Most Anticipated Cars for 2019
By Jared Paul Stern / January 22, 2019 9:00 am

For a while it looked as though the era of fun cars might be drawing to a close, as manufacturers were forced to focus on emissions, electrification and that much-ballyhooed beast, the car that drives itself.

But unlike an object in the mirror, the future is farther than it appears.

While automakers may be hedging their bets with various hybrids, EVs and the now ubiquitous “Eco” mode (hey, if it makes you feel better), they are certainly not doing so at the expense of good old-fashioned fun-to-drive cars. This year will see some iconic models get a new lease on life, as well as some entirely new ones laying rubber for the first time.

Today, we look at the best of the best. Schedule your test drives accordingly.

2019 BMW 3 Series

1. BMW 3 Series
Any stigma attached to the 3 Series, which debuted in 1975, quickly died off when the rest of the world discovered that a “compact executive” car wasn’t just for short “Yuppie.” Building on a reputation for solid value and just enough performance to make it an exciting proposition, the all-new 3 Series is bigger, lighter and more tech-forward than its predecessor, with sharpened looks to match.

2019 Audi Q8

2. Audi Q8
Crossovers, SUV-coupes, performance activity vehicles … whatever you call them, this is the hottest growing automotive segment going, and Audi’s new entry looks set to grab a goodly bit of market share. With a 335-hp turbo V6 under the hood and plenty of options — including a Bang & Olufsen 3D sound system — its graceful athleticism can’t be denied, though not everyone’s in love with the somewhat spartan interior and “Virtual Cockpit.”

2019 Bentley Continental GT

3. Bentley Continental GT
Finally giving a full revamp to the ultimate luxury grand-tourer after 16 years, Bentley has very carefully crafted a car that remains true to its impressive heritage while taking things to the next level stylistically. With 626 ponies and a top speed of 207 mph thanks to its new 6.0-litre, twin-turbocharged W12 engine, it’s also a cut above performance wise. All of which more than justifies the $225K price tag.

2019 Jeep Cherokee

4. Jeep Cherokee
It’s hard to find a better and more versatile SUV for the price, especially if the idea of an American car that’s actually made in America appeals to you. There are multiple engine options topping out at 270 hp, and various trim levels of which the Trailhawk is often cited as the best. And we think Jeep’s laser-like redesign of the love-it-or-hate it front end is bound to win more fans.

2019 Lamborghini Huracan Evo

5. Lamborghini Hurácan Evo
Two hundred miles per hour mh is the new benchmark for supercars, and the most powerful Huracan ever sports a 631-hp V10 to get it there. Only Lamborghini could make an “entry level” car that costs $260,000 and change — and still have us liquidating blue-chips and bonds to make the payments on it. Depreciation be damned, there is no more exhilarating way to go into debt or squander an inheritance.

2019 Mercedes Benz G Class

6. Mercedes-Benz G-Class
This is a car that’s not only figuratively close to our heart, but actually parked in our driveway. In point of fact we have an older one, but the beauty of the G-Wagen is that Mercedes has continually refined it over the course of 40 years in an extremely subtle fashion. This is the most comprehensive update yet, and it’s best appreciated with your hands on the wheel, but making the investment to keep it on the road with its truly timeless design intact will surely pay off for Benz big time.

2019 Mini Cooper

7. Mini Cooper
Changes to the 2019 Cooper and Cooper S are only cosmetic, but if the 189 horses on the S aren’t enough, you can always upgrade to the 228 hp John Cooper Works model. While this once quintessentially British brand may be more of a baby BMW these days, that’s no bad thing, and it remains master of the sporty subcompact segment (though the Fiat 500 costs less).

2019 Porsche 911

8. Porsche 911
The eighth generation of the world’s most iconic sports car was released to relatively little fanfare, as Porsche’s marketing department seems to be a bit unfocused on its most famous model these days in favor of hybrids, crossovers and other commercially viable claptrap. The marque’s engineers are still on top of their game, however, and the new 911 is a bit wider and more powerful with some much-needed tech upgrades, while still unmistakably descended from the 1963 original.

2019 Cadillac XT6

9. Cadillac XT6
Caddy’s entry into the three-row crossover class sports a front end inspired by the brand’s Escala concept and the design is pretty on point, as it needs to be to compete with the likes of Audi, BMW and Benz. With 310 hp and plenty of cutting-edge tech, the XT6 is sure to attract plenty of buyers, including, Cadillac hopes, some first-timers who might be ready to kick their Euro habits.

2019 Volvo V60

10. Volvo V60
Volvo wagons have long held — and deserved — icon status, and the Swedish automaker acknowledges this by offering the new V60 in classic Cross Country trim. With 250- and 316-hp engine options, this is no sluggish 1990s holdover, however, and Car & Driver notes it’s nicer than the previous generation by “an order of magnitude.” And although most of Volvo’s owners are Chinese these days, it has retained enough Scandinavian flair to make any Ikea run a pleasurable experience.

All inline images via manufacturer; main image via Mercedes-Benz