Currently reading: 2017 Frankfurt motor show: report, video and gallery
The biggest motor show of the year featured lots of launches and plenty of news. Check it all out here
36 mins read
13 September 2017

This was surely one of the most remarkable motor shows ever, not merely for new product (of which there was plenty, despite some rather shocking absences such as Fiat, Alfa, Peugeot, Citroën and Volvo), but for the way its exhibitors kept banging on almost non-stop about what will happen in 2025.

Newsmakers in the car business usually want you to concentrate relentlessly on the now, fearing that talk of future products will deter today’s buyers, but this year the air was full of electrification, and just how many battery or hybrid vehicles each marque would be offering by the end of the next decade. The most popular promise was that everyone would have at least one electrified version of every model by the mid-2020s; Daimler boss Dieter Zetsche’s “global intention” to have between 15% and 25% of its model line-up fully electric by then was one of the eye-catchers.

In the middle of it all stood the awesome £2m Mercedes-AMG Project One, the first true embodiment of Formula 1 technology for the road there has ever been - in that it really does use the main elements of Lewis Hamilton’s single-seater powertrain, and its engine will be made in the same factory, side by side with his. This was another of those times you wonder whether an extraordinary car can ever be topped (it started happening with the McLaren F1 25 years ago) until someone comes along and does it.

The show contained, as usual, a relentless parade of new German premium machinery. This country’s Big Four don't know any other Frankfurt way but to deploy a battering ram of product. Audi’s mammoth “no pedals, no steering wheel” Aicon proposed a driverless future and a 500-mile electric range, but you couldn't count the number of people who wondered why this driver’s marque was doing it. Frankfurt did not seem to have many attendees ready for fully driverless cars…

BMW was a lot closer to reality - also in the big car space - with its X7 concept, but the air was suddenly full of people discussing not the car’s plug-in technicalities but the company’s “struggle with design”. However, VW’s ID Crozz concept - a Golf for electric car buyers - looked completely plausible and desirable, and Mercedes Concept EQA ditto. That one made sense of Zetsche’s observation in an interview answer that “our job is to make electric cars irresistible to the buyer” and its five-second 0-60mph and shapely body will surely help.

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There were several truly beautiful concepts. Perhaps the best was Honda’s superb little Urban EV, a car so pretty and logical - and seemingly just waiting to be built - that they didn't even have to find it a silly name. Even better, Honda boss Takahiro Hachigo promised us a production version in 2019.

If the convoluted styling principles Honda applies to some of its other models get replaced by this car’s sweet simplicity, we could be in for a run of great Hondas. The other big design winner was Kia’s striking Proceed shooting brake concept, displayed rather remotely but proving again how progresssive and plausible this manufacturer's concepts always are. Vice president Peter Schreyer set out to give this company a design dynasty, and has surely succeeded.

Among more traditional exhibits, the new Land Rover Discovery SVX provided some long-promised toughness for the giant family off-roader, Ford’s revised Mustang (can this already be a mid-life refresh?) corrected all the things that needed correcting, and the all-new Bentley Continental GT showed how important new, classy proportions can be to a luxury car, even when the details and major dimensions don’t change much. Jaguar’s I-Pace racing car looked much more credible than some of us thought it was going to be, especially since there is to be a racing series for it, supporting Formula E.

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All in, Frankfurt was as entertaining as ever, though its absences were a surprise and a warning to motor show organisers everywhere. This show used to be a “must” for everyone, but there’s a growing fashion for spending your car launch money on separate events. One unhelpful thread of opinion I kept encountering was how much more simply enjoyable Geneva’s show is than this one, because the manufacturers all meet on equal terms and nobody has a private Taj Mahal.

One thing’s for certain: times and shapes and powertrains and ownership models are changing so much faster in the car game than ever before that serious car manufacturers are going to continue needing big-time exposure, just to take the buyers with them. Thus Frankfurt is still the place to be; see you back here in two years’ time.

Steve Cropley

Frankfurt motor show 2017: AS IT HAPPENED

2100: The show might have ended for the day, but the Autocar team is still hard at work. Matt Prior and videographer Mitch McCabe have spent the day touring the halls, and picked out the 12 cars you need to see. Check out the video.

1800: That looks about it, then. Twenty-four hours after it all began, the action has largely come to an end. Our show-floor team are still writing up the remaining news stories, so look out for them in the coming days. Watch this space for Steve Cropley's show report, and keep an eye on the Autocar website for our show stars from this year. You'll probably be able to decipher at least some of them from the blog below. 

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Catch all of the show news here

Watch the videos of the show stars here

Read all of the insight and opinions behind the headlines here

Also, make sure you grab the Frankfurt motor show special edition of Autocar magazine

1744: And on that topic, the list of the cars which people think the Honda Urban EV looks like has grown considerably. Now, we have: 

Peugeot 106 GTi, Lancia DeltaHonda N600, original Fiat 500Nissan Cube, Volkswagen LupoHonda N360, Scalextric Mini 1275GT, Toyota Starlet, Fiat 127, Vauxhall Nova. 

Jimi says: "No matter what it's been compared to, though, its reception has been overwhelmingly positive. Is that enough to push Honda into producing it? Many a previous confirmed-for-production concept has been sacked off in a will-they-won't-they titillation like this. We can only hope."

1737: Well said that man! 

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— Matt Prior (@matty_prior) September 12, 2017

1728: ...he's getting somewhere with one of an unnamed brand's top engineers, though: "A super-senior engineer from a blue-chip brand yet to launch its first hybrid tells me that 'hybrid is already looking old'. Also says that diesel has been dealt a hammer blow from which it may not recover and wonders why no one has focused on those other particles emitted by all cars, namely those from brake pads and tyres. He also says weather events like Irma are likely to vastly accelerate the rush to an all-electric future. All told, an interesting chap."

