2017 IAA Frankfurt Motor Show – Visitor’s Guide
Kicking off the auto show season in Germanyby Jonathan Lopez, on
Autumn is very nearly upon us, and soon, the leaves will change, the air will cool, and the days will grow shorter. But who cares about all that when there’s so much hot-off-the-grill four-wheeled goodness to be had? Far more important is the fact that some of biggest auto shows of the year are just around the corner, with supersized helpings of the latest luxury rides, performance vehicles, crossovers and concepts served up piping hot for car geeks like you and me. First on the menu is the Frankfurt Motor Show.
In German it’s called the Internationale Automobil-Ausstellung (or IAA for short), which translates as simply International Motor Show. Seems like a broad title, but there’s a reason for that. The first IAA was held way back in 1897, and since then, the event has grown to become the single largest auto show in the world. These days, the IAA alternates in focus – commercial vehicles for even-numbered years, and passenger vehicles for odd-numbered years. As such, 2015 was the last time the IAA presented cars you and I actually care about, bringing in over 930,000 visitors and 1,100 exhibitors from around the world. This is home field for brands like BMW, Mercedes and Volkswagen, but it’s also a world stage for any make looking to make a splash before we roll into 2018. Epic? Absolutely. Here are the big debuts presented for your viewing pleasure, plus some useful information if you plan on attending in person.
Updated 09/18/2017: We’ve updated the guide with all the debuts you need to know about. Check it out!
Continue reading to learn more about the 2017 IAA Frankfurt Motor Show.
Crossovers, SUVs, Vans, And Wagons
Stuttgart has debuted a third generation for its popular performance crossover model, the Cayenne. Under the hood is a slew of turbocharged options, including a base model 3.0-liter V-6 making 340 horsepower and a Biturbo 2.9-liter making 440 horsepower. The fastest of the bunch will get the Sport Chrono Package and yield acceleration figures under the five-second mark. Handling the cog swaps is an eight-speed tiptronic transmission, while a new rear axle steering system, updated air suspension, 4D chassis control, and reduced curb weight helps it hang in the corners. A high-performance AWD system comes as standard.
Read our full review on the 2018 Porsche Cayenne.
At this point, it’s pretty well established that the Land Cruiser is an impressive combination of bulletproof reliability and ground-stomping capability, and this update promises all that good stuff, plus a little extra on top. The front was outfitted with a new fascia, plus the requisite 8.4-inches of ground clearance and steep angles of approach and departure. Under the hood, you’ll find the same powerplant lineup, including a 2.8-liter diesel, 2.7-liter gas-burner, and 4.0-liter gas-burning V-6.
Read our full review on the 2018 Toyota Land Cruiser.
We here at TopSpeed like a quick wagon, and as such, we like the new RS4 Avant. Outside, we find handsome proportions and aggressive lines, including a large RS-styled grille, forged 19-inch wheels, and a lowered stance. Oval exhaust tips are in the rear. Inside, the seats are padded sports buckets, while a flat-bottom steering wheel provides the inputs. A rectangular display is mounted on top of the dash and relays important performance data. Lift the hood, and you’ll find a new 2.9-liter V-6 boosted by twin turbochargers, which replaces the outgoing model’s 4.2-liter V-8. Power is once again rated at 450 ponies, while torque was increased by 126 pound-feet to 443 pound-feet at peak. Just 4.1 seconds is needed to reach 62 mph, while top speed is 174 mph with the optional RS Dynamic package.
Read our full review on the 2018 Audi RS4 Avant.
The Land Rover Discovery is certainly not shy when it comes to traversing the rough stuff, but as is often the case, there’s just a little bit extra capability to be found when handed over to the right people. The right people in this particular circumstance is SVO, Jaguar Land Rover’s go-to tuning division. To give the Disco that little bit extra, SVO added updated bumpers for higher approach and departure angles, recovery hooks, and as much as 11.1 inches of ground clearance. Inside, there’s plenty of space and tons of luxurious touches. Most exciting is what’s going on in the powertrain department, where the traditional 3.0-liter six got canned in favor of a supercharged V-8 making over 500 horsepower.
