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Look who?s torquing in 2008

The Fiat 500, due to arrive in March, evokes the spirit of the hip 1960s Bambino.

A hectic 2007 proved to be lucrative for the car industry with a plethora of new cars launched and more than a million sales throughout the year. And there's no indication that it will be slowing down in 2008.

AUDI

The new A4, to rival the 3 Series and C-Class is expected here about April, while July will see the hot sports wagon, the RS6 Avant and the A3 Cabrio. Extra A5 variants will follow.

 

BMW

BMW has a busy year ahead, starting with the 320d and 335i touring this month. The 1 Series Coupe will go on sale around April, followed by the convertible in May-June. But its big one for the year will be the new X6 Sports Activity Coupe, arriving between July and September. It comes with three engine variants, all twin-turbo, an in-line six, a 3.0-litre diesel and a 300kW 4.4-litre V8. Pricing is expected to start at just under $100,000. And the X5 scores a new engine in February, with the first variable twin turbo diesel offered in the range.

 

CHRYSLER/JEEP

January will be a busy month for Chrysler, with the Sebring Cabrio and Grand Voyager people mover both arriving in Australia. The Jeep Cherokee will also get a total makeover.

 

CITROEN

Based on the C4 Picasso, but bigger and better equipped, Citroen will introduce the Berlingo van between July and September, with a mainly diesel range. This will make room in the line-up for the new Nemo small van mid-year. The C5 will also get a new V6 diesel engine.

FERRARI

Deliveries of the exquisite F430 Scuderia, priced at about $550,000, will start mid year. Only about 40 will come to Australia and New Zealand.

 

FIAT

The reincarnation of the 1960s Bambino will arrive in March, but Fiat has already sold the first four months' supply. The new Fiat 500 will have three engine choices, a 1.2-litre petrol, a 75kW 1.4-litre petrol engine or a 56kW 1.3-litre turbo diesel. Pricing is expected to start from $22,000. The new Ritmo will join the Fiat 500 in March with pricing from $30,000.

 

FORD

One of the biggest launches for the year will be the new Falcon. Ford will release details of the new model in February and it's expected to be followed by an unveiling at the Melbourne motor show in the same month, with the official launch around May.

FPV FPV will start the year with a new model, the hot turbo Territory, known as the F6 X model. It's the first non-Falcon model from FPV, with 270kW and 550Nm. The FPV Falcon range will also arrive this year.

 

HOLDEN/CADILLAC

With Ford's big year planned, you can't expect Holden to keep quiet. But so far, Holden has only announced it is expecting the VE Sportwagon, due in the first half of the year. GM-Holden is also introducing Cadillac with the first model due late in 2008.

 

HONDA

Honda will start the year with the new Accord model, due to be launched in February. The small Jazz is also getting an update after the middle of the year. Details on the new generation will be released closer to the launch. The Accord Euro is also expected to arrive later this year.

 

HYUNDAI 

No big launches just yet, although an upgraded Sonata is expected mid year.

 

JAGUAR

Jaguar's major release for the year will be the new XF in June, with pricing expected to start from $105,000. It will be available in a V6 diesel, as well as a V6 and V8 petrol.

 

KIA

Previewed at the Sydney motor show last year, Kia will launch its new seven-seater Rondo crossover in February. It is expected to start from as low as the mid-$20,000 mark.

 

LEXUS

New for Lexus will be the LX570 around April or May, followed by the IS-F towards the end of the year. Details still to come.

 

MAZDA

The second-generation Mazda6 will go on sale at the end of February with pricing from less than $30,000. It will be powered by a 2.5-litre, four cylinder engine, with 125kW and 226Nm.

MERCEDES-BENZ

The first arrival for Mercedes-Benz is expected to be the C 63 AMG in mid March. It will be followed by the S 320CDI, priced at $189,874 and the C-Class wagon, which will carry a $3000 premium over the sedan, coming in just under $60,000.

 

MINI

Another new version of a 1960s cult car is also headed our way, with the Mini Clubman launched in February. The modern successor of the Morris Mini Traveller, the Austin Mini Countryman and the Mini Clubman Estate won't get into showrooms until March or April. Pricing will start in the mid-$30,000 area.

 

MITSUBISHI

Mitsubishi will release two turbocharged Lancers this year. The top-level Lancer Evo X GSR will be here in April and sell for about $58,000. The 2.0-litre four cylinder turbo engine pumps out 200kW and 422Nm. Joining it will be the detuned version in the Ralliart all-wheel drive, at about $40,000.

 

NISSAN

Nissan's first addition for the year will be the all-wheel-drive wagon, the Dualis. Starting at $28,990 and stretching to $35,990, it's powered by a 102kW, 2.0-litre engine.

 

PEUGEOT

The big launch for Peugeot will be the 308 replacing the 307 range, which will start with the 308 hatch in February in both petrol and diesel guises. The touring will follow in June or July, with the 308cc model a prospect for late 2008 or early 2009.

 

PROTON

Proton has announced the Persona, based on the Gen2 hatch platform, will make its debut at the Melbourne motor show in late February, going on sale in March. It will be priced around the mid-teens. The Gen2 will also get engine updates and minor styling changes.

 

RENAULT

The all-new Laguna will go on sale mid-year with a 2.0-litre diesel engine.

 

SAAB

June sees the arrival of the Turbo X AWD.

 

SSANGYONG

The South Korean company will go completely diesel in 2008, with no more petrol engines on offer in Australia.

 

SMART

The new Fortwo arrives in Australia in February. The one-model brand will get both the 52kW and 62kW models, in hatch and cabrio, being bigger than the current models.

 

SUBARU

The star WRX STi comes in February with a 2.5-litre turbocharged engine, although pricing is still to come. The third generation Forester arrives in March.

 

SUZUKI

February's proving to be a busy month, with Suzuki also launching its Grand Vitara diesel.

 

TOYOTA

After a big year in 2007, Toyota is expecting a quiet year, with only the TRD Hilux due to be launched in April-June.

 

VOLKSWAGEN

Volkswagen will kick off the year with the SUV, the Touareg R50, to be released in April. It's powered by a 258kW V10 TDI engine. The Tiguan also arrives about October. 

 VOLVO

The recently launched XC70 arrives in showrooms this month, joined by the C30 diesel also in January. It's priced at $43,950. A base model C30 will also enter the line-up, at $34,450. A 3.0-litre six-cylinder engined V70 will arrive in March.

 

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