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Picking the most important, talked-about cars of 2013 is a bit of a challenge, but not because carmakers are keeping their upcoming wares secret. There are too many spy shots of half-disguised prototypes for there to ever be surprises in the car world anymore. The real question is what established carmaker will completely flop in the marketplace and which upstart will get everything just right.
For example, we all know that the next Toyota Corolla must be so boring that, as reader F1_nothing_else_matters puts it, "the engineers driving the current test mules are required to stream gif's of Kate Upton dancing on a set of Google Glass prototype glasses in order to not drop dead of boredom while driving." That's a given. We understand the car; the only variable is whether or not the American car buyer will eat that shit up.
So these ten vehicles are what we think will be the make-or-break cars of next year, but feel free to scream and shout at us in Kinja below that we left off your favorite upcoming hypercar or whatever.
Photo Credit: GF Williams
The smallest Jag will likely be a critical car for the now-Indian company, so there's no question it will be talked about in industry circles. No need to wonder if regular folks will talk about it, because, hey, it's drop-dead gorgeous.
It's the successor to the McLaren F1. Either the P1 will live up to its predecessor's name or the bar has been set too high for this hybrid hypercar. You're going to hear that debate, as well as the one arguing F150 Ferrari vs. Porsche 918 vs. McLaren P1, ten bajillion times next year, for sure.
This is another car that's going to be talked about whether or not it succeeds. Possibility One: the car never makes it to the US, Alfa's relaunch in America flops again, and everyone gives us the same talking points we've been hearing since the 8C. Possibility Two: the car makes it here, is a success, and we get to talk about the continuing rebirth of small, light sportscars that the Toyobaru Twins got started.
You know which scenario we're hoping happens.
It's all well and good that Tesla has been breaking into the sports car and performance luxury sedan markets with the Roadster and the Model S, but the real money these days is in the crossover segment. Tesla's venture into jacked-up pseudo wagons may be its toughest challenge.
The next Mazda6 will be a decisive car for our favorite struggling Japanese automaker, but it's the diesel that we hope makes the headlines. It would be the first major non-German company to pull American hearts towards diesel. Much as we love VW, Audi and BMW's efforts, this pretty Mazda may be more important.
GM's new full size trucks may be more conservative than a Tea Party representative, but since it's the critical offering for the company, we'll be hearing a lot about it, especially since Chevy's midsize family car has been a bit of a flop so far.
Mercedes makes its name on its humongo S-Class, with all its technology and leather and prestige. Mercedes makes its money on smaller cars that sell themselves on the S-Class' name, but with Hyundai-esque styling and even smaller size, the new A-Class may stretch the brand too thin for us Americans.
You can preach all you want about the McLaren P1 and the Porsche 918, but the most anticipated hypercar of 2013 is going to be the replacement for the Ferrari Enzo. Why? Because it's a Ferrari. Eight year olds in Gambia know that Ferrari is going to debut a hybrid world-beater next year with the same name as Ford's big truck. The car is going to be huge.
The next Mustang will fully debut in 2014, but even now we're getting overloaded with speculation and renderings. The Mustang is certainly the most searched-for car on the Internet already, and the debate over its slightly more international style will be ceaseless all through next year.
You know the upcoming Corvette is going to be wildly talked-about because hardcore Corvette enthusiasts already hate the thing and can't stop complaining about the angular looks. Everyone from Jeremy Clarkson to your grandma will be blabbing about the most radical revision of America's Sportscar in decades. We'll see if it lives up to the hype.