Frankly Fan­tas­tic

Premier Magazine (South AFrica) - - Motoring - Text & Images © Bernard Hell­berg

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.

Audi

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.

BMW

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.

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