JOHANNESBURG - Those looking for some va va voom can look forward to a bumper 2018, with many new car models coming to South Africa.
Volume sellers such as the Volkswagen Polo and Ford Fiesta will both hit the market before the middle of the year, but what else can you expect to see on the roads?
Here is a list of some of the new cars on their way.
Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio
Having made its world debut in the UAE, the Stelvio Quadrifoglio, which set a set the lap record for a production SUV at the famed Nurburgring Nordschleife in September 2017, will arrive in the South African market in the third quarter of 2018.
Powered by a 375 kW/600 Nm 2.9-litre twin-turbocharged V6 mated with an eight-speed transmission and Q4 all-wheel-drive system, the Quadrifoglio utilises its Alfa-Link adaptive suspension and (if specified) carbon-ceramic braking system to delivering stellar performance. It is expected that the initial consignment of Stelvio Quadrifoglios will comprise only 50 units, which will retail for approximately R1.8-million apiece.
As was the case with its sedan sibling, you can expect Race and Launch versions.
Audi will be making a flagship luxury SUV to take the fight to the Mercedes-Benz GLE and BMW X6/X7. Given how the market has reacted to an Audi SUV (every third model sold is an SUV), a big and bold SUV is a good business choice.
Expect an array of petrol, diesel and hybrid versions, and don't rule out a monster SQ8, which will share componentry with the recently-launched Lamborghini Urus.
The hugely-anticipated BMW M5 will make landfall in SA in March 2018. This monster is powered by a 4.4-litre twin-turbocharged V8 engine with 441 kW and 750 Nm. For the first time, the new BMW M5 features all-wheel drive, which gives it a 0-100km/h time of just 3.4 seconds.
You can select between different driving modes that can switch the M5 from all-wheel drive to rear-wheel drive configuration. The combinations of the dynamic stability control modes are: DSC on, MDM, DSC off and the M xDrive modes are 4WD, 4WD Sport and 2WD.
For those who find the BMW X1 too demure and MPV-ish, BMW will introduce its X2 in South Africa in March 2018. As is the tradition with even-numbered X models, the newcomer's styling is quite daring. Two-wheel-drive turbo petrol and AWD turbodiesel derivatives will be offered.
The South African line-up will include two derivates from launch, both of which are equipped with automatic transmissions. The front-wheel-drive sDrive20i petrol derivative has peak outputs of 141 kW/280 Nm, a claimed fuel consumption range of between 5.9 and 5.5 L/100 km and a seven-speed Steptronic dual-clutch transmission.
The xDrive20d turbodiesel derivative, meanwhile, produces 140 kW/400 N.m, consumes approximately 4.8 – 4.6 L/100 km, comes equipped with xDrive "intelligent all-wheel drive" and features an 8-speed Steptronic transmission.
Ford’s evergreen Fiesta returns with this "all-new" model and it’s coming to South Africa in the second quarter of 2018, around the same time that the new Volkswagen Polo will arrive on the local market.
Although specification for the South African Fiesta is yet to be confirmed, we do know what engine and gearbox combinations have been earmarked for our market. The 1.0-litre, three-cylinder turbo petrol with 92 kW and 170 Nm will be available in both manual and automatic guise and will be available in Trend and Titanium trim levels.
The automatic-only offers 74 kW but has the same torque figure at 170 Nm. The 1.5-turbodiesel with 63 kW and 215 Nm of torque is only available in manual guise and will be offered in Trend trim only. An entry-level Ambiente derivative might be introduced at a later stage.
Ford Ecosport – Q2 2018
A new face, some interior upgrades and better build quality are the main changes for Ford's popular crossover. We expect this model to arrive in SA in the second quarter of 2018.
Haval intends to introduce its third SUV into the market in 2018. The H9 is equipped with seven seats and is aimed at the off-roader. It rides on a ladder frame chassis making it a competitor to the likes of the Toyota Fortuner and Ford Everest.
