By: Ollie Kew - 03 Jan, 2017
Let’s start with the numbers car. The one with nigh-on 1,500bhp, four turbos, a top speed on the ‘oh my goodness gracious’ side of 260mph and very possibly the most expensive car in the world once Bugatti’s clientele have specified which particular sea mammal’s skin they’d like draped over the seats. But beneath the garnish and the top trumps, the Chiron looks like a stunning piece of kit, a son of Veyron that’s more powerful, more aerodynamically efficient and several hundred per cent better looking than its legendary dad. We thought the Veyron was the car no machine would ever be able to follow. In 2017, we’ll discover if that’s correct or not…
How unnervingly refreshing it is for Top Gear to bring you news of an all-new Alfa Romeo – the first SUV ever to carry the Alfa name, no less – and not have to awkwardly tip-toe around the likelihood that it’ll probably be a bit…rubbish. The new Alfa Romeo Stelvio (cor, Alfa’s in a sweet spot with car names right now, isn’t it?) is heavily based upon the foundations for the Giulia saloon (see what we mean), which ripped up the formbook last year by actually being good.
This Quadrifoglio version relies on the same mechanicals as the Giulia Quadrifoglio saloon, which it turn means this is a family SUV powered by what is to a large extend a Ferrari engine. Alfa doesn’t like the association (Ferrari even less so, you’ll be thoroughly unsurprised to learn), preferring to pigeonhole the twin-turbocharged, 2.9-litre V6 as ‘inspired by Ferrari technologies and know-how’. But in broader engineering terms, you’re getting a five-seat family SUV pushed along by three-quarters of a Ferrari California T’s bi-turbo V8. Some pedigree.
It’s 2017’s most hotly-awaited supercar, the GT. And with the 2016 Le Mans class win disappearing into history, the road car has to step up to shoulder that halo effect status – and justify a price that applied to the old Ford GT. This time, we’ve got a turbocharged V6 instead of a V8, a seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox instead of a manual, and the most outlandish aero of any street car this side of the hybrid holy trinity.
Good car, the old CX-5. Decent to drive, decent looking, decently practical – it wasn’t bedroom wall material (what crossover is?), but it covered all the basics off really well and was well-priced to boot. The sequel has a hard act to follow, but already looks smarter on the outside and more premium (read: German) inside.
Meanwhile, the chassis is more rigid than before and you can have torque-vectoring so no pesky tenths of a second on the school run are frittered away by wheels spooling up and wasting power. Not even the MX-5 has that sort of technology.
You might not be a fan of the Countryman’s looks (we’re still, erm, learning to like ‘em) but there’s no doubt this thing will be a massive seller for Mini as it cashes in once again on the crossover boom and this time adds more off-road ability, space and a dashboard that doesn’t appear to have been made out of old water butts. It needs to be good, because this Countryman has got an enemy within to content with. A willfully funky crossover within the BMW group…
…yep, it’s the production version of the X2 concept pictured above that’s spearheading BMW’s attack on the funky crossover segment. Evoques and Q2s, be afraid. Both of those cars win at style, but leave plenty of room for improvement in the Ultimate Driving Machine department…
At long, long last, 2017 brings us a new Alpine. We know it’ll have a four-cylinder turbo motor mounted between the seats and the rear wheels. We know it’s going to have a dual-clutch gearbox. It’ll do 0-62mph in about 4.5 seconds and aim to give an Alfa 4C and Porsche 718 Cayman all sorts of French, retro-rally headaches. What we don’t know yet, it what it’ll be called, or if it’ll be any good. But if they keep the concept’s styling, we’ll forgive Renault for the paddleshift-only Clio RS…
Here’s good news for the hoards of you who’ve been sitting on a pile of money at least two hundred notes high since 2014, waiting for Lamborghini to turn the wick up on the Huracan. Less weight, more power and a massive wing will all feature on the successor to the Gallardo Superlegerra: the Huracan Performante. Good timing too. All the McLaren 675LTs are sold and there’s no Speciale version of the Ferrari 488 (yet)…
Take AMG GT. Remove roof. Create possibly the best-looking Mercedes-Benz that’s currently available. That’s your AMG GT Roadster, available as a standard 467bhp version or in widebody GT C form, complete with bodywork nods to the AMG GT R and a meaty 549bhp delivered courtesy of the familiar 4.0-litre bi-turbo V8 motor.
This one might slip to 2018. And if it does, several hundred thousand deposit holders will get mighty peeved, because the pre-order frenzy for Tesla’s most affordable EV yet has been nothing short of unprecedented. It’s priced at $35k before tax breaks, will go up to 215 miles on a charge and ought to hit 62mph in well under six seconds. We’re also expecting an ultra-minimalist interior. And maybe some self-driving autopilot. It could – should, perhaps – be a game-changer. When it arrives…
Peugeot is on mighty form of late. The 3008 crossover is a genuinely stunning piece of interior design wrapped up in a much more appealing crossover body than the old 3008, which looked like the result of a drunken liaison between an angry Bruce Banner and a robot guinea pig. Now it’s the 5008’s turn – out go the frumpy MPV looks, and in comes detailing and style to make a Kia Sportage or Nissan X-Trail very worried indeed. Hope it drives well…
We’ve already had an off-round jaunt in the new Disco. It’s good. Very capable. Just as well, because when we first saw Gerry McGovern’s new design for the boxy icon (a Disco Sport x 100 per cent, we thought), there was a worry Land Rover had come over more King’s Road than king of the outback. Mind you, we worried the same fate for the Evoque, and that’s both ace in the rough and a sales phenomenon. You could be looking at 2017’s great British success story, right here.
