Sunday, September 10, 2017

2017 Frankfurt Auto Show Preview (And Some Miscellaneous Reveals)



Alexander Carabitses 


The 2017 Frankfurt Auto Show kicks off on the week of September 11.  However, for many automakers, that date is pretty much irrelevant as the majority of them have already announced what they plan on bringing and have even shown many of these models in advance.  With this in mind, I feel that it's best to put together this "preview post" in order to showcase these models now, while saving the surprises and unreleased vehicles for my review post. Before you begin reading, please note that a lot of the products that were revealed this past summer from brands like Seat, Skoda, Bentley, Rolls-Royce, Hyundai, VW, Porsche, Suzuki, Audi, and BMW are all making their way to Frankfurt.  Additionally, there are a few models at the bottom of the list that aren't coming to the auto show that I felt needed to be covered as soon as possible.
(Image credited to Lamborghini


2019 Seat Leon Cupra R:  For those who are wondering what this is, just look at it as Seat's version of the Volkswagen Golf R.  That means 296 horsepower (if you opt for the automatic) and 310 horsepower if you opt for the manual, with both engines being placed in a vehicle that features more aggressive bodywork than the Leon or the Cupra. And much like the Golf R32 of old, the Cupra R will be a limited edition model, with the magic number being 799 units.
(Image credited to Seat)

2019 Ford Ranger Black Edition: I've said it before and I'll say it again, I hate blackout and nightfall packages.
(Image credited to Ford)

2019 Volkswagen Amarok Dark Label and Adventura Exclusive:  Once again, we have some more irrelevant special edition models that the US won't get.  On the bright side, the Dark Label is grey.
(Image credited to Volkswagen)

2018 Opel Insignia GSi/Sports Tourer:  Remember the Buick Regal GS? Well this is the European version, which includes a station wagon that we will never get.  Additionally, the Country Tourer variant (i.e. the Regal TourX) will also be shown in the flesh for the first time.
(Image credited to Opel)
(Image credited to Opel)
(Image credited to Holden- could not find an Opel picture)


2018 Opel Vivaro Life:  Opel recently showed a passenger version of the Vivaro midsize van, and now they're showing us a camper version.  Swiveling rear seats that fold into flat beds are on offer, and before anybody asks, yes, this is a production vehicle.
(Image credited to Opel)

2018 Citroen Space Tourer Rip Curl: Opel's new sister brand, Citroen, has produced a far superior mid-size camper with this concept, as can be seen through pictures alone.  The roof features a fabric portion that rises, which is a move that clearly echoes what Volkswagen does for its own camper vans.
(Image credited to Citroen)


2018 Citroen E-Maheri Courreges Limited Edition: Citroen has partnered with the famous French fashion house, Couregges, to produce an instantly forgettable blackout package for what's essentially a beach buggy.  Mercifully, only 61 will be produced.
(Image credited to Citroen)

Jaguar Future-Type Concept: Smart isn't the only brand that's showing up with an autonomous concept in Frankfurt, as Jaguar has just pulled the wraps off of the Future-Type: an autonomous car that the owner can manually drive at his or her discretion.  The main highlight of this car is Sayer,  the world's first voice activated steering wheel, which enables the driver to control all functions of the car.  Although this is only a concept that shows us what Jaguars could look like in the year 2040, it is nice to see automakers experimenting with technologies like this at such an early stage.  Additionally, it is nice to see that we'll still be able to manually drive these autonomous cars if we so choose.
(Image credited to Jaguar)

2019 Honda CR-V Hybrid:  The new Honda CR-V is set to make its European premier in Frankfurt, but this hybrid version is the biggest piece news.  Initially shown earlier this year in Shanghai, this three mode hybrid (gas, hybrid, and EV) can activate either of the three drive modes on its own, without driver intervention; the goal is to constantly optimize fuel economy. There is no word on whether or not this model is destined for the US, but since Nissan and Toyota offer hybrid versions of their c-segment crossovers, it seems like it would be a mistake for Honda to keep this out of this market.
(Image credited to Honda)

