All the new mod­els from Frankfurt

Driven - - Contents - Re­port & Images by BERNIE HELLBERG / BERNARD HELLBERG SR (Olym­pus EM-1)

As the largest and by far the most pop­u­lar mo­tor show in the world, the In­ter­na­tionale Au­to­mo­bil-Ausstel­lung bi­en­ni­ally draws close to one mil­lion vis­i­tors to the Ger­man fi­nan­cial cap­i­tal of Frankfurt. Some come here for busi­ness, oth­ers for plea­sure, but all come to get a glimpse into the fu­ture of the au­to­mo­bile.

Like other tra­di­tional mo­tor shows, Frankfurt is un­der pres­sure to morph into more of an ex­pe­ri­en­tial gath­er­ing than a large-scale show and tell, although the 2017 event saw the in­tro­duc­tion of no fewer than 58 new cars and con­cept cars, an in­crease over the num­ber of re­veals in 2015.

It was no­table, how­ever, that in the face of grow­ing neg­a­tiv­ity to­wards fos­sil fuel-pow­ered cars, this year’s Messe fo­cused firmly on new mo­bil­ity so­lu­tions, elec­tri­fi­ca­tion and au­to­mated driv­ing. De­spite this re­al­ity, most ma­jor man­u­fac­tur­ers still found space to cater for en­thu­si­as­tic fans from both sides of the in­ter­nal com­bus­tion ver­sus elec­tri­fi­ca­tion de­bate.


Amid a flurry of new elec­tric con­cepts, Audi in­tro­duced the lat­est ver­sion of its flag­ship A8 sedan. Once the pi­o­neer of the all-alu­minium ex­ec­u­tive sa­loon, Audi now show­cases its prow­ess in the field of au­ton­o­mous tech­nolo­gies.

Nat­u­rally so­phis­ti­cated and supremely el­e­gant – even if it doesn’t push the bound­aries of Audi’s ex­te­rior de­sign lan­guage too far – the A8 is a prac­ti­cal ex­er­cise in ad­vanced au­ton­o­mous driv­ing for the Ger­man au­tomaker. Audi claims that the A8 is the first car to bring level three au­ton­o­mous tech­nolo­gies to any road with a cen­tral bar­rier be­tween traf­fic di­rec­tions – al­low­ing it to start, ac­cel­er­ate, steer, and brake with­out driver in­ter­ven­tion. Called Traf­fic Jam Pi­lot, the sys­tem works at up to 60 km/h via 12 ul­tra­sonic sen­sors and four 360-de­gree cam­eras around the car, a long-range radar and laser scan­ner at the front, a front cam­era at the top of the wind­screen and a mid-range radar at each cor­ner.

Audi says that this new tech will likely trickle down to other mod­els ranges within the next 24 months.


In 2015, Bentley used the Frankfurt Mo­tor Show to de­but its long-awaited Ben­tayga su­per-lux­ury SUV. This year, the Bentley boys showed their all-new Con­ti­nen­tal GT. The third-gen­er­a­tion grand tourer re­places the cur­rent gen­er­a­tion GT, which will bow out of ser­vice in early 2018 af­ter a phe­nom­e­nal seven-year spell for the lux­ury au­tomaker.

De­scribed by Bentley CEO, Wolf­gang Dürheimer, as a “defin­ing mo­ment” for Bentley Mo­tors, the new Con­ti­nen­tal GT is touted to pro­duce 467 kW and a mon­strous 900 Nm from its re­vised 6.0-litre W12 en­gine, promis­ing a 0-100 km/h ac­cel­er­a­tion time of 3.6 sec­onds and a top speed in ex­cess of 330 km/h.


Show­cas­ing some­thing new from each of their BMW, MINI and BMW Motorrad brands, the Bavar­ian com­pany showed – among oth­ers – the mus­cu­lar new M5 (the first with all-wheel-drive), and the 6 Se­ries GT re­place­ment for the now de­funct 5 Se­ries GT which BMW killed off ear­lier this year.

