The demand for luxury cars, supercars and hypercars is stronger than ever, but this year an appetite for practical luxury took hold, as marques like Bentley, Lamborghini and Rolls-Royce ventured into the world of SUVs. And, of course, the time-honored combination of high horsepower and lavish interiors dominated at the ultra-high-end range, complimenting the march towards hybrid and electric alternatives.
By all accounts, 2019 will be largely similar, with luxury aesthetics, raw power and eco-minded engines leading the way. Here are 10 models to look forward to next year.
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Lamborghini Aventador SVJ
Next year, Lamborghini is rolling out the Aventador SVJ, their fastest car you can buy new. Helping make use of all 759bhp and 531lb/ft of torque is a new active aerodynamics system, which allowed it to set a production car lap record of 6:44.97 at Nürburgring, one of the longest and most dynamically challenging circuits in the world
It helps, too, that carbon fiber can be seen just about everywhere -- inside and out, and places you can't see, such as the one-piece monocoque that holds everything together in one strong and lightweight package.
There are only 900 of the Aventador SVJ being built and you'll need to cough up $517,770 to buy one. If you miss that run and money is no object, 63 pricier "63 Edition" cars will be produced on top of that, complete with a bespoke color and trim.
Ferrari 488 Pista Spider
Ferrari's ability to fuse Italian styling and engineering prowess is displayed at its best in the 488 Pista Spider, which is more suited to the track than the roads. It needs just 7.6 seconds to go from standing to 124mph -- not that you would expect any less from a car with 710bhp and more ultra-lightweight carbon fiber than you could ever dream of -- including optional, one-piece carbon fibre alloy wheels for $28,000.
The interior, meanwhile, comes across as luxurious yet sporty, with soft Alcantara suede contrasting with the optional four-point safety harnesses and racing car-inspired seats.
Aston Martin DBX
The DBX is Aston Martin's attempt at cashing in on the SUV market, which has long been dominated by Jaguar Land Rover and its luxury off-roaders.
Set to be unveiled towards the end of 2019 (four years after its debut as a concept car), the Aston Martin DBX will feature a choice of two petrol engines -- a 4.0-litre V8 from Mercedes and a 5.2-liter V12 from its own stable -- before going hybrid at a later date.
Little else is known about the DBX. Rumors suggest it could be called the Varekai when it reaches production, since Aston Martin filed a trademark for the name in March. We've also heard that it has been given a completely new testing method, which includes driving in the deserts of the Middle East, on snow in the Arctic and at the Nürburgring. No word on a price just yet, but if you have to ask...
Building a successor to the McLaren F1 supercar, which broke the speed record and wowed with its central seat layout and gold-lined engine bay, was never going to be easy. But then the McLaren Speedtail, dubbed a "Hyper-GT" (grand tourer) by the British marque is a monster. Its hybrid engine generates 1,050bhp, which makes it capable of 250mph and 0-300kmh (186mph) in just 12.8 seconds. (To put that into context, the McLaren F1 needs another 10 seconds or so to achieve the same feat.)
Unique touches like the closed front wheel design, body shape and adaptable body panels make it one of the most aerodynamic cars ever made. It is also one of the most futuristic, thanks to a cabin with multiple touchscreen displays and cameras instead of conventional side mirrors. The fact you can start the engine using a button above your head only makes you want one more.
The problem is that just 106 are being built, mirroring the production run of the F1, and all have sold for $2.25 million.
Yet another indication of the shift towards eco-friendlier motoring, the Audi E-tron is an all-electric SUV that can makes up for its rather subdued appearance with design, luxury and technology where it counts.
At the front and back are electric motors, which provide 402bhp and 490lb/ft of torque to ensure progress is rapid, while a 95kWh battery (not that far off the biggest Tesla alternative) resides between, providing a range of 248 miles -- but also an extra 700kg in weight.
In addition to plenty of storage space, the Audi E-tron features a 360-degree camera system, side cameras instead of side mirrors and air suspension that adapts to the terrain. Hand over $74,800 and it's yours.
Bentley Continental GT Convertible
When the updated Bentley Continental GT was revealed earlier this year, it was praised as an even better grand tourer than its predecessor. Besides being dynamically superior, it also saw a drastic overhaul to the interior, improving the aesthetics and comfort in the process.
The 6.0-litre W12 engine will be present and correct, which ensures a top speed of 207mph and 0-60mph just a tenth of a second slower than the coupe despite being heavier, as well as air suspension that should make it even smoother over bumps.
You also get a vastly improved interior infotainment display, an improved neck-warmer and a roof that can open and close in 19 seconds at speeds of up to 30mph. Sadly it means losing space in the boot for fine wines from the continent.
By making said roof better insulated, the convertible version is said to be as quiet as the older coupe, which helps justify the leap in price: $214,600 before extras.
Tesla's innovative Model 3 may have made waves, but it the new Roadster will be the one that turns the most heads, thanks to frankly absurd performance.
Zero to 60 in 1.9 seconds means it will, in theory, leave every production car for dust and quite a few that aren't road legal. Meanwhile the top speed is a claimed 250mph, which is also unheard of for most cars -- let alone an all-electric one.
When driving slowly, the all-wheel drive Tesla Roadster should do around 620 miles between charges, more than any other electric car, meaning a very low carbon footprint for the owner if they can 'fill up' using green energy sources.
As these numbers suggest, this will be the most expensive Tesla ever -- $200,000, in fact, for the Founders Series plus a deposit of $50,000. Not so bad when you consider it has one of the most technically advanced autonomous driving systems available and a gigantic touchscreen for browsing the internet, listening to music and navigating from A to B.
The electric Jaguar I-Pace combines impressive handling with a 300-mile range, all-wheel drive and enough luxury to ensure everyone inside enjoys the ride.
Multiple touchscreens, for instance, sit in a tastefully futuristic and uncluttered cabin and display a variety of useful readouts, although Jaguar has resisted doing away with buttons for the more useful functions, such as controlling the temperature.
Being almost affordable helps make it worthy of our list, although $80,500 is still quite the stretch. But then if you want a head-turner that is as eco-friendly as it is capable of just about any task you throw at it, the I-Pace will do the trick.
The Porsche Taycan will be a four-door all-electric saloon when it is unveiled in 2019. First unveiled in the form of the Porsche Mission E concept in March, it features two electric motors that will deliver rapid performance from a variety of outputs, potentially ranging from 402bhp to 603bhp.
Inductive charging is said to be included, and its 800V technology all but guarantees it'll have current charge times. As for the interior, it is safe to expect touchscreens aplenty, Alcantara suede and leather, and lightweight metals like carbon fiber to its weight down.
BMW i8 Roadster
You would be forgiven for forgetting the i8 Roadster was on the way. The concept was first unveiled in 2012 and it wasn't until this past November that motoring journalists were finally allowed to give it a test drive. Yet despite the wait, it still manages to stand out in a rapidly evolving sector of the market.
In addition to the changes inherited from the updated i8 Coupe, the i8 Roadster enjoys a retractable roof that opens and closes in 15 seconds at 31mph, and reinforcement to improve the rigidity lost in cutting off the roof. You can also pay extra for the more eye-catching Carpo ivory white and black interior trim.
Despite the extra weight, the i8 Roadster is only 60kg heavier. But you do lose two seats, with extra luggage space the replacement. Not that you buy a convertible for practicality, but for looks, interior style and unique wow-factor, it is hard to fault. Yours from $148,500.
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