sports cars are some of the most highly anticipated future vehicles heading down the pipeline, thanks in large part to their exceptional performance and fun-to-drive engineering and design. It also doesn’t hurt that sports cars offer some of the most cutting edge styling around, meant to draw as much attention as possible to both drivers and the vehicles themselves.
Although the exact details could be subject to change, automakers love to let slip clues and other information concerning their most intriguing upcoming sports car models. Let’s take a look at some of the most interesting future sports cars that have been slated to hit the streets over the course of the next few years.
01. 2011 Chevrolet Camaro Convertible
Set to debut in February of 2011, the 2011 Chevrolet Camaro convertible is the drop top edition of the bowtie-wearing muscle coupe. The Camaro convertible is pegged to match the 2010 hardtop in terms of equipment, features and engine choices, with base models motivated by a 300 horsepower, 3.6-liter V-6 and SS editions offering a 426 horsepower, 6.2-liter V-8 when matched with the available six-speed manual transmission.
The current Camaro SS springs to 60 miles per hour in just five seconds, and it’s reasonable to expect that the convertible edition will come in at just a bit slower due to the extra weight associated with its rag top design. The convertible Camaro finally gives Chevrolet something to throw at the topless version of the Ford Mustang that has been on sale for years without a true muscle car rival.
02. 2012 Dodge Viper
The Dodge Viper went on hiatus for the 2011 model year as new corporate parent Fiat worked out how to keep the iconic supercar viable in the future. A one-off version of the 2012 model was shown to Dodge and Chrysler dealers this past fall, and some in attendance made a connection between its styling and that of the Alfa Romeo 8C Competizione coupe, which represents the performance apex of the European brand’s lineup. Dodge CEO Ralph Gilles has denied, however, than the future Dodge Viper will be based on a Fiat or Ferrari platform.
Chrysler executives have also stated that the goal is to preserve the Viper’s trademark V-10 power plant and continue to have the vehicle produce well north of 500 horsepower. The motor will most likely be new (as in, not carried over from the 2010 edition) and derived from an existing Dodge or Fiat design.
2010 Dodge Viper Pictured
03. 2012 Toyota FT-86
The 2012 Toyota FT-86 has seen its share of development drama over the past year or so. A joint project with Japanese competitor Subaru, the FT-86 dropped cover at the 2009 Tokyo Motor Show and was revealed as a sleek and aggressively-styled rear-wheel drive coupe that would see Toyota return to the compact performance coupe segment after a prolonged absence. The Subaru version of the FT-86 will presumably employ an all-wheel drive layout.
Each company’s version of the FT-86 will most likely be powered by a four-cylinder engine in the base model. A turbocharged edition of the FT-86 is also potentially in the cards, and affordable entry-level pricing should help the FT-86 fight against compact coupes such as the Hyundai Genesis and the V-6 versions of the Ford Mustang and the Chevrolet Camaro.
2009 FT-86 Concept pictured
04. 2012 Porsche Boxster
The 2012 Porsche Boxster will offer evolutionary styling when compared against the current model, with no dramatic departures from the vehicle’s well-established visual formula to report. This is in keeping with Porsche’s tradition of subtle improvement versus clean-sheet redesign. In terms of its drivetrain, however, the Boxster would seem to be destined to embrace its first four-cylinder engine. This unit would slot in under the two existing inline six-cylinder offerings.
Horsepower output for the new entry-level motor is currently unknown, but it is reasonable to expect that both current engines will see a slight bump in potency, clearing 300 horsepower by a wider margin at the high end. Transmission choices will remain a six-speed manual and a seven-speed PDK automated manual unit. The Boxster will also most likely be lighter than the current model and also feature a revised aero package.
Current 2010 Porsche Boxster pictured
05. 2012 Audi R4
Porsche’s corporate cousin Audi appears to be poised to get in on the compact sports car game with the upcoming Audi R4. With styling that is derived from the Audi R8 supercar, the R4 will also draw inspiration from the e-Tron electric sports car concepts that have made the rounds of the show car circuit over the past year or so.
