As the editors explained, these are not top vehicles in their respective segments. Auto Express has its Car of the Year Awards to recognize those top dwellers. Rather, this list is for cars sold in 2017 that “grabbed our attention and imagination from the moment we got in the driver’s seat. These are the best new cars we drove in 2017.”
Included on the list was, as expected, a representative of the new G30 5 Series. With a wide range of variants from which to choose, Auto Express picked the BMW 520d Touring, about as economical and fun-to-drive wagon as you might find. The got to drive it because they are Brits; the U.S. did not receive this model in 2017 and sadly, probably not ever. The editors were impressed with the 520d Touring’s luggage space, air suspension, low emissions, and excellent fuel mileage.
The next BMW on the list puzzled us a bit. It is certainly an impressive car, but in 2017 it was not exactly new. The BMW i8 sports car—and the only plug-in hybrid in the bunch (the Jaguar i Pace is battery electric only), first went to customers in 2014. Auto Express road tested a BMW i8 in 2017 to measure the electric charging infrastructure in the U.K., and while they were at it, drove the car on some twisty country roads. We’re assuming the trip went so well that the i8 made the best new cars of 2017 list despite its age. On the other hand, the car’s design is so advanced, it could easily be mistaken for a new release.
BMW’s newest X vehicle, the BMW X3, just hit dealerships in November 0f 2017 so it certainly qualifies for the list, age-wise. The BMW X3 M40i that comes with a 355 horsepower three-liter inline six impressed the test drivers, as did the vehicle’s steering and “first-rate cabin.”
Another BMW Group vehicle made the Auto Express best new cars of 2017, and this was interesting because the Mini Countryman was panned by some other publications. The largest Mini so far was credited by the editors with more cargo space, enough room to fit a family, and a more luxurious interior. The heavier weight and price tag did prevent a more enthusiastic reception, but it still made the editors’ list for 2017.
Yes, this was a subjective list and one of the BMW’s was a model we will probably never get to drive—the 520d Touring—but it’s gratifying to see that the Auto Express editors developed some of the same impressions of these BMW Group vehicles that we did.—Scott Blazey
[Photos courtesy of BMW AG. i8 photo courtesy of Scott Blazey.]
The full list, in alphabetical order, includes these fine and interesting vehicles: