It was a great year for new cars in 2016, but 2017 is shaping up to potentially be even better, with a whole "fleet of all the new things" on the way (sorry-not-sorry for the shameless insertion of Drake lyrics).
While manufacturers strive to bombard us with the important stuff – electric vehicles, hybrids, hydrogen fuel cells and new sedans like the Audi A8 and BMW 3-Series – there are also plenty of frivolous, fast and frankly crazy vehicles to get excited about, and we've curated 10 of the most exciting releases in a year set to be full of great new cars.
From Porsche station wagons to 220mph open-top Ferraris – and from practical, affordable vehicles through to absolutely-no-fucking-way-you're-getting-one-of-these sports cars – here are 10 of the best cars coming in 2017:
Ferrari LaFerrari Aperta
When you're doing brunch on Rodeo in your LaFerrari you want people to see you, right? That's why Ferrari have lopped the roof of the LeFerrari and called it the Aperta.
The oily bits in the hybrid, with its 789hp V12 and 120 kW electric motor, stay the same. The body gets extra strengthening to reduce flex and the car comes with a carbon fibre and fabric roof. It will hit 62mph in 2.9 seconds and not give up until a toupe-removing 220mph.
Fancy one? Forget it. They are only sold to top end clients in Ferrari's black book and have all found owners already.
Ford Focus RS500
Who would have thought the Focus RS would be a contender for performance car of the year when it first appeared in 2015? A combination of trick four-wheel drive system (including the much hyped "drift mode"); savage performance (a top speed of 167mph in a hatchback); practicality; an understated look; and affordability all made for an irresistible package.
But if 350hp and 0 to 60mph in 4.6 seconds isn't enough, Ford is working on an even hotter version. Expected in 2017, the RS500 borrows the illustrious badge from the Sierra Cosworth and will have a lower kerb weight, more power, bigger wheels and stiffer suspension.
Expect a decent price hike over the $36,775 sticker price, but when you smoke six figure supercars on a mountain road, it will be worth every penny.
Tesla Model 3
There was a time when electric-powered cars were restricted to golf courses and dodgy Arnold Schwarzenegger sci fi's. But thanks to pioneers like Tesla, rechargeable batteries are set to be as common in our vehicles as they are in our phones.
The only prohibitive element has been the price – electric vehicles tend to be expensive. The Model 3 from Tesla is the company's answer: this rear- or four-wheel-drive baby Tesla is the company's electric gift to the masses.
It will have a 215-mile range and a starting price of $35,000. It should blast to 60mph in six seconds and there will be even faster versions available.
Aston Martin V8 Vantage
The Aston Martin V8 Vantage has always been the British marque's bread and butter; the 4.7ltr a big dollop of old fashioned English mustard on top. Next year should see a new Vantage after some 15 years of service. This time around, however, the hot part is expected to be a squeeze of German saft – the V8 will be a twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter V-8 sourced from Mercedes-AMG.
Mutterings from over-patriotic Brexiteers aside, this is no bad thing. AMG is not only know for making some of the best sounding engines around but this will also help Aston to push into more mainstream markets and hopefully away from relying on an aging secret agent to punt its cars.
Porsche Panamera Sport Turismo
The Panamera always feels a bit unloved, which is a shame. The big Porsche sedan has thumping performance and space for four. Even the ugly styling has a certain "f-you" about it.
The Sport Turismo has the more resolved styling of the new generation Panamera along with a shooting brake rear for more headroom and trunk space. In Turbo form you can scorch round the Nurburgring in around 7 minutes 38 seconds with your Labrador along for the ride.
Expect the range topper to hit 60mph in around 3.5 seconds with with the optional Sport Chrono package and hit a top speed of 180mph.
The Porsche Cayman has snapped up more than its fair share of the small, mid-engined sports car market without much serious competition. The Alpine A120 aims to put a stop to that, as well as creating a halo effect for parent company Renault.
So, what is it? Visually, heavily based on the ’60s, Alpine A110 and under the skin will be tried and tested performance parts from the Renault RS range, including a 1.8-liter four created from the peppy 1.6-liter in the Clio RS. Drive will go through the rear wheels and power could be up to 300hp in top flight models.
Being essentially a hot Renault product, expect the handling to be sublime.
Kia has nailed the inexpensive and reliable grandpa market and is now looking to inject a bit of swish into its range. That will be through the GT, which in original prototype form looked suspiciously like a seventies Hot Wheels model.
The good news is it is likely to have a 260hp 2.0-liter engine and rear-wheel drive. The bit we'll reserve judgement on is the body, which is more likely to be a four door coupe instead of a sporty two door. However, considering Kia and Hyundai's decent efforts at styling of late, it should be a looker.
Fans of Japanese monster coupes rejoice! Alongside the new Supra, expected early 2018, will be the less driver-focused and more enveloping comfort Lexus LC, which is taking the fight directly to the Mercedes-Benz S-Class Coupe.
This surely will be Lexus' most quality real world product to date – bar the LFA supercar – and there are two models in the pipeline: a 5.0-liter V8 and a a 3.5-liter hybrid. The former has a ten speed auto 'box and should hit 60mph in less than 4.5 seconds. Inside sees a departure from the Japanese company's usual high-spec, high-tech look, with a slightly more organic – but no less luxurious – feel.
The only thing with these big coupes is that their values tend to drop heavier than a Miami bass tune at a golden wedding anniversary, so this could be a luxury car bargain in a few years time.
Alfa Romeo Stelvio
If Alfa's North American assault was going to be successful, the Italian brand was always going to need an SUV. Named after the world's most famous mountain pass, the Stelvio is it.
It's a good-looking sports off-roader that probably has most in common with the Jaguar F-Pace. In fact, it even looks a bit like it. To be successful and exorcize the quality demons of the past, the Stelio needs to be designed so the doors don't fall off when you hit your first pothole. Alfa has upped the quality, improved reliability and created – especially in Quadrifoglio form – a car you would consider against a Porsche Macan (hopefully).
This range topper, with its 505hp 2.9-liter turbocharged V6, will hit 60mph in a scarcely plausible 3.9 seconds. All the company needs now is the Stelvio to get name-checked in a few rap videos and it's away.
Mazda MX-5 RF
The MX-5 has always been a bit cutesy. The lithe two-seater strove to bring back some of the charm of British ’60s wind-in-the-hair motoring, but always ended up being a bit too hair-spray-and-highlights for some. The RF aims to sort that, with fastback styling and a retractable targa-style roof.
It's quieter but no less focused: Club models will come with a limited-slip rear differential, Bilstein shocks, a front brace and available Brembo front brakes and BBS wheels. Grand Touring models come with heated leather seating surfaces, adaptive headlights and navigation.
Now check out our round up of hip-hop's 12 favorite cars.