Year End Review - The Best New Cars of 2019
This is 2019’s creme de la creme of the automotive worldby Tudor Rus, on
The car scene, as we know it, is changing on an almost daily basis. Gone are the days when you’d have to wait months or years in a row for a big-name car launch to happen. These days it’s go, go, go whether we’re talking supercars, electric cars, SUVs, or even pickup trucks.
So, here’s a list of 2019’s best new cars. Some are impressive through their performances while others open new niches, try to change a brand’s way of thinking, or simply looking to address some of the modern mobility issues. That said, here are our picks for the best new cars of 2019.
Finally, a proper pure-breed, all-electric sports car that can grab Tesla’s Model S by the collar both in terms of performance but most importantly these days, hype.
By keeping the proportions, the Taycan is to Porsche now (with the new era of electric cars in mind) what the first 911 was back in the 1960s.
Obviously, it sports a lot of 911-inspired cues because in a logical move, Porsche wanted to associate the 2020 Taycan with its most recognizable model (not necessarily the most successful sales-wise, but that’s another story). Plus, it also looks a lot like the uber-cool Mission E concept, so there’s that.
On the performance front, the 2020 Porsche Taycan in its most potent iteration - aka Taycan Turbo S - makes do with 750 horsepower coming from a pair of electric motors fed by a 93-kWh battery pack. For the sake of comparison, the most badass version of Tesla’s Model S, the 100D Performance, packs 762 horsepower, but it’s slower to 60 miles per hour (2.6 seconds) than the Taycan Turbo S (2.4 seconds). On the flip side, the 100D Performance can reach a top speed of 163 miles per hour, while the Taycan Turbo S tops out at 161 miles per hour.
Performance aside, the 2020 Taycan is also spearheading Porsche’s electrification efforts in Europe to a level beyond its model lineup. More specifically, Porsche has joined forces with Audi, BMW, Daimler, and Ford to develop a high-power charging network for electric vehicles under the IONITY nameplate, and future Taycan customers are the first to reap its benefits thanks to 400 stations up and running by 2020.
|2020 Porsche Taycan Turbo||2020 Porsche Taycan Turbo S||Porsche Taycan 4S||Porsche Taycan 4S Performance Plus|
|Electric motors power||616 horsepower (670 horsepower with overboost)||616 horsepower (750 horsepower with overboost)||530 horsepower||571 horsepower|
|Battery||93 kWh||93 kWh||79.2 kWh||93.4 kWh|
|0-60 mph||3 seconds||2.6 seconds||4.0 seconds||4.0 seconds|
|Top Speed||161 mph||161 mph||155 mph||155 mph|
Read our full review on the 2020 Porsche Taycan
There’s no greater joy for the average gearhead than that of seeing a carmaker bring back an iconic nameplate. And if the Supra doesn’t qualify as iconic, we don’t know what does, honestly. However, the current market context has determined Toyota and BMW to work together on the Supra project which shares a lot of its underpinnings (including the engine and the gearbox) with the BMW Z4. But, hey, the Supra is back after more than two decades of being dormant and, yes, it got some help from BMW in the process. Does that make it less important of a car? Hell no.
U.S.-bound Supras make do with the BMW-sourced inline-six unit displacing three liters. The engine is twinned to an eight-speed automatic transmission that channels its 335 horsepower and 365 pound-feet of torque to the rear wheels, allowing for a 0-60 miles per hour sprint time of 4.1 seconds en route to a top speed that’s electronically-limited to 155 miles per hour. Will that be enough to fill the boots of the legendary 2JZ-powered Supra? Time will tell, but we’re confident the new Supra will prove its mettle.
|Engine||3.0-liter twin-scroll turbo, six cylinders|
|0-60 mph||4.1 seconds|
|Top speed||155 mph|
Read our full review on the 2020 Toyota Supra
In similar fashion to the Taycan-911 association, the ID3 is heralded as the new Golf due to its arrival at a time when Volkswagen is licking its self-inflicted Dieselgate wounds and looks to change the paradigm for the future. According to VW’s plans, Wolfsburg should, in theory, say goodbye to diesel soot, then gradually ditch ICEs (Internal Combustion Engines) and embrace the full power of electricity. One step at a time, of course, but the sub-€30,000 ID3, the marque’s first-ever electric car, is the first step towards fulfilling these ambitions.
