All eyes on Europe
THE top end of town has snubbed next week’s Paris motor show but the biggest auto event on the European calendar will have plenty of new sheet metal. In the absence of Bentley, Rolls Royce, Aston Martin, Lamborghini, Ford and Volvo, rivals are picking up the slack. Mitsubishi will show off its latest plug-in hybrid SUV concept while Lexus will debut its edgy mini-crossover concept, the UX. Here’s a quick preview of some key models.
The Q5 SUV and A5 Sportback will make their debuts. The Q5 is expected to be up to 100kg lighter than its predecessor despite a bigger body and plusher cabin. The S5 now takes just 4.7 seconds to hit 100km/h. Expect local sales mid-2017.
The new 3 Series Gran Turismo will launch three new petrol engines to be used across the model range. The revised i3 electric car has an upgraded battery that can be retrofitted to existing vehicles. The maker is claiming 200km of real-world driving range.
The C3 picks up the airbump side strips from the C4 Cactus and more technology, including a “ConnectedCam” to let drivers take photos and videos of the road ahead. The Cxperience Concept packages a 200kW hybrid drivetrain in a futuristic two-box sedan.
Engines and prices for the Civic hatch are likely to mirror the sedan, starting at $20,000. Honda says it has concentrated on the handling, which bodes well for the Type-R hot hatch that arrives late next year.
The i30 will debut a 1.4-litre four-cylinder turbo. Deliveries start from the second quarter of next year. Hyundai will reveal its first genuine hot hatch.
The Rio light hatch is now longer, lower, wider and propelled by a 1.0-litre threecylinder turbo. The maker says the Rio is the first in its class to use autonomous emergency braking with pedestrian recognition.
The fifth-generation Discovery takes styling cues from the Disco Sport and borrows a Range Rover alloy chassis. The cabin has nine USB ports and storage for four iPads, plus a smartphone app for remotely reconfiguring the second and third-row seats.
The Mercedes-AMG GT roadsters break cover. The twoseater soft-tops are loaded with tech from the GT R coupe — including a bi-turbo V8 tuned to 350kW and 410kW. Joining them will be the new GLC 43 Coupe and E-Class All Terrain rival for Audi’s A6 Allroad.
New SUVs make their debut. The 3008 is confirmed for local sale from early next year while the larger seven-seat 5008 could arrive midyear.
The Alaskan, a lightly workedover Nissan Navara, will arrive next year in rear and fourwheel-drive guises.
The Czech brand’s Kluger rival, the Kodiaq, will land here next August.
Battery upgrade: BMW i3; far left, Discovery 5; below, Renault Alaskan and Kia Rio