DRIVE & AM­BI­TION

With a host of new lux­ury cars ar­riv­ing into show­rooms in 2019, Busi­ness Trav­eler looks ahead to see what’s on its way

Business Traveler (USA) - - CONTENTS - WORDS NAT BARNE S

Here’s a look at some new lux­ury cars ar­riv­ing in 2019

BMW i8 Road­ster Price: from $163,300 bmw.co.uk

Half-a-decade since the in­tro­duc­tion of BMW’s i8 gas-elec­tric hy­brid su­per­car and there’s still noth­ing else like it on the road, in looks or ethos. This new drop-top road­ster ver­sion looks set to ce­ment that po­si­tion, with a num­ber of up­dates to make this, and its coupé cousin, as de­sir­able as ever.

Un­der the hood, the 1.5-litre, three-cylin­der turbo gas en­gine puts out 228hp while the bat­tery ca­pac­ity has been beefed up to 11.6kWh up­ping the elec­tric mo­tor’s out­put to 141hp. Thanks to that and its low 1.6-ton weight, it prom­ises a 0-60mph time of 4.4 sec­onds and a 155mph top speed. We loved the i8 when it first ar­rived in 2014, and the lack of any sim­i­larly pow­ered hy­brid com­pe­ti­tion even now un­der­lines how dar­ing it was then and in­deed still is to­day.

BMW X2 Price: from $36,400 bmwusa.com

X marks the spot for BMW with the new X2, sit­ting imag­i­na­tively be­tween its baby brother X1 and lat­est X3, all along­side the Bavar­ian firm’s cur­rent X4, X5 and X6. A fur­ther ad­di­tion com­ing early in 2019 will be, you’ve guessed it, a new larger seven-seater X7. BMW is noth­ing if not thor­ough in ap­peal­ing to all lev­els of the boom­ing cross­over and 4×4 mar­kets.

The X2 is a sportier driv­ing ex­pe­ri­ence than most fam­ily-ori­ented cars of the sec­tor, with both two- and four-wheel drive mod­els. In the US it’s avail­able with BMW’s peppy 2.0-liter TwinPower Turbo in­line 4-cylin­der, and other diesel and elec­tric ver­sions will join the ros­ter in time. We’re just not con­vinced about the ex­tra BMW roundel on the C-pil­lar be­hind the rear door echo­ing the CSi of the 1970s.

Volvo XC40 Price: from $33,200 volvo­cars.com/us

Volvo has ar­guably two of the hottest 4x4s in show­rooms right now with the lat­est XC60 and larger XC90, so this new and smaller XC40 was al­ways only go­ing to be a mat­ter of time. Bor­row­ing styling cues from its big broth­ers with a sharp kick-up on the side win­dow line and gor­geous rear lights, we think it’s stun­ning.

The ini­tial of­fer­ing is pow­ered by an in-line 4-cylin­der tur­bocharged gas en­gine, but given Volvo’s an­nounce­ment last sum­mer about all of its new mod­els hav­ing elec­tric power from 2019, it wouldn’t be a sur­prise to see plug-in and hy­brid ver­sions even­tu­ally. It’s also one of only two Volvo mod­els – the other is the S60 – to be sold in the US un­der the Care By Volvo sub­scrip­tion plan, wrap­ping up all of your car’s costs in­clud­ing in­sur­ance and main­te­nance into one monthly pay­ment.

In­finiti QX50 Price: es­ti­mated from $36,550 in­fini­tiusa.com

The 2019 edi­tion of the QX50 has been awhile in the mak­ing, but the new­est baby of In­finiti’s cross­over range cer­tainly has the looks to stand out in what’s be­com­ing a com­pet­i­tive area of the mar­ket. Un­der the hood is just the choice of one en­gine, how­ever: In­finiti’s VC (stands for vari­able com­pres­sion) turbo gen­er­at­ing 268bhp, which In­finiti calls “rev­o­lu­tion­ary,” claim­ing it can give gas-en­gine per­for­mance with the grunt and econ­omy of a diesel. And while the en­gine seems to de­liver on the prom­ise of re­fined power-ver­sus-ef­fi­ciency, the over­all per­for­mance is ham­pered by its in­con­sis­tent CVT au­to­matic trans­mis­sion.

Jaguar E-Pace Price: from $38,600 jaguarusa.com

For tra­di­tional Jaguar fans, the E-Pace could make them bite through their pipe stems in rage. The Bri­tish firm might be known for its el­e­gant sedans and sleek sports cars, but fol­low­ing the hugely suc­cess­ful larger F-Pace, it’s this new E-Pace that’s likely to be­come Jaguar’s best­seller. Jaguar’s elec­tric I-Pace is also com­ing down the road too.

Up against the Audi Q3 and BMW X1, the E-Pace en­ters that fierce small pre­mium cross­over mar­ket, and has im­me­di­ate good looks, a strong en­gine line-up and sporty, in­volved on-road han­dling. It’s this lat­ter fact that sets it apart from its pres­tige ri­vals and our first ex­pe­ri­ences be­hind the wheel have only been pos­i­tive. It’s also larger in­side than it looks on the out­side, which is a bonus.

Audi A8 Price: from $83,800 au­diusa.com

It might be hard to be­lieve, but this is al­ready the fourth-gen­er­a­tion of the Audi A8. Not so hard to be­lieve is that the four-ringed badge’s flag­ship sedan con­tin­ues to get bet­ter and bet­ter. Along with even more lux­ury and four-wheel drive on all mod­els, this lat­est A8 has also been de­vel­oped with a higher level of au­to­mated driv­ing abil­i­ties than ever be­fore.

The per­fect driv­ing world may still be ahead of us, but this Audi is a def­i­nite win­dow into all of our fu­tures be­hind the wheel – if there still is one. Ex­pect this new A8 to of­fer mild-hy­brid plus plug-in hy­brid mod­els, as well as more tra­di­tional ver­sions.

Lexus LS lexus.com

Lexus has al­ways ploughed its own fur­row when it comes to the lux­ury mar­ket, but it seems that now it’s re­ally get­ting into its stride. Along with the lat­est sporty LC coupé, this LS shows a con­fi­dent in­de­pen­dence in Lexus’s styling that has been some­what lack­ing in its ca­pa­ble-but-some­times-bland past. And while that over-sized hour­glass grille might not be to ev­ery­one’s tastes, we love it and you cer­tainly won’t mis­take it for an S-Class.

As you’d ex­pect, hy­brid tech­nol­ogy is on of­fer un­der the hood and the build qual­ity and on-road re­fine­ment are close to fault­less. That con­fi­dent ex­te­rior styling ex­tends to the LS’s in­side, but then again, this Lexus sedan has never been a car for those who just want to fol­low the usual Teu­tonic crowd – and that’s just the way we like it.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.