When it finally hits the market, the MEB-underpinned ID3 will basically replace the e-Golf and to offer the full power of electrification to the masses,
Volkswagen tailored a powertrain that’s based on just one electric motor integrated into the rear axle and a one-speed gearbox. Essentially, the ID3 will be offered in three flavors. The entry-level model packs a 45-kWh battery pack, the model on top of it makes do with a 58-kWh battery, while the range-topping ID3 gets a 77-kWh unit. Volkswagen has only released the mid-level trim so far, the one fitted with the 58-kWh battery pack, and we know for sure that it delivers 201 horsepower (150 kilowatts) and 229 pound-feet of torque (310 Newton-meters). The maximum range for the mid-level version is rated at 260 miles (420 kilometers), but the range-topping ID3 will be able to pull off around 340 miles (547 kilometers).
|Motors||one, electric, on the rear axle|
|Power||150 kW/201 hp|
|Torque||310 Nm/229 lb-ft|
|Top speed||160 km/h (100 mph)|
Read our full review on the 2020 Volkswagen ID.3
Does it really need any introduction? The new Chevrolet Corvette C8 is a massive paradigm shift for Chevrolet, as it says goodbye to the front-engine, rear-wheel-drive layout in favor of a supercar-worthy mid-engine, rear-wheel-drive configuration. Needless to say, a Corvette that carries its V-8 right behind the seats has been a long-time dream of none other than Zora Arkus-Duntov, the father of the Corvette itself and the brilliant engineer that concocted the famous CERV (Chevrolet Engineering Research Vehicle) mid-engine prototypes.
It goes without saying that the new Corvette C8 is both the materialization of a dream and a giant step forward for Chevrolet as a sports car slash supercar manufacturer.
The C8’s importance was best reflected by the sheer amount of hype it generated prior to its launch. We can’t think of recent model that’s been in the rumor mill for longer than the C8 Vette, and for good reason. It’s the quickest and most powerful Corvette to date and it comes out to do battle against the likes of Ferrari 488 GTB, Lamborghini Huracan Evo, and Audi R8 with a base price of $59,995 and b The new Chevy Corvette C8 can reach 60 miles per hour from naught in just 2.9 seconds on its way to a top speed of 194 miles per hour thanks to a new eight-speed dual-clutch transmission. There won’t be a manual gearbox for the new Corvette, which marks the end of an era at Chevrolet, as every Corvette up until this point was fitted with a stick shift.
|Engine||LT2, 6.2-liter, n/a V-8, mid-mounted|
|Power||490 hp, 495 hp w/ the Z51 pack|
|Torque||465 lb-ft, 470 lb-ft w/ the Z51 pack|
|0-60 mph||2.9 s|
|Top speed||194 mph|
Read our full review on the 2020 Chevrolet Corvette C8
The Honda E started out as a cutesy concept car that was quickly converted into a street-legal vehicle which made its debut at the 2019 Frankfurt Motor Show. So, why is the Honda E on this list? For starters, it’s a milestone for Honda as it looks to electrify its European lineup by 2025. Naturally, it needed a model to spearhead those ambitions, so that’s how we got the Honda E. But the E is more than just a building platform. Since it’s a fully-fledged city car first and foremost, it might give Honda the edge on inventing a whole new car niche, that of the tiny, zippy all-electric car destined for use in urban areas, where air pollution is higher.
The Honda E’s design is so simple and no-nonsense in nature that we can’t help but imagine a swarm of these small EVs filling the city streets.
Honda’s E uses an electric motor derived into two power outputs (100 kilowatts/134 horsepower and 113 kW/150 horsepower) and 315 Newton-meters of torque (232 pound-feet). A 35.5-kWh battery pack feeds the e-motor, allowing for a maximum range of 220 kilometers (137 miles) on a single charge. Through fast-charging, the Honda E recharge its battery up to 80 percent in 30 minutes. It can also spring from 0 to 100 km/h (62 miles per hour) in around eight seconds, which is not bad at all for a city car.
|e-Motor power||100 kW/134 hp or 113 kW/150 hp|
|Torque||315 Nm/232 lb-ft|
|Range||220 km/137 mi|
|0-100 km/h (62 mph)||8 s|
Read our full review on the 2020 Honda E.
Perhaps the most iconic name in this list – at least for those touched by the off-road fever, the new Land Rover Defender marks the return of the Defender three years after its demise, but it also makes a return in the US of A after a 22-year hiatus.
The only thing kept alive by JLR in developing the new Defender has to do with its boxy shape, a final nod to the automotive superstar that was its predecessor.
However, modern times require modern hardware and that’s exactly what Land Rover had in store for future Defender owners.
The architecture that hugs the new Defender from below is made entirely out of aluminum and it’s designed to accommodate a mild-hybrid powertrain, too, another first for the Defender. The U.S. won’t get a diesel-powered model – that’s a Europe-only affair – but the Stateside 2020 Defender will come in two gasoline powertrain flavors. One’s the P300 (turbocharged 2.0-liter, four-cylinder unit good for 296 horsepower) while the other’s the P400 MHEV, a mild hybrid based on a 3.0-liter six-cylinder engine slapped with a 4.8-volt electric supercharger fed by a 48-volt Li-ion battery. All in all, the Defender P400 MHEV makes do with 395 horsepower and 406 pound-feet of torque. A plethora of tech and off-road-specific gadgets are also on tap, so believe us when we say that the new Defender will appeal all sorts of customers, from light adventurers to hardcore off-roading addicts.
