The 67th biennial Frankfurt Motor Show, yet again brought the automakers of the world out in full, with a full array of new models and concepts to tantalise our automotive taste buds. From Audi to BMW, Jaguar Land Rover and MINI, and almost everyone in between, the stands glistened and gleamed with the latest technology from some of the biggest car brands in the world.
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 autonomous prowess in the new limousine.
Naturally sophisticated and supremely elegant – even if it does not 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.
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 Gran Turismo (GT) replacement for the now defunct 5 Series GT, which BMW killed off earlier this year.
The new 6-er GT is now lighter (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 will be launched locally during 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. Jaguar Land Rover
Jaguar’s big announcement at IAA 2017 centred on the Jaguar etrophy allelectric 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 the Special Vehicle Operations (SVO) unit of Jaguar back home in the UK.
Keeping the momentum going around the recently launched Discovery, Land Rover, in turn, 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 SVO division of the company. Mini
The latest electric concept vehicle by MINI popped into the limelight at Frankfurt. Dubbed the MINI Electric Concept, it offers a glimpse into the future for the British brand. Likely to be based on the existing BMW i3, the fully electric MINI is expected in production guise by 2019 and is rumoured to be capable of a 300-kilometre range and a sprint time of 7.2 seconds. Also on display, the MINI GP concept celebrated the 50th anniversary of the brand’s Monte Carlo win as a trackfocused prototype that showcases the design and aerodynamic technologies for a new John Cooper Works GP flagship. Porsche
Few manufacturers attract quite as much attention at their stand than 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. Volkswagen
As their traditional “home base” motor show, Volkswagen has always had a significant presence in Frankfurt, and the 2017 event 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 debut 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 excellent seven-speed Direct Shift Gear (DSG). Seen as a direct competitor to the Audi Q2, the T-roc should be available in South Africa during 2018 as a full import.