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New in 2017: Low-key list for Euro luxury models

High five: A plug-in version of BMW’s 5 Series luxury sedan is just part of the action in the premium segment for 2017.

SUV and sports model boom steals attention from premium passenger cars in 2017

Outlook logo17 Jan 2017

By DANIEL GARDNER

THERE are no signs that Australia’s insatiable appetite for premium high-performance cars and SUVs will begin to wane this year, with a host of all-new and significant new models and variants set to keep the premium Euro party bouncing.

Alfa Romeo is wasting no time in the new year with one of the most hotly anticipated models arriving in February. The Giulia mid-size sedan opens up a new segment for the Italian car-maker, led by a vicious Quadrifoglio Verde (QV) version that is said to have the potency to take on BMW’s M3 and the Mercedes-AMG C63 S.

Audi will weigh in with its first launch of the year at about the same time with the warmed-up S4 in both sedan and Avant wagon form. The sporty four- and five-door models will be followed by the mechanically identical S5 coupe in quarter two for those customers wanting just two doors.

Sub-S variants wearing the A5 badge will arrive alongside S5, offering the same elegant coupe profile but at a more affordable price and reduced performance.

Arch-rival BMW kicks off the year in the first quarter with an addition to its fresh new 7 Series flagship sedan range with a monster $419,000 M760Li variant that starts with the long-wheelbase body but slots a mighty twin-turbo 6.6-litre V12 under the bonnet.

Underneath the top-shelf 7 Series sits BMW’s 5 Series executive sedan which will arrive in March as an all-new model and bring with it some up-to-the-minute technology and a fresh new look. The opening range of diesel and petrol-powered 5 Series variants will be joined around mid-year by a 530e plug-in hybrid as part of BMW’s strategy to offer electrified options across its entire fleet.

The third contender in the ‘big three’ German premium brands – Mercedes-Benz – weighs into the executive sedan fight this year with the off-road-oriented E-Class All-Terrain, which will rival the Volvo V90 Cross Country and Audi A6 Allroad. Mercedes’ flagship S-Class luxury limousine will also receive an update with new engines and a mild facelift in the second half of the year.

Volvo will likewise be focusing on the luxury end of its range throughout 2017 with a more unorthodox launch schedule for new 90 series models, in addition to its big news story – the XC60 SUV.

An expansion of the 90 series range into wagon territory will be led by the high-riding V90 Cross Country in quarter two, but the more conventional car-like wagon range will not arrive until the second half of the year. During the third quarter a top-end R Design variant of the S90 sedan will top the line-up with a sportier version above the two petrol and two diesel variants, completing the company’s 90 series range enhancement for the year.

Porsche has a busy year planned, with most of its activity in the sports and SUV realm, but the performance authority has an offering for the premium passenger car segment, too.

The styling of its first-generation Panamera may have divided the motoring community with its love-or-hate hump, but the German brand will be hoping the new-look model will win the hearts of more large high-performance sedan fans when it lobs locally in February.

Hyundai’s Genesis luxury brand will take a step up this year with the updated G80 due soon and an all-new G70 – a BMW 3 Series rival – expected by the end of the year.

A Sportbrake version of Jaguar’s XF is also due by Christmas, while various other models still under wraps from a variety of brands will begin emerging soon in the run up to the Geneva motor show in March.

WHAT’S COMING

Alfa Romeo Giulia – Feb
Audi S4 sedan/Avant – Feb
Audi A5/S5 Sportback - Q2
BMW M760Li - Q1
BMW 5-Series – Mar
BMW 5-Series PHEV – Mid-year
Genesis G70 – Q4
Genesis G80 – Q2
Jaguar XF Sportbrake – Dec
Mercedes E-Class All-Terrain – May
Mercedes S-Class facelift – Q3/Q4
Porsche Panamera – Feb
Volvo S90 R Design – Q3
Volvo V90 – Q3/Q4
Volvo V90 Cross Country – Q2

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