Read our full review on the 2018 Land Rover Discovery SVX.
In addition to all the all-electric entries we saw in Frankfurt, Mercedes also brought along a new hydrogen fuel cell powertrain shoehorned into a GLC SUV. Dubbed the GLC F-Cell, this thing runs on both H2 fuel and extra electrons from a plug-in lithium-ion battery pack, making it the first hybrid hydrogen car slated for public consumption. Full up the storage tanks with hydrogen fuel and top off the batteries, and you’ll be able to go as much as 300 miles, all without any local emissions (beyond water vapor, that is). Power output is rated at 200 horses and 258 pound-feet of torque. Inside, you get all the usual Merc features and amenities.
Read our full review on the 2018 Mercedes-Benz GLC F-Cell.
Opel is usually blasted for making re-badged Buicks, but this latest sporty wagon from the German automaker is making us green with envy. For starters, the new GSi is a looker, with a wide, low stance complemented by drawn-out headlight housings and thin taillight housings. Inside, there’s a sporty flat-bottom steering wheel and side-supporting bucket seats, plus nearly 60 cubic feet of storage space. Making the go is either a gas- or diesel-powered engine, with as much as 260 horsepower from the former, or 210 horsepower from the latter. Meanwhile, the adaptable suspension components were honed at the Nurburgring. Unfortunately, those of us living stateside won’t have a chance at driving it.
Read our full review on the 2018 Opel Insignia GSi Sports Tourer.
Rocking the VW MQB architecture underneath, the Skoda Kodiaq has the right stuff to sell, and now customers have additional trim lines to consider. The Sportline gets a more aggressive, performance-oriented suspension, plus a G-meter and even a lap timer. Conversely, the Scout was build for off-roader types, and gets a taller suspension and underbody skid plates.
Read the full news here.
Originally previewed with the T-Roc concept vehicle at the Geneva Auto Show, the production iteration of the T-Roc is Volkswagen’s latest compact crossover, promising oodles of possibilities for personalization to make the most of your SUV-buying dollar. As many as three trim levels will be offered at launch, including the base model, the Sport, and the Style, all of which get a long list of custom options for equipment, colors, and the like. The exterior looks quite nice, offering the sort of clean design Volkswagen is known for, while inside is 11.7-inch digital instrument cluster. There’s also a variety of safety systems included, such as front assist and lane-change assist. As much as 187 horsepower is under the hood, provided by a slew of gas and diesel engines. Both FWD and 4Motion AWD are offered to put the power down, while a six-speed and seven-speed gearbox round out the drivetrain.
Read our full review on the Volkswagen T-Roc.
Sedans, Hatchbacks, And Luxury Cars
Finding a nice middle ground between luxury and efficiency, the latest update to the Mercedes S-Class is the addition of a new hybrid model called the 560 E. Visually, the new eco Merc looks like any other model in the stable, while the interior is decked out in an appropriately ritzy getup. Most interesting, however, is the powerplant, which makes as much as 487 horsepower, a sizable 51 ponies more than the outgoing S550 Plug-in. Works for us.
Read our full review on the 2018 Mercedes-Benz S 560 E Plug-In Hybrid.
To help it live up to its namesake, the Swift just got an infusion of sportiness at the Frankfurt Motor Show. The exterior was redone with chunky styling, a larger grille, a lower splitter element, and a rear roof spoiler. Red was added to various trim bits in the cabin, while 138 horsepower and 170 pound-feet of torque provide the go.
Read our full review on the 2018 Suzuki Swift Sport.