This is the new Insignia, and, like a post-procedure Captain America, it’s unrecognisably handsome. Oh, and it’s not called Insignia any more. This is now the Insignia Grand Sport. Grander in terms of size? Nope – dimensions are broadly the same as the old Insignia but the all-new 29mm lower, 11mm wider bodyshell is 60kg lighter. And if you spec light, you’ll end up with a car that’s 175kg lighter than the old car.
Whether you keep the spec simple depends on how tempted you are by a smorgasbord of gadgets. There’s optional LED matrix lighting, a head-up display, stacks of driver aids and Vauxhall’s 24hr-manned call centre guardian angel, OnStar.
Inside, the cabin has benefitted from a massive 92mm stretch in wheelbase and borrows new Astra’s dash, blending the IntelliLink touchscreen into a flush glass panel and sitting the driver 30mm lower than in the old Insignia. That’ll be the “Sport” bit of the new name, then.
The facelifted Golf GTI is coming. It brings a new, flush-fitting touchscreen and haptic buttons inside. Oooh. Aah. And there are new bumpers inspired by the Nurburgring-crushing GTI Clubsport’s aero. Cor. Blimey.
Far more importantly, there is more power. The 2.0-litre turbo four-pot has been boosted up to 242bhp in GTI Performance guise. And the six-speed DSG that’s been feeling dated for a while now has gone in a skip, with a new seven-speeder arriving for faster shifts and leggier cruising. This thing will arrive just in time to battle the new RS Megane and, later in 2017, the new Honda Civic Type R. Happy days in hot hatch land. Speaking of which…
It’s front-wheel drive again. It’s a 2.0-litre turbo, again. It’s got more wing on board than an aircraft carrier. Again. It’s fair to say the philosophy for the new Civic Type R hasn’t moved on much from the old one. But the performance will jump, as Honda chases its Nürburgring lap record crown.
The new Civic has been built lower and lighter, more of a driver’s car, even down to the boggo 1.5-litre version. The driver sits on the floor, not on a bar stool, and the centre of gravity has been dropped. This means much interior versatility has been lost in the name of making it a fun steer. In the standard cars, this might be a problem, but when you’re building a road racer, it’s spot on the money. This time around, the Type R has a much, much better starting platform, a superior springboard with which to create supercar-humbling urgency. The Ford Focus RS’s time at the top of the angry hot hatch tree might be short-lived, if Honda can live up to the promise of these crazy looks.
By Top Gear
The Prius gets better in the areas it needed to. Fresh-feeling cabin, urban economy, powertrain.
By Adil Khan
For decades, people have been speculating on topics ranging from car colour affecting insurance premiums to outlandish service intervals. You might ask yourself why these misconceptions exist and where these myths come from. It’s partially due to the lack of transparency in the industry itself as well as the fact that most people find the world of cars to be a little confusing. Whatever the reason, we’re debunking five of the silliest misconceptions about cars, once and for all.
By Craig Jamieson
Ah, the Skyline. Against a skyline. Nice.
The Skyline, in our opinion, is the car that made Nissan.
Never mind that it was actually invented by Prince – no, not the ‘Purple Rain’ one, the Japanese car manufacturer, which merged with Nissan in the 1960s. Nissan kept the excellent ‘Skyline’ name – and the somewhat suspect ‘Gloria’, but we digress.
The Skyline nameplate dates all the way back to the late 1950s, but it’s the 1989 R32 Skyline GTR that really put Nissan on the map. Even though there had been quite a few highlights in the range over the years – the original 1969 GTR, for instance, and the R31 GTS-R – the R32 left an indelible mark, both on the road and in motorsport.
Families have moved on from the family sedan.
Looking at sales trends, soccer fields and school drop-off lines it’s clear that today’s family car is actually an SUV. And the family-friendliest vehicle of them all, the minivan, continues to appeal with its purpose-built practicality.
As SUVs have grown more comfortable and more efficient over the years, families and car shoppers in general have demonstrated an increasing preference for the elevated driving position, superior cargo versatility and higher profile of SUVs. Whether it’s the sliding doors and cavernous interior of a minivan or the high-riding nature and available all-wheel drive of an SUV, each of these vehicles is simply more functional as a family car than a traditional sedan.
~ Best 2-Row SUVs for Families
2017 Honda CR-V
Totally redesigned for 2017, the CR-V is the best-selling SUV in the country and one of our most awarded cars every year.
By Robert Liwanag
Motor Company's futurist shares six automotive trends that will shape the car
industry this year.