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2017 Frankfurt motor show preview

By Barry Park, 08 Sep 2017 Events

2017 Frankfurt motor show preview

UPDATED: September marks the start of the 2017 Frankfurt Motor Show. Here’s what we can expect at Europe’s premier outing


The 2017 Frankfurt Motor Show is almost upon us and there has already been a flurry of pre-show reveals from car companies.

Kia unveiled its Proceed concept, with a striking shooting brake design that hints at what future models could look at.

Mercedes-Benz has continued to drip feed information on its EQ A electric concept (above), while sub-brand AMG has revealed a couple of its most powerful models in the S63 and S65 Coupe and Cabriolet with its Project One halo model still to come.

Mini has revealed a pair of concepts from opposite ends of the spectrum – a hardcore track machine and all-electric hatch.

At the luxury end, images of BMW’s X7 concept has been leaked, while Bentley has taken the covers off its next-gen Continental GT ahead of a full show reveal.

Expect all that, and much more once the show opens its doors next week. We’ll have all the important news and reveals right here at Wheelsmag.com.au


THE 67th Frankfurt motor show, which opens on September 14, is shaping up as the biggest ever.

The headline act is expected to be the full reveal of the Mercedes-AMG Project One, a McLaren P1-fighting hypercar that brings Formula 1 tech, and engines, to the road.

But there will be plenty for everyone, including our first up-close look at the all-new Volkswagen Polo, Jaguar’s E-Pace compact electric SUV, and a turbocharged engine under the bonnet of a next-generation RenaultSport-badged Megane to name a few.

But as always, we can anticipate a few surprises thrown into the mix as the cream of Europe’s car makers attempt to outdo each other on the show floor.

We’re expecting a first look at BMW’s large fastback SUV, the X7, to arrive in concept form alongside the open-sky BMW i8 Spyder, an electric hatchback from Mercedes-Benz, an electric sedan from Volkswagen, and maybe … just maybe ... the close to production ready Porsche Mission E electric sports coupe.

Here's what we know so far.

2018 Audi A8
Audi’s fourth-generation chairman’s office on wheels will be officially revealed in July, so there are few details kicking around ahead of its reveal in the metal at Frankfurt. 

Why the odd timing? The executive saloon will make its appearance on the big screen, featuring in the new Spiderman: Homecoming movie that has also set its global release for next month.

Snippets of how it will advance the game are slipping out, including a new steering wheel and a full digital dashboard. The A8 limousine also gains a more modern look, with a Porsche-like tail-light bar running right across the back of the saloon, and an automated parking feature that, at the press of a key, allows the A8 to steer itself into the garage.

2018 Audi RS4 Avant
The power war between traditional rivals Audi, BMW and Mercedes-AMG should step up another notch with the anticipated reveal of the RS4, once again making its debut in wagon, or Avant, form.

It’s a case of back to the future, with the Audi RS4 Avant expected to go back to using a twin-turbocharged V6 under its snub-nosed bonnet – in this case, an adaption of the 2.9-litre bent six developed for the Porsche Panamera. Vital stats being tossed around point to a 335kW/600Nm state of tune, providing more performance than the Panamera 4S‘s 324kW/550Nm.

2017 BMW 6 Series GT
BMW’s 6 Series coupe was never meant to spawn a five-door version, so when BMW spun one off to catch the growing wave of fastback coupe buyers, it was something of a deja vu moment similar to the BMW Z3 M Coupe, affectionately known as the Clown Shoe.

An all-new generation of the large coupe factored in the need to slip in an extra set of doors, so the new 6 Series GT is much more of a looker than the generation it replaces.

2017 BMW X7 concept
We’re not expecting to see the production version of the large luxury SUV make its debut at Frankfurt, but we should get something of an idea of what it will look like from a concept car revealing much of what BMW is thinking.

Penned to take on the likes of the Audi Q7, Mercedes-Benz GLS and the Range Rover Vogue, the latecomer to the engorged SUV party will be built in the US and sold globally, including in Australia, from late next year.

2018 BMW i3 facelift
From big, to small. BMW is also rumoured to have one of its smallest cars on the show floor in Frankfurt in the form of the i3. It’s unlikely to be an all-new model though, with current speculation surrounded around a mid-life update for the electric hatch. Unverified reports from BMW forums are that there could be a performance variant added to the current line-up.

2018 BMW i8 Spyder
The lop-top version of the petrol-electric supercar converts the top of your head into a solar panel. It’s also expected to usher in a bigger dose of performance to the i8 range, which will also include the $300K coupe, as well as the potential for even more electric-only driving range using battery tech rolled out to the BMW i3 hatchback that almost doubled its driving distance.

BMW has already hinted the drop-top i8 won’t have any artificial engine noise piped into the cabin; all its buyers want to hear is the sound of the wind, the car maker says.

2020 BMW 3 Series EV
The BMW 3 Series is one of the German luxury marque's best earners globally, so it makes sense for it to spin out a battery-powered version of the mid-size sedan and wagon.

Details are scarce, but the concept is expected to hint at the next potential member of the growing "i" family of battery-powered models that BMW wants to ramp up towards its iNEXT program, due to spawn its first product in 2021.

Expect a usable range of  about 400 kilometres from BMW's Tesla Model E competitor.