Following in the footsteps of the redesigned Megane is the hotter R.S. version. This tasty bit of French five-door goodness looks to borrow heavily from the Clio R.S., with slick, attractive styling, a wider stance, and a unique grille. 19-inch wheels are in the corners. Drivers will enjoy a flat-bottom steering wheel with a red top mark in the cabin, while all passengers will appreciate as much as 276 horsepower and 288 pound-feet of torque from a 1.8-liter four-cylinder powerplant. Both a six-speed manual and a six-speed dual-clutch automatic are on the table for transmission options.
Read our full review on the 2018 Renault Megane R.S.
If it’s a fun VW hot hatch you’re after, then odds are you’re familiar with the letters “G,” “T,” and “I.” The latest GTI to hit the streets is the Polo, which just got an update for the sixth-generation model. Per tradition, the five-door was massaged with slightly more aggressive exterior styling, including standard 17-inch wheels and a new grille. The cabin was adorned with red contrast stitching and optional colors for the dash. Providing the fun is a turbo 2.0-liter four-cylinder laying down 197 horsepower and 236 pound-feet of torque, which is routed through a six-speed dual-clutch automatic for a run to 62 mph in 6.7 seconds. Stay tuned for a manual version coming in 2019.
Read our full review on the 2018 Volkswagen Polo GTI.
Making its big splash down at Frankfurt is the updated Seat Arona, which promises updated instrumentation via a new Digital Cockpit feature. The instrumentation is programmable and customizable, providing the right info for the job at hand.
Read our full review on the 2018 Seat Arona.
Bimmer’s plucky little EV is getting a facelift, and a little extra hutzpah as well. Kicking things off is a few tweaks to the exterior styling thanks to a wider stance and a few new exterior paint options, while the interior adds new colors as well as the latest slew of autonomous and semi-autonomous safety systems. Providing the motivation is the same electric motor and optional gas range extender as before, but if you decide to go for the new i3s model, you’ll have as much as 170 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque available from your right foot. Properly applied, the i3s is capable of hitting 60 mph in 7.2 seconds and reaching a top speed of 93 mph.
Read our story on the upcoming BMW i3.
First introduced in 2003, the Continental GT nameplate draws on a long history of luxury and prestige from the high-end British automaker, and now, it enters a third generation with the 2018 model year. Outside, the coupe bears updated styling reminiscent of the EXP 10 Speed 6 concept, plus LED Matrix lighting elements and 21-inch wheels as standard. Inside you’ll find a cabin dripping with premium touches, plus a new rotating console sporting both a touchscreen and analog gauges. Making the go is 626 horsepower from a 6.0-liter W-12, eight-speed transmission, and AWD. Put your foot down, and you’ll see 62 mph in just 3.7 seconds
Read our full review on the Bentley Continental GT.
Sports Cars, Hypercars, And Race Cars
The world of all-electric supercars seems to be growing by leaps and bounds lately, and now, Japanese start-up Aspark is adding to the mix with this hyper-aggressive new offering. It’s called the Owl, and apparently it’s got 1,000 horsepower and can hit the 62-mph benchmark in less than two seconds. Smells a bit like vapor, but hey, if Aspark can pull it off, more power to them.
Read the full news here.
Bimmer is headed back to Le Mans, and it’s bringing this sexy slab of speed along for the ride. Dubbed the M8 GTE, the racer previews what’s to be expected from the forthcoming production BMW M8, and so far, so good. While the racer is rated at 500 horsepower from a 4.0-liter V-8, expect over 600 horses from a 4.4-liter V-8 in the production version.
Read our full review on the 2018 BMW M8 GTE.
Offered as a replacement for the much-loved Ferrari California, the Portofino is the latest drop-top grand tourer from the Prancing Horse. We think it looks good, with styling pulled from the hardtop 812 Superfast, including a long hoodline and cab-back proportions. Passengers sit surrounded by various buttons and rounded vents in the cabin, with two additional seats in back to bring total capacity to four. Most importantly, the Portofino is equipped with a 3.9-liter V-8 making as much as 592 horsepower and 561 pound-feet thanks to two turbochargers.
