Top new cars to excite in 2017
Plenty on the horizon in the coming months, with SUVs and sports cars the most eagerly awaited
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.
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.