Sports cars are one of the biggest-growing vehicle segments in Australia in 2016.
The mini-boom is being driven particularly by models costing less than $80,000, the most notable of which is the new Ford Mustang.
America’s iconic coupe and convertible has muscled its way into the hearts of Australian buyers to top the sports-car sales chart. It’s joined on the podium by the still-much-loved Toyota 86 and BMW’s 2 Series, which, like the Ford, is also offered in coupe and cabriolet form.
Here, WhichCar provides a guide to any changes planned or expected for these models during the next 18 months – to help you pick the perfect timing for buying one.
BMW 2 SERIES
BMW’s smallest coupe and convertible models received a range update in August 2016.
In return for slight price increases, variants benefited from improved performance and fuel economy, as well as equipment additions.
The 220i base model is now powered by a new 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder with an extra 5kW and 20Nm (for 135kW/270Nm output totals) over the engine it replaces.
An extra 5kW also goes to the tuned version of that engine fitted to the 230i (formerly known as the 228i), for peak power of 185kW (and 350Nm). An M Sport package is now standard where it was previously optional.
Another badge change sees the M235i become the M240i – accompanied by 10kW and 50Nm increases to 250kW and 500Nm. That helps cut the model’s 0-100km/h quote from 4.8 to 4.6 seconds, moving the M240i closer in performance to the flagship BMW M2 (released in April 2016).
As the 2 Series debuted in 2014, the next-generation model isn’t expected until the start of the next decade.
Ford Australia can’t seem to get enough of the famous US muscle car, which in its latest generation is at long last available in factory right-hand drive.
Having only launched in Australia in early 2016 don’t expect any major changes for a long time, instead only smaller updates.
The first of those came in April 2016, with MY17 Mustangs adopting Ford’s Sync 3 – the most advanced version of the company’s infotainment and communications system. It brings smartphone-style functionality and smartphone integration via Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
Three existing colours were also swapped for three new hues: Lightning Blue, Grabber Blue, and White Platinum Tri-Coat.
The EcoBoost four-cylinder variant also gained a spare wheel (which doesn’t fit in the V8-powered GT, owing to its larger, Brembo brake system).
The Toyota 86 has been usurped as Australia’s favourite sports car by the aforementioned Mustang, though the compact coupe will receive some welcome updates in the last quarter of 2016.
Revised exterior styling includes a more aggressive-looking front bumper and new-look 17-inch alloy wheels, and there are also some tweaks for the interior.
Some enthusiasts would like a significant power hike for the 86, though there’s just a minor tickle-up to 152kW and 212Nm. Toyota says engine tweaks improve torque at lower revs.
The 86 already offers terrific handling, yet Toyota says it has aimed to further improve dynamics with sharpened steering and revised aerodynamics. Modifications to the suspension and rear pillars also aim to bring an even smoother ride.