2018 Kia Picanto X-Line:  Because crossovers are all the rage these days, Kia has joined GM and Fiat in thinking that putting body cladding on an A-segment car and raising the ride height by 0.59 inches will move more metal. Additionally, Kia has fitted the engine from the sportier GT trim in this car, so that it now produces a mind-blowing 99 horsepower.  Sales will commence in the fourth quarter of this year.
(Image credited to Kia)

2018 Kia Sorento:  It may be hard to believe, but it's already time for this crossover to undergo its mid-cycle refresh.  The exterior changes are subtle and irrelevant, while the major bit of mechanical news is a new 8-speed automatic transmission.  Additionally, there is a new GT line (pictured below), which features sportier trim, both inside and out.  Expect sales in Europe to commence in the latter part of the year, following this crossover's debut.  Expect a North American premier in LA.
(Image credited to Kia)

Kia Proceed Concept: Kia has decided to preview the next generation Pro Cee'd in Frankfurt with this Proceed shooting brake concept.  While quite dramatic, we should expect for the production version to be more toned down, although certain features, such as the Stinger inspired front end will most likely make the cut.
(Image credited to Kia)


2018 Mercedes-Benz V-Class Rise and Limited: Where did this come from and why should I care?  This is the question I always ask myself when I see special edition vans like these.  I have included them on the list, simply because they will debut at the show, but I won't waste anybody's time by going into details.
(Image credited to Mercedes-Benz Vans)
(Image credited to Mercedes-Benz Vans)

2018 Mercedes-Benz AMG G63/G65 Exclusive Editions:  These special edition versions of the G-Class AMG models are most likely final editions for this generation of vehicle.  While there is plenty of unique trim, both inside and out, there aren't any mechanical changes.  As always with the G-Class, expect six-figure prices.
(Image credited to Mercedes-Benz)
(Image credited to Mercedes-Benz)


2019 Mercedes-Benz S-Class Coupe/Convertible, S63 AMG Coupe/Convertible, and S65 AMG Coupe/Convertible: Here is another vehicle that is incredibly halfway through its life-cycle. The new range of two-door S-Classes feature a 4.0-liter V8 in mainline models that produces 463 horsepower and 516 lb-ft of torque (0-60 mph 4.5 seconds). The S63 AMG features a 4.0 liter biturbo V8 that makes 603 horsepower and 664 lb-ft of torque (0-60 mph in 3.4 seconds).  Finally, the S65 AMG's engine output remains the same at 6.0-liters, with the V12 making 621 horsepower and 738 lb-ft of torque (0-60 mph in 4.0 seconds). There are many new electronic and safety features that are similar (if not completely identical) to those of the S-Class sedan refresh.  The exterior and interior revisions are also quite minor.
(Image credited to Mercedes-Benz)
(Image credited to Mercedes-Benz)
(Image credited to Mercedes-Benz)
(Image credited to Mercedes-Benz)
(Image credited to Mercedes-Benz)
(Image credited to Mercedes-Benz)


Mini John Cooper Works GP Concept:  Designed to commemorate the brand's accomplishments in the 1967 Monte-Carlo Rally, this one-off model features unique body work, a roll cage, and a three point racing harness.  However, the most important aspect of a car like this (i.e. the engine) has not been disclosed.
(Image credited to Mini)


2018 BMW M760Li Nautor Swan Edition: To celebrate the 25th Asiverssary of BMW's Individual Program (which allows owners to special order personally customized BMW's that feature unique paint and trim), the brand has decided to trot out this utterly pointless one-off 7-Series just in time for the Frankfurt Auto Show.  BMW says that it was inspired by yachts, but to be honest, I don't see it on the exterior at all. However, the interior does feature a lot of nice trim and a yacht deck-inspired floor. The thing that truly bugs me is that BMW is already unveiling a number of significant new products at Frankfurt, so is the debut of a special edition model necessary?
(Image credited to BMW)

BMW X7 iPerformance Concept:  Probably BMW's worst kept secret has been its desire to launch a flagship SUV that can seat six passengers and compete with lower-end Range Rovers.  Well, this is the initial design preview, and the results are interesting at best.  While I like certain details, such as the slimmer, more aggressive headlamp design and the concept car roof, I can't accept the grille.  To be frank, those aren't kidney grilles, rather, they are griddles that were pulled straight off of a large outdoor grill, finished in an aluminum color, and slapped onto the front end of the car.   Also, the rear fender vents look somewhat ridiculous (at least from pictures), but I understand that if they weren't there, the rear fenders would be incredibly bulky.  The interior takes an evolutionary approach, mixed with some concept car touches. As its name implies, this is a Twin-Turbo plug-in hybrid, but BMW didn't actually announce any performance data. Expect a production version to debut at some point next year.
(Image credited to BMW)