1720: Andrew Frankel's getting nowhere fast with Ferrari: "If you want a bit of sport in Frankfurt, try asking a bunch of Ferrari executives when we’re going to see its SUV. Ferrari PR boss Stefano Lai was surprised the press conference was already 20 minutes old before anyone plucked up the courage to pop the question, but it still didn’t stop a collective groan emanating from the Ferrari top brass there gathered. How they must have wished that the biggest boss of all - president Sergio Marchionne, notable only for his absence in Frankfurt - had not said only last month that Ferrari could ‘reinvent the concept of a vehicle that has some utilitarian features’. But he did. 

For the avoidance of doubt and according to Ferrari tech boss Michael Leiters, ‘we have many projects, many concepts, but there is no programme and nothing has been confirmed'."

1713: Mitch and Matt have been busy; they've now polished off an introduction to the Bentley Continental GT. Watch it below, and lament that most of us could (probably) never afford one. 

1648: Zetschegate continues... "More on Zetsche's trumping of our interview. The suspicion as I leave the stand is that he didn't arrive alone. Whether a fleet of S500s was needed for the 2km trip from the Mercedes hall to the BMW one is a moot point, however, especially at a show dominated by electro-mobility... Still, if he really wanted to rub BMW up the wrong way, I suppose he could have borrowed a Project One."

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1640: Jim's experiencing the perils of a motor show: "Needless to say I've gone to track down Dr Z and extract an apology (or at least a cheeky photo). However it seems the i Vision Dynamics concept is in transit, so Dr Z is getting a private viewing while I stare at an empty stand. I've been left high and dry..."

1633: Mark's picking favourites now: "Suzuki's Frankfurt star is the Swift Sport, but its other icon will be replaced when the motor show circus rolls into Tokyo next month: the Jimny. The model has leaked online in recent weeks, so with a smile Suzuki Europe boss Takanori Suzuki said to 'expect it in the near future'. Now, what could it possibly look like?"

1628: Someone's pulled rank on Jim: "My interview with BMW's R&D chief Klaus Fröhlich has just been cut short by the arrival of Mercedes boss Dieter Zetsche. An apologetic Fröhlich has been called upon to give Dr Z a tour of BMW's i concept. Who said rivalries couldn't be set to one side once in a while?"

1620: Any more for any more? Cars which aren't the Mk1 Honda Civic that our readers think the Honda Urban EV looks like:

BMW 3 Series E30

Peugeot 205

Skoda Fabia

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Mk1 Volkswagen Golf

Mk2 Volkswagen Golf

1613: Richard Bremner's at Mini: "Mini's electric EV concept car confirms the brand's plan to introduce this model in 2019, although it is not a detailed hint at how the EV version will look, says new Mini design chief Oliver Heilmer. The concept is based on the existing hatch, which will also be the basis of the production EV, not least because 'there is not much time to develop it', says Heilmer. So the scope for taking advantage of the packaging of an EV powertrain will necessarily be limited.

The EV concept's air curtain intakes and extractor are experimental, Heilmer says, and have yet to be wind tunnel tested. But if they work with the Mini's shape - air curtains don't function effectively with every car design - they will be considered.

The Mini GP concept employs similar devices, but on wilder scale, it's vertical vanes extending the wheelarches to enclose a wider track. Unlike the Mini EV the GP has yet to signed off, the business case still under development, but the intent is clearly there. Mini will use this concept as a source of feedback."

1607: A drum machine in its truest, and most terrifying form: "Just to really drum home the artificial intelligence angle, Audi has a robot band..." says Rachel.

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1558: In need of some eye candy? We've got a whole tab of dedicated picture features, with a decent glug of those about individual Frankfurt cars. Check them out here.

1550: Brexit brings out the sensationalist in many titles: "Read the story about the next generation Golf convertible being killed off because one of its biggest markets, Britain, is in the midst of Brexit turmoil? Well, it's rubbish, according to VW technical boss Franck Welsch - although he concedes the car may still not make production. 'We are investing in electrification, autonomy and connectivity - a huge undertaking,' he says to Jim Holder. 'That means we must make some decisions on cutting complexity elsewhere - convertibles, perhaps, coupés and more. But no decisions have been made and none will be based on Brexit alone; the UK market is important for convertibles, but wouldn't dictate strategy.'"

1540: Note to long-termer organiser: lime green for Rachel's next long-term test car: "This remains one of the most gawdy cars I've seen at today's show."

1531: BREAKING NEWS: A production version of the electric Bentley EXP12 Speed 6e is set to become the fifth model in the brand's line-up. The Crewe-based firm's boss Wolfgang Dürheimer had previously told Autocar that the decision for a new model was between an SUV smaller than the Bentayga and the two-seater electric sports car.

1522: Mark Tisshaw has noticed something: "For all the talk about mobility in Frankfurt, it is a city that doesn't have Uber." The controversial mobility company doesn't have a stand at Europe's largest motor show, either. 

1515: Mixed reactions to the Borgward Isabella concept: "It looks like the skin of a Nissan Leaf, stretched over a Tesla Model S." - unnamed Autocar journalist. 

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1511: Wolfgang Dürheimer's market research techniques are unorthodox: "Bentley boss Wolfgang Dürheimer proclaimed to a bunch of UK journalists that he didn't listen to rap music. No surprise there then. But his son does, and his son tells him rappers find Bentleys aspirational - which is naturally of interest to Dürheimer," says Rachel.

1501: Attempt to attract younger clientele, perhaps? Very clever. Clearly Tish isn't in Dacia's target demographic: "Old man alert: not only is Dacia pumping out ridiculously loud music, it is also rubbish."

1453: And the office erUPts into VW Group city car-based puns. Time's Up, Citigo-ing electric, and so on. Not sure why nobody else is laughing; why don't they find Mii funny?

