This year’s Geneva Motor Show was enticingly overcrowded with supercars and futuristic concept cars with virtual butlers and augmented reality, but thankfully its exhibitors also spent some time in the real world.
A host of new production models make their global debuts and there was something for everyone - from affordable hatchbacks to SUVs and ultra-luxurious sedans.
Many of these are due to reach South Africa in the coming year. Here are 10 newcomers that caught our attention.
Audi’s all-new A6 sedan might not look radically different to its predecessor, but it’s a whole new ballgame inside.
Due in South Africa in the first quarter of 2019, the A6 inherits a fully-digitised MMI Touch Response interior operating system from the latest A7 Sportback, with screens that blend seamlessly into the dashboard and up to 400 parameters for personalisation.
The mid-sized sedan also gains new technologies like rear-wheel-steering and remote parking. More info and pics here.
BMW’s second-generation X4 takes all the good stuff from the latest X3 and moulds it into a more exciting, coupe-inspired design.
Particularly exciting for diesel fans will be the M40d, a 3-litre high-performance oil burner rated at 240kW and 680Nm and if petrol’s your poison, BMW will tempt you with a 265kW M40i.
The new X4 gets most of BMW’s latest gizmos, including the Driving Assistant Plus semi-autonomous driving assistant and the latest iDrive system with intelligent voice control and gesture control.
It’s due in SA in the third quarter of this year - read more here.
Ferrari 488 Pista
Following in the tracks of previous circuit-biased special editions like 458 Speciale, 430 Scuderia and 360 Challenge Stradale, the Pista is a lighter, more powerful and sharper handling version of the 488 GTB.
It also happens to be Ferrari’s most powerful V8 ever, with astounding outputs of 492kW and 760Nm, allowing for a 2.85-second 0-100km/h prance, according to Ferrari.
90kg lighter than the GTB and with 20 percent more downforce, the Pista will be tearing around South African tracks from early 2019, with pricing to be confirmed nearer the time. More here.
Hyundai Santa Fe
Hyundai has taken a far bolder design approach with its all-new Santa Fe, which is due to reach South Africa in standard-wheelbase form during the second half of 2018.
It also debuts some interesting new technologies, like an app that can warn you - through motion sensors in the car - whether you’ve accidentally locked a child or pet in the vehicle, and there’s another gizmo that prevents doors from opening if it detects a cyclist coming from behind.
Overseas it’s offered with the familiar 2.2 diesel or a new 2-litre turbopetrol. Find out more here.
Designed from the ground up as an electric vehicle, Jaguar’s I-Pace crossover will provide an enticing new option for eco-conscious South Africans when it arrives in 2019.
It’s pretty quick too, with its two electric motors (one up front and another on the back axle) producing a combined output of 294kW. That’s enough, says Jaguar, to get you to 100km/h in just 4.5 seconds.
For calmer journeys, Jaguar claims a range of up to 480km between charges (on the WLTP cycle) and there’s a clever EV navigation system said to be capable of calculating an extremely accurate personalised range based on insights from previous journeys and geographical data.
Set to succeed the CT hybrid hatch as the entry-level Lexus, the new UX crossover brings the brand’s bold and elaborate design cues to a more youthful audience at the lower end of the premium market.
Built on Toyota’s new global platform, it also gains two brand new powertrain options from the group parts bin, namely an advanced ‘high thermal efficiency’ normally aspirated 2-litre petrol and a new petrol-electric drivetrain - as seen in the new Auris - with a 130kW system output. The latter is available with all-wheel-drive.
Expect to see the UX in South Africa in early 2019.
The new A-Class might have drawn criticism for its droopy front end and Kia-like tail lights, but there’s no disputing that it’s an advanced new machine inside and beneath the skin.
Its new wide-screen dash layout completely does away with the traditional instrument cowl, and houses a smart new MBUX infotainment system that uses artificial intelligence to adapt to the driver’s preferences. Also on board is a new voice recognition system that responds to “Hey Mercedes”.
Find out more here.
The popular C-Class sedan has been given a midlife update and although the exterior design changes are on the subdued side, it does gain a new electronic architecture and a range of revised engines.
These include a new 135kW 1.5-litre turbopetrol in C200, assisted by a 10kW electric EQ boost through the new 48-volt electrical system. At the other end of the spectrum is a revised C43 AMG, which gets 17kW power hike - to 287kW.
Inside it receives some new trims and materials, as well as a fully-digital instrument cluster.
Mercedes-AMG 4-door GT
Mercedes-AMG is taking the super-saloon battle to Porsche’s Panamera with the performance division’s first ever in-house-designed four-door.
It’s available in three variants, the most powerful of which becomes the most powerful vehicle in Merc’s modern line-up. With 470kW on tap, the GT 63 S is said to be capable of reaching 100km/h in just 3.2 seconds.
Get the full story here.
Toyota’s third-attempt at the Golf-challenging Auris game is likely to be its most successful, thanks to its sharp new design and a market (in Europe at least) that’s quickly gravitating towards hybrid vehicles.
To that end the Auris will now offer two petrol-electric hybrid drivetrains, including a more potent 130kW system.
However, given that hybrids haven’t taken off in South Africa, only the conventional 1.2-litre turbopetrol engine will be offered to local motorists initially - when the new Auris hits our shores in the third quarter of this year - although at least one hybrid option is set to become available at a later stage.
Full story here.