Read our full review on the 2018 Ferrari Portofino.
Audi has a long history of making AWD work in high-performance applications, and indeed, the quattro name is plucked from the automaker’s most famous example of that. However, with all four wheels driven, some purists call foul – RWD is the platform you want for the best in tarmac handling, right? As such, Audi is offering up this RWD-iteration of its popular R8 sports car. Outside, the RWD R8 looks different thanks to a very noticeable red stripe that stretches from tip to tail, as well as a few black trim upgrades. Inside, there are new seats covered in leather and Alcantara, plus a flat-bottom steering wheel. The simplified drivetrain also lowered the car’s curb weight, and the suspension was reworked as well. Motivation still looks like 540 horsepower from a 5.2-liter V-10. Production is limited at 999 units.
Read our full review on the 2018 Audi R8 V10 RWS.
While there were plenty of interesting performance machines on display in Frankfurt this year, the belle of the ball was undoubtedly the latest hybrid mega machine from Mercedes-AMG. While cars like these are always big news, Merc’s big claim to fame here is Formula 1 style performance for the street. That means a turbocharged, electrically juiced 1.6-liter V-6 engine that spins to 11,000 rpm, making upwards of 1,000 horsepower thanks to no less than four electric motors. The rest of it is as you’d expect – carbon fiber construction, push rod suspension, active aerodynamics, etc. Pricing is close to $3 million.
Read our full review on the Mercedes-AMG Project One.
What could make this berserk bull even cooler? Why, unlimited headspace, of course! Styling-wise the Aventador S Roadster is simply jaw dropping, like a four-wheeled predator stalking its prey. Geometric shapes are prominent throughout, while the doors open in the traditional Lambo fashion (up rather than out). The interior looks like a fighter jet provided the inspiration, while the party piece mounted just behind the cabin spits out 730 horsepower thanks to 6.5 liters and 12 cylinders. The sprint to 62 mph takes 3 seconds flat, while top speed is rated at 217 mph. Pricing starts at $460,247.
Read our full review on the Lamborghini Aventador S Roadster.
The Porsche 911 is, in many ways, the quintessential German sports car, thanks in no small part to the unquenchable passion it inspires in its fans. Stoking that passion are models like the GT3, which just got updated in Frankfurt with a new Touring Package option. Changes include new aero, whereby the traditional fixed wing in back was tossed in favor of a more subtle rear lip and gurney flap. Silver trim and a new exhaust are tossed in as well, while inside, you get Alcantara and leather. Motivation is derived from the same all-atmosphere 4.0-liter flat-six, while a six-speed manual transmission is standard.
Read our full review on the Porsche 911 GT3 with Touring Package.
The EV concepts were out in full force in Frankfurt this year, including this electrified sports car from the Bavarians. Dubbed the i Vision Dynamics, the futuristic four-door looks like it could preview a forthcoming i5 or i7 to slot between the i3 runabout and i8 hybrid sports car. Outside is uber-sharp angles and a blue outline for the traditional kidney grille, while the onboard battery pack provides enough juice to propel it to 62 mph in 4 seconds flat. Top speed clocks in at over 120 mph. Range per charge should be near 400 miles. Could this be a future Tesla Model S competitor from the Germans?
Read our full review on the BMW i Vision Dynamics.
The H badge is also getting in on the all-electric surge in Frankfurt, offering up this boxy little runabout dubbed the Urban EV Concept. Framed as a reimagining of the first-generation Civic from way back in the day, the Urban EV Concept is a subcompact with 1970’s style, modernized for 2017. LED lighting and a communicative grille are outside, with attractive multi-spoke wheels in the corners, while inside is a ultra-clean cabin layout with broad horizontal lines and a bench seat, plus a huge screen mounted to the top of the dash. Honda didn’t say what it wants to equip for motivation, but we’re expecting something efficient, yet spunky.
Read our full review on the Honda Urban EV Concept.
