New luxury cars we can't wait to drive in 2018

Australians are buying more luxury and performance cars than ever before – and there's little sign of demand slowing.

Over the next six months there will be an influx of fresh metal that promises to shift the premium game along.

Here are some of the cars we're most looking forward to slipping behind the wheel of.

Range Rover Velar

Slotting between the Range Rover Evoque and Sport the Velar is all about fleshing out the luxury arm of off-road specialist Land Rover.

Fractionally shorter and narrower than the Sport, the Velar has a lower roof profile and sleeker look, giving it a sportier appearance than the, err, Sport.

Combined with elongated side vents that flow into the front doors as well as retracting door handles it makes for a more modern and athletic appearance.

Priced north of $70K it promises to take the challenge to less off-road capable luxury SUVs.

Alfa Romeo Stelvio

It's taken a while, but early in 2018 Alfa Romeo will finally join the luxury SUV brigade with the Stelvio.

Utilising the impressive underpinnings of the Giulia sedan, the Stelvio gets classic Italian styling that promises to turn heads in the increasingly crowded SUV space.

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The Q4 all-wheel drive system aims to deliver rear-drive dynamics by channelling all the drive rearwards until slip is detected, thereby bringing the front wheels into play.

As well as four-cylinder engines there will be the 375kW twin-turbo V6 in the flagship Quadrifoglio model.

Mercedes-Benz S-Class

An update to Mercedes-Benz's most luxurious model would ordinarily not get much attention.

Except that the revised S-Class limo ushers in the return of the inline six-cylinder engine for the brand.

The once iconic layout – which rival BMW never walked away from – was previously shelved in favour of a V6.

Kicking things off late this year is the diesel inline six, complete with an electric turbo to supplement the regular one.

Hopefully it's as good as it looks on paper!

BMW M5

There's a new X3 arriving within months, but it's the M5 that has us most excited when it comes to new arrivals from BMW.

With an upgraded version of the twin-turbo 4.4-litre V8 in the outgoing model, the new M5 pumps out 441kW, enough to launch it to 100km/h in 3.4 seconds – that's faster than any other BMW.

But it's the new four-wheel drive system that is the biggest change to the M5 formula, adding newfound traction under acceleration.

Even cooler is that the xDrive system can be locked into rear-wheel drive, for when drivers want more tail sliding fun.

Volkswagen Arteon

It's a new name but a familiar formula with Volkswagen's upcoming Arteon.

Utilising the basics of the Passat – its predecessor was called the Passat CC, or coupe cabriolet – the Arteon amps up the styling flair at the expense of interior space.

There's a heap of luxury gear and a feisty 206kW four-cylinder engine driving all four wheels.

Ford Mustang update

The iconic American muscle car continues to trounce the sports car competition in Australia, with sales not even Ford could have dreamt of.

But a minor update to the styling, due in 2018, is accompanied by bigger performance and a beefier sound, thanks to a new 10-speed auto transmission and an active exhaust system for the V8.

We're not expecting a radical change to the simple but effective formula, but it should up the fun factor – and tech.

Kia Stinger

An aspirational Kia? Better believe it.

But the Stinger is no everyday bargain basement Kia.

It's powered by a 3.3-litre twin-turbo V6 pumping out 272kW.

So, it's fast then.

It also drives the rear wheels, keeping the driving purists content in an era where front-drive is the fuel-saving norm.

With pricing from about $50K it makes for a tempting proposition once the Commodore V8 bows out, taking with it a proud history of affordable muscle cars.

Holden Commodore

Things will get tougher for Holden in 2018 when the brand no longer has any Australian models.

But the Commodore will live on as a German-sourced large sedan from Opel, a company General Motors recently sold to Peugeot/Citroen.

It's a confusing lineage but one Holden hopes will appeal to buyers, with local tweaking of steering and suspension to better tailor it to Aussie tastes.

There will be plenty of tech and a more luxurious flavour, along with the option of all-wheel drive.

No V8, though, and the Commodore will shrink for the first time since the 1978 original.

Jaguar E-Pace

Jaguar's inaugural SUV, the F-Pace, has only been on sale since 2016, but come 2018 it will have a smaller sibling in the form of the E-Pace.

To be powered exclusively by four-cylinder engines – both diesel and petrol – the all E-Paces sold here will drive all four wheels, giving it a soft-roader advantage over rivals as varied as the BMW X1 and Mercedes-Benz GLA.

The E-Pace will also get some interesting touches, such as the puddle lights that illuminate a silhouette of a jaguar and its cub.

Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk

There's seemingly no limit to the breadth of the SUV explosion, as witnessed by the Trackhawk version of the Grand Cherokee.

Its five-seat body is largely shared with the regular bush-bashing Grand, except the Trackhawk is designed for the race track, not dirt tracks.

Key to its explosive performance is a 6.2-litre supercharged V8 pumping out 527kW, a figure outdone by only three supercars. It's enough to propel it to 100km/h in 3.6 seconds.

Mercedes-Benz X-Class

A luxury ute would have been a contradiction only a decade ago.

But the load lugging game has moved on, to the point where Mercedes-Benz will be the first luxury brand to field a dual-cab ute.

Based on the underpinnings of the Nissan Navara – it will even be built in a Nissan factory and have Nissan four-cylinder engines – the X-Class is shaping up to be the most powerful ute in its class courtesy of an optional Mercedes V6 diesel.

Porsche Cayenne

Bigger and bolder than ever, the third generation Cayenne also promises to up the driving excitement of Porsche's biggest model.

Four-wheel steering and an active all-wheel drive system are key to the new Cayenne's cornering talents.

Plus, there's an optional braking system with tungsten-carbide-coated discs.

But it's the hybrid model – which blends a twin-turbo V8 with an electric motor to make 500kW – that we're most looking forward to driving.

Genesis G70

It's been delayed (and delayed) but the G70 will come here in 2018. But, utilising the underpinnings of the Kia Stinger, the G70 takes an upmarket approach.

Genesis is Hyundai's newly formed luxury brand with big aspirations of taking on the German cars that dominate the landscape.

The mid-sized G70 will kick off from about $60K with a four-cylinder turbo or more for the feistier twin-turbo V6.

It'll also be the first of many for a brand with a long term luxury vision.