New year’s revo­lu­tion

Lux­ury car buy­ers will again be spoiled for choice this year, with a new ar­rival to suit ev­ery bud­get

The Advertiser - Motoring - - PRESTIGE - CRAIG DUFF

THE cream of the crop just got richer for 2016. Pres­tige buy­ers won’t be short of choice in any seg­ment from sports cars to big sedans this year as the pre­mium play­ers push down-mar­ket to grab a big­ger pool of buy­ers. The cheap­est car in this pack will be a very un­lux­u­ri­ous $35,000, il­lus­trat­ing the in­creas­ingly in­tense com­pe­ti­tion be­tween main­stream and bou­tique brands. range opens with a 1.4-litre turbo paired with a sev­en­speed dual-clutch au­to­matic, turn­ing the front wheels. Top­spec mod­els are all-wheel drive. De­pend­ing on how heav­ily you work the op­tions list, Audi says the A4 will be the most tech­no­log­i­cally ad­vanced ve­hi­cle it has sold in Aus­tralia. Pric­ing will start at about $55,000 when the A4 lands in deal­er­ships in Fe­bru­ary.

IN­FINITI Q30

The first tan­gi­ble re­sult of In­finiti’s al­liance with MercedesBenz is a much-needed compact hatch. Think of it as a stretched A-Class and you won’t be too far wrong. Pow­er­trains are also from Benz — though the trans­mis­sion lever moves off the steer­ing col­umn — but the body­work is In­finiti’s own take on the pre­mium hatch look. The Q30 is due in the lat­ter part of the year with an ex­pected price of $35,000. It will be fol­lowed by the Q60 coupe to com­pete against the BMW M4 and Audi A5.

JAGUAR F-PACE

Jaguar’s first SUV has the Porsche Ma­can in its sights for the rights to be called the nim­blest sports-ori­ented SUV. The cross­over is based on the light­weight XE sedan and Aus­tralian ver­sions will have a 2.0-litre turbo diesel and 3.0litre V6 diesel op­tions, along with the su­per­charged V6 petrol en­gine found in the F- Type. F-Pace sales start in Fe­bru­ary with pric­ing es­ti­mated to start at about $70,000.

RANGE ROVER EVOQUE CON­VERT­IBLE

The stylish Evoque revitalised Land Rover and led to the emer­gence of the first drop-top SUV. The Evoque’s fab­ric roof im­i­tates the reg­u­lar model’s sig­na­ture ta­per­ing pro­file with­out, Land Rover says, com­pro­mis­ing the car’s of­froad ca­pa­bil­ity. Not that many will take this jacked-up boule­vard cruiser off-road but if you do, the Ter­rain Re­sponse and wade depth sens­ing should keep the oc­cu­pants se­cure. Pric­ing starts at about $85,000 when the car goes on lo­cal sale in Septem­ber.

MASERATI LE­VANTE

When Ital­ian sports car makers sell SUVs, the world as we know it has changed. Maserati is join­ing Lam­borgh­ini in launch­ing a cross­over this year, hav­ing seen Porsche’s resur­gence via the move into soft-road­ers. Based on the Ghi­bli sedan, the Le­vante will bor­row driv­e­trains from that line-up, in­clud­ing the 3.0-litre petrol and diesel V6s. Ex­pect a V8 in the not-too-dis­tant fu­ture. The high-rid­ing Maserati will ar­rive in the last quar­ter of this year at about $150,000.

MERCEDES-BENZ ECLASS

The mid-sized Mercedes main­stay will be shown of­fi­cially at the Detroit mo­tor show this month. Benz has al­ready shown the mas­sive dual-screen dig­i­tal dash dis­play from the high-end vari­ants and will sup­ple­ment the new in­te­rior with a range of fresh and over­hauled en­gines. The sedan will be fol­lowed by a coupe, wagon and cabrio ver­sions. Prices haven’t been an­nounced, but ex­pect low$80,000s for the base model when the car ar­rives in the third quar­ter.

TESLA MODEL X

HONDA NSX

MERCEDES-BENZ E-CLASS BMW M2

IN­FINITI Q30

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