2018 Lamborghini Aventador S Roadster: Although it weighs 110-lbs more more than the coupe, the Aventador S Roadster is still a quick car.  Its 6.5-liter V12 engine produces 730 horsepower and 590 lb-ft of torque, and those who want to hear the engine in its full glory when the roof is not in place can open and shut a rear window at the push of a button.  The roff panels themselves can only be removed manually, although this shouldn't be too big of a problem considering that they only weigh 13 pounds a-piece.  The car goes on sale later this year for a sticker price of $460,247.
(Image credited to Lamborghini)


Non-Frankfurt Reveals:

2018 Caterham Seven SuperSprint:  The first of three British sports cars on this half of the list, this car is meant to commemorate the sixtieth anniversary of the iconic roadster.  Only sixty cars will be produced for the UK and Europe, and they all feature unique trim, both inside and out.
(Image credited to Caterham)

2018 Lotus GT430 Sport: This is a more street friendly version of the Lotus GT430 that was revealed earlier this summer.  Powered by a 3.5-liter supercharged V6, the car makes 430 horsepower and 325 lb-ft of torque; top speed is rated at 196 miles per hour.  The car weighs 22-lbs less because it ditches much of the GT430's aerodynamic features, and now weighs 2,751-lbs.  Additionally, the car generates 220-lbs of downforce at 196 mph.  This car, which sounds like it will be a blast to drive,  has just gone on sale for 104,500 UK Pounds.
(Image credited to Lotus)

2019 TVR Griffith:  Good news: TVR is back and the car that they have re-emerged with looks like it has a lot of potential to be a stunner on the track.  Power comes from Ford's 5.0-liter V8 that's tuned by Cosworth to deliver around 500 horsepower, with 0-62 mph happening in less than 4 seconds and the top-speed being quoted at "over 200 mph".  Notice that I'm not being specific, simply because TVR itself wasn't specific...that is not a good sign.  However, TVR was specific about the 50-50 weight distribution and that the car weighs 2,755-lbs.  The final two engineering points worth noting are A) the car comes with a Tremec Magnum XL six-speed manual transmission, and B) the car achieved its rigidity target by an engineering technique that bonds carbon fiber to steel.  Moving on to design, the car is as polarizing as a TVR should be, so some will love it and some will hate it.  The car also seems to borrow heavily from the Toyota FT-1 Concept (the design preview for the upcoming Supra) and the Mercedes SLS, so I can't say that this is entirely original.  The interior is also quite spartan, although I'm sure that traditionalists will appreciate that.  Earlier I alluded to the fact that TVR wasn't specific about performance figures and only gave estimates; considering that deliveries don't start until early 2019, it's is clear that the brand still has a lot of work to do.  When cars do arrive, expect them to sticker just under 90,000 UK Pounds, with the first 500 cars being badged as Launch Edition models.
(Image credited to TVR)


2019 Nissan Leaf: By far, no vehicle on this list is more important than the all-new Nissan Leaf. The car is powered by a 40-kWh lithium-ion battery pack that generates 147 horsepower and 236 lb-ft of torque.  The car has an EPA estimated range of 150 miles (a long range variant is coming for the 2019 model year), along with a charging time of 16 hours with a 3kW plug or 8 hours with a 6kW plug.  Additionally, the latter plug supports a quick charging feature that can charge the battery to 80% in 40 minutes.  These are all positive changes.  However, the changes to the exterior are a disaster, as it appears that Nissan has apparently found a way to make an ugly car look even worse.  Although the sides are more squared off than before, the basic silhouette is retained.  The real problem lies in the front overhang, which from certain angles looks like a partially-tipped seesaw. The interior changes are evolutionary and it looks like a decent place to be, although I'm not a fan of all the black trim that was shown in the press photos. The car goes on sale in early 2018 for $29,990.
(Image credited to Nissan)


That's all I have. Thank you for reading and have a good week.

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