Red-car­pet run­ners

There will be no short­age of lux­ury ar­rivals in the next 12 months — ex­pect svelte styling and top-shelf tech

Herald Sun - Cars Guide - - PRESTIGE - RICHARD BLACK­BURN

BUY­ERS snapped up record num­bers of lux­ury ve­hi­cles last year, with SUVs lead­ing the charge.

Lux­ury car sales were down on the pre­vi­ous year but sales of small and mid-sized SUVs were up by al­most 50 per cent.

There’s no rea­son to doubt the growth will slow in 2017 and new SUVs will once again take cen­tre stage. Here are the main lux­ury ar­rivals for 2017.

ALFA ROMEO

The Gi­u­lia could make or break the Alfa brand in Aus­tralia. The ri­val for the BMW 3 Se­ries and Mercedes-Benz C-Class ar­rives next month, with pric­ing pre­dicted to be on par with the Ger­mans. The Ital­ian sedan’s turbo petrol and diesel four­cylin­der en­gines come in dif­fer­ent states of tune. The range-top­ping Quadri­foglio (pic­tured back page) with twin­turbo V6 can sling­shot to 100km/h in a claimed 3.9 secs.

ASTON MARTIN

As most peo­ple were nurs­ing their hang­overs, a se­lect few were pick­ing up a brand new DB11.

De­liv­er­ies of the DB9 suc­ces­sor have started, at $428,032 plus on-roads. The DB11 has a new chas­sis and a new 5.2-litre twin-turbo V12 that puts out 447kW/700Nm.

AUDI

At the other end of the spec­trum, Audi kick­starts a big year by launch­ing its baby Q2 SUV next month. It will be the fourth and cheap­est Audi SUV, start­ing at $41,100 plus on­roads for the base front-drive model with a 1.4-litre petrol en­gine. Two all-wheel-drive mod­els will fea­ture a big­ger petrol en­gine and a diesel. The Ger­man brand will fol­low up with the A5 coupe in March and a new Q5 in the third quar­ter.

BMW

The new 5 Se­ries de­buts in March, tak­ing the fight to the re­cently re­leased MercedesBenz E-Class. The new car is meaner, leaner and smarter than its pre­de­ces­sor, match­ing the Benz’s au­to­mated driv­ing tech­nol­ogy while re­tain­ing its trade­mark “driv­ing plea­sure”. The re­designed body and un­der­pin­nings de­liver weight sav­ings de­spite more tech­nol­ogy in the cabin. There are two new tur­bos — a 2.0-litre four-cylin­der and a 3.0-litre six­cylin­der. Also in March, sub­sidiary Mini will in­tro­duce a new-look Coun­try­man.

FER­RARI

The open-top ver­sion of the lim­ited edi­tion La Fer­rari, called the Aperta, ar­rives in the first quar­ter. If you haven’t or­dered one of the petrol­elec­tric V12-pow­ered su­per­cars, don’t bother. They are al­ready ac­counted for.

IN­FINITI

The Q60 Red Sport, a high­er­pow­ered ver­sion of the sports coupe, ar­rives in March. Pow­ered by a 298kW twin­turbo en­gine, the Red Sport starts from $88,900 plus on­road costs.

JAGUAR

A sportswagon ver­sion of the XF — called the Sport­brake — should just sneak in be­fore the end of the year.

LAM­BORGH­INI

The up­dated Aven­ta­dor S should ar­rive in the sec­ond half with more power from its V12, bet­ter aero­dy­nam­ics and an eye-wa­ter­ing price tag of $788,914.

LAND ROVER

The new Dis­cov­ery 5 is due in July with softer ex­te­rior styling and a 480kg weight re­duc­tion. That will mean bet­ter fuel con­sump­tion from the 2.0-litre four-cylin­der that is likely to be the pop­u­lar choice. The big­ger V6 diesel is likely to re­main, while a V6 petrol should be avail­able at some stage af­ter launch. Prices will start at $65,960 plus on-roads. Tweaked ver­sions of the Range Rover and Range Rover Sport are due in March.

LEXUS

The LC500 coupe is the star at­trac­tion. The brand, hav­ing long dif­fer­en­ti­ated it­self with hy­brid mod­els, goes old-school with the strik­ing coupe with nat­u­rally as­pi­rated V8. A petrol-elec­tric V6 hy­brid will be avail­able for the purists. The best-look­ing Lexus in a while de­buts the first 10-speed auto in a pro­duc­tion model.

MASERATI

The sports car maker has ven­tured to the dark side — the first cus­tomer de­liv­er­ies of its Le­vante SUV have trick­led into the coun­try. The car launches prop­erly this month and the Ital­ian brand says the or­der book is al­ready over the 200 mark for the ve­hi­cle des­tined to be­come its best­seller Down Un­der.

MERCEDES-BENZ

The car to turn heads in 2017, the AMG GT R, has just set a new lap record for a pro­duc­tion car at the famed Nur­bur­gring track in Ger­many. It is due in the third quar­ter along with a road­ster ver­sion of the GT. There’s plenty more on the launch pad for Benz. An E-Class hy­brid, due next month, leads the way for the E-Class Al­lter­rain and coupe in the sec­ond quar­ter and the cabrio in the last quar­ter. AMG ver­sions sched­uled for this year in­clude the C63 S cabrio next month, the E43 in March and the E63 in the third quar­ter. An S-Class facelift will cap off a busy year.

PORSCHE

The 911 roll­out con­tin­ues with a GTS model in the sec­ond quar­ter. The Ma­can gets four­cylin­der power about the same time. The Panam­era 4S petrol and turbo mod­els should ar­rive next month, while there is spec­u­la­tion that a Sport Turismo (wagon ver­sion) will de­but at the Geneva show and squeak into Aus­tralia be­fore the end of the year. It could be joined in De­cem­ber by the 911 GT3.

VOLVO

Snow-cov­ered, cam­ou­flaged mules of Volvo’s XC60 mid­sized SUV have been spot­ted in north­ern climes in re­cent months and the long-awaited Audi Q5 ri­val should ar­rive lo­cally just be­fore the end of the year. The punchy su­per­charged and tur­bocharged 2.0-litre four­cylin­der that de­buted in the XC90 is ex­pected to be a more lively com­pan­ion in the lighter XC60 and it should ce­ment its po­si­tion as Volvo’s top-seller in Aus­tralia .

BMW 5 SE­RIES

ASTON MARTIN DB11

LEXUS LC

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