Sunday, October 4, 2015

2015 Frankfurt Auto Show Preview And Some Early LA Introductions

Alexander Carabitses

 Well we have reached the point in the year where summer product launches turn into the pre-Frankfurt/Paris auto show shit fest, in which automakers decide to tease and unveil their show stars ahead of time.  This is a common issue that I will more than likely address in my Frankfurt Auto Show next week.  As things stand now, I am already excited for the LA Auto Show in November, where there are 50 planned introductions, 30 of which are not US debuts.  That show will take place a couple of weeks after the SEMA Show, which itself makes place one day after Tokyo (and depending on what is shown in Tokyo, you may hear some ranting about that show as well).

So we may as well start with some cars that the US consumer may, or may not want, but either way can't have.  The first car on that list is the new Seat Ibiza Cupra, which is a subcompact hatchback that rivals the Opel Corsa OPC and the Ford Fiesta ST.  The car now gets a 1.8 liter turbo-four that's good for 189 horsepower and 236 pound-feet of torque.  There have also been some minor upgrades that help improve the car's handling along with some minor styling tweaks, but that's about it.
(Image credited to and Seat)

Next up is the 2016 Renaultsport Megane RS 275 Cup-S, which is actually not debuting in Frankfurt at all.  All you need to know is that this thing will make 275 horsepower and 265 lb-ft of torque, it features new handling and suspension upgrades, it will be a blast to drive, and if you live in the US you still can't buy one.
(Image credited to and Renault)

Suzuki is planning to introduce a new sub-compact hatchback in Frankfurt called the Baleno.  There is nothing much to say about it other than that it has a 1.0 liter direct injected engine that is also turbocharged in order for power to increase, and Suzuki says that the starter will also provide a power boost at times.  Trust me, no matter what they do to it, this thing will not be fast.
(Image credited to and Suzuki)

After releasing information, specs, and pictures of the 2017 Opel Astra Hatchback, the brand has now done the same for the 2017 Astra Sports Tourer.  It has the exact same dimensions as the hatchback, but it offers more cargo room, and that is the only difference.
(Image credited to and Opel)

Opel will also be launching the Vivaro Surf Concept.  It is basically a concept version of the Vivaro van with a cool two-tone color scheme, surf board racks on the roof, and special interior trim.  According to Opel, if the public reaction is good, they will build it.
(Image credited to and Opel)

For 2017, Renault has redesigned their compact hatchback, the Megane.  Given that Renault released no technical information on the car, all we can do is stare at pictures of it, like the one you see below.
(Image credited to and Renault)

Hyundai has a hatchback that is built specifically for the European market, called the i20.  Now they have raised the ride hight a little bit and added body cladding with all-wheel drive. The official name is i20 Active and when it goes on sale, there will be 3, 1.0 liter turbo-3-cylinder engines to choose from.
(Image credited to and Hyundai)

Mitsubishi has given the 2017 Outland PHEV a refresh which it plans to unveil at Frankfurt.  The exterior receives the same types of updates as the standard model (i.e. 100 new improvements), yet the power plant remains unchanged.
(Image credited to and Mitsubishi)

Debuting one week after my mid-size pickup truck post, Renault has just debuted this Alaskan Concept, which previews a new mid-size pickup truck that will be unveiled early next year.   The concept looks pretty good, actually, and Renault claims that it can tow 2,200 pounds.  What is interesting is that the brand plans to market this like an American full-size pickup (i.e. business, leisure, and everyday use).
(Image credited to and Renault)

Citroen has introduced this Cactus M Concept.  It's essentially a beach buggy and a stylish one at that.  The best feature of this car is that the owner can in theory hose down the interior, and the water will be expelled from drainage outlets in the footwells; it's pretty neat.  The interior upholstery is waterproof for that reason as well, and speaking of water, if its rains, there is an inflatable roof.  If you are jealous of our friends in Europe because you are under the impression that they will be able to enjoy this, don't be, because it is very likely that Citroen won't build it.
(Image credited to and Citroen)

To celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Volkswagen GTI, the brand has launched a special 261 horsepower Clubsport version, that sadly won't be coming to the US.  Just to rub that in a bit, thanks to an overboost function, the car can achieve 286 horsepower in short bursts.  Just a reminder, we aren't getting it.  The car also features unique design details and aero upgrades, but in case you already forgot, we aren't getting it.
(Image credited to and Volkswagen)

Honda will be showcasing the Project 2&4 at Frankfurt, and if you ever wondered what would happen if you were to combine a hardcore motorcycle and a car, this is the end result.  The "car" makes 215 horsepower, weighs 893 pounds, and features a "floating seat" which places you just inches off the ground.  It looks great and is great.
(Image credited to and Honda)

Moving away from the basic cars, Aston Martin has launched the DB9 GT Bond Edition, which serves as a long standing reminder that the brand survives on that movie franchise, and just as I said in my blog, when a new Bond movie comes out, the brand uses it as a marketing opportunity.  If that isn't enough proof for you, consider that it comes with an Omega watch (a classic for 007) and a globe trotter wheeled suitcase.  In reality this is just a trim package, bu the car still makes 540 horsepower and 479 lb-ft of torque, the most of any DB9.
(Image credited to and Aston Martin)

