Best new cars of 2017: From Alfa Romeo to Volkswagen, here’s the new cars we’re most looking forward to in 2017
2017 promises to be a bumper year for performance car launches, centered around a German proliferation of high performance derivatives including a long-awaited new BMW M5, multiple new RS models from Audi and an AMG or two. We are also looking forward to finally seeing the production Alpine sports car and see if it will keep Porsche Cayman engineers up at night.
Speaking of Porsche, it will be revealing a wagon version of their Panamera in a few weeks at the Geneva motor show, while Alfa Romeo’s mainstream expansion will continue with the launch of the Stelvio SUV. Aston Martin will follow up last years DB11 with a sportier AMG-powered V8 Vantage, and not to be outdone Maserati will also be gunning for the 911 with its own sports coupe.
Keep reading to find out what else we are getting excited about.
Keen to jump onto the SUV bandwagon – and the sales that go with it – Alfa Romeo will launch its Stelvio mid-sized SUV to battle the Mercedes-Benz GLC and Audi Q5. Available with the same range of four-cylinder petrol and diesel engines as the Giulia sedan, the Stelvio will be launching in the second half of the year.
As it did with the Giulia, Alfa Romeo first showed the Stelvio in high-performance Quadrifoglio specification, the car sharing its 375kW V6 bi-turbo with the hottest Giulia sedan. Being benchmarked against the Porsche Macan and Jaguar F-Pace, it is clear Alfa Romeo is pitching the Stelvio at the sporting end of the market, an intention we will soon be able to assess the merits of in our first drive.
After an exhausting series of concept cars and teasers, Alpine will finally launch the production version of its mid-engined coupe this year. Employing a bespoke aluminium chassis, the mid-engined coupe is to be aimed at the Porsche 718 Cayman and Alfa Romeo 4C, adopting a 185kW turbocharged four-cylinder engine likely to be sprinkled with a bit of Renaultsport magic. Thanks to a low kerb weight, the Alpine should hit 100km/h in around 4.5 seconds.
Considered a modern interpretation of the classic Alpine A110 from the 1960’s, the finished production model should tread a fine line between retro rehash and modern sports car. We look forward to seeing how the French get on with their first sports car in recent times when we drive it later in 2017.
Aston Martin will delve deeper into its recently formed Mercedes-Benz partnership when it launches its new V8 Vantage this year. The car will drop the old atmospheric 4.7-litre V8 in the current car for a smaller 4.0-lite twin-turbocharged V8 sourced from Mercedes-AMG.
Aston Martin CEO Andy Palmer has confirmed that the new V8 will diverge further from the DB11 than the last model did from the DB9, meaning we should see a different take on Aston Martin’s new aesthetic, perhaps with styling elements from the DB10 concept.
Along with a Roadster, the V8 Vantage will also continue to offer the option of a manual gearbox, something not likely to be seen in any Mercedes-AMG models with this engine.
Hot on the heels of launching the standard A4 and A5 last year, Audi Sport (as the firm’s performance car arm is now known) is wasting little time launching its rival for BMW’s M3/M4 twins. Expected to be run a modified version of a Porsche-sourced twin-turbo V6 seen in the new Panamera, the new RS models are said to have improved dynamically thanks to a lower kerb weight and the stiffer, lighter chassis from the new A4/5.
Thanks to turbocharging, the new RS4/5 should also be considerably faster in the real world than the previous models thanks to the more liberal torque spread. Both models will also gain the classic RS styling cues like large oval tail pipes and flared wheel arches. Expect to see the performance twins later in the year.
Not to be left behind by all-new rivals from BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Jaguar, Audi will be launching its brand new A6 sedan and wagon later this year. Due to take design and technical cues from the soon to be revealed Audi A8, the A6 will likely package the A8’s autonomous driving, infotainment and mechanical upgrades into a more affordable executive package.
Based on a new MLB platform, the A6 should shed around 100kg, while styling will again owe much to the A8. Along with its forthcoming A7 twin, the new Audi A6 will have its work cut out to upstage some strong German and Swedish competition. Warm S6 and rugged Allroad variants will follow shortly with an RS6 later on.
Audi’s flagship sedan will be going through a total refresh when it debuts at this year’s Geneva motor show. Audi is expected to launch its next generation of the MMI user interface, including touchscreen capability and gesture control in its aluminium intensive limo.
Desperate not to be outdone on the tech frbe launching the new A8 with the most comprehensive autonomous driving capability on the market, as well as optional laser headlights and OLED taillights. Engine choices will mimic the current car, with a range of V6 and V8 petrol and diesel options available at launch, while electrically assisted variations will be available eventually. A hot S8 is also expected later to balance out the hybrid’s green factor with a little burning rubber.
Audi’s Q2 compact crossover is due a sporty sibling in the form of an SQ2 to rival the Mini Countryman JCW and upcoming Abarth 500X. As the standard car is based off the same MQB platform as the Audi S3, it is speculated that the SQ2 will also share its 228kW 2.0 turbocharged four-cylinder and Haldex based all-wheel drive system.