1452: The Volkswagen Up/Skoda Citigo/Seat Mii plot thickens: "It is also a car that could easily be electrified, which is something we're investigating. From our perspective, I don't see the end of production coming." 

new messages

1444: Mark's taking sneaky pictures: "It's been a long day for some." 

1430: "Nice problems are still problems," says Skoda CEO Bernhard Maier when asked by Jim Holder about being unable to grow sales because he has waiting lists for almost every car Skoda makes. While trying to address problems of production capacity, he says the firm is 'trying to grow profitability, build residual values, focus on increasing our already strong reliability record and lay stronger foundations for the future' but he concedes that not being able to meet demand is his greatest frustration at present.

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1421: We're picking favourites, and social media whizz Sam Jenkins has chosen... "Jeeeez, I don't know. Probably the rear-wheel drive R8 RWS. Don't quote me. It's something different; they haven't done anything like this, they always do Quattro. The hypercar hasn't blown me away, though." 

1412: Although there's no denying the similarities. Joint venture, anyone? 

1405: There's a lot of love for the Honda Urban EV concept inside the Autocar office and across the internet, although, it should be noted, following several posts accusing Honda of pinching the Mk1 Golf's design, that Honda's first generation Civic beat the Golf to the punch, by two years. Soz.

1355: Autocar editor-at-large Matt Prior and our videographer Mitch McCabe are prowling the show floor, and have just finished a video on the Mercedes-AMG Project One. Sadly, Matt wasn't allowed to take it for a test drive - the video is still definitely worth watching, though.

1350: Kia’s engines chief Michael Winkler has been explaining how the firm is well provided for in terms of powertrain choice, offering petrol, diesel, hybrid, plug-in hybrid, pure electric and, from 2020, even fuel-cell propulsion systems. But Winkler says a big challenge is “deciding today on the platforms of tomorrow, because we can’t have them all”.

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The decision is difficult because it is not clear which way the market is going to develop. Although diesel demand is currently falling, Winkler added, “it’s needed in terms of CO2 reduction, no question. Its market share is expected to decrease, although diesel will still have its contribution. But a forecast is almost impossible at the moment.”

1345: While Jimi is munching his chicken, news editor Rachel Burgess has been gathering further details on the new Suzuki Swift Sport hatch, which you can read about here. For an update on another hot hatch, we've got full specs for the high-performance Toyota Yaris GRMN.

1340: Finding a brief respite from the Frankfurt madness, live blog custodian Jimi has left digital ed James Attwood to do the updates for a bit and headed to Twickenham's finest artisan restaurant, otherwise known as KFC. So this afternoon's updates will be fuelled by a bonus banquet (that's three fillets, fries, popcorn chicken and a drink). Jimi describes it as a "modest meal".

1335: Meanwhile, Jaguar’s Formula E boss James Barclay says the firm will announce its plans for the next season of Formula E on 21 September in Coventry, including the reveal of the new car and the driver line-up. He said that it had always been a plan to launch an I-Pace racing car as a one make Series too.

1330: Next up, Tish spoke to Nick Rogers, JLR’s engineering boss. Rogers says electrification “absolutely fits” with Land Rover models and their characteristics. He said that electronics allowed for minute control over rough terrain and surfaces, allowing for extra power and torque when needed in the same situations.

1325: Editor Mark Tisshaw has been gathering snippets on the Jaguar Land Rover stand. JLR sales boss Andy Goss has revealed there have been more than 25,000 expressions of interest in the upcoming Jaguar I-Pace production car, despite it not having been revealed yet. As for plug-in hybrids, the Range Rover and Range Rover Sport will have them by the end of JLR's financial year, with full details announced next month.

1315: Bit of lunchtime info for you; here are what the four Seat seven-seat SUV names mean:

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Alboran: the westernmost portion of the Mediterranean sea. It is home to the greatest diversity of species in the seas of Europe.

Aranda: a city of more than 32,000 inhabitants in the province of Burgos, located in the region of Castile and Leon, and is famous for its production of wine.

Avila: a city in the region of Castile and Leon, at 1,131 metres above sea level it is the highest provincial capital in Spain. 

Tarraco: it is the name of the former Roman city, one of the most important of ancient Hispania, which today is Tarragona. 

1310: Digital editor James Attwood has been busy reading through the final four contenders in Seat's competition to name its new seven-seat SUV. He's edging towards Alboran as his favourite, though he is concerned it sounds a bit too much like a type of breakfast cereal. 

1305: Audi Sport boss Stephan Winkelmann is keeping schtum on rumours that he is leaving to head up Bugatti. When we asked him in an interview, he referred to his PR, who said "no comment".

1255: Our show-floor team are locked in interviews - Mark Tisshaw is talking to Land Rover design boss Gerry McGovern. "Camel Trophy is of its time, I'm not sure how relevant that is now," said McGovern on whether or not he was tempted to go all out with snorkels and spotlights for the Discovery SVX. "This is for customers who want extreme capability. It's incredibly capable and people buy it as they love the image of it."

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1245: "The next electric model will be the Kona, launched at the Geneva motor show. We are looking to develop more electric motors to help increase range. Our customer-centric approach will continue to develop our technological development," continues Kim. 

1240: Hyundai president Hyung Cheong Kim has revealed big plans for his brand: "We plan to launch five new SUVs in the next five years, and that means half of our range will be SUVs. By 2020 we plan to launch 15 eco cars including hybrid and electric models. Our tech will be more affordable due to better tech."

1230: "William Lyons would approve, totally," legendary Jaguar designer Ian Callum says of the new Jaguar E-Pace. "He'd have got to it, and before us. He said the car and lorry are the closest thing to creating something that lives. Lyons said that - it was lorry in the original quote and not many people know that." 

