Five things to expect at this year's Frankfurt show
Electrification for the masses: car electrification takes a huge step forward at Frankfurt, Germany's biggest car show
The Chinese are coming: Chery heads to Europe with a compact SUV, a type of car enjoying exponential growth in Europe
Dieselgate, two years on: the news of Volkswagen's Dieselgate scandal broke two years ago, immediately after the Frankfurt show. Lots has changed since then
The next stage of the hypercar: Mercedes-AMG has done what no other car maker has credibly done: put an F1 engine in a road car
The hot hatch strikes back: we welcome the Seat Leon Cupra R and new Renault Sport Mégane
This week, the Frankfurt motor show will open its doors with one of the most eclectic line-up of vehicles yet displayed at a car event.
Below, we cut the list of arrivals down to some of the most exciting things due on Autocar.co.uk in the coming days.
1. Electrification for the masses
The electrification of the car takes a huge step forward at Frankfurt, Germany's biggest car show. The country's powerful car makers, with the kind of global popularity and therefore influence on trends no other country's car makers can match, have thrown their weight behind the mass-market adoption and roll-out of electric cars, with the launch of some of the most desirable and usable models yet. Stars will include the Mercedes-Benz EQ A hatchback, the Volkswagen ID Crozz SUV and the BMW i5 compact saloon, while BMW-owned Mini is previewing the future of the brand with an electric concept. They will be cars without compromise on range or desirability - crucial in ensuring the success of the technology.
2. The Chinese are coming
At last, we have a credible attempt from a Chinese car maker bringing one of its models to Europe, the toughest of all markets to crack. That brand is Chery and it heads to Europe with a compact SUV, a type of car enjoying exponential growth in Europe. The cars being produced in China display progress in five years what has taken others 30 or more, so European expansion is a logical next step.
3. Dieselgate - two years on
The news of Volkwagen's Dieselgate scandal broke two years ago, immediately after the Frankfurt show. The show stars then were all evolutions of an existing era, unlike the dawning of a new one in 2017. That’s because Dieselgate has led to unprecedented change in the industry, from legislators ruling against what was Europe's favourite power source to consumers shunning it in ever-increasing numbers to the electric car's introduction being hastened like never before. There remains a lot of ill feeling towards VW from many sides; one reason is that manufacturers have serious investments still in diesel cars and need them to sell for another generation at least to fund the development of electric cars. Dieselgate has sped up change that was going to happen anyway.
4. The next stage of the hypercar
Five years ago, we had the holy trinity of the Porsche 918 Spyder, McLaren P1 and LaFerrari sitting right at the top of the industry for performance, price and prestige. Each of those car makers has said they will not make another hypercar until the technology has matured, as anything they make now would be too similar to their most recent efforts. Try telling that to Mercedes-AMG, which has done what no other car maker has credibly done: put a Formula 1 engine in a road car. To go with it is a hybrid system, also from Merc's all-conquering F1 car. Who said F1 had no relevance for road cars?
5. The hot hatch strikes back
After electric cars and SUVs, it is hot hatches at both ends of the market that fill Frankfurt’s show stars. Even with the nascent arrival of the electric car, the hot hatch’s everyman appeal shows no sign of diminishing. We’re now in an era when 300bhp-plus is the norm; the Seat Leon Cupra R being the latest exponent of that at Frankfurt. The real intrigue at the show comes from the Renault Sport Mégane, which has always placed the importance of chassis tuning ahead of outright power. Will Renault be tempted to alter that formula with the new model?