Next week at the Frankfurt Motor Show, car designers and engineers will unveil their best-laid plans for 2017 and beyond.
Not every major automaker will attend. Aston Martin, Cadillac, Lincoln, and McLaren, among others, have said they won’t show new products there this year. Those that do will use it as the vehicle (pun intended) to debut their best work to date.
They’ll also use it to position new products for the rest of the year. Frankfurt falls before the domestic auto shows (Los Angeles, Detroit, New York) that begin in mid-November, allowing big names like Bentley and Rolls-Royce to announce news early, maintain any hype they generated over the summer, and preempt North American debuts from competitors.
Kings of Luxury
Bentley and Rolls, in fact, lead the pack with arguably the most anticipated models of the year debuting there: the Bentley Bentayga and the Rolls-Royce Dawn. Each had a sneak peek for VIP press at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance but had not yet been shown live to the public.
Each will be iconic in its own right. The Bentayga is the long-awaited W12 SUV that is the fastest, most powerful, and most luxurious SUV in the world. Bentayga will hit 600 horsepower and 663 foot-pounds of torque over its four-wheel-drive, 8-speed automatic transmission. It’ll go to 60 mph in 4 seconds and hit a top speed of 187 mph.
The Dawn is Rolls’s brand-new 2+2 V12 rag-top drophead convertible that fronts a massive 563 horsepower with the exquisite wood detailing of a million-dollar yacht. Rolls has yet to announce exact pricing, but expect it to hover over $300,000.
Ferrari, meanwhile, will show off the Spider version of its turbocharged 488 GTB. The open-top exotic will have the same perfected 661-hp, twin-turbocharged, mid-mounted V8 engine as the coupe version but with a retractable roof. The price tag will likely hit $275,000, roughly $30,000 more than the 488 GTB’s base price but about equal to the McLaren 650S Spider.
Lamborghini will offer a Huracan LP 610-4 Spyder. This is the successor to the successful Gallardo LP 560-4 Spyder. It’ll have a 610-hp V10 engine and 7-speed dual-clutch transmission.
Chasing the Numbers
Elsewhere, Audi, BMW, and Mercedes-Benz will use Frankfurt to debut multiple models integral to their plans to dominate luxury volumes for 2016.
Audi will show the E-Tron Quattro Electric Concept and the European-Spec A4, most notably. (That E-Tron SUV will get a record-setting 310 miles on one charge, Audi says.)
BMW will show the 7 Series, 3 Series, and X1, while sister brand Mini will show the all-new Mini Clubman.
Mercedes will show the S-Class Cabriolet, C63 Coupe, and C-Class Coupe; sister brand Smart will debut the 2017 Fortwo Cabrio. They’re each updates to already-existing models, meant to refresh and progress the brand.
Porsche, similarly, will stick to its core by launching the 2017 911 Carrera. For the first time ever, the car adds rear-axle steering as an option for the Carrera S, significantly enhancing its agility and speed. It’ll also have new headlamps, 20 more horsepower, and improved efficiency over its predecessor. Porsche says it’ll launch next March.
At Infiniti, expect to see the new Q30, its first global concept. The car will look like an elevated hatchback and likely go up against things like the Audi A3, Mercedes CLA, and Lexus NX.
Lexus, on the other hand, will show the LX 570 SUV and various new versions of the GS, including the GS 450h hybrid.
SUV Race Heats Up
Jaguar’s new F-Pace will likely outshine all of those midlevel-luxury entrants. This is the first-ever SUV for Jaguar and the brand’s major attempt at joining the luxury SUV market that is quickly becoming crowded with offerings from the likes of Aston Martin, Maserati, Lamborghini, Tesla, and Rolls-Royce.
Needless to say, it will be the single most important model Jaguar launches next year, challenging even Bentley's Bentayga for the Frankfurt SUV spotlight. For now, at least, that may be enough.
Stay tuned for more coverage during the event itself. The show runs Sept. 17–27 in Frankfurt, Germany. Public hours are 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. beginning the 19th.