2015 was an exciting year for cars and saw the redesigns of several cars emerge. Cars that have been around the block a few times like the M3, Challenger, and the Mustang all got new styling, and in some cases a performance overhaul. The Mustang, for instance, got an independent rear suspension for the first time since a few of the late model SN95 Cobras. Not all changes in cars were impressive for 2015, but some were vaulted into a new generation of performance and prestige.
The new M3 saw a return to BMW roots, with a bit of flair. The US 2015’s M3 (2014 for Germany) saw a complete redesign from its early generation. Previously equipped with a 414 horsepower 4.0-liter naturally aspirated V8, the 2015 was reunited with the 3.0-liter inline-six, but this time with two turbochargers. This effort produces 425 horsepower, which is not a great jump but the potential to get more power out of the turbochargers is thought to be greater than that of the V8. Other than that the M3 continues to be a benchmark in the sports luxury class, with leather upholstery and a manual transmission, along with a surprisingly light weight of 3600 pounds. The M3 now only comes as a sedan but seeing the performance numbers that are probably not going to matter. They are worth about $50,000 now in 2017 according to KBB.
Since its debut in 2006, the Dodge Charger got its first design overhaul, with new body panels, aluminum axles, and new wheels. Although the car is physically as big as it’s ever been, since 2006, the car looks more aggressive and nimble. Aside from aesthetics, it still has optional AWD, and the 5.7-liter HEMI V8 hasn’t gained any more power and sits at around 370-horsepower and almost 400 lb-ft of torque. The AWD has an interesting feature though, where its transfer case can disconnect the front axle when appropriate, or not needed. You can find a V8 2015 Charger for around $23,000.
The slowest, cheapest Mercedes class has gotten a lot better for 2015. It’s slick on the outside, and on the inside, it’s much cleaner, crisper, and makes more sense. It’s got nicer material, has more space and is less complicated. The C250 has been replaced with the C300, and it’s got more power out of a bigger, turbocharged engine making 40 more horsepower, and still gets a decent 34 mpg on the highway. The C-Class by Mercedes has entered a new wave of excellence, and a 2015 base model C300 can be found for around $27,000.
Acura’s new generation TLX got a set of upgrades for 2015. It got two new VTEC engines, a 2.4-liter four-cylinder, and a 3.5-liter V6. A new and rather uncommon technology found its way to the TLX in the way of four-wheel steering. The TLX can also come with the revamped version of Acura’s Super-Handling AWD system, which is supposed to be quite a bit lighter than previous versions. You can find a fully loaded 2015 V6 AWD Acura TLX for about $25,000.
With the new generation of the Genesis Hyundai wanted to compete with sport luxury giants Audi, BMW, Lexus, and Mercedes. A valiant effort, they reached the horsepower benchmark when Hyundai offered a 5.0-liter V8 as an option that produced more than 400 horsepower, about as much as the M3. However, it falls short of the M3 in weight, as it is about 1,000 pounds heavier. It’s a nice car though, displaying a clear understanding of modern luxury mixed with executive practicality. A V8 Hyundai Genesis from 2015 can be found for about $30,000.
Clearly, 2015 was a year to remember when considering car redesigns. Sedans especially have invaded the space cultivated by sports cars, and by the looks of it are there to stay, and somehow are preserving their luxurious nature.
Avid Formula 1 fan and motorcyclist, I enjoy chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream and long rides to the beach.