High-volume luxury makes
Shared platforms are the secret behind a rapid expansion in the high-volume luxury segment. Audi is basing its TT coupe and roadster and the AL2 on its A3, which is a version of the platform used by the A4. Saab is hoping to add a coupe and a wagon to its new 9-3, and Volvo wants to add niches while it trims its platforms to two. And Porsche, which has never built anything with more than two doors, is developing a luxury sport-utility with VW that is due in 2002.
TT: The new aluminum-intensive Audi TT coupe and a roadster share a platform with the A3, but only 20 percent of the parts are common. The TTs will be assembled at a new factory in Hungary that has a 40,000-unit capacity.
The 2+2 will debut in Europe this fall and in the USA by mid-1999. Audi will offer two versions of its four-cylinder, turbo-charged, 1.8-liter engine.
The range topper will cost DM62,000 ($36,500) in Germany and have all-wheel drive, a six-speed manual gearbox and a 225hp engine with two intercoolers. An automatic transmission will be available in 1999. The roadster will go into production about six months after the coupe.
A3: The A3, introduced in 1996, will get a minor freshening in 1999.
A4: The A4, on the market since 1994, will be replaced in 2000. It will be built on a new platform that will be shared with similar-sized cars in VW Group. This year, the A4 got a new six-cylinder, 2.5-liter turbodiesel engine.
In 2001, the two-door Audi convertible will be replaced. The convertible will have optional four-wheel drive and electronic stability program, which helps prevent skidding on fast turns. A new station wagon will come in late 2001 or early 2002.
A6: A station wagon, known as the Avant, was added to the A6 line this year. In the summer of 1999 the A6 range will add the eight-cylinder engine already used in the A8. A new eight-cylinder, 3.5-liter turbodiesel is being developed for 1999.
A8: The A8 gets minor exterior and interior updates this fall, and next year gets the 3.5-liter turbodiesel. The A8 will be replaced in 2001, using a new platform that can be used for future Bentley models. A long-wheelbase A8 is expected in 2002.
AL2: The small, sophisticated and expensive compact goes into production in late 1999 and will be launched at the beginning of 2000 in Europe. Audi may sell the AL2 in North America. It is based on a study that was shown at the Frankfurt auto show in the fall of 1997.
The four-seater will feature a weight-reducing aluminum space-frame chassis. The AL2 will be 3,800mm long, slightly longer than the Mercedes-Benz A-class. It will be offered with a three-cylinder, 1.2-liter diesel engine making 60hp and two 1.4-liter engines, one gasoline and one diesel. The platform will be shared with the next-generation VW Polo and VW Lupo.
3 series: The replacement for the 3 series sedan debuted earlier this year. In 1999, the 3 series gets a sleek coupe, followed by a station wagon in 2000 and a convertible in 2001.
Compact: The smaller version of the 3 series received a 2.5-liter, six-cylinder engine this year. The replacement, due in several years, will again be based on the 3 series and positioned a notch below the 3 series.
Z3: The roadster gets new engines this year: a 1.9-liter four-cylinder and an improved 2.8-liter six-cylinder.
The coupe, based on BMW's successful Z3 roadster, will be launched in September in North America and Europe. It uses the roadster body up to the A-pillar as well as its chassis and engines. Prices will start around DM64,000 in Germany.
5 series: This fall, a 400hp replacement for the sporty and highly tuned M5 goes on sale in Europe. In 1999, the 5 series gets an eight-cylinder, common-rail diesel engine.
It will be redesigned around 2002.
7 series: The 7 series gets a minor exterior freshening this year and a new optional seating system featuring BMW's new active seat. It will be replaced in the 2000 calendar year.
8 series: BMW will drop its most expensive model in 2000.
Z7: The Z7 coupe and roadster will arrive when the 8 series disappears in 2000. They are based on retro-look concept cars that premiered at the Tokyo auto show in fall 1997. BMW has not decided whether to keep the Z7 name or use '6 series,' a previously discontinued range.
The coupe will be launched early in 2000, followed by the convertible a year later. The models will be priced at more than $50,000.
SAV: BMW is developing a sports-activity vehicle based on the 5-series platform. The crossbreed between a sport-utility and station wagon will premiere in late 1999.
XKR: The XKR high-performance model was added this year to the XK8 range.
S-type: Jaguar's smaller mid-luxury car will be introduced at this October's Birmingham auto show for a sales debut in early 1999. The S-type shares a rear-wheel-drive platform with the new Lincoln LS. The high-line model will have Ford-developed, voice-activated controls for the audio system, car phone and climate control.
