In the ranking of auto shows, Frankfurt is at the top when it comes to size and importance to the industry. Typically it is the showcase for volume models aimed squarely at the mass market, while high end models are usually featured at the Geneva show and its well-heeled crowd. But this year marked several important coming out parties for luxury makes with several of them pushing into new categories, while other brands looked to consolidate growth in the lower reaches of their ranges. Of course, being in Frankfurt, the German brands were front and center.

Crossover SUVs to the fore

The popularity of crossovers is a continuing trend that was in full flower at Frankfurt. The 2017 Bentley Bentayga and Jaguar F-Pace, both first time SUVs from these two prestigious luxury marques, made their debuts in Germany. Audi is looking to give Elon Musk and his upcoming Model X crossover pause with the Audi e-tron Quattro Concept, an all-electric precursor to a Q6 designed to rival the Tesla crossover. Mazda gave us a glimpse of its range-topping replacement for the CX-9 in the form of the Koeru concept. And at the entry-level for BMW SUVs, a reworked 2016 BMW X1 debuted along with the previously shown 2016 Mercedes Benz GLC (formerly GLK), which sits between the GLA and GLE.

Sedans shine

Much of the growth of crossovers has come at the expense of mid-range sedans, but Frankfurt is evidence that the makers are not giving up on conventional 4-doors. Though it was shown briefly earlier this year, Alfa Romeo formally revealed its new 2017 Giulia sedan, upon which it is pinning its hopes for a comeback in the all-important U.S. market. Likewise, Audi responded with its an all-new 2017 A4, while in the C-Class range, the German automaker presented a new coupe in standard and AMG variants. The 2017 Infiniti Q30 is an important compact for the Japanese upscale brand designed to do battle with the Europeans both on the Continent and in the U.S.

Among flagships, BMW presented its all-new 7 Series, while its Stuttgart rival offered up a convertible version of its range-topping S-Class Coupe. Rolls-Royce also showcased a convertible in its all-new Dawn Drophead based on the Wraith. 

Performance and concept cars compete 

In the performance arena, Porsche's update of the 911 range with new turbocharged engines generated considerable interest along with Lamborghini's launch of the Aventador SV Roadster LP 750-4, which was previewed at the Pebble Beach Concours. Speaking of Italian supercars, Ferrari showed the Spider version of its 488. The Sony PlayStation Gran Turismo game is the driving force behind several concept cars including a Bugatti Vision Gran Turismo Concept, which will point the way towards its future design language, while the Hyundai N 2025 Vision Gran Turismo is a one-off that announces a new performance division similar to BMW's M.

Mass market not ignored

Even though the high end and various niches were addressed with multiple introductions, the volume segments in Europe continue to be small cars and manufacturers had plenty of new sheetmetal to address the masses. The 2016 Opel/Vauxhall Astra made its debut, which could spawn a new small car in the U.S. for Buick. The 2017 Kia Sportage made its global debut along with the 2016 Mini Cooper Clubman, which ditches the rear-hinged back door in favor of a more conventional 4-door setup. In the city car segment, Fiat has a freshened 500 and Smart showed a new Cabrio version of its ForTwo 2-seater. 

Now, dig in.


Past Frankfurt Auto Shows

Can we interest you in a blast from the automotive past? Check out our coverage of the 2013 Frankfurt Auto Show to see the concept car that spawned the Lexus NX crossover. Revisit the 2011 Frankfurt Auto Show to check out the Jaguar C-X16 Concept and the Land Rover DC100 Concept. Or go all the way back to the 2009 show for a look at the Bugatti 16 C Galibier Concept and the BMW Vision EfficientDynamics Concept that eventually became the i8.

And when you've seen all you want to see in Frankfurt, here's your ticket to all the big auto shows around the world.



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