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From crossovers to hypercars, 2017’s got plenty of metal to look forward to

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1) Bugatti Chiron Let’s start with the numbers car. The one with nigh-on 1,500bhp, four turbos, a top speed on the ‘oh my goodness gracious’ side of 260mph and very possibly the most expensive car in the world once Bugatti’s clientele have specified which particular sea mammal’s skin they’d like draped over the seats. But beneath the garnish and the top trumps, the Chiron looks like a stunning piece of kit, a son of Veyron that’s more powerful, more aerodynamically efficient and several hundred per cent better looking than its legendary dad. We thought the Veyron was the car no machine would ever be able to follow. In 2017, we’ll discover if that’s correct or not…

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2) Alfa Romeo Stelvio How unnervingly refreshing it is for Top Gear to bring you news of an all-new Alfa Romeo – the first SUV ever to carry the Alfa name, no less – and not have to awkwardly tip-toe around the likelihood that it’ll probably be a bit…rubbish. The new Alfa Romeo Stelvio (cor, Alfa’s in a sweet spot with car names right now, isn’t it?) is heavily based upon the foundations for the Giulia saloon (see what we mean), which ripped up the formbook last year by actually being good. This Quadrifoglio version relies on the same mechanicals as the Giulia Quadrifoglio saloon, which it turn means this is a family SUV powered by what is to a large extend a Ferrari engine. Alfa doesn’t like the association (Ferrari even less so, you’ll be thoroughly unsurprised to learn), preferring to pigeonhole the twin-turbocharged, 2.9-litre V6 as ‘inspired by Ferrari technologies and know-how’. But in broader engineering terms, you’re getting a five-seat family SUV pushed along by three-quarters of a Ferrari California T’s bi-turbo V8. Some pedigree.

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3) Ford GT It’s 2017’s most hotly-awaited supercar, the GT. And with the 2016 Le Mans class win disappearing into history, the road car has to step up to shoulder that halo effect status – and justify a price that applied to the old Ford GT. This time, we’ve got a turbocharged V6 instead of a V8, a seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox instead of a manual, and the most outlandish aero of any street car this side of the hybrid holy trinity.

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4) Mini Countryman You might not be a fan of the Countryman’s looks (we’re still, erm, learning to like ‘em) but there’s no doubt this thing will be a massive seller for Mini as it cashes in once again on the crossover boom and this time adds more off-road ability, space and a dashboard that doesn’t appear to have been made out of old water butts. It needs to be good, because this Countryman has got an enemy within to content with. A willfully funky crossover within the BMW group…

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5) BMW X2 …yep, it’s the production version of the X2 concept pictured above that’s spearheading BMW’s attack on the funky crossover segment. Evoques and Q2s, be afraid. Both of those cars win at style, but leave plenty of room for improvement in the Ultimate Driving Machine department…

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6) Lamborghini Huracan Performante Here’s good news for the hoards of you who’ve been sitting on a pile of money at least two hundred notes high since 2014, waiting for Lamborghini to turn the wick up on the Huracan. Less weight, more power and a massive wing will all feature on the successor to the Gallardo Superlegerra: the Huracan Performante. Good timing too. All the McLaren 675LTs are sold and there’s no Speciale version of the Ferrari 488 (yet)…

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7)Mercedes-AMG GT Roadster Take AMG GT. Remove roof. Create possibly the best-looking Mercedes-Benz that’s currently available. That’s your AMG GT Roadster, available as a standard 467bhp version or in widebody GT C form, complete with bodywork nods to the AMG GT R and a meaty 549bhp delivered courtesy of the familiar 4.0-litre bi-turbo V8 motor.

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8) Tesla Model 3 This one might slip to 2018. And if it does, several hundred thousand deposit holders will get mighty peeved, because the pre-order frenzy for Tesla’s most affordable EV yet has been nothing short of unprecedented. It’s priced at $35k (Rs 23.8 lakh) before tax breaks, will go up to 346 kilometres on a charge and ought to hit 100kph in well under six seconds. We’re also expecting an ultra-minimalist interior. And maybe some self-driving autopilot. It could – should, perhaps – be a game-changer. When it arrives…

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9) Land Rover Discovery We’ve already had an off-round jaunt in the new Disco. It’s good. Very capable. Just as well, because when we first saw Gerry McGovern’s new design for the boxy icon (a Disco Sport x 100 per cent, we thought), there was a worry Land Rover had come over more King’s Road than king of the outback. Mind you, we worried the same fate for the Evoque, and that’s both ace in the rough and a sales phenomenon. You could be looking at 2017’s great British success story, right here.

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10) VW Golf GTI The facelifted Golf GTI is coming. It brings a new, flush-fitting touchscreen and haptic buttons inside. Oooh. Aah. And there are new bumpers inspired by the Nurburgring-crushing GTI Clubsport’s aero. Cor. Blimey. Far more importantly, there is more power. The 2.0-litre turbo four-pot has been boosted up to 242bhp in GTI Performance guise. And the six-speed DSG that’s been feeling dated for a while now has gone in a skip, with a new seven-speeder arriving for faster shifts and leggier cruising. This thing will arrive just in time to battle the new RS Megane and, later in 2017, the new Honda Civic Type R. Happy days in hot hatch land. Speaking of which…

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11) Honda Civic Type R It’s front-wheel drive again. It’s a 2.0-litre turbo, again. It’s got more wing on board than an aircraft carrier. Again. It’s fair to say the philosophy for the new Civic Type R hasn’t moved on much from the old one. But the performance will jump, as Honda chases its Nürburgring lap record crown. The new Civic has been built lower and lighter, more of a driver’s car, even down to the boggo 1.5-litre version. The driver sits on the floor, not on a bar stool, and the centre of gravity has been dropped. This means much interior versatility has been lost in the name of making it a fun steer. In the standard cars, this might be a problem, but when you’re building a road racer, it’s spot on the money. This time around, the Type R has a much, much better starting platform, a superior springboard with which to create supercar-humbling urgency. The Ford Focus RS’s time at the top of the angry hot hatch tree might be short-lived, if Honda can live up to the promise of these crazy looks.

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12)McLaren MSO BP23 Bespoke Project 23 is a boring title, but that’s okay, because this swoopy, not-giving-anything-away sketch shows a hypercar-cum-GT that will come to be known as ‘the three-seater one’. Yup, McLaren, or rather its Special Operations brand, is building a hybrid, carbon-tubbed limited edition which will once again put the driver front and centre in the action, with space for two brave passengers on either side. Whereas the last car to pull that off, the F1, was a no-compromise, ultra-focused supercar, the BP23 is supposed to be a hyper-GT, with more of a focus on comfort and touring ability. What a design brief that is. That’s the kind of niche-busting TG can get behind. What are you most excited for in 2017? Thoughts below…

Words: Ollie Kew

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