Skip to main content

What to expect at the Frankfurt Motor Show

What to expect at the Frankfurt Motor Show


Mercedes-Benz and BMW electrified concepts take center stage

Share this story

photo: BMW

The 2017 Frankfurt Motor Show press previews officially begin on Tuesday, but the hype is already in full swing. In a trend that’s taken away some of the show floor thrill, several automakers have revealed images of their new concepts and production vehicles ahead of the media fray. Based on what’s been revealed thus far, the general theme veers toward electric cars — in all shapes and sizes.

For German automakers, Frankfurt means kicking up the heat for the hometown crowds, and all three major automakers have a long list of show cars. In the wake of the diesel scandal, it appears to mark a shift in focus to both electric and electrified vehicles.

“German automakers are doubling down on electric and electrified vehicles, in part, as a substitute for diesels, which are dying off after the Volkswagen emissions scandal,” says Michelle Krebs, a senior analyst at Autotrader. “In addition, German automakers are global automakers, and some of their largest markets — Europe and China — are demanding low-emissions vehicles to meet increasingly stringent regulations. The US, with the exception of California and a few other states, has become the world’s outlier as a rollback of 2025 standards are considered.”

The show stealer will be the Project One hypercar

The BMW group is going big with an SUV concept, the BMW X7 iPerformance that features an electric powertrain. But it doesn’t overlook small: an electrified Mini Cooper and an i3 successor will be one of several reveals.

photo: Mercedes-Benz

Mercedes-Benz has a full roster of reveals including the EQA, the GLC F-Cell concept, powered by a combination of fuel cell and plug-in hybrid technology, and the Smart Vision EQ concept. But its show stealer will be the electrified Project One hypercar concept, developed from Formula One knowledge.

Volkswagen continues to refine its I.D. Cross Concept. Audi, VW’s premium brand, is using the Frankfurt stage to shed light on its autonomous driving strategy, including the new Audi A8 equipped with level 3 abilities and two self-driving vehicle concepts that demo levels four and five.

photo: Kia

Like other European auto shows, the cool hatchbacks and wagons at Frankfurt don’t have much broad appeal stateside, but they are fun to admire. The Kia Proceed shooting brake concept is a prime example of a car that appears destined to stay on the European continent. It follows the splash of the sporty Stinger revealed at the Detroit auto show in January.

photo: Ferrari

For attendees looking for more traditional standard super car fare, the Ferrari Portofino convertible will be at Frankfurt, for ogling purposes. It boasts a top speed of 200 miles per hour, is named for an Italian coastal city, and it replaces the California. The show opens to the public September 14.