This review gives examples of emerging cardiovascular magnetic resonance (CMR) techniques and applications that have the potential to transition from research to clinical application in the near future. Four-dimensional flow CMR (4D-flow CMR) allows time-resolved three-directional, three-dimensional (3D) velocity-encoded phase-contrast imaging for 3D visualisation and quantification of valvular or intracavity flow. Acquisition times of under 10 min are achievable for a whole heart multidirectional data set and commercial software packages are now available for data analysis, making 4D-flow CMR feasible for inclusion in clinical imaging protocols. Diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) is based on the measurement of molecular water diffusion and uses contrasting behaviour in the presence and absence of boundaries to infer tissue structure. Cardiac DTI is capable of non-invasively phenotyping the 3D micro-architecture within a few minutes, facilitating transition of the method to clinical protocols. Hybrid positron emission tomography-magnetic resonance (PET-MR) provides quantitative PET measures of biological and pathological processes of the heart combined with anatomical, morphological and functional CMR imaging. Cardiac PET-MR offers opportunities in ischaemic, inflammatory and infiltrative heart disease.