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#IAA: Ten crucial cars at Frankfurt 2017

2017-09-11 13:30

Lance Branquinho

Image: Supplied

Germany - It’s Frankfurt auto show week and the 67th iteration promises to showcase the future of personal transport like no other. In a time when the automotive industry is being disrupted as ever before by car sharing technology (Uber) and battery power (Tesla), the curious concepts which were once a novelty at trade shows are now a crucial indicator of who has the innovative capacity to survive – or not. 

The Frankfurt show, which rotates on a yearly schedule Paris, is perhaps the most important of all, as German domestic pride takes precedence.

No other country innovates with greater importance in everything regarding cars than the German industry and what is shown at Frankfurt, usually goes into production – eventually.

For the 2017 show, here are a selection of ten very important reveals you can expect to dominate the social media hashtags and digital news algorithm this week. 

1. Audi
The limousine which championed aluminium everything two decades ago, Audi’s latest A8 will show just how advanced Ingolstadt’s autonomous driving technology development curve currently is.

A laser scanner mounted in the front bumper, and operating a 145-degree sensory field of view, enables A8 to drive without any driver input at speeds up to 60km/h. Expect much of the level 3 autonomous hardware in it, to filter down to smaller models within the next 24 months.

Image: Newspress

2. BMW
It’s unusual to not list a new M5 as the most important show car for BMW, but the anchor ‘Werke performance nameplate has been usurped for wow-factor by BMW’s enormous X7 iPeformance SUV. Boasting the largest cabin of any BMW yet, there’s a raft of digitisation and clever hybrid drive, but the controversy are those signature kidneys. Scaled up a touch too much, BMW’s most renowned styling detail has lost its elegance on X7. 

3. Chery
Chinese cars are a rarity at European auto shows, because they’re not ordinarily up to the specification required to enter the EU market. Chery wishes to alter this perception – and reality – with a concept SUV at Frankfurt. Built to established, instead of emerging, market standards, it will be the Chinese company’s first ‘global car’ and could signal a monumental shift in power for the automotive landscape going forward. 

Image: Newspress

4. Hyundai
Usually the purveyor of city cars and inoffensive compact crossovers, Hyundai will debut Korea’s first proper hot hatch in Frankfurt. Leveraged off the company’s successful WRC motorsport programme, i30 N will be an authentic hot hatch, not a Veloster turbo disappointment. With a 2.0-litre engine good for more than 200kW, six-speed manual gearbox and trick front differential, Hyundai’s not building a mere show pony.

Image: Newspress

5. Mercedes AMG Project One
The culmination of its dominance in F1 racing and sure to be the star of Frankfurt 2017 is the first true Mercedes hypercar. Executed by AMG, the specification is mesmerising: a detuned F1 engine powering up to 750kW and unparalleled exclusivity too, with a total production run of only 275 cars. 

6. Kia
Renowned for its stylish designs, Kia is going shooting at Frankfurt 2017. It’s star show car will be a wagon, but not in the way you’d imagine. It’s called the Proceed Concept and much like the Aston Martin Rapide concept shown in 2013, which was styled by Bertone, Kia’s wagon is a shooting brake, which is of course automotive lexicon for ‘really fancy high-performance wagon’. If Porsche could do it Panamera Sport Turismo, why not Kia too?

7. Lamborghini
No motor show is complete without some shouty supercar from the ionic Italian brand, which is of course owned by a German holding company. Aventador S Roadster now gains the updates first seen its hardtop sibling: active suspension, four-wheel steering and an EGO driving model. Beyond these running changes Lamborghini has pandered to the power of Smartphone integration demand from customers, and included Apple CarPlay. The glorious naturally-aspirated V12, good for 544kW, remains unchanged, mercifully. 

8. Suzuki
The latest version of everybody’s favourite working class hot hatchback will be show in the metal for the first time at Frankfurt. Suzuki’s Swift Sport is now turbocharged, its 1.4-litre four boosting to 103kW, with a kerb mass of around of below 1000kg and the fabled agility which has endeared it to many. To its credit, Suzuki has kept the faith with a charmingly simple reinterpretation of its hugely successful junior hot hatch formula. 

Image: Wheels24

9. VW
The brand which has the black mark next to its name will have to impress at Frankfurt. VW is aware that SUV and crossovers are the future and its Q2 clone, the T-Roc, will be Wolfsburg’s most compelling showpiece offering at the show. Powering T-Roc will be the full array of VW engine options from 1.0- to 2.0-litres, with 4Motion traction for the more powerful models. Inside there’s a 300w beats sound system but perhaps the most notable characteristic of T-Roc is its size, or rather lack of it. True to the requirement of a compact city SUV, its 252mm shorter than a Tiguan, should make parking – and off-road manoeuvring – a doddle. 

10. Ford
Ford will debut its updated Mustang, EcoSport sports utility vehicle (SUV), Ranger Black Edition pickup and Tourneo Custom at the 2017 Frankfurt Motor Show. Showcasing the company’s model range, Ford will reveal a sleeker and more powerful version of its iconic Mustang sports car. It will also show a new version of the compact EcoSport SUV, as well as more versatile and premium Tourneo Custom eight/nine-seater. The all-new Ford Fiesta line-up - including the Fiesta Active crossover and Fiesta ST that go on sale in 2018 - will be on display. Ford has yet released local launch dates for these vehicles. Also on dsiplay will be the limited production Ranger Black Edition and exclusive Ford GT ’67 Heritage edition.

                                                                           Image: Newspress

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