The Audi R4 will be much more affordable than the R8, and it will offer a turbo or supercharged engine generating in the neighborhood of 300 horses. A lightweight design and a mid-engine, all-wheel drive layout will also help to ensure that the R4 delivers plenty of driving thrills. European audiences will most likely be able to order battery-powered as well as diesel editions of the R4, but these versions of the car have not yet been confirmed for American buyers.
06. 2012 Mazda RX-7
Mazda’s current sports car, the Mazda RX-8 has gotten a little long in the tooth after having been on the market for almost a decade. The replacement for the RX-8 will revive the RX-7 nameplate that hasn’t seen production in the United States since the mid-1990s. The 2012 Mazda RX-7 will carry on Mazda’s rotary engine drivetrain and will also maintain a focus on lightness due to the decision to use the current Mazda MX-5 Miata platform as its starting point.
Mazda has remained tight-lipped regarding whether the RX-7 will offer a backseat (the original models did not), as well as how the final horsepower numbers for the upcoming rotary engine will shake out. The last-generation RX-7 offered a very tunable turbocharged engine, and given that the RX-8 was often criticized for a perceived lack of power the company might surprise the world with a much more potent rotary offering.
07. 2012 Porsche 911 Carrera
Porsche’s flagship sports car will see a fresh – but not too fresh – face debut for 2012. Key exterior changes include new headlight design, different mirrors and revised aerodynamics. The new 911’s interior will offer much improved accommodations in line with what customers have encountered in two of Porsche’s most recently revamped models (the Cayenne SUV and the Panamera sedan).
Power is up across the board in the 2012 Porsche 911 Carrera, with the base inline six-cylinder engine graduating to between 350 and 380 horsepower and the Carrera S potentially offering as much as 450 ponies from its larger unit. The new 911 won’t just be faster, it will also be 12 percent more frugal when driving around town thanks to the installation of an automatic engine start / stop system and regenerative braking.
Current Porsche 911 Turbo Pictured
08. 2013 Jaguar XE
Jaguar has been on the outside looking in when it comes to entry-level premium sports models. This is a position that it aims to change with the introduction of the 2013 Jaguar XE, a two-seat roadster that will trade on nimble handling and Jaguar’s revitalized exterior styling.
The compact Jaguar XE is said to be the first product to make use of a new aluminum platform and body design that will eventually spread to other areas of the Jaguar lineup. The vehicle will offer a V-6 engine and will target sports cars such as the Porsche Boxster and the Mercedes-Benz SLK as its primary rivals. If the Jaguar XE successfully makes it into production by 2013, and if sales are favorable, then a fixed-roof coupe could arrive on the scene the following year.
Current Jaguar XK pictured
09. 2013 Chevrolet Corvette
The recent C6 generation of the Chevrolet Corvette has been a home run for General Motors, and the upcoming C7 looks to have been designed with an eye firmly anchored on what makes the current Corvette work so well. Although it had been posited that the 2013 Chevrolet Corvette would be a dramatic re-interpretation of the vehicle’s styling and even drivetrain layout, a mid-engine exotic version of the American performance trendsetter appears to have been pushed off into the future.
The 2013 Chevrolet Corvette will be lighter and more powerful than the model it replaces, although its V-8 engine options won’t migrate to more advanced dual overhead cam technology. As for appearances, the upcoming Corvette could look to the past to revive the boat tail and split rear window treatment seen on the original 60’s era Corvette Sting Ray.
Current Chevrolet Corvette pictured
10. 2013 Volkswagen BlueSport Roadster
Completing the triumvirate of upcoming compact sports cars emerging from the Volkswagen / Audi / Porsche group of brands is the 2013 Volkswagen BlueSport Roadster. This mid-engine, rear-wheel drive two-seat convertible is nothing like any of the models currently in the Volkswagen lineup, and it promises to give the growing German automaker an affordable halo vehicle.
The BlueSport will borrow from the full range of Volkswagen-managed car companies in order to fulfill its drivetrain, chassis and features list, with a curb weight of just over 2,600 lbs motivated by a turbocharged diesel engine offering between 160 and 180 horsepower. Fuel mileage is projected to be close to 50 miles per gallon, which helps the BlueSport Roadster gain some eco-credibility. For American buyers a range of small gasoline-powered engines will also be made available.
BlueSport Concept pictured