1220: Wolfgang Dürheimer is talking about the Chiron's world record 0-400kph-0 run: "Since its world premiere it has become a true success story. In March first deliveries to customers started and since then our production at our plant in Molsheim has been at full pace. We did it to demo the incredible acceleration and braking of the Chiron; we didn’t want to take what the computer says, so we drove it. Unlike others, we don’t take just the theory - we have to try it in practice."

1210: At the other end of VW Group's offerings... "Volkswagen is considering the future of its Up city car in Europe, according to company boss Herbert Diess," Rachel reports. "While he said certain markets such as Brazil were very popular for the Up - to the extent that it is localising its production there - Diess acknowledged it was more challenging in Europe."

1202: Lamborghini has announced that its 'super SUV', the Urus, will be revealed on 4 December at its Sant'Agata Bolognese factory. That's one that'll definitely divide opinion.

1156: Digital editor James Attwood is intrigued by the arrival of Chinese manufacturers trying to break into the European market, although that's partly because of the rich headline pun potential for the Chery Exceed and anything by the firm Wey. "The Chinese firms have some way to go to crack the Euro market, so let's hope they can Exceed expectations," he said, to the amusement of nobody else.

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1147: Incoming news! The next electric ID car to be revealed by Volkswagen will be a saloon, which is likely to appear at the Geneva motor show next March. Full story here very soon. 

1139: Sam Sheehan is noticing a trend from our Twickenham HQ: "I’m glad to see motorsport has played a big part in this year’s show. BMW is showing off its new contender for the 2018 World Endurance Championship, the M8 GTE, and Porsche has emphasised how important its racing involvement is in 911 development. But the racing story to catch my eye most is the Jaguar I-Pace eTrophy reveal.

I can’t wait to see these bumper-banging around the streets of Formula E circuits next year. I wouldn’t be surprised if they end up as the most exciting part of the Formula E weekend…"

1130: Still racking up those steps, Jim’s at the Renault stand: “Not a new concept but as elegant a take on closed-cockpit F1 as we’ve seen."

1118: …although we can see why this caught his eye: “Hard not to stop and snap this so-called BMW i8 MemphisStyle…”

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1111: Jim’s picked a star car… “The BMW Vision Dynamic has to be the car of the show so far. Sure, its 'before 2021' on sale date is eating the falling dust thrown up in its face by Tesla's own electric saloon duo, but in terms of design desirability it more than bridges the gap. Proof, were it needed, that electrified motoring is about to get very interesting very quickly.”

1101: Seat's predicted top-seller, the Arona, is quietly confident, says Rachel: "My first real-life spot of the Seat Arona: not overly exciting but well-proportioned and I imagine will sell plenty."

1049: "More from our chat with Seat boss Luca de Meo, on the topic of autonomous cars: "If I put a Level 4 autonomous Ibiza on market for €50,000, nobody would buy it." His point being that Seat will be in the autonomous game when it makes sense - but, for now, it doesn't."

1038: Seat's feeling gassy, rather than electric, says Rachel: "We've been talking to Seat boss Luca de Meo. Electric is on the cards by 2020, but it's compressed natural gas that he's pushing for now. It's not available in the UK, but in Italy, for example, the CNG-powered Mii accounts for 35% of overall Mii sales."

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1030: Jim's now moved on to commending Toyota's diverse catalogue of ambitions: "Toyota may be chasing leadership in many directions (outright sales, hybrid technology, fuel cell technology, reliability, customer service, fun, affordable sports cars, Le Mans glory... the list goes on and on) but the arrival of a refreshed Toyota Land Cruiser is a reminder that some of its core strengths remain undimmed by its ambitions elsewhere. Perhaps the ultimate go-anywhere car, there's nothing about the changes that suggest its crown is about to slip."

1021: "Kugler says that the new Duster, which comes with bigger-ticket tech such as a four-camera system and improved off-road capability. He's clear, though, that Dacia won't move upmarket and do a Skoda. 'We will use technology from the Renault-Nissan Alliance when it is proven and affordable - it's as simple as that. Dacia's success is down to its affordability and dependability.'"

1010: Jim's chatting to the Dacia boss: "The new Dacia Duster is being revealed later today and an early chat with the brand's boss Jean-Christophe Kugler reveals a sense of anticipation that it will power the brand to a 14th successive year of record-breaking sales. 'The Duster is an authentic off-roader, and I think people like the honesty of a car that can be trusted,' he says. 'The fact the emergency services use it underlines its capabilities, and with the new car we have developed our offering to be more stylish, more comfortable and have more technology as standard. It has an honesty, but also huge capability.'"

0958: Lots more has been revealed across the morning. Here's a brief rundown: 

Mercedes-Benz GLC F-Cell unveiled

Mercedes-Benz unveils electric EQA hatchback concept

Renault Symbioz concept is designed to integrate with your house

2018 Renault Mégane RS hot hatch revealed with 276bhp

Subaru Impreza launched as all-wheel drive Ford Focus rival

Alpina D5 S - 322bhp diesel launched in saloon and estate forms

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0949: And there's this morning's BMW reveal: the concept precursor to the production BMW i5 has been revealed. Take a look here.

0940: Not a 3 Series, then? “BMW boss Kruger is telling the crowd his first car was an Opel Kadett.”

0931: Rachel’s getting out some sharp elbows: “Quite a busy press conference at BMW - can't even fit half of the people present into one picture.”

0920: Car journalists are being made to walk huge distances today. This will not go down well: “Having walked 2.2km to get to my first stop of the day, I'm in the gargantuan BMW hall; its press conference will start in four minutes and is set to feature an electric i5.”

0910: There’s a big gap for the Mini electric Concept - read our full story here.

0903: Rachel’s made a discovery: "There won't be any time for this today, but I can imagine this attraction will be very popular with the public...

0853: Jim Holder is checking his Fitbit: “I’ve clocked a kilometre of walking and I'm yet to reach my destination hall or see a car. There may be less manufacturers this year, but the Frankfurt show is still a geographical monster.”

