Conventional passenger cars may be falling out of style in favor of trucks and crossover SUVs these days, but automakers are in no way abandoning either the coupe or sedan genres.
Rather, some are doubling down on higher performance models to lure enthusiastic drivers who still might find a crossover SUV to be too sedate or a pickup truck too ungainly for their tastes.
We’ll look at the latest sport-utility vehicles in a future article, but in the meantime, here are six of the coolest new cars to debut for 2018:
Buick Regal Sportback and TourX
A redesigned, midsize Buick Regal, highlighted by two new European-flavored station wagon and higher-riding crossover-like models for 2018, the Sportback and TourX, respectively.
Stylishly cast, they come powered by a 2.0-liter 250-horsepower turbo-four engine. Meanwhile, a revamped Regal GS sport sedan packs a 3.6-liter 310-horsepower V6 engine, a nine-speed automatic transmission, and an adaptive sport suspension with selectable driving modes.
Dodge Challenger SRT Demon
The hellacious SRT Demon version of Dodge’s large sports coupe is essentially a street-legal racecar, propelled by a supercharged 6.2-liter V8 that channels up to 840-horsepower through a pair of extra-wide drag radials, leaping to 60 mph in a sudden 2.3 seconds.
It also generates the highest g-force at launch ever recorded in a stock auto — a NASA-like 1.8 g. It may be a one-trick pony, but that’s some trick.
Ferrari 812 Superfast
Now this is truth in labeling. The V12-powered 812 Superfast can reach the 60-mph mark in a 2.8 seconds and reach a highly illegal top speed of 211 mph.
And that’s without either turbocharging or supercharging.
It’s also the first Ferrari to come with electric power steering for added agility. And, being a Ferrari, it hugs the curves tenaciously looks good doing it.
Of course, if you have to ask, you probably can’t afford it.
The rear-drive Stinger is intended to provide a welcome spark to Kia’s otherwise sedate sedan lineup with a sporty demeanor and its sleek four-door coupe styling.
Sophisticated chassis engineering with an adaptive suspension affords energetic handling, with a more comfortable ride alternately obtainable via adjustable modes.
The base car comes powered by a 2.0-liter 255-horsepower turbo-four, while the GT leverages a meatier 3.3-liter twin-turbocharged V6 with 365 horses with an estimated 5.0-second 0-60 mph time.
An eight-speed automatic transmission comes standard, with all-wheel-drive optional.
In what’s shaping up to be a banner year for sports-car lovers, Lexus releases its latest rear-drive luxury performer.
The low-slung and seductively shaped LC offers a choice of a 5.0-liter V8 with 471 horsepower and a 10-speed automatic transmission (0-60 mph in around 4.5 seconds) or a hybrid version that pairs a 3.5-liter V6 with dual electric motor/generators to produce the combined equivalent of 354 horsepower.
An available Dynamic Handling system with Variable Gear Ratio Steering and Active Rear Steering is engineered for enhanced cornering thrills.
Tesla Model 3
The long-awaited full electric Model 3 is smaller and less-expensive alternative to the Tesla Model S (it starts at $35,000, but can get costly with options).
With a clean and uncluttered exterior that wraps around a five-passenger cabin, the Model 3 can run for a claimed 215 miles on a charge and hit 60 mph in a peppy-enough 5.6 seconds.
Tesla’s optional Autopilot system turns it into a semi-autonomous car on the highway. A dual-motor, all-wheel-drive version is expected to be added to the line down the road.