There's only one engine in the range but it's quite a powerful turbo petrol unit with 160 kW and 324 Nm of torque. Expect it to undercut the competition in price but offer loads of specification and electrically operated everything.
Hyundai i30 N
While the i30N isn't entirely confirmed for SA there's a lot of excitement about the product. First impressions appear to be quite good and it looks a match for the Golf GTI. There are two power outputs for the 2.0-litre turbo petrol, 184 kW and 202 kW with 0-100 kph times of 6.4 and 6.1 respectively.
The car is also highly configurable, with settings for the e-differential, engine map, exhaust, suspension, steering and ESC. All in all, there are 1,944 combinations.
The E-Pace is a smaller version of the F-Pace and powered by regular turbo petrol and turbodiesel engines. The 2.0-litre turbo petrol models have outputs of 183 kW / 365 Nm and 221 kW and 400 Nm.
The 2.0-litre turbodiesels are claimed at 110 kW/380 Nm, 132 kW/430 Nm and 177 kW/500 Nm. The E-Pace is 4,395 mm long with a wheelbase of 2,681 mm which suggests that Jag has prioritised interior space with some clever packaging as the boot is claimed to be 577-litres, some 72-litres more than the BMW X1.
The E-Pace’s chassis has been specifically developed for the compact SUV but uses a similar suspension setup to the F-Pace that also has a sporty bias.
Kia Sorento Facelift
The facelifted Kia Sorento features a host of changes inside and out, including a new, quicker shifting and more efficient eight-speed automatic transmission.
Inside, Kia has installed a newly-designed steering wheel, instrument cluster, climate control console, plus a wireless smartphone charge pad, while the eight-inch touchscreen infotainment system (with navigation) offers Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility.
Range Rover Sport Facelift
The facelifted Range Rover Sport wears a revised bumper with reshaped air vents and new LED fog lights. The grille has also been updated and is flanked by new, slim Matrix Pixel LED headlights.
New rear taillight clusters are also fitted. On the inside, the Range Rover Sport will benefit from the fitment of a Touch Pro Duo infotainment system comprising of two high-definition 10-inch touchscreens. The range-topping SVR derivative gets a performance boost with power from its 5.0-litre supercharged V8 bumped up by 18 kW from 405 kW to 423 kW. The SVR can accelerate from zero to 100km/h in 4.5 seconds.
Lexus NX Facelift
The NX executive SUV features a new look all around, plus the range’s line-up has been updated and renamed.
Furthermore, the standard spec has improved and suspension settings have been revised to enhance overall ride comfort and stability. The entry-level NX300 E is now front-wheel drive (previously AWD) with a six-speed auto transmission, while the hybrid NX 300h produces combined outputs of 150 kW and 210 Nm.
Merc's X-Class is potentially the biggest bakkie to hit the South African market, ever, and if interest in anything to go by, this will be a massive moneyspinner for the brand.
Based on the Nissan Navara platform, the X-Class goes one big step further than its Japanese sibling and imbues it with luxury trim and refinement. It won't be cheap, but it's going to usher in a new era for the double-cab market in our country.
Nissan South Africa prepares to introduce its new fifth-generation compact hatchback in the local market around the second quarter of 2018. The newcomer will go on sale in tandem with the recently-launched version of its predecessor.
The new Micra is uninhibitedly styled to turn heads and targets an altogether younger demographic. It is lower, wider and longer than its predecessor and its chiselled exterior offers considerably more space inside. Now riding on an agile, re-engineered chassis, the new Micra comes with a full complement of safety kit and connective tech.
Nissan Qashqai Facelift
Nissan’s popular Qashqai crossover has been facelifted and the updated model features a number of styling, technology and performance improvements. The interior has been improved with upgraded materials and a new cabin layout.
The top-spec Qashqai Tekna+ derivative features new seats in Nappa leather with 3D quilting on the centre panels. The NissanConnect infotainment system has also been updated with a new user interface. A seven-speaker BOSE premium sound system will be offered as an option.
