The hottest new luxury cars coming to Australia in 2018

A softening in demand at the top end of the market during 2018 – of more than 20 premium brands all but BMW, Ferrari, Alfa Romeo, Lamborghini, Lexus, Lotus, Mini and Volvo went backwards – hasn't slowed the luxury car market.

And it's not just new models but new brands.

Brands new

After delays, Hyundai's luxury brand, Genesis, arrives late in 2018.

It'll be a slow road, one that kicks off with the $70k-plus Genesis G70 very late in the year, accompanied by the G80, an update of the car formerly known as the Hyundai Genesis.

Come October we'll also see the arrival of French brand Alpine, part of the Renault stables. The A110 has the Porsche 718 Cayman squarely in its crosshairs, its blend of lightweight rear-drive performance and turbocharged four-cylinder punch designed to deliver on the fun factor.

In August we'll also see the official arrival of Chevrolet in some Holden dealerships with the Camaro. The V8-powered two-door is being produced in America and converted to right-hand drive locally by HSV in Melbourne, providing a circa $80K muscle car to rival the legendary (and hugely popular) Ford Mustang.

More (and more) SUVs

At the top end of town Rolls-Royce is prepping the outrageous Cullinan, the most expensive SUV on sale (at $685,000) and one that comes with active air suspension and the option of a "Viewing Suite" complete with cocktail table. It'll likely arrive early in 2019, setting a new benchmark for off-road luxury.

Alfa Romeo will add to its Stelvio family with the Quadrifoglio, or QV. Sharing the same Ferrari-inspired twin-turbo V6 from the Giulia QV, the flagship of the Stelvio lineup promises to take the fight to BMW M and Mercedes-AMG.

Following on from the recent arrival of the Audi Q7 e-Tron – the petrol-electric version of Audi's seven-seat SUV – Audi is gearing up for the arrival of the sleeker, smarter Q8, a car that will sneak into the early part of 2019.

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X-factor

Nissan-owned Japanese brand Infiniti will also update its QX30 small SUV (and the Q30 hatchback) ahead of the 2019 arrival of the much anticipated QX50, debuting variable compression ratio technology for better efficiency.

From BMW is the second-generation X4, designed alongside the already-on-sale X3. While the two share engines and underbodies, the X4 gets a unique body with rear tyres spaced further apart, not only giving a more aggressive stance but also improving cornering dynamics.

BMW will also welcome its all-new X5.

Those wanting to make the ultimate off-road statement could look at the first all-new Mercedes-Benz G-Wagen since the original in 1979. The boxy body looks similar, but it's all new. Plus, there's a vastly improved interior. Kicking things off will be the G63 AMG, complete with a 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8; the regular diesel G will arrive in 2019.

Sparking up

Tesla continues to struggle with production of its $60K Model 3, something that has pushed the car back more than a year.

But those yearning for an electric hit can check out Jaguar's fantastic new I-Pace. Priced from $119,000, the I-Pace was designed from the ground up as an electric car, layering a 90kWh battery along the floor and electric motors at the front and rear, for 294kW of power. Claimed range is 480km.

Jaguar's sister brand, Land Rover, also ramps up its electrification with the arrival of the Range Rover PHEV, or plug-in hybrid electric vehicle. It'll arrive around October, adding to the PHEV story that began with the Range Rover Sport.

Porsche will also unleash its latest E-Hybrid model, combining a 100kW electric motor with a twin-turbo V6 in the Cayenne SUV.

Load 'em up

The new breed of uber utes is anything but basic, as Ford's upcoming Ranger Raptor proves. Arriving in October, the $80K machine boasts a new 2.0-litre turbo-diesel matched to a 10-speed automatic. But it's the high-riding desert racer suspension and aggressive design that defines one of the most hotly anticipated utes in years.

For the same money you can park something bigger and more powerful in the driveway, albeit lacking some of the rough road smarts. The Ram 1500 ups the ute power ante with a 291kW 5.7-litre Hemi V8.

If size is your thing then the Chevrolet Silverado should have you covered. Being converted to right-hand drive by HSV, the mighty American truck recently arrived in Holden dealerships, priced from $115K.

Top shelf

For those chasing the ultimate in Ferrari fun the 488 Pista is the latest in the track-focused V8 sports cars, employing a turbocharged engine for the first time. With race car thinking and active aerodynamics, the Pista promises plenty of excitement.

If you like your supercars with more of an environmental tinge, BMW's updated i8 could do the trick. BMW will also add an open-top Spyder to the carbon-fibre-bodied two-seater for the first time.

From Aston Martin is the DBS Superleggera, building on the V12 bones of the DB11 but with a heap more go. The more aggressive look – complete with carbon fibre panels – also helps, while reducing weight, further boosting performance.

Back to basics

Running on the latest SPA architecture the bigger, the elegant Volvo V60 will get a selection of Volvo's four-cylinder engines, the emphasis slowly switching to hybrid propulsion as the brand gears up to meet its promise of adding some electric spice, with all new models released from 2019 having some electric component.

Lexus will also focus on hybrid for its latest ES, due in September – to the point where it will only be offered with a petrol-electric setup.

While there's a healthy dose of conservatism to its sedan layout, the elegant proportions and carefully crafted lines of the ES have created a vastly more convincing four-door, especially when paired with the more aggressive spindle grille that melts around the nose.