Though it seems like 2022 is going to be the encore “Year of the EV” after mainstream electric cars burst onto the scene in 2021, there are still one or two gasoline-powered monsters (see #1 and #2) waiting to pounce.
Here are my picks for the most exciting performance cars we can expect in the coming year.
8. Ford F-150 Lightning — release date: Spring 2022
It might not be everyone’s idea of a sporty vehicle, but the upcoming F-150 Lighting electric pickup is shockingly fast. Ford says it’ll hit 60 mph in the mid-4 second range, which is fast by any measure.
Sure, strictly speaking, it’s not a “sports truck” like the old Lightning was (much to the consternation of legacy Lightning enthusiasts) but anything that can get up and go that fast is definitely sporty. And I’m sure that someone will turn a new Lightning into a low-riding cruiser before too long.
7. GMC Hummer EV Pickup — release date: Soon...ish
OK, so I’m starting this list off with two electric pickup trucks. But the GMC Hummer EV comes equipped with the gloriously acronymed Watts To Freedom (WTF) mode to launch it from 0-60 mph in “around three seconds”.
Before the rise of EVs, with their amazing torque numbers and instant acceleration, 3-seconds was hypercar quick. Now, you can do it in a 9,000-lb pickup truck.
6. Acura Integra — release date: 2022
The Acura Integra is back! Though it’s now a four-door with a coupe-like design, the new Integra will be equipped with a turbocharged 1.5-liter engine and a 6-speed manual. It should start at around $30,000.
That makes it the most affordable vehicle on this list, and it’ll even be built in Ohio (as are all Acuras currently sold in the US). Acura says that makes the Integra “aspirational yet attainable.”
5. Kia EV6 GT — release date: Late 2022
The Kia EV6 GT packs 576 horsepower and a 0 to 60 mph time of around 3.5 seconds, the EV6 GT is poised to be a show-stopper for the Korean carmaker.
They call it a crossover, but it really seems more like a hatchback to our eyes. Regardless, the EV6, and its corporate sibling the Hyundai IONIQ5, are set to reshape the EV landscape as fun-to-drive EVs — and then the GT will arrive late next year as a true Tesla Model 3 Performance competitor.
4. BMW i4 — release date: Summer 2022
The first all-electric BMW performance sedan (the i3 was more of a weird project than a true Ultimate Driving Machine), the BMW i4 takes the tried-and-true BMW formula of sporty luxury and electrifies it.
It’s not an electric car — it’s a BMW. And it’s a gorgeous gran coupé that looks so much like any other BMW that you’d never know it was electric. Which is exactly the point.
3. Nissan Z — release date: Spring 2022
The Z name has embodied attainable sports cars for decades, but it’s always had a number affixed to the front. Whether 240Z or 370Z, the letter is iconic for Nissan fans. And now there’s a new one, but they’re keeping it simple: It’s just the Nissan Z.
Equipped with a 3-liter twin-turbo V6 making 400 horsepower, the Z should live up to its name. Nissan’s designers have taken little bits from various Z models over the years, to create a retro-future look for the new Z. We can’t wait to see them out on the road.
2. Ford F-150 Raptor R — release date: Late 2022
I drove the new Ford F-150 Raptor earlier this year and found it exceedingly capable. But Ford wants to take things up a notch and has promised us the new Raptor R — an even more badass offroad pickup equipped with a monster V8 and the horsepower (and exhaust note) to match.
It’s said to be equipped with Ford’s Predator supercharged 5.2L V8, brought over from the Mustang Shelby GT500. That engine makes 760 horsepower in the Mustang, which means the Raptor R could be the most powerful pickup ever sold.
1. Chevrolet Corvette Z06 — release date: Summer 2022
The C8 Corvette is a mind-bogglingly good piece of engineering and design, but the folks at Chevy aren’t quite done. The Corvette Z06 is coming next year, making 670 hp from a 5.5L naturally aspirated V8. That’s the highest horsepower NA V8 ever fitted to a production car. Ever.
Given the expected price point (maybe under $100,000) and the performance, the new Corvette Z06 is going to be the sports car to beat at any price.
To learn more about all the exciting new sporty vehicles on the market, sign up for Jordan Golson’s free car reviews newsletter on Substack.