What a year for car reveals we’ve just had. Highlights included the Porsche Cayman GT4 RS, the Nissan Z and the Lotus Emira, proving exciting cars powered by combustion will be around for a little while longer just yet.
As further proof of this, 2022 is set to deliver some corkers too. We’re talking hot hatches, supercars and Baja-ready pick-up trucks, powered by a smorgasbord of engines ranging from boisterous inline fours to screaming V12s. Yes, all-new models featuring 12-cylinder engines in the 2020s.
Here’s what you need to look out for.
Yes, we really are opening a third of these articles with the Alfa Romeo Tonale. The elusive plug-in hybrid crossover is still yet to appear, but we’re (almost) certain a production version of the concept first shown way back at the 2019 Geneva Motor Show will debut very soon.
Alfa’s parent company Stellantis has confirmed the brand’s first-ever PHEV will arrive in 2022, and it’s widely understood that this car will indeed be the Tonale. Yes, it’s yet another crossover, something we have no shortage of now, but wouldn’t you rather see one of these on the road instead of another Nissan Qashqai or similar?
Here’s one that makes us sad and excited simultaneously. See, we’re over the moon that Aston Martin is slinging a twin-turbo V12 in the front of the current Vantage, especially as it’s something we thought the British company wouldn’t do. But the only problem is, this car will also be marking the end of the line for Aston’s 12-cylinder engine, hence the ‘Final Edition’ bit of the name.
It should be a fittingly thrilling send-off, though, with an expected output of around 700bhp and a track-focused attitude.
The original BMW M2 took time to reach its groove, not truly achieving greatness until the arrival of the M3/M4-engined Competition version halfway through the baby M car’s life. Hopefully, the next one will be awesome straight out of the box.
It might not be as classically handsome as the outgoing model thanks to the fussy bodywork of the base G42 2-series (pictured above), and no, we can’t rule out a gigantic grille as seen on the G80/G82 M3/M4. But dynamically, we’ve high hopes.
The BMW M2 is one of three exciting M car debuts we can expect in 2022. The second we want to talk about is the first-ever production BMW M3 Touring. BMW has made M3 wagon concepts before, but for the new ‘G81’ generation, it’ll be the real deal you can drive away from your local dealer. Happy days.
It’s the first M estate car of any kind for over a decade, the last one being the V10-powered E60 M5 Touring. The M3 will be just as powerful in Competition guise, putting out 503bhp. Expect a switchable ‘xDrive’ all-wheel drive system to be fitted as standard.
M car number three concerns a long overdue return of the CSL badge, something BMW has been making noises about for years. It’ll go on the boot lid of the new M4, which might be stretching the term ‘Coupé Sport Leichtbau’ a tad given how much of a fatty it is, and it’ll still be porky even if the touted 100kg weight reduction comes to pass.
Still, the M4 Competition is already a riot to drive and hides its considerable mass well, so a lighter, sharper version can only be a good thing.
2022 should yield the review of two Raptors from Ford - a Ranger and a Bronco. The Bronco isn’t sold in Europe though, so partly out of bitterness but also to make this list more relevant to our home nation, we’ll focus on the Ranger.
The all-new Ranger pick-up was revealed in November, and it looks like a great starting point for Raptor treatment. It has a more aggressive shape which will look suitably butch once all the Raptor trinkets have been added, and there’s a new hydroformed front end which gives more flexibility in terms of powertrains.
So, while the current Ranger Raptor (above) makes do with a humdrum inline-four diesel, the next one is in line for a petrol V6. The only trouble is, we’re not sure if we’ll get this powertrain in Europe. Don’t be surprised if Ford instead uses a diesel V6 here.
The best-driving C-segment hot hatchback returns next year, picking up pretty much where the old one left off. The now discontinued ‘FK8’ Honda Civic Type R will be passing on its 2.0-litre inline-four engine to the new car, meaning we can enjoy a power output well in excess of 300bhp.
It’ll power the front wheels, most likely via a six-speed manual gearbox and a mechanical limited-slip differential. It should be easier on the eye thanks to the standard 11th-generation Civic hatchback’s cleaner, less fussy look. But don’t go thinking it’ll slip under the radar - it’ll still feature the kind of rear wing that’d make an early noughties Subaru Impreza WRX STI blush, and a naughty triple-exit exhaust.
After 10 years in production, the ageing, extremely flawed yet thoroughly brilliant Lamborghini Aventador will disappear from the line-up. But don’t worry - the angular won’t be taking the concept of a V12-powered Lambo with it as it roars off into retirement.
Lambo execs have spoken at length about keeping a 12-cylinder engine in the Aventador’s replacement, something that’ll be done with the help of some form of electrification. It won’t quite be the ‘pure’ V12 Lamborghini experience we’re used to, but whatever Sant’Agata comes up with is sure to be very exciting.
A Mazda 6 isn’t something we’d normally get too hot under the collar about, but the latest version of this mid-size saloon is set to change dramatically. It’ll be built on Mazda‘s new ‘Large Product’ platform already confirmed for the CX-60 and CX-80 SUVs. Why is this siginificant? Because this fresh architecture involves sticking the engine in longitudinally and letting it predominantly drive the rear wheels.
As if that wasn’t enough, the Japanese company has developed an all-new engine for this new arrangement - a straight-six. An all-new range of six-cylinder engines in the 2020s is something of an anomaly, and just the kind of atypical thinking we’ve come to expect from Mazda.
Judging by spy shots of prototypes wearing gigantic rear wings, the 992 911 GT3 RS will be by far the most extreme version of Porsche‘s nat-asp trackday slayer we’ve ever seen. It’ll build on the base GT3 and its fabulous double wishbone front end with a considerably more aggressive aero profile, stiffer suspension and a smidge more power from the 4.0-litre flat-six.
Expect its existence to be confirmed first via the reveal of a new Nurburgring production lap record.