If 2016 was a great year for new cars and new tech, 2017 promises to be even better. As we surge into January, now’s the perfect time to take a look at the exciting cars and car tech set to be launched over the course of the next 12 months, including the Aston Martin V8 Vantage, Abarth 500X and a whole host of next-gen driving features.
So without further ado, join us as we take a look at 2017’s most exciting new cars, and the incredible new features they promise.
The Best New Cars of 2017:
Abarth is a high-performance Italian car brand who specialise in beefing up run-of-the-mill cars with larger engines and hardened suspension, giving them a racy appeal that attracts keen petrol heads. The brand first launched its version of the popular Fiat 500 back in 2009, and has since developed several other models, each as extreme as the last.
Now, Abarth has turned its attention to Fiat’s second most popular car, the 500X, developing a high-performance version of the 4X4 which is thought to be the first of several hot crossovers expected in 2017.
The Abarth 500X features the same standout looks as the 500, with big alloys, deep spoilers and lowered suspension making for a sporty look. Its power is expected to come from the same 1.4-litre four-cylinder turbocharged engine used on the Abarth 500 124 Spider, which has been tweaked to give the car over 200bhp. The school run just got a lot more exciting.
Aston Martin V8 Vantage
Whenever Aston Martin launch a new car, there’s always quite a stir, and it’s no different with the all-new 2017 V8 Vantage. The Vantage is the baby of the Aston Martin family, making it the most accessible car in the British manufacturer’s line-up (yours for not a penny more than £87,495). And, it’s also the prettiest, with well-proportioned curves and sweeping lines other thoroughbred sports cars can only dream of.
But what exactly do you get for your £90K? First and foremost, the noise from the V8 engine at full throttle is worth at least 30% of the asking price, with the car producing a stupendous bark at high revs and a smooth, refined murmur at slower speeds. Then there’s the performance itself; the V8 is a real ‘driver’s car’, offering the perfect combination of straight-line speed and weighted, precise cornering.
You also get a lot more car for your money than you might expect, with Aston Martin throwing in all sorts of kit for the RRP. This includes a flip-up sat nav and infotainment system, adaptive cruise control, and full leather interior — what more could you ask for?
If you’ve got £65,000 in the bank and you’re in the market for a luxury saloon, 2017 is the year you’ve been waiting for. Why? Audi is set to launch a new version of its flagship A8 in the summer, and from what we’ve seen so far, the new version promises to be one of the most exciting and innovative cars to hit the forecourt this year.
The A8’s cutting-edge exterior styling gives you a clue to what awaits on the inside. Audi has taken many of the features first seen on its Prologue Concept and made them a reality with the A8, including the Virtual Cockpit dashboard and Piloted Driving system. This revolutionary autonomous driving technology allows the A8 to drive itself in traffic jams of up to 37mph, and also features auto-park technology.
One of the most exciting features of the A8 has to be the Virtual Cockpit, which looks set to introduce the next generation of dashboard design. The system comprises three separate screens positioned on the dashboard and centre console, each of which is fully customisable based on the driver’s preferences.
Taking its design cues from the hugely divisive C4 Cactus, the all-new Citroen C3 certainly promises to be quite the head-turner. The new hatchback has the same Airbump surrounds and kooky styling which made the Cactus so unique, as well as over 36 exterior colour options. So, if you’re worried about driving the same car as thousands of others, the C3 could offer the distinct styling options you need.
That’s not to say the new C3 is all style and no substance. Though minimalist in its design, the C3’s cabin is loaded with convenient tech and features, including a seven-inch full-colour display featuring Apple CarPlay and MirrorLink. This is also the first Citroen model to feature ConnectedCam technology, which is essentially a front and rear-view camera system capable of recording incidents and accidents.
The new car will be quick too, with a choice of three 1.2-litre petrol engines producing 67bhp, 81bhp or 109bhp. If it were up to us, we’d opt for the highest power output for the perfect balance of refinement and pace.
Given the current Ford Fiesta is the UK’s best-selling car (with over 100,000 sold each year), its 2017 successor has some rather big shoes to fill. However, judging by Ford’s string of recent successes, we’re sure the new Fiesta will more than live up to the legacy of its older siblings.
While it might look fairly similar to its predecessor, the Fiesta now benefits from a more mature exterior design, while still staying true to the car’s appeal as a sporty and modern hatchback. The car is slightly larger than older models, and thanks to some clever trickery under the bonnet, Ford’s engineers reckon they’ve added an additional 16mm of legroom — great news for tall rear seat passengers.
As well as being more refined and upmarket, the Fiesta’s new cabin is also loaded with high-tech features, including a multi-function LED screen that replaces the clunky button setup of previous models. The car also benefits from a range of safety and convenience technologies, including 15 driver assistance systems which aid daily driving and improve safety and comfort. Among these driver assists are adaptive cruise control, blind spot and collision warning alerts, lane keeping aids, auto parking, auto high-beam headlamps and pedestrian detection technology.
Volkswagen up! GTI
While the standard version of Volkswagen’s award-winning city car, the up! has been lauded as one of the best handling in its class, driving fanatics have been praying for VW to release a sporty GTI version — and at last, it seems, their prayers have been answered.
Set to launch at the end of the year, the up! GTI is a high-performance version of the standard car, with a 1.0-litre three-cylinder turbo engine producing 114bhp. This might not sound a lot, but combined with the car’s go-kart style handling it’ll certainly have the fun factor — which is what hot hatchbacks have always been about.
In order to squeeze as much power out of the car’s tiny 1.0-litre engine, the engineers at VW have played around with the compression rate of the engine’s high-pressure turbo system, replacing the original 5-speed gearbox with an upgraded 6-speed version. This allows the car to pull away keenly from low revs, and keep on accelerating strongly right to the red line.
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