The SQ2 will sit comfortably alongside Audi’s growing performance SUV range, with the usual ‘S’ model styling upgrades of quad exhausts, big wheels and silver mirror caps making an appearance. We expect the SQ2 to be available towards the end of the year with six-speed manual or S-Tronic dual clutch gearbox options.
BMW will be launching the hotly anticipated M5 later this year based on the recently launched all-new G30 5 Series. Destined to maintain an upgraded version of the current V8 bi-turbo engine, the M5 is to follow in the Mercedes-AMG E63’s footsteps by offering an adaptive all-wheel drive system which is able to completely de-couple the front drive shafts to give the best combination of all weather security and rear-drive hooliganism.
If the standard 5 Series is anything to go by, the new M5 should have a much-needed reduction in kerb weight, as well as the improved interior and i-Drive infotainment system. We will be driving a prototype later in the year before it’s on sale closer to Christmas. Expect one hell of a twin test between this and the sledgehammer Mercedes-AMG E63.
Ford Focus RS500
Ford is putting the final touches on an even hotter version of their Focus RS to create a second-generation RS500. Like the old one, the new car should gain a useful power increase over the standard car’s 257kW, only this time – thanks to all-wheel drive – be able to deploy it. Along with power upgrades, its also expected to shed some weight with and improve the engine’s breathing to accommodate the power hike.
Due to be highly sought after and built in very low numbers, the Focus RS500 will appeal to those diehard Ford fans looking to give drivers of white collar hot hatches like the Mercedes-AMG A45 and Audi RS3 a bloody nose.
After the Levante SUV’s launch last year, Maserati will be returning to a more familiar segment when it launches a production version of the Alfieri coupe later this year. Not much is known about the coupe; aside from the fact it will sit alongside the current GranTurismo and is likely to share that car’s twin-turbo V6 engines with the mid-sized Ghibli sedan.
Boasting classic coupe proportions, Maserati’s new sports car will be available in both rear and all-wheel drive, and in fixed head and soft top options.
The Alfieri should finally give Maserati a proper 911 rival, appealing to most of the 911’s potential buyers though it’s various configurations.
McLaren Super Series
McLaren’s highly anticipated replacement for the 650S is almost here and with technical details still only dripping out into the open, we will finally get a look at the car in full at the Geneva motor show. Built around a new carbon-fibre structure called Monocage 2, the all-new Super Series will maintain its complex cross linked hydraulic suspension that’s shared with the P1 hypercar.
Due to utilise a completely revised version of the current twin-turbocharged V8 engine, McLaren says that the new car will also have an entirely new aerodynamic package. Technology from the P1 hypercar will help it dramatically improve aerodynamic downforce and cooling. We can’t wait for our first drive later this year to see how far McLaren has moved the game on since its first modern day supercar, the MP4 12-C, all the way back in 2011.
Mercedes-Benz will be launching coupe and convertible versions of its E-Class this year, to sit neatly between the C and S-Class coupes. Longer, taller and wider than their predecessors, the new E-Class models are likely to offer better rear seat accommodation as well as the same interior and tech as the sedan.
Engine choices will mimic the sedan’s, but unlike the previous E-Class Coupe, we should see E43 and E63 versions eventually topping the range with their corresponding engines and all-wheel-drive systems.
Porsche Panamera Sport Turismo
Building on the success of the all-new Panamera, Porsche will be launching a shooting brake version of the sports hatchback later this year to appeal to those who think an Audi RS6 is just too common.
Porsche has already given us a pretty good clue about how it looks in the form of its Sport Turismo concept shown at the 2012 Paris motor show, and will share its drivetrain options with the sedan.
Also shared with the sedan is the next generation of Porsche infotainment and haptic feedback controls, cleaning up the interior of the old Panamera. Meanwhile, a new V8 e-hybrid S option is likely to appear in both bodystyles later in the year. The Panamera Sport Turismo will also debut the first active rear wing on a wagon.
Keen to distance its new mid-sized four-door coupe from the Passat on which it is based, Volkswagen has confirmed that the new Arteon will challenge the premium players with a striking new body and interior. Sized between the A5 and A7 Sportbacks, the Arteon will help Volkswagen develop a more emotional approach to design.
Featuring Volkswagen’s latest set of four-cylinder petrol and diesel engines, the Arteon will also offer VW’s new 1.5-litre turbo petrol first seen in the updated Golf. Due for full reveal at the Geneva motor show, the Arteon should go on sale in Europe mid-year but there’s no word yet as to whether Australia will see it.
Volkswagen Golf GTI/R
Along with the standard Golf, the sporty GTI, GTD and R models will also be getting a refresh for 2017. Sharing interior, infotainment and styling upgrades with the cooking models, the GTI is also receiving a power hike to 169kW (183kW when fitted with the Performance pack).
Marked out by a new look front and rear as well as new LED lighting elements, the new Golf builds on an already polished package. Volkswagen will carry these updates onto the range topping R as well, while also upping power to 228kW.