We all remember that episode of Top Gear where they park a Toyota Hilux on the roof of a building, demolish the building, and miraculously get the Hilux to start anyway, yeah? Now, Toyota is recognizing the absurd reliability of its popular mid-size pickup with this one-off double cab, framing it as well suited for “both professional and leisure activities.” Outside we find a few aesthetic enhancements, including 18-inch wheels wrapped in BFGoodrich tires, flared-out fenders, and a black sports bar. Leather upholstery and unique scuff plates can be found inside. Possible special edition incoming?
Read our full review on the Toyota Hilux ‘Invincible 50’.
While revealing Borgward’s ambitions for an all-electric powertrain sometime in the future, the Isabella is more about styling and design. Borgward, in case you were unaware is a German-based automaker that first launched production between 1929 and 1961, but was resurrected in 2008. We think the exterior lends itself well for both sporty and luxury offerings, and includes split doors that slide away from where a B-pillar should be. Inside, things are even more highly stylized, especially with the quartz-like center console.
Read our full review on the Borgward Isabella Concept.
Daimler is dead set on bringing a boatload of new entries to the world of EV’s, and that includes fun stuff as well as commuters and luxury cars. This tuned Smart is what happens when efficiency meets performance. Outside is an aggressive body kit that adds a little snarl to the cutesy runabout, while the interior is decked out in an assortment of bright colors. Best of all, the Ultimate E is stuffed with a 22-kWh battery and motor from Kreisel Electric, which combine to make as much as 201 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque.
Read our full review on the Brabus Ultimate E.
Moar wagon hawtness? Yes please. Yeah, the Proceed isn’t a production vehicle, but regardless, it certainly gets us excited about Kia’s future. We’d even go so far as to call it the most ambitious design we’ve ever seen from the South Korean automaker. In front is the traditional tiger nose grille, while the proportions and profile are simply stunning. We like the interior too, which mates a clean layout and shiny surfaces into a cohesive, artful look. No word on what might be powering this thing, but frankly, we don’t really care if its running on hamster power, just so long as it looks as good as this.
Read our full review on the Kia Proceed.
Jag’s SUV lineup is really starting to flesh out, with one of the more interesting offerings including the all-electric I-Pace. Interestingly, Jag is beefing up the I-Pace for performance duty in a new one-make race series. Outside, the SUV is lower and more aggressive, with big aero and flashy graphics. No details yet on the interior (we’re guessing it’ll be stripped and all business), while output is rated at a stout 394 horsepower and 516 pound-feet of torque. All-electric Jag e-racer SUV? Well that’s certainly different.
Read our full review on the Jaguar I-Pace eTrophy.
Based on the e-tron Sportback concept that was introduced back in April at the Shanghai Auto Show, this latest iteration infuses the futuristic styling with a host of forward-thinking features and ideas. Not only does it get almost 500 horsepower and over 300 miles of range per charge, but thanks to its onboard autonomous systems, the car will park itself, run errands, and even go for a wash, all while you attend to whatever it is that needs attending to. Once you’re ready to head home, call the SUV on your smartphone app and it’ll meet you at the curbside.
Read our full review on the Audi Elaine.
Renault is taking the whole autonomous EV thing to a whole new level – literally. It’s called the Symbioz, and it offers a few ideas about integrating your car with your home, even getting it’s own demo household at the show with a platform that’ll raise the car to the top level, providing a modular, adaptable living space where needed. The car will also integrate with your home’s electrical systems, providing juice should the power go out, or lowering energy costs during peak hours. The car will even lower the blinds and shut off the central heating should you go out of town.
Read our full review on the Renault Symbioz.
While the CH-R was already a pretty funky looking crossover, Toyota decided to imbue it with a little extra weirdness with the HY-Power concept. To the stock lines, a splash of color was added with an orange and silver matte finish to the trim, a glossy black spoiler, and 20-inch wheels. The roof was also decked out in a unique geometric design, once again in various shades of orange. Making it go is a hybrid powerplant (“HY-Power”). Look for a production version some time next year.
