As we get closer to an electrified era, you might expect the time of the sports or performance or sports car to be over.
But oh no, manufacturers are keen to assert the sportiness of their upcoming EVs, while clinging onto traditional petrol performance cars for as long as possible. And 2023 is lining up to be an exciting year for the performance car, with a range of important new models on the way.
Here are the 10 new performance cars to look out for in 2023.
Abarth has built up an impressively loyal customer base that loves these sporty Fiat 500-based hot hatches. But next year the Italian brand takes the bold leap into the electric car market with a sportier version of Fiat’s latest 500 EV.
Abarth promises that this new electric model, which will be sold alongside existing petrol versions, will be just as fun, while it has even engineered in a ‘Sound Generator’ that mimics the noise of an engine. The first models are due to arrive in the middle of 2023.
Audi RS6 Performance
Audi’s RS6 Avant estate is already one of the best, most versatile sporting models on the market, but it’s set to get even better next year with the introduction of a new Performance model.
Power is boosted by 30bhp to 621bhp, while engine torque increases by 50Nm to 850Nm. Other changes include new lightweight 22-inch alloy wheels and various styling updates, while Audi has reduced the noise isolation of the engine bay to enable a more vocal soundtrack in the cabin. First deliveries are expected in April 2023.
BMW has marked the 50th anniversary of its ‘M’ division in 2022, with the unveiling of two important and exciting performance models – the first ever M3 Touring and new M2. Both are due to arrive in BMW dealers in 2023, but it’s the M2 that’s really set to get pulses racing.
The previous M2 was widely considered one of the best sports cars on the market, and the same expectations are hoped for this new car, due to be launched next May. Getting a big power uplift to 454bhp, it remains rear-wheel-drive, while a manual gearbox option will also be offered.
Ferrari’s first SUV, though it won’t call it an SUV, has been the car that the firm originally said it would never build, but next year the Purosangue changes all of that, and arrives as the brand’s most practical model.
Arriving with a monstrous 6.0-litre naturally-aspirated V12 engine (the only SUV to ever feature such a unit), it develops a monstrous 715bhp, allowing for a 0-60mph time of 3.3 seconds. Perhaps the most important performance car launch in 2023, there’s a lot resting on the new Purosangue. Expect the first UK cars later on in the year.
While Ford is increasingly turning its attention to EVs – just look at the recent announcement that the Fiesta was being discontinued to make way for new electric models – the brand isn’t waving goodbye to engines just yet.
That’s because Ford’s legendary Mustang will return for a new generation in late 2023, and it will keep the model’s 5.0-litre V8 engine. Set to offer more in the way of quality and technology, a special Dark Label would serve as a track-focused version.
Honda Civic Type R
Honda is keen to point out that earlier in 2022 it fully electrified its line-up in Europe, with only hybrids and EVs now available. There will be an exception to the rule, however, in early 2023, when the legendary Civic Type R makes a return.
Building on its superb predecessor, Honda has focused on refining the model rather than starting from scratch. The result is one that’s likely to be seriously impressive, though with a starting price of £47,000, so it should be.
Lamborghini Huracan Sterrato
Lamborghini is showing off an entirely different side to its Huracan in 2023, with the arrival of the Sterrato. Essentially a supercar designed to go off-road, it retains the brand’s legendary naturally-aspirated V10 engine.
Getting entirely revamped styling to highlight its ruggedness, it sits higher and is wider than a standard Huracan, while being fitted with off-road tyres and underbody protection. The Huracan Sterrato will also be Lamborghini’s last model not to feature any kind of electrification.
Maserati is reviving its GranTurismo in 2023, continuing a nameplate that first existed 75 years ago. There’s a big change here, though, as, unlike previous V8 models, it will be offered with Maserati’s V6 Nettuno engine or as a new EV, known as the Folgore.
It’s this EV that’s of particular note, however, as its bespoke powertrain will develop a mighty 750bhp, while its large battery is set to allow for a range of more than 300 miles. It will arrive as Maserati’s first electric car and will serve as an important moment in this Italian brand’s history.
Mercedes-AMG C63 S E
The previous, outgoing Mercedes-AMG C63 was one of the most characterful cars on the market, with its V8 engine being central to the experience. However, because of tightening emissions regulations, Mercedes has had to switch to a four-cylinder setup for the new C63.
But that undersells it, as this new car’s performance-focused plug-in hybrid system puts out a mighty 670bhp, allowing for a 0-60mph time of just 3.4 seconds. You’ll be able to buy the C63 S E as both a saloon and as an estate, too.
Porsche 911 Dakar
The Huracan Sterrato isn’t the only off-road supercar emerging in 2023, as Porsche’s new 911 rally-inspired Dakar will also be arriving. Harking back to the firm’s past rally cars, it’s based on the 911 Carrera S, but Porsche says it’s capable of rivalling ‘more conventional off-road vehicles’ when away from the tarmac.
A whole host of styling revisions have been made, but the 911 Dakar will really stand out if the optional roof rack is selected, as well as the various liveries that Porsche is offering.