Engines and transmissions are likely to carry over from the current range. That means that the 85 kW / 190 Nm 1.2-litre turbo petrol, 81 kW / 260 Nm 1.5-litre turbo diesel and the 120 kW / 240 Nm 1.6-litre turbo petrol engine will remain.
The crossover/SUV simply offers more "everything" than a traditional MPV. Now, hard on the heels of the new-look 3008, comes this striking 5008. The newcomer looks very stylish and while it shares a name with its predecessor, that's about all they have in common.
Claimed to combine luxury, practicality and technology with some off-road ability, this new vehicle will be offered to the South African market. There are three trim levels (Access, Active, and Allure) with a top-spec and sporty GT Line version as well as an exclusive GT derivative. There will be a choice of petrol and diesel engines on offer.
Renault will enter the competitive leisure double-cab market with its Navara-based Alaskan which is expected to arrive in SA in the third quarter of 2018. The Alaskan will square off against established rivals such as the Ford Ranger, Toyota Hilux, Nissan Navara, Volkswagen Amarok and the forthcoming Mercedes-Benz X-Class.
The Alaskan is fitted with a Renault-tuned, four-cylinder 2.3-litre twin-turbodiesel engine with peak outputs of 140 kW at 3 600 rpm and 450 Nm of torque at 2 000 rpm. A 120 kW version is also under consideration but has not yet been confirmed for our market.
The Alaskan will be offered with either a seven-speed automatic or six-speed manual transmission. Local specification and pricing will be determined closer to launch.
An all-new version of the popular Renault Duster will land in South Africa in the third quarter of 2018 with fresh exterior styling and a newly designed cabin with more features.
Renault will continue to position the Duster as a high-value offering but local engine and specification details have yet to be confirmed.
However, we speculate that the engine lineup will carry over from the current Duster which means you can expect the 77 kW / 148 Nm naturally-aspirated 1.6-litre petrol engine and the 80 kW / 250 Nm 1.5-litre turbodiesel engine to be offered in both 4x2 and 4x4 guise with either a five-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission.
Subaru WRX and STi upgrade
These niche performance vehicles are still around and 2018 will see some enhancements and a refresh. There are tweaks to the suspension, bigger brakes and some slight cosmetic changes. It's surprising to note that the new platform from Subaru is not being used.
This new Swift's platform is 30 kg lighter, which has contributed to the lightest Swift in the new line-up registering a kerb weight of just 890 kg, which is 104 kg lighter overall. The engine range consists of a 1.2-litre naturally aspirated unit that puts out 67 kW and a 1.0-litre turbopetrol that's capable of 83 kW.
Whether the turbo unit will make it to SA is unlikely but the 1.2 should be enough considering the lighter load it carries now. The interior has been completely redesigned and features a new dashboard with a V-shaped layout and revised vents. The dash design is neat, but nothing like the effort given to the Ignis.
The all-new Polo gatecrashes our market in January and is one of the biggest launches of the year. The new car is more mature and features new tech.
The new model is 81 mm longer, 63 mm wider and seven mm lower than its predecessor. It has a wheelbase of 2,564 mm, 92 mm longer than the previous model, giving it a considerably larger footprint. The hotter Polo GTI follows on a little later.
The Arteon is built on the same MQB platform as the current Golf, Passat, Touran and Tiguan. The Arteon differentiates itself from the Passat with its longer wheelbase, its wider axle tracks, its lower roofline and the driving position quite different.
There are six engines, front-wheel or all-wheel drive configurations, plus digital displays and controls. Its design is also the first of the next generation Volkswagens.
Volvo enters the compact SUV segment with the XC40. It will hopefully catapult Volvo up the sales charts in a particularly popular segment.
It seems to be a complete package with excellent looks, powerful and modern engines, a refined ride and plenty of practicality. More models will join the ranks later, but SA will get AWD T5 (turbo petrol) and D4 (turbo diesel) first.