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0845: “That green thing,” says Mark Tisshaw, “is the Thunder Power. But the stand is still roped off.”

0835: “Are you disappointed with Angela Merkel? Kruger responded: “We are in a continuous dialogue and we all want a solution.”

0825: While Jim’s gone to the dogs, Rachel’s talking turkey with BMW boss Harald Krüger. He said: "I have launched a working group [to investigate rumours of the cartel]. Talks among manufacturers are not unusual. Think of the plug for electrified cars.”

0820: Hopefully it’ll retriever good NCAP score, Jim: "Eager to learn what new Chinese manufacturer Wey may have up its sleeve for Collie safety…” Wouldn’t want Wey’s Chinese owners to pull the pug on its European expansion. They must have a boxer tricks for safety, though. 

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0811: Is there an echo in here? “I had seriously forgotten quite how big this place is,” said Rachel Burgess

0804: Seems like a decent trailer for the brand, Mark: “Don't ever say Ssangyong hasn't got its brand definition down to a tee…”

0759: It’s not just about the looks, though. Andrew Frankel’s been talking to some engineers: “Fascinating chat with Andy Cowell, MD of Mercedes-AMG High Performance Powertrains in Brixworth, the man responsible for all Mercedes F1 engines and, indeed, the whole powertrain going into Project One. I asked how on earth he was going to keep an F1 engine cool when parked in a Dubai traffic jam in August.

"'The secret,' he said, 'is not to generate the heat in the first place. The more friction your engine has, the more heat it will develop, the more cooling it will need, the heavier and less efficient it will become.' Project One has a thermal efficiency of over 40%, a number believed to be unprecedented among cars powered even in part by an internal combustion engine.”

0750: Live blog warden Jimi’s in two minds: “Interesting how understated the Project One looks. Nothing like its hypercar compatriots elsewhere in the industry, no fuss, no unnecessary aggression or detail; this is all aero. Not sure if it’s floating my boat yet, but it's got the longest mirror arms I've ever seen." 

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0745: “Chery is a huge story in Frankfurt today, the first domestic Chinese brand to launch a credible attempt into Europe. The covers are on the cars for now, but Chery is also pushing itself as a technology brand - this electric skateboard chassis on show one such example.” Mark Tisshaw muses over Chery’s first bite of the European car market cherry.

0738: Jim’s getting fears of 2001: A Space Odyssey situations in our cars: “So when did you expect fully autonomous cars with no steering wheel or pedals to be on our roads? It certainly wasn't as soon as 2021, yet that's when thousands of them will begin testing, according to VW's R&D chiefs, thanks to new legislation passing through the US right now. With the autonomous industry set to be worth billions, other countries will surely loosen up their regulations and follow suit. Progress, or too much too soon?”

0730: Jim Holder is pondering what’s in store for us car nuts: “Last night VW let slip first details of its autonomous concept for fast car lovers. Pondering its appeal last night I can't help but conclude that car enthusiasts face a very different future at best. The idea of being taught to drive fast by a computer isn't so bad - there's nothing wrong with precise, consistent feedback - but the joys of seat of the pants thrills feel far removed from the idea. Let us know your thoughts below.”

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0722: At such a big motor show, the ones who aren’t there are as conspicuous as the ones who are. Andrew Frankel’s keeping tabs: “Always interested at big shows to see who's not turned up. At Frankfurt, Nissan, Fiat, Chrysler, Citroën, Peugeot, DS, Aston Martin and McLaren have all stayed away. Not much more than 100 miles from Cologne, I find that fascinating. Is the view now that this is increasingly becoming a domestic show for the German big hitters and others will peddle their wares more profitably elsewhere? Or is the whole idea of vast static shows, unchanged in concept for decades, now finally starting to lose its sheen in this fast-moving digital world?”

0708: Jim Holder is thinking about the future of the battery electric vehicle: "Last night VW talked up the possibility of solid state battery technology hitting mass production by 2030, giving the average electric car a 1000-mile range. Interestingly, during a chat with the senior executives after the press conference, though, they all gave different answers as to when the technology would be on sale.

"The R&D bosses talked up a quicker turnaround - maybe as soon as 2025, while the bigger cheeses hedged on dates closer to the end of the decade. What's clear is that solid state technology will provide a huge breakthrough - and if anyone can get there first it'll be a huge advantage."

0655: Our show-floor team are on their way to the show as we speak, and Mark Tisshaw has some snippets from last night: "It's only a few years since Jaguar Land Rover announced plans to close one of its three UK factories. Now the company's turnaround is such that the Jaguar E-Pace has to be built by a contractor, Magna in Austria. It'll be built in the hall vacated by the Peugeot RCZ."

0645: And, of course, plenty of news came from the grilling of executives last night. Among the scoops are:

Volkswagen Group targets self-driving cars on public roads by 2021

Autonomous VW Golf-based performance car can give track tuition

VW Group boss: diesel is not dead

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…naturally, there were some opinions to underline the headlines from our show-floor team:

Lots of talk, but where were the VW Group's electric cars at Frankfurt?

Mercedes' Project One allows F1 to finally have some road car relevance

Tuesday 12 September, 0630: Morning! We're back bright and early for the next round of Frankfurt motor show action, direct from the show. See yesterday's last post for a round-up of the biggest cars from Group Night, and take a look at the things the night had to offer:

Land Rover Discovery gets hardcore SVX off-roader

Opinion: Why Land Rover needs the Discovery SVX

German market version of new LEVC TX taxi shown

First ride: LEVC TX taxi prototype on the streets of London

Mercedes-Benz to introduce simplified, voice-operated navigation

2130: That's it from tonight's kick-off to the Frankfurt motor show. We'll be back bright and early tomorrow morning with the next set of reveals, news stories, pictures and details. Catch up with all the Frankfurt show news here, and don't forget to read the insight and opinion behind the headlines here.