The new Gran Turismo 6-er is lighter than the 5 GT by 150 kg, more aero­dy­namic, and sig­nif­i­cantly more el­e­gant than its pre­de­ces­sor. The in­te­rior too has been given a full-scale makeover, with the rear pro­vid­ing space for three with­out com­pro­mis­ing on the al­ready gen­er­ous lug­gage com­part­ment. The 6 Se­ries GT is sched­uled for lo­cal launch in Novem­ber 2017.

While the X7 and iVi­sion Dy­nam­ics Con­cept drew the large crowds, the Con­cept 8, in par­tic­u­lar, caught our eye. De­vel­oped to spear­head the launch of the 8 Se­ries Coupé next year, the Con­cept 8 is com­pre­hen­sively kit­ted out with lux­ury items such as Merino leather, an iDrive con­troller of Swarovski Chrys­tal, as well as an ex­clu­sive smoky quartz in­te­rior.


Fer­rari was one of a hand­ful of Ital­ian mo­tor­ing brands at this year’s show, but they made the most of the op­por­tu­nity by in­tro­duc­ing the new Portofino en­try-level re­place­ment to the Cal­i­for­nia T. Although it car­ries the same 3.9-litre tur­bocharged V8 as the Cali T, Maranello has squeezed ex­tra power from the source, and sub­stan­tially stiff­ened the chas­sis.

The lo­cal ar­rival date is set for early 2018, and when it does, we ex­pect it to be ca­pa­ble of a 0-100 km/h sprint time of 3.5 sec­onds, and a top speed of





320 km/h. Whether we’ll try that kind of pace with the roof down is another ques­tion al­to­gether.


As part of Hyundai’s quest to be­come the num­ber one Asian au­to­mo­tive brand in Europe by 2021, the Korean au­tomaker pre­sented three new mod­els at the Messe. All eyes were on the i30 N – Hyundai’s first high-per­for­mance car based on its suc­cess­ful WRC chal­lenger, as well as an el­e­gant five-door fast­back coupé, and a sub-com­pact SUV badged as the Kona. The i30 N will prob­a­bly come to our shores to do bat­tle with the likes of Volk­swa­gen’s GTI and Re­nault’s Mé­gane GT.

With its 205 kW tur­bocharged 2.0-litre en­gine, the i30 N has a top speed of 250 km/h and takes care of the 0-100 km/h sprint in 6.1 sec­onds – com­pared to the GTI’s 6.3 sec­onds, and the Golf R’s 4.6 sec­onds.

It is un­likely, yet not im­pos­si­ble, that we will see the Kona in South Africa. Should it hap­pen, this model would aim to cap­ture the mar­ket seg­ment cur­rently held by the Re­nault Captur and, to a lesser ex­tent, the en­try-level Re­nault Duster.

Hyundai also used the IAA plat­form to an­nounce the launch of its first pure-elec­tric car-shar­ing plat­form in metropoli­tan Am­s­ter­dam. Com­pris­ing 100

Hyundai IONIQ ve­hi­cles, this pro­gramme rep­re­sents the brand’s en­try into the world of e-mo­bil­ity.


Jaguar’s big an­nounce­ment at IAA 2017 cen­tred on the Jaguar eTrophy all-elec­tric race se­ries to sup­port the FIA For­mula E cham­pi­onship. De­scribed as the “world’s first in­ter­na­tional cham­pi­onship for pro­duc­tion-based elec­tric cars”, the eTrophy se­ries is set to be­gin in late 2018.

Along­side this an­nounce­ment, Jaguar also re­vealed that it would be cre­at­ing its own rac­ing car, based on the de­sign of the up­com­ing elec­tric Jaguar I-Pace. Dubbed Jaguar I-Pace eTrophy, the mod­i­fied cross­over is cur­rently be­ing de­vel­oped by Jaguar’s Spe­cial Ve­hi­cle Op­er­a­tions (SVO) unit back home in the UK.

