Here's everything you need to know about the Frankfurt Motor Show
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The Frankfurt Motor Show starts next week, just a few days after we get back from the Goodwood Revival. Frankfurt is Germany's most important automotive event and is a critical time for the home teams – BMW, Volkswagen, Mercedes, Porsche and Audi.
New models and outrageous concept cars are what most people crowd into a European motor show for, but this year's event will no doubt be relatively subdued – Germany's biggest carmakers, the lifeblood of the country's economy, are under more scrutiny for their role in the ongoing Dieselgate emissions scandal. What's more, the world is turning its back on their favourite fuel.
The event for passenger cars takes place in Messe Frankfurt, an exhibition centre with several centuries of history as a trade fair venue, on odd years. Even years see the event move to Hanover, where the focus is on commercial vehicles. It tends to attract around a quarter of a million visitors.
Some fantastic vehicles were introduced at the 2015 event – the Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio, the Volkswagen Tiguan, the Jaguar F-Pace, the Suzuki Baleno and the Bentley Bentayga, to name a few. Below are the most interesting cars expected to be revealed at the 2017 Frankfurt Motor Show.
British brands at the Frankfurt Motor Show 2017
The UK has a strong entry list into this year's Frankfurt show, especially considering how many brands seem to be absent. We're excited for two long-awaited Jaguar models, the E-Pace SUV (pictured above, and destined to beat the F-Pace as Jag's most popular car ever) and potentially a production version of the I-Pace, Jag's first electric car. The latter is expected to go on sale in 2018.
Bentley will also be at Frankfurt 2017. It unveil the brand new Continental GT, a successor to the brand's most popular car and (arguably) the model that turned the company's fortunes around. We're anticipating a hybrid version, as well as unparalleled levels of high-end British luxury in what should (on paper at least) be the definitive grand tourer.
At the opposite end of the spectrum is the Grandland X, a new SUV from Vauxhall. Based on architecture from Vauxhall's new French owners, the Grandland X will be a large family car to rival the Nissan Qashqai, Seat Ateca, Volkswagen Tiguan, Peugeot 3008 and many, many more. This car will need to be excellent in order to compete in such a crowded marketplace.
There'll be a souped-up 'Sig, too. The Vauxhall Insignia GSi will come equipped with a 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine that produces 256bhp. That really makes it warm rather than hot, and a long way short of the lairiness of previous VXR-badged cars, but it's still exciting to see Vauxhall give a nod to performance.
In contrast, plucky German-owned British underdog Mini will be bringing an all-electric Cooper to Frankfurt. It'll closely resemble the production model scheduled to hit the road in 2019, and will borrow bits and pieces from BMW's lovely i3.
Japanese brands at the Frankfurt Motor Show 2017
When was the last time you thought about Subaru? This cult Japanese manufacturer has been known in the UK for its over-engineered, go-anywhere, invincible all-wheel drive estate cars, but seems to have fallen by the wayside over the past couple of years. But this year's Frankfurt Motor Show sees the reintroduction of an Impreza to European shores.
One of Britain's favourite brands is Honda, which builds its Civic hot hatch in Swindon. This year they'll be launching a hybrid version of their CR-V family SUV, as well as a facelifted Jazz hatchback. The Japanese version of the Jazz, which was unveiled a while ago, has more aggressive styling (in line with the Civic) as well as a hybrid powertrain. It's about time Honda makes inroads into the hybrid and electric market, and we can't think of a better place to start that revolution than Frankfurt.
The brilliant Suzuki Swift gets its anticipated Sport upgrade [above]. The 'old' Swift Sport was one of our favourite cars, offering unparalleled fun-per-pound in a tiny package, so we're prepared for its replacement to become a new 'warm hatch' benchmark.
Korean brands at the Frankfurt Motor Show 2017
Possibly the most properly exciting car being launched at Frankfurt will be the Hyundai i30N [above]. This is the first real attempt at a hot hatch from the good-value Korean brand, and with 271bhp and rather fetching exterior design, we can't wait to get behind the wheel.