Tonight's big-hitters have been as follows: 

1000bhp Mercedes-AMG Project One hypercar fully shown

Porsche unveils 911 GT3 Touring Package as 'purist's' 911

532bhp Audi R8 V10 RWS is model's first rear-drive variant

Volkswagen reveals revised ID Crozz

Audi Aicon and Elaine models show latest autonomous tech

2120: Diesel’s not dead, according to VW boss Herbert Diess: “We are in a period of transition, and we must bridge - and fund - that transition by continuing to sell the latest diesel and petrol engines.”

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2111: Well that’s the first batch of launches done. Plenty more overnight and a shed load tomorrow, so the party’s not over yet. There’s more news coming from our people in Frankfurt, too. 

2102: Steve Cropley is taking in the fanfare around the Mercedes-AMG Project One: “Our task is not just to reinvent the automobile but to redefine mobility," says Dieter Zetsche.

2050: Jim’s counting stitches: “Per Continental GT there is 2.8km of stitching. Each double diamond as per picture has 712 stitches.”

2041: “There's a theme here... I vote RS5.” Rachel’s picking favourites.

2034: It’s easy to forget the scale of the Frankfurt motor show. Think that today’s action is intense? We’ve seen cars from just two motoring giants. Many, many more to follow. 

2025: And who should appear but Bentley Continental product line director Benno Brandlhuber - he says despite what we can see of the Conti, he still has to finish the car. How, I ask. Inside or out? "Everything needs maturing," he replied.

It goes on sale in Q2 of 2018, so he's only got six months... He said he's hoping it'll be done quicker than that.

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2018: …“New Bentley Continental GT looks smashing in metallic red. Getting plenty of attention.”

2007: Rachel’s step counter is on, and she’s doing the rounds: “There’s nothing new on the Bugatti stand. Oh, except that crazy record it announced earlier today…

1959: More breaking news: Audi has revealed the Aicon and Elaine concepts - note the presence of AI in both names - which demonstrate how AI in cars will transform the car into a lounge-like space. For some car fans, that’s an incredibly dystopian future.

1950: Steve Cropley’s checking out the Mercedes-AMG Project One hypercar: “Lewis Hamilton drives Project One onto stage where Zetsche is standing. They have a conversation. What's most exciting about your life, asks Zetsche. Driving the car, says Lewis (who has a haircut so new we hardly recognise him).”

1942: …that doesn’t mean that we’re not already keen on some hybrids in the UK, though. “Porsche UK boss Chris Craft said diesel historically has accounted for 65% of Cayenne sales in the UK, though the hybrid is making gains,” reports Rachel.

1933: BIG HEADLINE TIME: Volkswagen group brands are to offer an electrified version of every single model by 2030. Ten years later, thanks to the UK government’s ban on ICE-only cars, they won’t be an option; they’ll be the only option. 

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1927: And another! get your first (or second, if you caught the leak earlier today) look at the Porsche 911 GT3 Touring Pack. Rachel's grilling execs on what will probably be the brand's most desirable new model: "Talking about the 911 GT3 Touring Package, Frank Walliser of Porsche says the downforce level is not the same as the standard GT3. There's huge demand in market for the GT3, without the wing."

1918: And there’s another reveal - the Audi R8 RWS. It’s the first road-going, rear-drive R8, and is fitted with the 5.2-litre V10 from the standard R8. Should be nice and drifty.

1910: It’s unofficially official - the Project One has leaked, and a reliable leak hunter has published the pictures. Get your first look at the newest hypercar on the block here.

1859: Rachel’s over by the ID Crozz: “This Crozz, aptly named Crozz II, moves things on from the concept seen in shanghai. It's much nearer production in style - and it's been confirmed to arrive in 2020, the same year as its ID hatchback sibling.”

1853: Whispers of the Mercedes-AMG Project One having leaked from a news site are circulating the show. Wouldn't like to be the person responsible. 

1842: Ever the diplomat, Rachel compares manufacturers’ electric efforts: “Müller has announced all VW Group models will have an electrified variant by 2030 - that's ten years later than Jaguar Land Rover's intentions, which were announced last week. That said, Skoda, Seat, Audi, VW etc collectively have a far larger range to update.

1826: We’ve had our first reveal of the night - the Volkswagen ID Crozz, which has been updated into a more production-ready state, and confirmed for production. Take a look here. 

1815: Only five minutes until our first reveal of the evening. Rachel Burgess is in, brushing up on her Deutsch: "First journey into the gargantuan Frankfurt motor show on the eve of the show for Volkswagen Group night. Big boss Mr Müller is talking in German..."

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Monday 12 September, 1800 UK time: Welcome to the Autocar live blog of the 2017 Frankfurt motor show. As usual, we're bringing you all of the news, as well as live updates, pictures and news directly from the show. 

At the show, we have editorial director Jim Holder, editor-in-chief Steve Cropley, editor Mark Tisshaw, news editor Rachel Burgess and editor-at-large Matt Prior, senior contributing writer Richard Bremner, senior contributing writer Andrew Frankel, and special correspondents Hilton Holloway and Julian Rendell.

Back on the ground in the UK, we have digital editor James Attwood, senior staff writer Sam Sheehan and editorial assistant Sam Jenkins, with staff writer Jimi Beckwith running the live blog. Phew. Let's get started.

Frankfurt motor show 2017: THE CARS

Audi's Aicon and Elaine autonomous concepts

Audi's going big with its push for autonomy; the brand revealed not one but multiple concept cars with level 4 and 5 autonomy. 

Audi A8

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We've already seen it in the flesh at the Audi Summit in early July, but the A8 has also made an appearance at Frankfurt. 

Rear-wheel drive Audi R8

A rear-wheel drive Audi R8 has been revealed at the Frankfurt motor show. It's being produced in limited numbers, under the name Audi R8 RWS.

