ADMITTEDLY the 2017 Frankfurt Motor Show doesn’t officially begin until Thursday but the world media always enjoys a traditional sneak peek before the doors open to the public.
So apart from a ready supply of beer and bratwurst what else can we expect from one of the biggest events on the automotive calendar?
Audi, BMW, Ferrari, Hyundai, Chery, Jaguar, Kia, Seat, VW, Mercedes-Benz, Rolls Royce, Bentley, Honda, MINI, and Porsche will all be exhibiting. And that’s not even a complete list of all the cars due to hit showrooms in the next few months.
So quite a lot actually. Although if you get the impression that the 2017 Frankfurt Motor Show was all about the SUV you would largely be right.
Hyundai and Kia will be slugging it out with the class-leading Renault Captur and Nissan Juke. So, will Seat, Volkswagen, and Chery. Jaguar and Porsche will also be revealing new SUVs while Honda have a CR-V Hybrid concept on their stand.
The Compact SUV Contenders
The Hyundai Kona and Kia Stonic are both compact SUVs with bold styling and rugged looks. Although that also applies to most of the new models on show. Both will be available with a choice of petrol or diesel engines and both can be specified with a number of different trim levels and options.
The full range of engines won’t be available immediately on launch, some will follow on later. No doubt Kia and Hyundai will also be considering EV variants at a later date.
A newcomer to Europe is Chinese carmaker, Chery. They will be introducing a new concept for a trendy urban crossover. This isn’t actually in production yet but the plan is for it to lead the way into the European market with more models to follow. It’s hard to judge at this stage but if it ends up looking like the pictures it could conceivably do well.
If you aren’t sold on any of those there are other compact SUVs arriving in Frankfurt.
The Seat Arona and Volkswagen T-Roc have both launched recently and will no doubt prove very popular. The Seat Arona is based on the same platform as the Ibiza while the T-Roc is essentially a Golf with a funky new wardrobe.
These are good things. The Golf and the Ibiza are both very good cars so expect similar from the Arona and T-Roc. Again, both come with petrol and diesel options, both can be personalised with a wide range of trim options, and both promise to be very good cars.
Like Chery, Honda has also brought an SUV that isn’t in production yet. At least not this particular version. The CR-V has been around for a while and has more than held it’s own in a tough market. Honda doesn’t shout about it but they are quietly enthusiastic about the development of EV technology. The hybrid version of the CR-V on show in Frankfurt will be on sale in the not too distant future.
We’ve seen rapid growth in the sector with a host of manufacturers fighting for a slice of a very lucrative pie. It’s not all compact models though. All four of the new cars we’ve just mentioned are expected to enter the market in the sub-£20k price bracket – options list not withstanding – but there are also high-end executive options on display.
The Jaguar E-Pace sits below the F-Pace in the range but don’t be fooled into thinking it is just a baby version of the larger SUV. Jaguar has made a deliberate attempt to ensure this doesn’t happen by sharing some design concepts with the beautiful F-Type coupe. That’s never going to be a bad place to start.
The new E-Pace is spacious, well-equipped, and exceptionally good looking, and at around £28k the more exclusive feel is reflected in the price, although not excessively so.
Not as exclusive as the new Porsche Cayenne though.
The Cayenne has been a massive success for Porsche with the new version being described as the sportiest yet. Superb build quality and hugely powerful engines are a given, but what about a ridiculously powerful hybrid?
According to Porsche the most powerful member of the family will be the Cayenne Turbo S E-Hybrid. Environmental awareness, lower running costs, and 666bhp in one luxurious package. Bear in mind that, despite the massive power, Porsche doesn’t even consider this to be the flagship model and you get an idea of how good the new Cayenne could be.
In Other News
If the future of electric motoring is important to you – by which we mean keeping more of your hard-earned away from the tax man – then the Frankfurt Motor Show has more than enough to keep you occupied.
There is an electric MINI concept due to go on sale in 2019, albeit in a slightly toned down version of the concept. Mercedes will be exceptionally busy with a new standalone EV concept range badged as the EQ, an electric Smart, and a PHEV version of the GLC.
Away from the SUVs and electric concepts there will also be an opportunity to meet the new flagship Audi A8 and the BMW 6-Series GT. If you’re looking at the executive market then these two are likely to loom large.
The Audi A8 boasts a host of new technology and options, as well as a range of suitably smooth and powerful engines. It may not sound particularly enthralling but the new A8 has been fitted with a more powerful 48v electrical system that allows Audi to pack more technology into the car. Relying less on the engine to generate electricity means the new A8 is actually more economical and therefore cheaper to run.
The BMW 6-Series GT isn’t quite as clever as the Audi but it delivers in terms of looks. The GT concept looks so much better on the 6-Series than it ever did as a 5-Series. The 6-Series GT feels more spacious than its predecessor but still retains the balanced handling of a BMW. As always you can choose from either petrol or diesel engines with the BMW all-wheel xDrive system also an option.
There will also be plenty of opportunity to drool.
Mercedes (again) have the concept AMG Project ONE Hypercar. Ferrari have brought the replacement for the California T, the Portofino. Bentley has delivered a completely redesigned Continental GT. Rolls Royce will no doubt be suitably understated about the eighth generation Phantom, and speaking of understated there is also the new Porsche 911 GT3 Touring package on show.
Clearly some of these cars are a little more aspirational than would be usual for a company car driver, but even if a Ferrari isn’t on your list there’s such a wide range of new and updated cars there are bound to be more realistic options available.
Obviously the best way to see all the new cars and technology on display at the Frankfurt Motor Show is to visit the Frankfurt Motor Show. If that isn’t the most practical option for you don’t worry.
We will be keeping a close eye on proceedings over the next week or so with regular updates live from Frankfurt.