Mercedes-Benz has already launched two version of the new C-Class Coupe, an now it is time for the third.  Presenting the 2017 C63 AMG Coupe Edition 1.  It features special edition wheels with the outer trim and a special braking system painted in yellow.  The exterior paint job is pretty much identical to that of the C63 DTM race car, and although this special edition doesn't feature the aero upgrades that the racer does, it is still offered with some of its own.  The interior also features some trim upgrades as well.  By the way, the new DTM version is also being unveiled in Frankfurt.
(Image credited to and Mercedes-Benz)

In edition to the four C-Class Coupe variants that will debut in Frankfurt, along with the new Smart ForTwo Convertible, Daimler has two more models to showcase, and both of them are convertibles.  They are the 2017 Mercedes-Benz S-Class Convertible and the 2017 Mercedes-Benz S63 AMG Convertible.  First up, the S550 will make 449 horsepower and 516 lb-ft of torque, while the S63 will make 577 hp and 664 lb-ft of torque with a 0-60 mph time 3.9 seconds and a top speed of 186 mph.  There some new transmissions on offer as well, specifically a new 9G-Tronic-speed automatic in the S550 and AMG models get the 7 speed Speed Shift transmission.  There is also a new HVAC system that features sensors, which measure things like the dew point. The roof itself can be raised or lowered in 20 seconds at speeds up to 37 mph.  Now I'll shut up and let you look at the pictures of this stunning convertible, and just so you know, the S550 is at the top and the S63 is on the bottom.
(Images credited to and Mercedes-Benz)

Porsche will be showing up in Frankfurt with the refreshed, 2017 911.  While the exterior and interior designs have been tweaked, the major news lies underneath the hood, as the entire lineup is now turbocharged.  The standard Carrera makes 370 hp and 331 lb-ft of torque, and the Carrera S makes 420 hp and 368 lb-ft of torque.  The engine itself is a twin-turbo 3-liter flat 6, so although power is up, displacement has decreased.  Things look promising for this car.
(Image credited to and Porsche)

Bentley has been in the news this week, as the brand has finally unveiled the long awaited 2017 Bentayga SUV.  First things first, if you buy this thing with the W12 engine, you will be buying a 600 horsepower SUV.  That's right, this is the fastest SUV in the world.  Besides the engine, this is pretty much the most luxurious SUV you can buy, with all the Bentley amenities in a higher ground clearance package.
(Image credited to and Bentley)

How do you make a family out of the Rolls Royce Ghost sedan?  You remove two doors, add a sloping roof, and call it the Wraith.  If you want to make a convertible out of that, you keep the Ghost's 563 horsepower power plant, replace the sloping roof with a folding soft top, and call it the 2017 Rolls Royce Dawn.  Sure, the doors have been shortened and the grille is an inch taller, but that is hard to notice when the rest of the car looks this good.
(Image credited to and Rolls Royce)

Finally, there is the Bugatti Vision GranTurismo, which is a car designed for the GranTurismo video game.  The car features a very aerodynamic and sexy body that will be on display in Frankfurt next week.
(Image credited to and Bugatti)

Moving away from Frankfurt, there were three other major unveils.  The first, are the Land Rover Concept_e research demonstrators.  basically what's going on here, is that Land Rover is finally deciding to get into the EV market.  There is a platform with a battery attached, a mild-hybrid Range Rover, and a Plug-in Hybrid Range Rover Evoque.  Without getting into too much detail that will more than likely bore most people to death, these three concept prove that JLR is looking at many options when entering the green car market.  If you do want to read about all the details, click the link here.
(Image credited to and Land Rover)

In other Hybrid car news, the car that was the topic of my enormous rant from a few weeks ago finally had its official debut: the 2017 Toyota Prius.  First things first, the car rides on Toyota's New Global Architecture, which is said to also underpin the next generation Camry.  The car is also said to have a lower center of gravity, is expected to be 60 percent more rigid, and is said to have had a 10 percent increase in fuel economy.  As I documented in my Prius rant, the design itself looks like complete shit, while the interior is lackluster as well.  The car is expected to be fully revealed at the 2015 Los Angeles Auto Show.
(Image credited to and Toyota)

Cadillac is using a 3-step process to launch the 2017 XT5, the replacement for the SRX.  First, the car was unveiled in New York at a fashion event.  The car was then airlifted out of the place by helicopter, and is expected to have its official debut at the Dubai Auto Show in November, only to eventually debut in the US at LA a few weeks later.  For that reason, all we have seen is the design, and no specifications have been released yet.  Cadillac needs to regain sales and this may just be the vehicle equipped well enough to complete the task.
(Image credited to and Cadillac)

And that concludes a very long list of new product unveils, the vast majority of which are all debuting at Frankfurt next week . There will be a post next week, in which I will give my opinion of the show, but until then, thanks for reading and have a great weekend!

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