A new year lies ahead of us and it’s set to be another great one for new cars. Tim Oldland takes a look at what 2017 may bring….
As we saw in last week’s article, 2016 was a cracking year for new cars, but the relentless pace seems to show no signs of slowing this year, with 2017 offering up replacements for some of our favourite sports cars and some new models coming out too. In no particular order, here are my picks for 2017…
Resurrecting a name not seen for many years, the Renault Alpine A120 is a mid-engined retro-modern take on the old Alpine A110. Featuring a 1.8 litre turbocharged four cylinder engine putting out around 250bhp, it is RWD and likely has a 6spd dual clutch auto gearbox as standard. Taking on the new Porsche 718 Cayman is a big ask for Renault, hence why it’s not going use the Renault name anywhere – this is a standalone brand. I can’t wait to see the final version, though it’s expected to look identical to the concept above.
Aston Martin V8 Vantage
The current Aston V8 Vantage is one of the most popular cars in our competition, with 7 being won in 2016 alone, but while it may be popular with BOTB’s players the Vantage is getting on a fair bit, having been on sale for 11 years. The biggest issue facing Aston is around styling – how do you replace one of the most beautiful cars made in the last 50yrs? Early indications are that it will look a fair bit like the DB10 made for the James Bond film Spectre (seen above), but the front end will be less challenging and it’ll be toned down overall. Those that have seen it already say it’s stunning, so I’m holding out hope. Power will come from the first engine in the Aston-Mercedes tie-up, in the form of a 4.0 litre twin turbo V8. We can’t wait for this one and I can’t wait to get behind the wheel.
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Honda Civic Type-R
The Civic Type-R is one of the best hot hatches currently on sale and one that I absolutely loved when I reviewed it. So the prospect of an all-new one is definitely exciting! Based on the new Mk10 Civic, the new model is bigger, with a much longer profile and some would say a more American look (not surprising given the model will be sold there). But when you add the typical Type-R bodykit it goes from boring hatch to insane mega-crazy Japanese bonkers hot hatch – I think it’s not pretty, but looks aggressive and purposeful just like the current Type-R. It should use the same 2.0 litre turbocharged engine but put out in the region of 320-340bhp this time, still through the front wheels and still through that delicious 6spd manual gearbox, but I hear there’s now an option for a CVT ‘box too.
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Lexus have has the RC-F coupe for a while, but that’s a BMW M4 rival, they’ve not had a luxury coupe for a while and that’s where this new LC comes in. The LC500 packs the RC-F’s V8 engine with 472bhp, while the LC500h teams a 3.5 litre V6 with electric motors to put out a combined 354bhp. looks-wise the LC takes a lot of inspiration from the LFA supercar, but gives it a really slick upmarket coupe feel and the interior does the same. This is actually one of the most interesting and intriguing cars of 2017 for me and I can’t wait to drive it.
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Porsche Panamera Sport Turismo
The new Panamera addressed all the issues most people had with the old model – namely the looks. Out went the dumpy rear end and in came a 991-inspired tail with a re-profiled front that gives the whole car a cohesive and dare I say pretty appearance. But Porsche like to push the boundaries, so 2017 will see the introduction of the Sport Turismo model – basically a shooting brake version of the Panamera which will look a lot like the concept above. There will be improved luggage space and better rear headroom too, so this could be the model that serves as the perfect every day Porsche. Engine choices will be the same as the Panamera, so there’s everything from the 3.0 litre V6 petrol, through the V8 diesel and eco-friendly e-Hybrid model to the fire-breathing twin turbo V8 Turbo model.
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Mazda MX-5 RF
The MX-5 is one of my favourite cars of 2016 (review up soon) so any new variant is going to excite me. The previous model had a folding hardtop variant but it was heavier and didn’t look great with the roof up (yet still took around 70% of sales in the UK) but this year the MX-5 gets the RF version which has more than a passing resemblance to the Ferrari 458 roof. There’s actually a targa-style panel that folds back into the rear bulkhead while the large buttresses remain, meaning the mechanism is lighter and doesn’t affect the looks as much. If it doesn’t affect the MX-5’s wonderful balance and gives it more all-weather usability then I’m all for it!
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Lamborghini Aventador S
When you drive the Lamborghini Aventador the last thing you generally think is ‘Hmmm, this is a bit slow’ but that model is a few years old now so Lamborghini needed to refresh their big supercar. So there’s an S on the name and extra 40bhp taking it to 730bhp, along with 509lb/ft of torque. 0-62mph is dealt with in 2.9 seconds and there’s a 217mph top speed. Visually there’s a new front bumper which produces 130% more downforce and a few other aero changes around the car meaning it’s more planted at speed. The cabin also gets updates and there’s a slight price hike to £270,000. I just can’t wait to hear one!
Jaguar F-Type Facelift
You don’t need me to tell you how popular the F-Type is here at BOTB – but it has been out a few years now so is in need of a facelift. There was a minor one last year focusing on the interior, but 2017 sees new bumpers and a bigger interior refresh to give the F-Type a new lease of life. Adding to that will be a new base model to take on the Porsche 718’s featuring a turbocharged 2.0 litre 4-cylinder petrol engine producing around 280bhp. I love the F-Type, but can’t help thinking a 4-cyl powerplant might be a stretch too far – I await my first drive to find out.
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Much like the Aventador, nobody every drove a Ferrari F12 and complained about the speed, but the F12TdF has shown that the F12 can handle more power and with a refresh on its way, you can bet that the 6.3 litre naturally aspirated V12 will put out more than the std car but less than the TdF – I’m going to guess around 750-760bhp. I’m expecting the styling to derive a little from the GTC4 Lusso, so maybe back to 4 round rear lights and a nose that is simpler and cleaner. Whatever it looks like, expect performance to be insane and the price tag to match when it is revealed at the Geneva Motor Show in March.
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Bentley Continental GT
The current second generation Continental GT looks like it has been around for a lot longer than it actually has, mainly because it looks so similar to the model it replaced. That won’t be the case with the 2017 third generation model though, which is set to inherit the looks of the stunning EXP10 Speed 6 concept car shown above. Much has been said of the current Conti GT’s weight problem, so Bentley have put the new model on a serious diet, with rumours of a 400-500kg loss. If that’s the case the GT will be a greatly different car – with the same 500bhp+ engine options and AWD setup it’ll perform incredibly well. Hopefully they’ll retain the current car’s luxurious feel and ride, but this could be the version that gives Bentley a rival to the current crop of supercars like the Porsche 911 Turbo and new Aston Martin DB11.
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