XJ8: The XJ8 sedan will be replaced in 2000.
X200: Jaguar is awaiting final decisions on its new small car, codenamed X400, to compete in the lower-luxury segment. Whether the car would be front- or rear-drive has not been answered. It is expected to debut in 2001.
Freelander: A 2.5-liter V-6 engine and five-speed automatic transmission will be added in late 2000, when sales will begin in the USA.
Range Rover: The top model is due to be replaced in 2000. The vehicle will use a new platform jointly developed with BMW. It will have better handling, giving it less of a truck feel without sacrificing off-road performance.
Discovery: A replacement appears this fall as the Discovery Series II. The exterior appearance is nearly unchanged, but the interior is extensively updated.
Defender: A redesigned Defender is due around 2003. The replacement will be engineered for US sales, with passive restraints that the current model lacks. It will have a rigid body for a rugged and utilitarian character. A four-seat, soft-top version with amenities will be offered.
C-class: The C-class, launched in mid-1993, will be replaced in 2000 when a new range of direct-injection, four-cylinder gasoline engines will be ready.
CLK: The Mercedes CLK coupe arrived in mid-1997. No major changes are expected until 2002.
The CLK four-seat convertible was introduced earlier this year.
E-class: The E-class will be freshened in 1999. Major styling changes are not expected.
S-class: The new S-class will be launched in Germany in October and the USA next year. At 5040mm long, it is 75mm shorter than its predecessor, but the interior compartment is 17mm longer. The new car is 29mm narrower and 300kg lighter.
It will debut with short- and long-wheelbase versions, and three engines: a V-6 with 224hp in the S320, a V-8 with 279hp in the S430, and a V-8 with 306hp in the S500. The engines are already used in the E-class.
In 1999, the S-class gets a 12-cylinder, gasoline and an eight-cylinder, diesel engine with common-rail injection.
CL: In summer 1999, Mercedes will offer a redesigned S-class coupe called the CL.
SL: This year the SL roadster got a freshening and new engines. A redesigned version will launch in 2001, with a retracting hardtop similar to that used by the smaller SLK.
SLK: Sales have exceeded expectations since the 1995 launch. In 1999, the SLK gets a new six-cylinder engine.
Maybach: Due in 2002, the Maybach will be Mercedes-Benz's ultra-luxury model. The Maybach will be about 5809mm long and be equipped with such luxury items as a bar, video and stereo systems, telephones, heated and reclining rear seats and even computer docking ports and modems. Prices are expected to be DM400,000 to DM500,000.
A-class: The A-class will get zero-emission powertrains in 2002.
M-class: The M-class sport-utility is a year old. Production capacity will be added in Austria and increased in the USA.
V-class: The V-class minivan is based on the Vito commercial van. Last year was its first full year on the market and 13,000 units were sold, fewer than the 52,000 Vitos sold, but on target. The V-class will get a freshening in 1999 and a new, common-rail, five-cylinder diesel engine.
911 Carrera coupe: The all-new 911 debuted in 1997. It will not change before 2002. A high-performance Carrera Turbo with 3.4-liter, 450hp engine is expected in 2000. A convertible was introduced in spring.
Boxster: The mid-engine Boxster, launched in 1996, is not likely to be freshened until after 2000.
SUV: Porsche is developing a sport-utility with Volkswagen, based on a VW van platform. Introduction is expected in 2002.
R40: The mid-luxury R40 will be shown at this October's Birmingham auto show and go on sale next spring. It replaces both the 600 and the 800. There has been speculation that the car will be called the 75, an old Rover name from the 1940s.
9-3: The Saab 900 was reskinned and renamed this year. A high-performance version arrives next year. The all-new replacement comes in 2001, riding on the GM Epsilon global platform and powered by GM engines. It will be sold as a three-door, five-door and convertible, and perhaps as a coupe and station wagon.
9-5: The 9-5 replaced the Saab 9000 this year. It shares components and a platform with the GM Vectra. A station wagon derivative and a high-performance version arrive next year.
C70: The C70 introduced this year shares the platform and 70 percent of its components with the S70/V70 models. It was designed by AutoNova, a joint venture with TWR Group Ltd. The coupe has a 2.4-liter, 236hp, five-cylinder turbo engine.
The convertible will arrive next year. Production problems delayed the car. The C70 will be replaced in the 2000 calendar year by a model built off Volvo's new P2X platform for large cars.
S70/V70: Cars were introduced in 1997. The replacements are scheduled for 2000, using the P2X platform.