Read our full review on the Toyota C-HR HY-Power.
Merc’s all-electric concepts are really starting to form a cohesive new look for the brand, and the EQA is the latest example of that. Based on a futuristic reimagining of the existing Mercedes A-Class, the EQA gets wild-looking exterior lighting and an ultra-smooth style that replaces hard edges with rounded panels. Output is rated at 268 horsepower and 369 pound-feet of torque, which is a substantial sum in a small hatchback like this.
Read our full review on the Mercedes-Benz EQA.
If you think you’ve seen this before, you probably have, as the Crozz II is based heavily on the first Crozz concept VW introduced at the Shanghai Auto Show. This one is a little closer to production ready, but the updates from the previous iteration are minor at best, relegated to slightly longer exterior dimensions and a few tweaks to the styling.
Read our full review on the Volkswagen Crozz II.
Like the Elaine Concept, the Aicon is Audi’s vision of our inevitable all-electric autonomous future, this time around with a focus on consummate luxury. There’s a lot of space in the cabin, plus tons of high-end materials and features, while 350 horsepower and AWD makes it go. No human inputs required.
Read our full review on the Audi Aicon.
While it might not look like a Jag, this thing was destined for the year 2040, which means our aesthetic opinion could very well change. Either way, this is Jag’s take on the whole self-driving EV thing, offering ideas like a steering wheel that acts like your own personal digital assistant.
Read our full review on the Jaguar Future-Type Concept.
Start with a Mini John Cooper Works, then make it bad ass. Voila, the Mini JCW GP concept has arrived. We think it looks good, with massively flared fenders, huge aero front to back, and a low, taut stance over 19-inch wheels. Inside is a roll cage and no carpets. This is one serious Mini.
Read our full review on the Mini John Cooper Works GP.
What, Where, And When
The 2017 Frankfurt Motor Show is taking place at the Messe Frankfurt Trade Fair Grounds, located roughly 15 minutes from Frankfurt Airport. Attendees may arrive via car, taxi, public transport, or train. More information can be found here. Given the sheer size of the event, expect to walk at least 15 minutes to reach the front entrance.
You can find a site overview, including services, special activities, and booth locations by clicking here.
Dates And Times
The event is open to trade folks Thursday, September 14th, and Friday, September 15th, while the general public gains access Saturday, September 16th, through Sunday, September 24th. Show hours are between 9:00 AM and 7:00 PM.
Tickets can be purchased either online or onsite, with the cheaper prices offered online. The “day ticket trade visitor” pass, which grants access September 14th through the 15th without accreditation, can be had for 45 euros ($53.85) online or 47 euros ($56.24) onsite. A 2-day “gift” ticket, which grants access on two consecutive days between September 16th and 24th, can be had for 18 euros ($21.54) and is only available online. Single-day public access for weekend dates is 14 euros ($16.75) online and 16 euros ($19.15) onsite, while single-day public access for weekday dates is 12 euros ($14.36) online and 14 euros ($16.75) onsite. Pupils, students, apprentices, trainees and participants in Federal Voluntary Services receive a discount for single-day access at 7.50 euros ($8.97). Afternoon tickets (public days from 3:00 PM onwards) are 8 euros ($9.57) online and 10 euros ($11.97) onsite, while discounted afternoon tickets are 4.50 euros ($5.38) and are only available onsite. Children under seven and persons with disabilities get in for free.
Tickets can be purchased online here.
More information on the venue can be found in PDF form by clicking here.
You can also download the free official IAA app, which offers an event calendar, an interactive hall plan, an exhibitor list, a search function, a “watch list” of important debuts and local navigation by clicking here.
Read our full review on the Porsche Cayenne.
Read our full review on the Bentley Continental GT.
Read our story on the upcoming BMW i3.
Read more news on the Frankfurt Motor Show.