Top new cars to ex­cite in 2017

Plenty on the hori­zon in the com­ing months, with SUVs and sports cars the most ea­gerly awaited

Warwick Daily News - - LIFE - IAIN CURRY

IT’S as if the car in­dus­try never gets the chance to come up for air. Last year was boun­ti­ful on the new car and new tech­nol­ogy fronts, and 2017 is set to be another bumper 12 months for mo­tor­ing man­u­fac­tur­ers ped­dling their wares in Aus­tralia.

We have more than 50 brands bat­tling it out for our busi­ness. Here’s our pick of some show­room cer­tain­ties which have us more than a wee bit ex­cited.

1. Audi Q2

FEW brands can re­sist the lure of the com­pact SUV, and here’s Audi’s new ef­fort as the small­est, coolest and cheap­est in its Q range.

The diminu­tive Q2 ar­rives next month priced a smidge over $40k, is a de­par­ture from Audi’s other SUVs on the styling front, and has a range of cus­tomi­sa­tion op­por­tu­ni­ties.

2. Toy­ota C-HR

LAND­ING about the same time as the Audi Q2 is Toy­ota’s long-awaited com­pact SUV: the C-HR (Coupe-High Rider, ap­par­ently).

Thor­oughly un-Toy­ota like style-wise both in­side and out (ex­te­rior is po­lar­is­ing, cabin is an un­doubted tri­umph), this city slicker has been the most an­tic­i­pated new Toy­ota for some time. Pricing is still un­con­firmed a few weeks out from launch, but its high spec level sug­gests over $25k for our mar­ket.

3. Maserati Le­vante

ANOTHER SUV? Yep, and this time by a new player in the seg­ment. Jaguar and Bent­ley joined the SUV party in 2016, and this year it’s the grand old Ital­ian lux­ury mar­que suc­cumb­ing to temp­ta­tion.

No shame in that if you want to stay sol­vent, and priced from a rea­son­able $140k be­fore on-roads the all-wheel-drive five-seat Le­vante is priced the same as the brand’s Ghi­bli sedan.

4. Alfa Romeo Gi­u­lia

AH, a proper car. And with a per­for­mance model to have the Ger­mans sweat­ing in their strudel. Looks as damn sexy as an Alfa should to boot. The rear-drive Gi­u­lia sports sedan ar­rives in a mat­ter of weeks, and will be launched in four trims: Gi­u­lia, Su­per, Ve­loce and hot Quadri­foglio (QV).

The lat­ter, priced from $144k be­fore charges, is a gen­uine BMW M3 and Merc-AMG C63 hunter, hit­ting 100kmh in 3.9-sec­onds.

5. Mazda MX-5 RF

WHILE we’re be­ing all sporty, let’s em­brace the fold­ing hard-top ver­sion of one of our favourites: the Mazda MX-5.

The new RF (re­tractable fast­back) vari­ant also lands in the next few weeks, boast­ing an elec­tri­cally-op­er­ated metal roof that when raised still has the lit­tle sports car look­ing as lovely as its rag-top sta­ble­mate.

6. Nis­san GT-R Nismo

COME Fe­bru­ary, fi­nally, bril­liantly, we’re get­ting Nismo-fet­tled Nis­san GT-Rs in Aus­tralia. Be­cause boggo GT-Rs are just a bit tame, aren’t they? Yes they’ll cost $300,000 ($110k more than a “nor­mal” GT-R), but you’re buy­ing 441kW and 652Nm, a pair of tur­bocharg­ers bor­rowed from the GT-R GT3 race car, lash­ings of car­bon fi­bre and a 0-100kmh time of 2.7-sec­onds. Say­onara, Porsche GT3 RS.

7. Land Rover Dis­cov­ery 5

AUS­TRALIA’S se­cond-best-sell­ing pre­mium large SUV (be­hind BMW’s X5) gets a thor­ough makeover in 2017, the new Disco 5 land­ing in July priced from $81,590 be­fore on-roads.

The seven-seat Brit drops the tra­di­tional Disco box shape for a sleeker style more in keep­ing with other Landies and Range Rovers.

It tows 3500kg, is 480kg lighter than the Dis­cov­ery 4, and the seats can be con­fig­ured from your phone us­ing the world-first re­mote In­tel­li­gent Seat Fold tech­nol­ogy. Mar­vel­lous.

8. Skoda Ko­diaq

IF you pre­fer your seven-seat SUVs more af­ford­able, come the mid­dle of the year Skoda fi­nally adds a larger SUV to its line-up with the Ko­diaq. Ex­pected to start from around $40k, Skoda’s big bear will worry the Hyundai Santa Fe and Kia Sorento, tows 2500kg, has the largest boot in its class and has 200-litres more cargo space than a Toy­ota Kluger with the seats folded.

9. Hyundai i30 N

THE third gen­er­a­tion Hyundai i30 is due in the first half of this year: five-door hatch­back, looks like a smart if hardly fizzing small car, and will be priced to re­main one of Aus­tralia’s best sell­ers. We care more about its evil twin though. Hyundai in­tro­duces its “N Per­for­mance” range this year (like BMW’s M cars) and its RN30 con­cept (pic­tured) hints at the i30 N’s sport­ing po­ten­tial. A two-litre tur­bocharged four-cylin­der, light­weight con­struc­tion, wide body and plenty of Nur­bur­gring track de­vel­op­ment. Bring it on.

10. As­ton Martin DB11

THE most beau­ti­ful As­ton ever? Much com­pe­ti­tion, but cer­tainly the new DB11 hon­ours the Bri­tish badge and then some.

Tur­bocharged 5.2-litre V12 good for 447kW and 700Nm, a 0-100kmh time of 3.9-sec­onds and top speed of 340kmh. All it takes is $395,000 be­fore on-roads to slide into this de­sign tri­umph and play at be­ing James Bond.

11. Honda Civic Type R

IN the se­cond half of 2017, Honda’s hot hatch hero the Civic Type R makes a wel­come re­turn to Aus­tralia af­ter a six-year ab­sence.

With the brand’s new NSX hy­brid su­per­car just ar­rived too we’ll fi­nally have some red-badged Hon­das to get ex­cited about this year. Ex­pect it to be priced to com­pet­i­tively take on the Ford Fo­cus RS ($50,990) and VW Golf R ($52,990).

12. Mercedes-AMG E 63/E63 S

THE most pow­er­ful Merc E-Class of all time. That’s what 450kW and 850Nm will do for you.

Land­ing in the se­cond half of this year, this thump­ing all-wheel drive sedan uses a twin-tur­bocharged 4.0-litre V8, and should we score the ‘S’ ver­sion (the non-S has “only” 420kW and 750Nm), it comes with a drift mode a la Ford Fo­cus RS. Get you Mercedes, let­tin’ your hair down.

PHO­TOS: CONTRIBUTED

RAPID ALFA: A gen­uine BMW M3 and Mercedes-AMG C63 hunter, the Alfa Romeo Gi­u­lia QV, due here next month, fea­tures a 375kW twin-turbo V6 en­gine and hits 100kmh in 3.9-sec­onds. It’s also the new pro­duc­tion sedan lap record holder around the Nur­bur­gring, and we can’t wait.

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