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Top five most exciting cars of 2017

Image of Neil Thomason
Author: | Updated: 10 Jan 2017 12:45

There are plenty of mouth-watering cars on the way this year – namely the Aston Martin V8 Vantage, Porsche Panamera Sport Turismo,  Lexus LC, and maybe even the Tesla Model 3 at the end of the year … maybe.

2016 was a great year, and 2018 looks like it will be pretty special too as manufacturers are investing more and more in electric cars and hybrids. But what about this year?

Top five most exciting cars of 2017

We’ve collected our choices of the most exciting cars coming in 2017. From snazzy new SUVs, to refreshed old favourites and a couple of big hitters from Germany. Here it goes …

Alfa Romeo Stelvio

Alfa Romeo Stelvio

The long wait is almost over, with Alfa Romeo’s first foray into the lucrative SUV market due sometime this year.

Having had it official reveal at the 2016 Los Angeles Motor Show, the Stelvio is inspired by the sport heritage of Alfa Romeo, while embracing the traveling spirit that defines a true SUV. As such, it should impress Alfa traditionalists as well as those looking for a little bit of Italian flair in their SUV.

Alfa Romeo Stelvio interior

As of yet we’ve only seen the Stelvio in its range-topping Quadrifoglio guise which adds huge 20in alloy wheels and a slightly beefier body kit than more standard models are likely to get.

Similarly, a full engine line-up is yet to be confirmed, but Quadrifoglio spec comes complete with a twin-turbo 2.9-litre V6 engine that was developed in-house by Ferrari. You can find the same power plant in the Giulia, and the Stelvio gets the same 503bhp, giving it a 0-60mph time of just 3.8 seconds and a top speed of 177mph.

There’s a lot to prove with this model, and it has the burden of expectation, but we expect Alfa to smash it and impress us all.

Audi A8

Audi A8

Big things are expected from the Audi A8 when it is released in 2017. Having been completely rebooted (with the above image of the 21st Anniversary edition used for illustrative purposes), it has the BMW 7 Series and Mercedes-Benz S Class firmly in its sites.

Occupying top spot in Audi’s range, the A8 is set to be Audi’s first foray into autonomous driving and will be able to take over completely from the driver.

Audi A8 interior

Inside, Audi are rumoured to be using the A8 to debut a reduced dashboard in which a total of three digital displays are responsible for the control of all functions and information, building on the virtual cockpit technology already available in many of Audi’s range.

The luxury sedan is expected to be launched with four litre V8 petrol engines all the way to five litre V10 TDI. Add into that equation rumblings about a plug-in version which will be likely used as a low entry point to the range and you see that Audi expect big things from the big car.

Honda Civic Type R

Honda Civic Type R

The Honda Civic Type R got a lot of tongues wagging when the prototype was unveiled at the Paris Motor Show, and since then excitement and impatience has gotten the better of us as we can’t wait to get our hands on one.

Though what we saw there was a prototype, it certainly looked production ready. The menacing looks have been built for a purpose other than to intimidate other road users, with the design simply in pursuit of performance.

Honda Civic Type R rear

The cool rear wing? Performance. Absurd triple exhaust pipes? Performance. The countless vents? Performance. You get the picture.

When it comes to nuts and bolts, it’s based on the 10th Gen Honda Civic platform, and it’s to be expected that the Type R will also use the same variable steering system and rear suspension setup. Honda has designed the standard Civic to be more fun than ever to drive, so the performance version should take that to the nth degree.

Can I drive it yet?

Seat Arona

Seat Arona

With unanimous praise and plaudits coming the way of the Seat Ateca, the burden of expectation is now on the Seat Arona to prove that (1) Seat’s first SUV wasn’t a fluke (2) They can achieve similar results on a smaller scale.

Using the same platform as the upcoming Ibiza, the Arona looks to be a rival for similar sized Nissan Juke and Renault Captur models. Spy shots have hinted at a car that has liberally borrowed not only from the Ateca but from some of Seat’s past concept cars such as the 20V20 (pictured above) and IBX – that means the Arona will potentially offer a sharply styled front end, angular headlights, raised suspension and high roofline.

Seat Arona

When it comes to interior and engines, your guess is as good as ours but we wouldn’t be surprised if it’s not too dissimilar to the Ateca interior with similar engines to the upcoming Ibiza.

Expected to debut at either the Geneva Motor Show in March or Frankfurt Motor Show in September, we’re excited to see if lightning will strike twice on Seat’s SUV offering.

BMW 530e iPerformance

BMW 530e iPerformance

You may think there isn’t much to get excited about with the 7th generation BMW 5-Series – after all you know exactly what you’ll be getting as the German manufacturers M.O seems to very much be a case of ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ – but it’s the inclusion of a hybrid in the line-up that has us particularly excited.

While the previous 5 Series did have a PHEV model it was exclusively available in China, so this will be our first chance to see how it fairs on UK roads. The new 530e iPerformance hybrid combines a 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol engine with an electric motor, with BMW claiming the 5 Series will be able to drive for 28 miles on pure electric power.

BMW 530e iPerformance - plug-in

On top of that, BMW state that it will be capable of returning up to 141mpg while emitting just 46g/km of CO2. At the same time, it has 248bhp which means a 0-62mph time of just over six seconds.

While there are plenty of PHEVs on the way this year – the Kia Niro and Hyundai Ioniq to name a few – its BMW’s backing of the engine variant on their biggest and best executive car that has us excited.

We fully expect this type of offering to be the norm for major launches going forward, especially with more and more drivers concerned about the potential of major-city congestion charges, fleet costs and salary sacrifice changes. With BMW putting their faith behind the engine derivative, it’s a sure-sign of wider acceptance of hybrid use on the road and that it's a long-term choice for ultra low emission vehicles.

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