Keep­ing the mo­men­tum go­ing around the re­cently launched Dis­cov­ery, Land Rover showed an ex­treme SVX ver­sion that de­vel­ops 390-odd kilo­watts from its su­per­charged 5.0-litre V8 petrol en­gine. It boasts mas­sive 32” tyres and in­creased ground clear­ance and, as with the Jaguar iPace eTrophy, the SVX was brought to life by the com­pany’s SVO divi­sion.


Although the Mercedes-Benz GLC cross­over is a fa­mil­iar sight on lo­cal roads by now, the com­pany showed a hy­dro­gen fuel cell ver­sion at Frankfurt this year.

Pow­er­ing the GLC F-Cell is an elec­tric mo­tor with 147 kW and 350 Nm of torque that comes paired with a plug-in charge­able 13.8-kWh lithium-ion bat­tery that will be, ac­cord­ing to Mercedes, the first plug-in hy­dro­gen-pow­ered pro­duc­tion ve­hi­cle. They also claim that this com­bi­na­tion en­dows the car with a 430-kilo­me­tre range, of which 78 km is in elec­tric-only mode. That’s not half bad con­sid­er­ing that you’re talk­ing emis­sions­free mo­tor­ing…

Ex­pected to be pro­duc­tion-ready by 2019, the GLC F-Cell joins the ranks of sev­eral global au­tomak­ers who ei­ther al­ready have a hy­dro­gen fuel cell car on the road – such as Toy­ota and Honda – or have ad­vanced plans to have H cars road-ready by 2020. The lat­ter in­cludes other Ger­man brands Audi and BMW, with Ford and GM, and even Ital­ian de­sign house, Pin­in­fa­rina, get­ting in on the ac­tion.


Few man­u­fac­tur­ers at­tract quite as much at­ten­tion at their stand as the Stuttgart-based Porsche, and this year the pres­ti­gious Ger­man car marker did not dis­ap­point. Launch­ing their pow­er­ful Cayenne Turbo as a dou­ble-whammy to­gether with the 911 GT3 with Tour­ing Pack­age, the new 404 kW V8 Cayenne has the driv­ing dy­nam­ics of a sports car and will please buy­ers with its com­pletely re­vised ex­te­rior.

The GT3, on the other hand, is aimed at purists who in­sist on a six-speed man­ual gear­box, a vari­able rear spoiler, while the GT2 RS will be the pride and joy of those with deep pock­ets and the skills to han­dle 520 kW of brute power.


As Frankfurt is the tra­di­tional “home base” mo­tor show for Volk­swa­gen, the brand has al­ways had a sig­nif­i­cant pres­ence here, and IAA Cars 2017 was no ex­cep­tion.

With the com­pany set to in­vest €6-bil­lion (R93-bil­lion) in elec­tric mo­bil­ity over the next five years, the group showed all nine badges in the sta­ble – from Volk­swa­gen to Bu­gatti, Bentley, Lamborghini and Porsche, down to the renowned Ital­ian mo­tor­cy­cle brand, Du­cati.

Catch­ing the eye, from a South African per­spec­tive, how­ever, was the ap­pear­ance of the com­pact-sized T-Roc cross­over. Like its larger Tiguan sib­ling, the T-Roc will be of­fered with a range of turbo en­gines, con­sist­ing of three petrol and three diesel ver­sions. As al­ways, buy­ers will be able to choose be­tween six-speed man­ual gear­boxes or the su­perla­tive seven-speed DSG. Seen as a di­rect com­peti­tor to Audi’s Q2, the T-Roc should be avail­able in South Africa dur­ing 2018 as a full im­port.

Hyundai i30N

Fer­rari Portofino

BMW iVi­sion Con­cept

Land Rover Dis­cov­ery SVX

Audi A8

Jaguar iPace eTrophy

Porsche Cayenne

Mercedes GLC F-Cell

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