S80: Volvo replaces its flagship S90/V90 this fall with the S80 on the P2X front-drive platform. The S90/V90 was a rear-drive platform. The car features safety innovations like an inflatable curtain stored in the headliner. The 2.9-liter, six-cylinder engine is rated at 201hp; a 2.8-liter, turbocharged engine makes 268hp.
V100: A new station wagon is due in 2000. The all-wheel-drive model will use the P2X platform and feature more distinct styling than the S80 station wagon. It will have more cargo room and a higher ride than a traditional station wagon.
S40/V40: Volvo is working on a van derivative of the S40 built in the Netherlands with Mitsubishi at their NedCar joint venture. It is expected by 2000.
The S40 sedan will be replaced in 2001 using a new P1X small-car platform. The V40 station wagon will be replaced in 2002 by a new, bigger model called the V50.
V30: A three-door hatchback is expected in 2002. It will be based on the platform of the new S40.
Low-volume luxury makes
The top end of the luxury market is destined to change over the next five years. The segment once had just Rolls-Royce Motor Cars and its quiet subsidiary marque, Bentley. But by 2003, BMW will be pushing Rolls-Royce, Volkswagen will be selling Bentleys and Daimler-Benz will have revived the Mercedes-Benz Maybach.
DB7: Significant engine changes will be made to the DB7 in 2000 to meet new emissions standards in Europe. A refreshed front end and grille are expected soon.
Vantage: A new supercar is expected after 2000. The new model will keep the Vantage name and is likely to use some aluminum-intensive technology and possibly the 48-valve, 6.0-liter, V-12 engine shown in a prototype.
Arnage: VW is expected to continue producing the Arnage, this year's replacement for the Continental R. The Arnage uses the same platform and shares major mechanical parts with the Rolls-Royce Silver Seraph. The Arnage has a twin-turbo BMW 4.4-liter, V-8 engine, and the Silver Seraph has a BMW V-12.
New car: VW said it will build a small Bentley that will cost less than $115,000. It will probably use a stretched version of the platform being developed for the next Audi A8.
456M GT: The M (for 'modified') version appeared at the Geneva auto show in March. Ferrari will replace the 456 GT in 2001.
F131: In mid-1999, Ferrari will launch its replacement for the F355 coupe. The F131 will feature a new lightweight chassis and a revised 3.6-liter engine with 400hp.
The car may be called the F360 Fiorano GTB. The number would match engine capacity while the GTB would stand for Gran Turismo Berlinetta.
A convertible is expected in 2000.
F550 Maranello: Introduced in 1996, it will be replaced in 2002.
F60: Ferrari is working on a new limited-edition supercar. It would be the successor to the 1998 F40 and the 1995 F50.
2+2: An as-yet-unnamed 2+2 coupe will debut at the Paris auto show. The new coupe will go on sale in Europe in October with a 3.2-liter, twin-turbo, V-8 engine. It is expected to cost about $83,300 in Italy. A convertible is expected 18 months later.
The cars will take Maserati back to the USA in 2001, using Ferrari's distribution and sales network.
Quattroporte: The fifth-generation Quattroporte, Maserati's flagship, will debut in Europe in 2001 and go to the USA in 2002.
Audi AG bought Lamborghini on 24 July and has yet to approve a product program. Under the previous management, the plan was:
Diablo: A restyled car, codenamed L147, would debut at the Geneva show next March, with a 6.0-liter V-12 making 580hp. Price: about $250,000.
Baby Diablo: The L140 project would use Audi's 32-valve, 4.2-liter V-8. Scheduled to premiere in 2001 at a price of $100,000.
Silver Seraph: The car, introduced this year, will be built under Volkswagen ownership for four years, then switch to BMW. The car uses the platform of the old Silver Spirit, so it has weight and agility problems. Prices start at $260,000.
A new coupe and convertible are expected after 2003. Those cars will probably be built on the new BMW 750i platform.
BMW has said it does not plan to build any new models that cost less than $250,000.
New luxury makes
By virtue of their ownership, two new small cars will help establish a new sort of city-car luxury segment. The Smart will arrive under DaimlerChrysler ownership, and BMW-Rover will be the parent of the retro Mini.
Micro Compact Car
The 2500mm Smart will be launched in October. Sales were delayed six months to make the car more stable.
Derivatives will follow. A convertible is expected in early 1999.
A Smart family car with four seats and a 3600mm length is expected in 2000. Plans and prototypes already exist but have not been finalized.
The Mini will split from its Rover parent to become a separate vehicle line when it debuts in the 2001 calendar year.
The new car has a retro look, but it will be upscale in price and features. BMW dealers will be offered the Mini franchise in many markets, and Rover dealers will have it in the UK.