Less exciting but sadly more important will be Hyundai's other major launch, the Kona. It's a small SUV destined to take on the litany of similar vehicles, and Hyundai knows its late to this particular party – hence the jacked-up look and plastic cladding. The Kona arrives in the UK in November.
Kia is Hyundai's BFF, and the Kia Stonic is the Kona's closest relative. Despite the familial bond these two cars are rivals, each with their own distinct aesthetic. Like the Kona, the Stonic will be a keenly-priced new arrival in the crowded family SUV segment, and while we haven't seen it in the metal yet, photographs suggest it's rather attractive.
German brands at the Frankfurt Motor Show
The 400km autobahn journey from Munich to Frankfurt is a rather short one in the new 600bhp BMW M5 [above]. That's set to be one of the home-game highlights for this year's show – an overpowered, all-wheel-drive supersaloon from Beemer's in-house tuning division.
There'll also be some BMW SUVs making the same journey. The new X3 looks basically the same as the old one, save for some sculptural flourishes at the front end, and is set to continue to offer an attractive package at the premium end of the family SUV segment.
As well as the X3 production car, BMW will be unveiling a fresh SUV concept – the X7, possibly its biggest car yet. It'll have seven seats and probably a hybrid powertrain, which will make it popular, but the spy shots we've seen suggest it looks a little bit slab-sided an inelegant.
Talking of which, the 6-Series GT will be making an appearance. It's one of BMW's more graceless designs (in our opinion) but its hard to deny the practicality of a 610-litre boot, some inefficient six-cylinder engines and a £50k price tag, right?
Probably the most conventionally desirable car on BMW's stand this year will be the i8 Roadster. That's precisely what you think it is – a soft-top version of the i8 hybrid supercar. Just what Frankfurt needs to see more of in the wake of the emissions scandal.
Which brings us neatly onto Volkswagen, the brand at the centre of the Dieselgate controversy. We're interested in the new Polo [above], based on the VW Group's modular MQB platform and similar to the brilliant new Seat Ibiza. This will also be available with a GTI badge.
And guess what – more crossovers ahoy. The T-Roc might have one of the most awkward names of this year's Frankfurt show, but it fills one of the narrow gaps between models in Volkswagen's line-up. Think Tiguan crossed with Audi Q2.
Audi, meanwhile, will be demonstrating its commitment to technology with an all-bells-and-whistles new A8 [below]. That's the brand's luxury saloon, which has long been at the forefront of motoring tech. This year, it arrives with what Audi claims is the first production deployment of Level 3 autonomy. This is a proper luxo-barge (expect prices to start at around £100,000) and the kind of car from which technology trickles down.
We suspect Mercedes-Benz will try to cover the full automotive spectrum at Messe Frankfurt. The over-the-top hybrid powertrain of their new bonkers hypercar has already been revealed, so we anticipate the full-fat debut to take place at the show.
At the opposite end of the spectrum will be some all-electric concept cars under the 'EQ' sub-brand. In terms of tech, there'll be some wireless charging, but we can also expect more phrases like "muscular-purist proportions". The 'new' G-Class will probably make the journey from Stuttgart to Frankfurt, too, though to the untrained eye we doubt there'll be any notable styling changes to this boxy cult classic.
Porsche will unveil its third-generation Cayenne, which with hindsight represented a momentous shift in direction when it first arrived back in 2002. The photos we've seen suggest it's much the same as the old .
Other European brands at the Frankfurt Motor Show
One of the most interesting new crossovers is the Arona from SEAT [above]. The Spanish brand has been a lucky escapee from most of the Dieselgate fallout, and remains the stylish, youthful member of VW's trifecta. If the Arona is as good as the new Ibiza on which it's based, we'll be delighted.
Renault will be introducing its new hot hatch, the Megane RS. We're hoping it'll strike a neat compromise between comfort and excitement, with around 300bhp and (no doubt) an impressive Nurburgring lap time.
The Dacia Duster has been a success in the UK, popular with buyers who love its low price and high driving position, and who are happy to sacrifice some refinement (and crash safety) in exchange for a bargain. The 2018 model, which is set to debut at Frankfurt, will be a little bigger than the outgoing one, but we don't expect the £10,000 starting price to grow.
- Ed Wiseman, Telegraph UK