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2015's 5 Most-Anticipated New Auto Models

BOSTON (TheStreet) -- The year is only a bit more than half over, but auto enthusiasts are already looking forward to these five models showing up in U.S. dealerships for 2015.

"These are the new models that we as individuals or as a group are most looking forward to driving," says Joe Wiesenfelder of auto-buying site Cars.com, which recently named its Most Anticipated Cars for 2015.

Wiesenfelder says next year looks like a good one for car designs because automakers are pushing out models they slowed development on during the Great Recession.

"We're also in an era where manufacturers have to keep their vehicles fresher than they used to because of increased competition," he says.

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Look below to check out the models Cars.com editors picked as 2015's most eagerly awaited new cars. Dollar figures refer to manufacturers' suggested retail prices for each model's base version, including destination fees:

Fifth-most-anticipated 2015 model: Porsche Macan
Base price: $50,895

German luxury automaker Porsche is best known for sports cars, but its Cayenne midsized sport utility vehicle has done over the past decade that the vehicle is getting a baby brother.

The 2015 Macan is a compact SUV, but boasts huge numbers when it comes to performance. Base models feature all-wheel drive and a 340-horsepower turbocharged V-6 engine and can go from 0 to 60 mph in just 5.2 seconds.

If that's not enough "oomph" for you, a 400-horsepower turbocharged V-6 engine is also available, as are racing-friendly features such a skid plates and adaptive air suspension. Add the fact that the Macan carries a relatively modest price by Porsche standards and the model looks like a winner.

"The compact SUV segment is a very hot part of the market right now, so I have no doubt that Porsche is going to do very well with the Macan," Wiesenfelder says.

Fourth-most-anticipated 2015 model: BMW i8
Base price: $135,700 (excluding tax credits)

You won't mistake BMW's first-ever plug-in hybrid for a Toyota Prius.

The i8 costs more than $100,000, boasts a 150-mph top speed and features "scissor" doors that open upward instead of outward. (Think of Doc Brown's DeLorean in Back to the Future, although that technically had "gullwing" doors.)

"The BMW i8 is the one [2015] that I'm most interested in driving," Wiesenfelder says. "It's just gorgeous."

BMW plans to sell a small number of i8s this year, but look for wider availability in 2015.

The sports coupe features a 357-horsepower gas/electric power plant, all-wheel drive and a high-tech carbon-fiber chassis. European versions offer 94 miles per gallon in combined city/highway fuel efficiency.

U.S. figures aren't yet available, but BMW expects the i8 to have good enough fuel efficiency to qualify for thousands of dollars in federal tax credits (plus additional state tax credits in California and some other locales).