgrades, stopping short of being an all-new model. Both will feature new interiors, exterior styling and tech, but are inherently based on the same architectures as the existing models. This is because both Cayenne and Panamera will be totally reimagined in all-electric forms from around 2026 onwards, rendering a complete redesign too expensive considering their limited shelf life.

Porsche’s 992.2 update is also in the works, with a potential late 2023 reveal possible. As well as subtle styling updates, there is also word that Porsche will unveil a hybrid 911 having spent years developing a system it felt appropriate for the sports car icon.

Renault

Renault’s all-electric reboot might have started in 2022 with the new Megane E-Tech, but it’s the upcoming Renault 5 which is the model everyone’s anxiously awaiting. The new model won’t reach customers in 2023, but we will get a much better idea of what to expect when the new retro-styled electric hatchback does arrive. Of course, Renaultsport is now officially dead, but Alpine is ready and waiting to pick up the reins as Renault’s sporty sub-brand.

Rolls-Royce

Rolls-Royce has already revealed its dramatic new Spectre, which will hit the road from next year with an all-electric powertrain. The new model is very much a modernisation of the existing Rolls-Royce mantra, but with a new electric undertone and dramatic styling. Like petrol-powered Rolls-Royce models, performance will be adequate, but its attention to detail and sheer quality isn’t likely to falter.

Volkswagen

Volkswagen is another industry giant that’s had its fair share of controversy over 2022, with the ousting of its CEO after a luke-warm reaction to its initial EV models and a nightmare over software reliability. So under its new leadership with Oliver Blume at the helm, VW is going through its portfolio with a fine-tooth comb to make the most of what is perfectly good hardware. The ID.3 and ID.4 will receive an accelerated mid-life update in 2023, and greater attention will be placed on models like its ID.Buzz, which has been launched to critical acclaim.

In terms of high performance models, though, Volkswagen isn’t likely to expand this far beyond the new GT.X variant of the ID.3 which will integrate the more potent dual-motor setup of the ID.4 GT.X into its smaller chassis. 

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