Bentley Continental GT

The wait is (almost) over - Bentley's long-awaited next-generation Continental GT is expected to be officially revealed at the Frankfurt motor show, as the brand's most advanced car yet. It will even have a hybrid in the range, like its SUV sibling, the Bentayga

BMW 6 Series GT

Another we've already seen, but only in pictures: the replacement for the BMW 5 Series Gran Turismo, the BMW 6 Series Gran Turismo. It's more conventionally styled than its numerically inferior predecessor, but it's still splitting opinions. 


BMW will officially be the first mainstream manufacturer to produce an entry for the next big performance segment: the hot electric hatch. Renault may have pipped it to the concept with the Zoe e-sport, but the i3S is a dead cert for production. BMW is also showing the facelifted i3 range.

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BMW i5

BMW's third i model has been previewed at Frankfurt motor show with a new 'notchback' concept. The eagerly anticipated i model, which is expected to take the i5 name into production, is planned to be introduced in 2021 as part of a range of up to 25 plug-in hybrid and pure electric vehicles announced by BMW chairman Harald Krüger in an update to the German car maker’s 'Number One > Next' model strategy.


Another hot one from BMW but it couldn't be more different to the i3S: it is BMW's newly four-wheel-drive M5. The super saloon has already been shown in part on a video game publicity shot, but Frankfurt is the first time we've seen it in person and up close.


Hot on the heels of the 8 Series concept, the M8 GTE - the road-going M8's race-going brother - is being revealed at Frankfurt. BMW has only revealed the car in disguise so far, but when the wraps come off, it'll give us a hint as to what to expect from the 8 Series and M8.

BMW X7 concept

BMW's answer to the Mercedes-Benz GLS has arrived at Frankfurt in concept form. It has been revealed pre-show, and the X2 is holding its concept's looks for production, so expect much the same process for BMW's opinion-splitting SUV flagship concept.

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Borgward's sports car concept

Revived German (but now Chinese-owned) car maker Borgward has given us a glimpse of its sports car concept, which could eventually make production as a halo model, akin to MG's E-Motion concept.

Chery's SUV concept

This one has all the trappings of an automotive zeitgeist; it's a Chinese car maker's European brand, hybrid or electric SUV, to be revealed in pre-production form. 

Citroën C3 Aircross

Citroën's answer to the Nissan Juke makes its first public outing at the Frankfurt motor show. The quirky French small SUV arrives in the UK in November, priced from £13,995 - undercutting the Juke by almost £900.

Dacia Duster

At the other end of the SUV market, though, will be the Dacia Duster. Dacia's small SUV is being replaced in 2018, with exterior images now having been revealed.

Ford Ecosport

The Ford Ecosport has some catching up to do, having been coldly received in its first iteration. A first refresh didn't do much to help, so Ford is launching this third version to elbow its way to the front of one of the hottest segments in the car industry. 

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Facelifted Honda Jazz

It's time for the Jazz's mid-life refresh, so Honda's taken one to Frankfurt to show the world. Expect Honda's supermini-cum-small-MPV practicality and dependability, with a similar face to the new Civic

Honda CR-V hybrid

The Honda hybrid is back! Well, if you discount the NSX, that is. Honda's first hybrid in its electrification onslaught will be a CR-V, before other models follow suit. 

Hyundai i30N

Hyundai's first hot hatch makes its bow at Frankfurt, following its debut in Germany earlier this summer. There is up to 271bhp on tap, pumped-up looks and the promise of crisp handling. 

Hyundai Kona

Hyundai is helping to keep up the SUV's relentless momentum with the Kona - its answer to the Nissan Juke. It's the first of three cars in this segment, and one of 12 (and counting) hitting Frankfurt in September. Keep scrolling for the others...

Jaguar E-Pace

...Starting with the Jaguar E-Pace. It has already proven to be one of Jaguar's most headline-grabbing modern-day cars, being its second SUV and expected to be its best-seller and that fabled 'Baby Jag'. 

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Kia's Proceed concept

Continuing its upward trajectory into more premium segments, Kia is following Mercedes' lead by creating a shooting brake. It's likely to replace the slower-selling Pro'Ceed three-door in the Ceed range, although Kia's tight-lipped on the details.

Kia Picanto X-Line

Kia's smallest model is getting a punchy new trim level; the X-Line. The rugged, off-road-inspired trim adds cladding to the exterior, as well as contrasting highlights, and marks the first time the brand's 99bhp 1.0-litre turbocharged three-cylinder will be used in the Picanto. 

Facelifted Kia Sorento

The facelifted large SUV is being showcased at the Frankfurt motor show, with small tweaks to bring it up to date. The exterior refresh is as subtle as is possible, while under-the-skin updates including safety assistance systems will feature. It'll also get the brand's sporty GT-Line trim. 

Kia Stonic

Another Nissan Juke rival at Frankfurt later this summer is the Kia Stonic. Kia's small SUV made its initial splash on its reveal not long ago, but we'll see it for the first time in the flesh at Frankfurt.

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Lamborghini Aventador S Roadster

The drop-top version of the Aventador S, the open-top has been added to V12's model range with 730bhp. It's on sale from £301,754.

Facelifted Lexus NX

The European-spec Lexus NX, in facelifted form, is at Frankfurt, after the Asian-spec car was revealed at the Shanghai motor show earlier in the year.

Facelifted Lexus CT

Lexus' hatchback has also been given a mild facelift, which the brand is showcasing at Frankfurt. It's likely to be the last refresh the model receives, as Lexus plans to replace it with a small SUV, named UX. 

Mercedes-AMG Project One hypercar

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Perhaps the headline car of the Frankfurt motor show is Mercedes-AMG's as-yet-unnamed hypercar, codenamed Project One. It's set to fight the Aston Martin Valkyrie and usher in a new generation of hypercars when it arrives late next year.

