Features

Cars: Next top models

1 Apr 2016 by BusinessTraveller

From fantasy buys to family carriers – Nat Barnes reveals the best new cars unveiled at March’s Geneva Motor Show

Bugatti Chiron

  • On sale: autumn
  • Price: £1.9 million

Hands up just how many people thought that the old tarmac-rippling Bugatti Veyron was too slow, or not powerful enough? That’s right, none. However, Bugatti boss Wolfgang Durheimer doesn’t agree, taking the wraps off this new Chiron at the Geneva Motor Show.

The Chiron is a bottomless pit of superlatives. Under the bonnet is an eight-litre, 16-cylinder engine with an eye-watering 1500bhp (the outgoing Veyron’s 987bhp pales in comparison). This will get it from zero to 60mph in 2.5 seconds. Bugatti has “restricted” the top speed to just 261mph. Despite a £1.9 million price tag, more than a third of the planned 500 vehicles have already been pre-ordered. Yes, we’re shaking our heads in disbelief at that last sentence, too…

Aston Martin DB11

  • On sale: October
  • Price: £154,900

Get with the times, 007, your company car has already been superseded. The Spectre-starring Aston Martin DB10 might have been pure celluloid fantasy, but this new DB11 is very real. And very popular, if the crowds swarming over the Aston Martin stand at Geneva were anything to go by.

The successor to the ageing DB9, the best-selling Aston of all time, the DB11 is the fastest DB model ever, with a 5.2-litre V12 engine giving it a zero to 60mph time of just 3.9 seconds and a 200mph top speed.

Inside, the DB11 offers the latest thin-film transistor (TFT) digital displays for the driver’s screen and main dashboard, but cosseted in Aston’s usual gorgeous craftsmanship. A waiting list already a year long suggests plenty of those in the Swiss crowd had deposit cheques burning holes in their pockets, too.

Volvo V90

  • On sale: September
  • Price: from £34,000

In your head, you’re racing down a beautiful twisty road in the Chiron or DB11 on a clear summer’s day with Jennifer Aniston or David Gandy (delete as applicable) in the passenger seat. In reality, it’s a drizzly Sunday morning and you’re trying to find a space in the B&Q car park, listening to The Wheels on the Bus for the 476th time from the vocal chords of your offspring in the back seat of this Volvo V90.

Previously, the introduction of a new Volvo estate like this V90 would have been unremarkable, but with the arrival of the XC90 off-roader and the forthcoming new S90 saloon, Volvo is a brand on the way up – as the trebling of its profits in 2015 attests.

Volvo insists there’s still a strong market for traditional estates, despite the proliferation of crossovers and 4x4s at this level and, to be fair, the V90 is gorgeous. With the same stunning interior as the XC90 dominated by the large portrait touchscreen and up to 1,526 litres of boot space, it strikes the balance between practicality and desirability.

Porsche 718 Boxster

  • On sale: April
  • Price: from £41,739

It might look familiar but, aside from its windscreen, the Porsche 718 Boxster is all-new. While on the outside all the changes are fairly minor, under the skin it’s a different matter – and one that will no doubt have plenty of enthusiasts rustling their anoraks in disgust.

For the first time in more than 20 years (since the 968 of the 1990s), Porsche has introduced a car with a turbocharged four-cylinder engine in standard and “S” forms. For some, that will be news akin to learning that the Daleks have learnt how to climb stairs; others will be focused on the numbers, and these are very impressive indeed. Faster, cleaner and more economical than the outgoing six-cylinder model, the proof will be in the driving. Porsche’s Cayman coupe will get the same engines this summer.

BMW M760Li

  • On sale: winter 2016
  • Price: est. £115,000

The new BMW 7-Series, as featured in our March issue, is hardly short of the latest high-tech gadgets, including gesture control and remote parking via the key fob.

Just in case all that isn’t enough, however, BMW has unveiled this new flagship 760Li model with a 6.6-litre, turbocharged V12 engine with 600bhp, four-wheel drive and a host of M Performance extras from BMW’s sports department.

The Bavarian firm wants this to be the go-to luxury saloon for the go-faster CEO, but just how many board members need a car with four doors that can leave many supercars standing? The only thing matching the 760Li’s pace is the speed of your bank balance in the opposite direction, thanks to its likely six-figure price tag.

Maserati Levante

  • On sale: October
  • Price: est. £53,000

There’s no doubt that this new Maserati Levante has its sights firmly set on the Porsche Cayenne. The Cayenne has reformed the German firm’s sales, fortunes and profits almost alone, and Maserati needs a similar injection of all three if it is to fulfil plans to double its sales by 2017.

The aggressively-styled Levante looks good inside and out, even if the sloping roof line and narrow windows make the rear seats a little claustrophobic. Demand may be limited given that UK buyers will only have the choice of a single three-litre turbo-diesel, with neither of the two petrol V6s on offer to those in mainland Europe. But in time it might be joined by a petrol-electric hybrid, which has been hinted at for the future.

Audi Q2

  • On sale: November
  • Price: est. £22,000

With its seemingly never-ending plethora of models to fill each and every niche, it’s no mistake that Audi couldn’t resist leaving the small crossover market untouched, hence the arrival of this new Q2.

As the name suggests, the Q2 sits just below the Q3, and its broad and chunky looks are actually better in the metal than pictures suggest, with the C-pillar between the rear door and tailgate finished in silver or grey. It also introduces some sharper-edged styling to the“cookie-cutter” look of some of Audi’s current range.

Unlike many rivals, it will be offered in two- or four-wheel drive and there will be a host of engine choices, including a new one-litre, three-cylinder turbo. Expect an A2 hatchback to join the range in the future, in the non-existent gap between the current A1 and A3.

Renault Scenic

  • On sale: November
  • Price: est. £18,500

After 4.9 million worldwide sales, 2016 sees the Renault Scenic celebrating its 20th anniversary. That’s some history for this fourth-generation model to live up to, but the new Scenic also arrives at a time when most buyers have deserted MPVs in favour of crossovers and larger 4x4s.

Can this incarnation win those family drivers back? On first sight, you’d have to say yes. With more purposeful, less practical styling, the Renault boasts vastly improved build quality and some clever family-friendly touches inside, including a moveable cubby box, sliding and folding rear seats, and underfloor storage. You heard it here first – the new Scenic is going to put Renault firmly back on family shopping lists.

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