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The Class of 2017

Published: 31/05/2017 - Filed under: Home » Archive » 2017 » June 2017 » Special Reports » Home » Features »

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Mercedes AMG GT Roadster

Price: est. from $130,000

With all the sharp edges of a ten-minute-old sherbet lemon, the curvy Mercedes AMG GT Coupé might not be to everyone’s liking, but this new Roadster version is nothing short of gorgeous. Losing the roof gives the AMG GT an entirely different look, which we actually prefer to its coupé sister.

Under the hood is the same twin-turbo 4.0-liter V8 engine, available in standard 476bhp or full-on bonkers 557bhp forms. The latter is capable of the 0 to 60mph sprint in an eye-watering 3.7 seconds and on to a toupée-tugging 196 mph top speed. The faint-hearted needn’t apply.


Land Rover Discovery

Price: from $57,085

More than 1.2 million sales and 28 years after it first arrived, it’s fair to say that the Land Rover Discovery is popular. The squared-off looks have been toned down and the split tailgate has gone, but there’s still plenty of appeal in this fifth-generation Discovery.

Not only has it gone on a much-needed diet, but it’s more practical than ever, with the traditional seven seats, plus nine USB sockets (no more arguments about which of your offspring’s tablets to charge first), a waterproof key and the ability to reverse it at low speed while being towed from outside the car. Expect to see more than one or two on the school run near you soon.


Citroen C3

Price: from 12,950 ($14,135)

Citroen’s C3 might have been the French firm’s biggest seller worldwide, but it was about as interesting as a bowl of day-old semolina. This version plans to set that straight. Out go the conservative looks and in their place, some striking lines, a touch of design flair and the eye-catching Airbumps on the doors, borrowed from the larger C4 Cactus.

A range of new engines with 92g/km emissions and average fuel economy of up to 80.7mpg look impressive, and there’s a dash-cam for taking pictures or video in the event of an accident. Watch this space – 2017 should be the year that the Citroen C3 comes out of the shadows.

 

Skoda Kodiaq

Price: est. from $22,500

Like the new Land Rover Discovery, but don’t like the price tag? Welcome to the new Skoda Kodiaq. If you needed reminding of just how far the Czech manufacturer has come in recent years, then this it. Skoda insiders talk about the Kodiaq being a step-change for the company and it’s hard to disagree.

Coming in five- and seven-seater versions and with two- or four-wheel drive, this new Kodiaq is perfectly placed to take advantage of the strong trend toward seven-seater SUVs instead of people carriers. Expect lots of tech and clever gadgets, including pop-out protectors to cover the edge of the doors when opening them in tight spaces. 


Bentley Bentayga diesel

Price: from £135,800 ($175,550)

No matter what you thought about the arrival of the monstrous Bentayga in 2015, you can’t deny its success, with more than 5,500 sales so far. Bentley will be hoping to go even further with this version – its first-ever diesel model – as well as the option of a seven-seater. A 4.0-litre V8 diesel engine that boasts two turbos and a supercharger ensures it’s still fast enough to see off most sports cars despite its hardly-Lilliputian dimensions.

Enthusiasts might bemoan a diesel engine behind that flying B badge, but with Russia and some European markets being mainly diesel, it’s a crucial move for the Bentayga’s long-term success.

 

BMW 5-Series

Price: from $52,195

For all the appeal of the small BMW 3-Series, it’s the larger 5-Series that really declares to the neighbors that you’ve arrived. The upper echelons of company management, the keys to the executive bathroom (do those even still exist?) and the obvious step up from the ubiquitous 3-Series – the 5 represents them all.

With a lot of the technology borrowed from the larger 7 – gesture control, remote parking and the futuristic display key – the seventh-generation 5-Series also boasts emissions and economy as impressive as 108g/km and 68.8mpg. If it’s not the class leader by the end of 2017, we’ll eat our Fedoras.


Peugeot 3008

Price: from 25,900 ($28,255)

Unless you’ve been living on Jupiter these past few years, it has been hard to miss the rising popularity of crossovers epitomized by the likes of the Honda HR-V or Mazda CX-3. This new Peugeot 3008 should shake things up a little, though, with some funky styling and a futuristic interior to breathe new life into an otherwise conservative sector.

A new range of engines is available – including the latest tech three-cylinder turbo-gas – together with digital, adaptable instrument dials and a sliding boot floor to sit on and remove your wellies after a walk. Along with the new Mazda CX5, the new Peugeot 3008 could be one of the best new cars of the year.

 

Mini Countryman

Price: from $26,950

Big, it seems, is the new small – welcome to the largest Mini ever. BMW’s new Mini Countryman is longer and wider than before, as it grows to meet the new breed of crossovers and 4x4s. It has also grown in price, with a starting figure north of $26,000, which is no small change.

For the first time, the Countryman will get a plug-in hybrid version, while that plus-sized exterior thankfully means more space on the inside. Add an electric tailgate, more cargo capacity and clever touches such as a fold-out cover to protect the bumper from clambering dogs, and it’s sure to be a hit. With its continued low ground clearance, though, don’t expect the same 4×4 ability as some rivals.


Audi Q5

Price: from $42,475

No, you’re not imagining things – this really is the new Audi Q5. While it may not look much different, the German firm’s new mid-range off-roader gets a sharper front end and more dominant grille, and has grown longer and taller, too.

Despite those extra dimensions, though, the new Q5 has been walking past plenty of cake shops, losing nearly 200 lbs. over its predecessor. It will initially offer a choice between just one 2.0-liter turbo-diesel and one turbo-gas engine, both with four-wheel drive. A larger diesel will follow, as will a sportier SQ5 model. As well as the latest driving safety tech and Audi’s usual superb interiors and build quality, this new Q5 should be better than ever.


Lexus LS 500 

PRICE: est. from $90,000-plus

RELEASE DATE: late 2017

Since the introduction of the Lexus marque nearly three decades ago, the LS has been the brand’s flagship sedan, consistently setting benchmarks for smooth performance and reliability. This year the venerable nameplate has been transformed onto a longer wheelbase, while the outgoing model’s V-8 has been replaced by a 3.5-liter twin-turbo V-6 rated at 415 hp and 442 lb-ft of torque.

In addition, there’s also a hybrid variant available. The LS comes with its well-heeled rear-wheel drive standard, but look for an all-wheel option soon.

In the cabin, Lexus retains look and feel of Omotenashi, the endearing concept of Japanese hospitality.  That means the LS 500 takes attentive care of the driver and passengers with a bevy of new tech features including an updated multimedia system, heated, ventilated and massaging seats front and rear, and a nimble pedestrian detection system.  

By Nat Barnes








 

 

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