The Infiniti QX50 arrives in Australia late this year.
The Infiniti QX50 arrives in Australia late this year.

Limos are so last year — get ready for raft of luxury wagons

Sales of luxury cars have hit the brakes in a record market. Their only saviour: growth in SUVs. To help bring buyers back into prestige showrooms there is, of course, plenty of new metal on the way. Here are the highlights for 2018.

ALFA ROMEO

The Italian brand launches its first SUV, the Stelvio, with diesel or petrol power in the first half of 2018. The flagship QV - powered by the same twin turbo 2.9-litre V6 used in the Giulia sedan, matched with an eight-speed auto and all-wheel drive - is due midyear.

Alfa Romeo Stelvio.
Alfa Romeo Stelvio.

 

ALPINE

Renault has revived its performance brand name for a mid-engined sports car designed to take on Porsche's Boxster. The Alpine A110 weighs just 1080kg and is powered by a 1.8-litre four-cylinder turbo putting out a healthy 185kW/320Nm. It's a version of the engine that will power the upcoming Megane RS. The 0-100km/h claim is a Porsche-like 4.5 seconds. Expect a price tag nearing $100,000 when it lands in the second half of 2018.

Alpine A110.
Alpine A110.

 

BMW

Fans of electric cars will be able to enjoy open-top motoring when the convertible version of the BMW i8 arrives, priced at about $303,000 in early 2018. The box-shaped i3 also gets a power boost. Revheads will likely look forward to a faster version of the M2 coupe and the arrival of the first X3M SUV in the second half of 2018. BMW's baby faux-wheel drive, the X2, is due by year's end.

BMW i8 Roadster.
BMW i8 Roadster.

 

CHEVROLET

Badge snobs may turn their noses up at a car wearing a "bow tie" symbol but the new Camaro will come with a luxury price tag when it arrives in about August, courtesy of Holden's fast car partner HSV. Converted from left to right-hand drive locally, it will cost more than the Ford Mustang rival. The starting price is likely to be close to $85,000 versus $55,000 for a V8 Mustang, which gets a facelift about the same time as the Camaro gets here.

Chevrolet Camaro SS.
Chevrolet Camaro SS.

 

GENESIS

Hyundai's luxury brand will get a new model and stand-alone dealerships in 2018, starting with the G70 sedan, a rival to the BMW 3 Series and Mercedes-Benz C-Class. Due in the second quarter, the G70 will be powered by a 2.0-litre turbo four or a 3.3-litre twin-turbo V6, both matched to an eight-speed auto and rear-drive. Prices will be between $50,000 and $70,000. Meanwhile the big Genesis sedan that limo drivers love so much will get a refresh about the same time and change its name to G80.

Genesis G70.
Genesis G70.

 

INFINITI

Nissan's luxury arm will join the booming compact SUV segment in late 2018 with the QX50. Price and engine details are yet to be announced.

Infiniti QX50.
Infiniti QX50.

 

JAGUAR

The XF wagon arrives in petrol and diesel forms early in the year, to be joined soon after by the E-Pace, the smaller SUV sibling to the F-Pace. Jaguar's fully electric gambit, the i-Pace, arrives late in 2018.

Jaguar E-Pace.
Jaguar E-Pace.

 

LAMBORGHINI

The Italian sports car brand launches its first SUV, the Urus, midyear. Priced about $400,000, it has blistering 0-100km/h performance of 3.6 seconds thanks to a 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 (478kW/850Nm) and all-wheel drive.

Lamborghini Urus.
Lamborghini Urus.

 

LEXUS

It's been an eternity but a seven-seat version of the Lexus RX SUV finally arrives in late February, with a modest price premium over the regular five-seat RX range. The LS limousine, due in April, is powered either by a new 3.5-litre twin-turbo V6 matched to a 10-speed auto or the V6 hybrid set-up from the sleek LC sportster. Towards the end of the year there will be special editions of the IS-F and GS-F sports sedans to mark the 10-year anniversary of the F-sport badge. Expect more carbon-fibre interior trim rather than more power.

Lexus LS.
Lexus LS.

 

MERCEDES-BENZ

It's a big year for the three-pointed star badge, with the new version of its baby A-Class hatch and sedan due mid year - available with the mega wide-screen dash display from the larger E-Class stablemate. The A45 AMG version won't arrive until 2019. The sleek new-generation CLS sedan arrives midyear, as will a mild facelift for the top-selling
C-Class. Before the year's out we'll also see a new G-Wagen: the successor to the box-shaped Benz SUV.

Mercedes CLS.
Mercedes CLS.

 

 

PORSCHE

Porsche is famous for its sports cars but the popularity of its Cayenne SUV has largely funded development of the fun stuff. The third generation Cayenne arrives midyear with V6 and V8 petrol power. A diesel and a plug-in hybrid, as yet unconfirmed, might take another a year or so. GTS versions of the Boxster and Cayman sports cars arrive in the first few months of the year, priced about $175,000. The stunningly quick limited edition GT2 RS arrives in early in the year but if you want one, it's already too late - it's sold out despite the $645,000 price tag.

Porsche 911 GT2 RS.
Porsche 911 GT2 RS.

 

RANGE ROVER

Plug-in hybrid versions of the Range Rover and Range Rover Sport arrive with minor model updates in March.

Range Rover PHEV.
Range Rover PHEV.


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