It's only April but we've already seen exciting new performance cars from Ferrari (296 GTS), McLaren (765LT) and Lamborghini (Huracan Tecnica). But don't worry if your bank account won't stretch to one of those European exotics because there's a raft of new, affordable performance cars headed our way in the very near future.
Of course, ‘affordable' is a relative word, but each of these five models is expected to cost less than $75,000. Sure, that's not exactly what you'd call ‘cheap' but given the amount of performance, comfort and technology you're getting for your money all five of these cars represent good value.
Subaru has already launched its version of this collaborative coupe, with the new BRZ priced from $42,163 (plus on-road costs), and the Toyota take is due to arrive in the coming months.
While the exact price for the new GR86 is still yet to be revealed, obviously we know what to expect thanks to the BRZ and Toyota's previous statements.
For starters, it has a new name, with the GR86 now paying reference to Toyota's expanding Gazoo Racing portfolio. It will join the GR Yaris and GR Supra with the GR Corolla also coming soon – but more on that later.
The GR86 gets a fresh look on the surface and underneath there's a larger 2.4-litre flat-four engine that now makes more grunt – 170kW of power and 249Nm of torque, up from 147kW/212Nm.
It also gets revised suspension tuning and Michelin Pilot Sport 4 tyres (replacing the low-grip rubber that was borrowed from the Prius) which should help improve handling.
If Toyota can undercut the BRZ on price it can lay claim to having the performance car bargain in the current market.
To content with launching one affordable new performance car in 2022, Subaru will add a second. And not just any new model, but the latest iteration of its famous WRX.
Due to arrive in showrooms sometime in May, the new WRX will be positioned as a competitor to the Volkswagen Golf GTI and Hyundai i30 N, so pricing will likely remain at or below the $50k mark.
The new WRX is built on the Subaru Global Platform (SGP) which is lighter and stiffer than the out-going model which will improve handling.
Like the GR86/BRZ, the new WRX has also dropped Subaru's 2.0-litre four-cylinder boxer engine in favour of the larger 2.4-litre unit. However, unlike the coupe twins the WRX gets a turbocharger for even more performance, 202kW/350Nm, and will be paired with the choice of a six-speed manual or CVT gearbox, plus Subaru's trademark all-wheel drive system.
Ford Fiesta ST
Good things are worth waiting for and the new blue oval pocket rocket should be worth your patience. Originally expected to arrive by now, Ford had to push the launch back to later this year.
However, the new Fiesta ST will be one of the most affordable hot hatches in the country, priced from $33,490 (plus on-road costs).
Despite being small in size it packs a big punch, with the 1.5-litre three-cylinder turbocharged engine pushing out 147kW and 320Nm; up from 290Nm in the out-going model.
It also gets a fresh look and new creature comforts and technology, including a 12.3-inch digital instrument panel, 14-way adjustable Performance seats and matrix LED headlights.
The new Volkswagen Group brand is counting down until its arrival later this year and took a big step forward last week, revealing pricing for its new line-up that will consist of the Leon hot hatch and Forementor and Ateca SUVs.
Our pick for this list is the Leon VZ, the middle of the range hatch that will be priced from $52,590 (plus on-road costs). It's powered by the 180kW/370Nm version of the VW Group's trusty 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo engine, paired with a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission.
It will sit between the Leon V and hybrid Leon VZe. The former is priced from $43,990 and powered by a 140kW/320Nm version of the same 2.0-litre four-pot. The VZe swaps that for a 1.4-litre four-cylinder turbo with an electric motor that makes a combined 180kW/400Nm and is priced from $59,990.
Cupra is expected to begin taking pre-orders for the Leon range from the third quarter of this year.
Toyota GR Corolla
We began this list with a Toyota and we're finishing with one as the Japanese giant makes a major push into the performance car space, while retaining its affordable reputation.
Pricing for the new GR Corolla isn't expected to be confirmed until later this year, closer to its launch in the final few months of the year. Based on the GR Yaris starting at $49,500 and running to $54,500 for the Rallye version, it's very likely the Corolla version will be priced above $60k.
Even so, it should offer plenty of bang for your buck, with a 1.6-litre three-cylinder turbo petrol engine making 220kW and 370Nm. It will be mated exclusively to a six-speed manual transmission and all-wheel drive system, which includes front and rear Torsen limited-slip differentials to help the handling.