2018 Bentley Continental GT
It’s easy to forget that the current Bentley Continental GT is 12 years old. An all-new generation of the British bruiser is expected to make its public debut at Frankfurt and will be completely fresh from the ground up.

The architecture is rumoured to be shared with the Porsche Panamera, with a 48-volt system ensuring the car’s tech is at the cutting edge. Engines? Expect an upgraded version of the current 6.0-litre twin-turbo W12.

2018 Hyundai i30 N
One thing missing from Korea’s fast-improving showroom is a hot hatch hero. Frankfurt is believed to be the platform where Hyundai will usher in the i30 N, a Volkswagen GTI and Honda Civic Type R-rivalling performance five-door that is as much about go as it is show.

We’ve driven a pre-production prototype and come away impressed, although a few further refinements could help it turn the balance of power in its favour.

2018 Jaguar E-Pace
Arriving next year with a price tag south of $50K, the first compact SUV to wear the Leaper is expected to give Jaguar’s more lifestyle-oriented range – which includes the larger F-Pace – a significant uptick.

The E-Pace will be a similar size to the Land Rover Discovery Sport, the off-roader that will donate its platform to the Jaguar-badged version. Jaguar also has plans to release what it calls the I-Pace, a compact SUV that will run off electricity rather than fossil fuels.

2017 Kia Stonic
The Kia Stonic is a small SUV built off the car maker’s recently updated Rio platform. It will make its European debut at Geneva, but a combination of lacklustre engine and outdated four-speed automatic means Kia Australia is likely to think there isn’t a place for it here.

Instead, we’re likely to wait for whatever spin Kia puts on the recently revealed Hyundai Kona compact SUV that it will one day share with its Korean owner.

2018 Mercedes-AMG GT four-door
From early in its development, the svelte, hunched form of the Mercedes-AMG GT, a semi-replacement for the gullwing-doored Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG, was always going to spawn a four-door version.

Frankfurt is believed to be the show that will launch the production version of the fastback-styled four-door sedan that will take on the likes of the Audi A7 and the Porsche Panamera.

2019 Mercedes-AMG Project One
We’ve seen the bits that will go under this Formula 1-styled streetcar named desire, but we’re yet to see the skin that will cover it.

It will feature a turbocharged 1.6-litre engine mated to a hybrid system that is an almost direct lift from the cars that compete for the World Drivers Championship. The engine is believed to rev to around 11,000rpm, and develop somewhere north of 735kW.

2019 Mercedes-Benz electric hatch concept
It’s little more than a rumour at the moment, but Mercedes-Benz is expected to reveal the first of its EQ-badged electric runabouts that will compete directly against BMW’s “i” line of cars.

Expected to wear an “EQ A” badge, the battery-powered five door will be the cheapest alt-fuel electric runabout in the future line-up.

2018 Nissan Leaf
The second generation of Nissan’s environmental poster car is expected to make its global debut at Frankfurt. Expect a much larger range, and the introduction of ProPilot, Nissan’s spin on semi-autonomous driving modes, that will help to make a city commute all that less stressful.

There’s a nice Aussie spin to the new-generation car; the new Leaf’s inverter casing covers are cast at Nissan’s Dandenong-based facility.

Suzuki Swift Sport
The skin of the new Suzuki Swift Sport has already been unveiled, but it’s expected to make its public debut at Frankfurt.

It’s believed the 1.6-litre naturally-aspirated engine will be replaced with a turbocharged 1.4-litre unit from the current Vitara albeit tuned to produce more than the current 103kW and 220Nm.

2019 Porsche Mission E
Porsche has come out bullish recently and said that by 2023, up to half of its sales will be made up of fully electric vehicles. It wants to get a wriggle-on – the 440kW Porsche Mission E concept sports car was unveiled in 2015 and is yet to spawn a road-going version.

The upcoming Frankfurt show – the star show on Porsche’s home turf – would be the ideal venue to launch the production one.

2018 Renault Megane RS
All-wheel steering and a turbocharged engine herald significant changes for one of the most likeable and character-filled hot hatches ever sold in Australia. Automatic versions will use a dual-clutch transmission, there will be a manual, and the four-cylinder engine should develop more than 220kW through the front wheels in default mode.

2018 Volkswagen Polo
This is the new-generation Polo’s first public outing after growing to a size that would make a Golf Mk4 look a little bit cramped.

Due on sale in Australia early next year, the sixth-gen Polo takes a marked step in the premium direction, featuring an interior clearly inspired by the short-lived Up microcar.

The biggest change is a wheelbase that grows 94mm, yielding heaps of interior space.

2020 Volkswagen ID electric sedan concept
We’ve seen a hatchback, an SUV and a boxy modern-day spin on the Volkswagen Kombi already come out wearing VW’s “ID” badge. Next, we’re expecting to see a small sedan that insiders say have wowed those who have already seen it.

It’s only rumoured to be making an appearance, and details are very scarce on the ground. Like the others, the sedan will be built off VW’s standalone MEB (Modular Electric Toolkit) platform.

2018 Volkswagen T-Cross
We’ve seen this Golf-based compact SUV as both a traditional five-door and – bizarrely – an open-top cruiser, but wearing a T-Roc badge. However, the production version is expected to hose things down a fair bit to look much like a VW-badged version of the Audi Q2.

It will go head-to-head with rivals including the Nissan Juke, and the Peugeot 2008 that has recently shed its boxy van-like aesthetics for more SUV-honed styling.