Mercedes-Benz EQ hatchback

Mercedes is following Volkswagen's lead with an electric vehicle concept assault; it's now prepping its answer to the Volkswagen ID hatchback concept. Expect a similar approach to its previous EQ SUV concept.

Mercedes-Benz G63 Exclusive edition

Mercedes-AMG is sending the original G-Class off in style with the introduction of two limited-volume versions of the military-grade off-roader. The G63 and G65 Exclusive Edition receive a range of unique styling touches to both their exterior and interior.

Mercedes-Benz GLC F-Cell EQ Power

Mercedes has showcased its hydrogen-fuel-cell-powered SUV concept at Frankfurt, although it's not just hydrogen-powered, it's a hybrid, with another electric engine providing additional go. Mercedes claims a range of 500km (311 miles).

Mercedes-Benz S-Class coupé facelift

The revised S-Class was revealed at the Shanghai motor show, so it follows that the coupé and cabriolet variants will come soon after. 

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Mercedes-Benz X-Class

The X-Class may be about to be revealed, but it has been wheeled out again at Frankfurt for its motor show debut, as part of a large Mercedes-Benz stand. 

Electric Mini concept

Mini's first fully electric model, a variant on the three-door hatch, is previewed by a Frankfurt-bound concept, before going into production at the brand's UK plant in Oxford.

Mini John Cooper Works GP Concept

The concept features extreme styling that is unlikely to be carried over in its entirety to a production model. There are large front and rear aprons, side skirts and a prominent roof spoiler. It also uses lightweight materials including carbonfibre, which Mini said optimises the power-to-weight ratio. However, no figures are provided. It uses 19in alloy wheels, while the LED rear lights display half of the Union Jack, a nod to the car’s British origins.

Porsche Cayenne

Porsche's first SUV, the Cayenne is about to enter its third generation. Porsche revealed the car ahead of Frankfurt so we know what it looks like.

Renault Mégane Renault Sport

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The Mégane Renault Sport's gestation has been plagued with leaks and barely disguised shots. Frankfurt was where it was fully revealed, though, and it didn't disappoint.

Renault Symbioz concept

Renault’s Symbioz concept demonstrates three future aspects of motoring, autonomy, electric drive and connectivity, which the brand expects to feature on its everyday models by 2030. 

Seat Arona

The Seat Arona broke cover a while ago now, but its first motor-show outing was at Frankfurt, where it joined the ranks of the other SUVs hitting the car market. It will be interesting to see how it stacks up against the competition.

Seat Leon Cupra R

Seat's performance flagship moves into its third generation with the Leon Cupra R: a copper-trimmed, 306bhp hot hatch with upgraded aerodynamics, exhausts and interior over the standard Leon Cupra. Just 799 will be made.

Smart Vision EQ concept

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Smart's Vision EQ concept shows off the brand's developments in four key areas: connected, autonomous, shared and electric. It previews the brand's future within Daimler's brand portfolio, with plans for connected and autonomous technology previewed on the car. 

Subaru Impreza

The next Subaru Impreza will break cover at Frankfurt, as the firm refreshes its line-up with new architecture, first seen on the new XV

Suzuki Swift Sport

Suzuki released a video to show off the car's sporting prowess ahead of the full reveal, but the Swift Sport is now in the open, for all to see. Styling is more grown up than its sibling, and it has split opinion among Autocar readers.

Toyota C-HR Hy-Power concept

Toyota has described the Hy-Power concept as a design study, but it explores a more sporting element to its hybrid crossover, the C-HR. If it reaches production, the model will be the first hot hybrid SUV on the market. 

Facelifted Toyota Land Cruiser

Toyota's stalwart go-anywhere leviathan SUV gets another refresh, bringing it into line with the rest of the Toyota range. It'll be evolution rather than revolution, and the tough mudder will still have its body-on-frame construction underneath the skin. 

Vauxhall Grandland X

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Could this be a new addition to the UK's best-sellers list a year from now? Vauxhall certainly hopes so, and the Grandland X makes its debut at the Frankfurt show as a rival to the Seat Ateca and Nissan Qashqai

Vauxhall Insignia Country Tourer

It's been a while since the Country Tourer was revealed, but Vauxhall's estate-cum-off-roader officially made its debut in Frankfurt. 

Volkswagen ID Crozz 

The Volkswagen ID Crozz has been refreshed for the Frankfurt motor show, following its initial outing in Shanghai. In addition to a new paint colour, the Crozz has been given more detailed LED headlights and a lower light bar akin to that on the not-dissimilar Skoda Vision E concept. 

Volkswagen Polo

Volkswagen's Polo has grown up for its sixth generation and was revealed earlier in the summer at an event in Berlin.

Continental's wireless electric vehicle charging

Tech company Continental will showcase its latest inductive charging tech in Frankfurt. The road charges the car while stationary, and data is sent to the driver's phone via a smartphone app.

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Event information

Dates Trade: 14-15 September 2017; Public: 16-24 September 2017

Location Trade fair grounds, Ludwig-Erhard-Anlage 1, D-60327 Frankfurt/Main, Germany

Opening times 9am-7pm, daily

Tickets For ticket information, visit the official website

Join the debate

Add a comment…
Fasteddie 13 September 2017

Tesla is not at the IAA....

...but Tesla is everywhere, influencing every company's plans. The concepts and press releases are what we should expect from incumbents after they watched Tesla steal all of the oxygen out of the room in July.


The Apprentice 12 September 2017

Someone call me when they get

Someone call me when they get to the Honda stand and get some real data on the CR-V hybrid... cheers.

wilsonlaidlaw 12 September 2017

The Vauxhall/Opel Grandland looks overweight and blobby

The Vauxhall/Opel Grandland looks overweight and blobby especially at the front. Is this the best shot the photographer. Surely if they can use Photoshop to make model girls look skinnier, they could have done something with the lardy looking Vauxhall.