|Land Rover Defender P400||Land Rover Defender P300|
|Engine Layout||Inline 6 Turbocharged with Electric Boost||Inline 4 Turbocharged|
|Bore / Stroke (mm)||83.0 x 92.3||83.0 x 92.3|
|Compression Ratio (:1)||10.5||9.5|
|Max Power (hp)||395 @ 5,500rpm||296 @ 5,500rpm|
|Max Torque (lb ft)||406 @ 2,000-5,000rpm||295 @ 1,500-4,000rpm|
|Transmission Type||ZF® 8-Speed Automatic (8HP76)||ZF® 8-Speed Automatic (8HP45)|
|0-60 mph (s)||5.7||7.7|
|0-100 km/h (s)||6.0||8.1|
|50-75 mph (s)||3.6||5.3|
|Top Speed (mph)||129||119|
Read our full review on the 2020 Land Rover Defender
Aston Martin’s response to the SUV craze that spread its tentacles to the premium and luxury segments is called the DBX. Not quite as aggressive as the Urus and way more discrete than the Bentayga when it comes to the opulence it oozes, the DBX manages to somehow retain the voluptuous shapes of its GT peers. Don’t be quick to judge the DBX just yet, as we expect it to perform outstandingly on the asphalt. What’s more, the DBX is Aston Martin’s way of trying to secure a palpable future for the company. Mind you, Aston Martin doesn’t get the luxury of being backed up by a big-name car conglomerate like it’s the case for the Volkswagen-owned Bentley and Lamborghini, or BMW’s Rolls-Royce, and sales have been dropping for James Bond’s go-to carmaker.
Coming back to the DBX, it’s powered by a Mercedes-AMG-sourced V-8 displacing 4.0 liters (also seen inside the DB11 and Vantage). The engine cranks out 542 horsepower and 516 pound-feet of torque sent to all four wheels through a nine-speed automatic transmission. Despite tipping the scales at 4,940 pounds, the Aston Martin DBX can zap from 0 to 60 miles per hour in 4.2 seconds en route to a Vmax of 181 miles per hour. As for its chances of generating extra income for Aston Martin, well, we’ll tell you this: it’s the best-looking SUV we’ve seen in a while and it will also represent the first contact with the lavish British brand for a lot of new customers. Would you miss out on an opportunity to own an Aston Martin, albeit in SUV form? We don’t think we would.
|Engine||AMG-sourced 4.0-liter twin-turbo V-8|
|0-60 mph||4.2 s|
|Top speed||181 mph|
Read our full review on the 2020 Aston Martin DBX.
Whenever Ferrari launches a new model, there’s a lot of buzz and anticipation involved. Back in 2019, at its favorite auto show (that’d be Geneva, by the way), Maranello unveiled the F8 Tributo as it looked to replace the aging 488 GTB. Moreover, it comes to fill the gap between Ferrari’s current design language and the things to come on this front, so it’s essentially a bridge between two philosophies.
The F8 Tributo looks like a proper Ferrari and it also has the credentials of one, as it is powered by the same high-revving V-8 found inside the Pista.
Ferrari’s iconic 3.9-liter V-8 has been thoroughly updated for use inside the F8 Tributo. The twin-turbo mill churns out no less than 710 horsepower and can go from zero to 60 miles per hour in 2.9 seconds. Top speed is rated at 211 miles per hour and it’s the end result of sheer engine performance but also state-of-the-art aerodynamics. It promises to offer a bucketloads of tingles down the spine thanks to a fancy Side Slip Angle Control setup that supervises and tech such as E-Diff3, F1-Trac, and the SCM (magnetorheological suspension).
|ENGINE||Type 90-degree V8 turbo|
|Overall displacement||3902 cc|
|Max. power output*||710 HP @ 8,000 RPM|
|Max. torque||568 LB-FT @ 3,250 RPM|
|Dry weight||1330 kg|
|0-100 km/h||2.9 s|
|0-200 km/h||7.8 s|
|Top speed||340 km/h (211 mph)|
Read our full review on the 2020 Ferrari F8
The automotive gods have been generous in 2019, there’s no doubt about that. Proof to that is the fact that compiling this list wasn’t easy at all and as it usually goes with such article, it’s impossible to please everyone. But we believe that every car presented here is, one way or another, a vital cog in the larger mechanism of its respective maker, and, even more, in the much-bigger picture of the automotive world. For 2020 and the years to come we expect two major trends: supercars from well-known brands will still hit the market, because these brands have discovered the profitability of SUVs. So in order to delight us with their very best in terms of performance and mechanics, selling SUVs is the sacrifice most of them are willing to make. What’s more, expect an avalanche of EVs of all possible ilks: pickup trucks, SUVs, city shuttlers, and, of course, performance cars. We’ll treat this topic in more depth, however, in a dedicated piece that looks to forecast what the year 2020 has in store for the car world. Stay tuned on TopSpeed, the best is yet to come.