10 Best Debuts of 2015
Another year will soon close out, as the calendars are close to flipping into 2016. Before we say farewell to 2015, we decided to take a look back at the debuts we’ve witnessed since January 1st and lay out our 10 favorites.
While there have been many product debuts, none of them matched what the famed Back to the Future franchise predicted would be available by 2015. So, we have no flying Jeep Wranglers, Ford Probes, or Mustangs, but we do have a hot hatchback that drifts with the best of `em, a Cayman that’s better than a 911, and an electric Crossover that hits 60 in 3.2 seconds; I guess we couldn’t ask for a much cooler year of debuts.
2016 Ford Focus RS
Wanna have your grocery getter and race it too? Well, the upcoming Focus RS is your ticket to drifting with a week’s worth of canned goods in the back, thanks to its class-exclusive Drift Mode. This five-door hatchback is ready and raring with its 2.3-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder that pumps 350 horsepower and 350 pound-feet of twist out to all four wheels. This results in a 0-to-62 mph sprint time of 4.7 seconds and a top speed of 165 mph.
This dual-personality hatchback will hit showrooms in the spring of 2016.
2017 Ford GT
The last resurrection of the GT resulted in a sexy rig that performed like a supercar and had the quality of a Yugo. Ford is looking for a mulligan with the new GT, and it appears as if the world is up for giving the automaker another crack at redemption. I can’t blame them, given how stunning the new GT is.
The new GT will feature a 3.5-liter EcoBoost engine that produces “more than” 600 horsepower. Last time Ford used “more than” in terms of power was with the Focus RS, which it claimed had “more than 315 horsepower,” and it far exceeded the estimate with 350 horsepower. If this continues as the trend, look for the GT to actually have around 660 horsepower.
2016 Chevrolet Camaro
A full redesign of the Camaro has been long overdue, as the refresh of the last generation seemed to frustrate people more than satisfy their desires for a new-look `Maro. Chevy finally answered these requests in 2015 with the unveiling of the redesigned, but still familiar, 2016 Camaro.
The new model has a more compact footprint, which pushes the pony car closer to the sports cars that it rivals. This “Honey I Shrunk the Pony Car” process dropped the Camaro’s curb weight by as much as 200 pounds. The Camaro also gains a new 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder that injects 275 horsepower into the smaller body – 120 more horsepower than my mullet-inspiring 1986 Camaro IROC-Z I had as my first car – which results in a 60 mph sprint of fewer than six seconds.
The 2016 Camaro also continues on with a 3.6-liter V-6 and a 6.2-liter V-8, which produce 335 and 455 horsepower, respectively.
2017 Jaguar F-Pace
Had you told a Jag fan a decade ago that the brand would debut a crossover in 2015, he would first inform you it is pronounced Jag-ew-ar, then he would call you “bloody insane.” Well, here we are in 2015 and Jaguar has revealed its new F-Pace crossover.
Fortunately, Jaguar designed the F-Pace with the F-Type in mind, giving the crossover a sporty look that has all of the proportions fans expect from a Jag. What’s more, the crossover’s 380-horsepower supercharged V-6 launches the F-Pace to 60 mph in just 5.1 seconds. Also available is a 340-horsepower version of the V-6 and a 180-horsepower four-cylinder diesel engine.
2017 Honda Civic Type R
We’ve never been privy to the Civic Type R here in the U.S., but we’ve clearly done enough whining, as the next-gen Type R will make the trip across the pond to U.S. dealers. The Civic Type R also marks the first time in many years that we’ve had a Civic hatchback in the U.S.
What makes the Type R so badass is its turbocharged 2.0-liter VTEC engine that delivers 306 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque to the front wheels. This boosted four-pot results in a 5.7-second sprint to 60 mph and a 167 mph top speed.
2017 Acura NSX
After years of speculation, rumors, and concepts, Acura finally unveiled the production NSX in January of this year. This unicorn of the import sports car world will arrive with a twin-turbo 3.5-liter V-6 that pairs up with an electric motor, but Acura is still being stingy with the actual power output. Most rumors put it somewhere in the 550-horsepower range, but those all remain unconfirmed for now.
The next-gen NSX is more than just sheer power, however, as it also has a stunning body built from aluminum, high-strength steel, and other lightweight materials. What’s more, the NSX’s interior looks like it is quite a comfy place to spend a lot of time.
2016 Porsche Cayman GT4
For decades, Porsche has protected its beloved 911 like an overbearing mother, quickly sweeping away any other “normal” models that could encroach upon it. This came to an end in 2015 with the introduction of the Cayman GT4. For years, Porsche fans knew that the Cayman was a better sports car than the 911, but it lacked the power and handling bits to have a chance to catch up to its big brother.
Thanks to the GT4, this is now history, as its 3.8-liter flat-six that pounds out 385 horsepower makes it 0.2 seconds quicker to 60 mph than the manual-equipped 911 Carrera. In addition to its quicker acceleration, its 911 GT3-derived suspension bit, 30 mm lower ride height, and mid-mounted engine all make it a more competent handler than the base 911.
Some may call it blasphemy, but I call it Porsche finally letting the Cayman live up to its potential.
2017 Porsche 911 Carrera
The 911 goes through periodic facelifts during the course of each of its generations, and the latest one brings more than just an updated look. The new 911 Carrera and Cabriolet both receive new engines as well. Under their rear-mounted hoods lay new 3.0-liter twin-turbo six-cylinder engines that up the power by 20 horsepower. This means the standard Carrera produces a whopping 370 horsepower and the Carrera S checks in with 420 ponies.
With the PDK transmission, both the Carrera and the Carrera S are 0.2 seconds quicker to 60 mph than their predecessors.
I would call this quite the successful refresh…
2016 Chevrolet Volt
While the 2016 Volt is not necessarily an exciting car, it was one of the biggest debuts of 2015. The new range-extended electric vehicle boasts an all-new look that is a little more conventional than the last generation, plus it gets a new powertrain that makes it even more desirable.
This updated drivetrain consists of a 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine that acts as a generator. Unlike the last-generation Volt, this engine does not require premium fuel. The main propulsion system is an electric motor that can travel up to 53 miles on a single charge – 15 more miles than the last-gen Volt. Rounding out the improvements, the 2016 Volt’s 8.4-second 0-to-60 sprint is significantly quicker the 2015 model’s sprint.
2016 Tesla Model X
While the look of the Tesla Model X was never much of a mystery, its powertrain was, and this is what impressed us the model. The initial allotment of the Model X is available in two outrageously awesome states of tune. The base 90D model has two motors that team up to produce 518 horsepower to all four wheels, which gets the crossover to 60 mph in just 4.8 seconds.
The P90D model pumps the rear motor up to 503 ponies, putting the total output up to 762 horses. This model is sheer insanity, as its standard setup gets it to 60 mph in just 3.8 seconds, while the optional Ludicrous Speed Upgrade drops this to 3.2 seconds.