While the attention at Frankfurt may seem geared to an electrified future, that hasn’t stopped manufacturers from showing off new performance hardware. From F1-inspired hypercars to American muscle, there is horsepower for every budget at this year’s IAA show.
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Porsche 911 GT3 Touring
Porsche knows its buyers want the performance of the hardcore 911 GT3, but without the extravagant aerodynamic appendages. The limited-edition 911 R also proved just how keen enthusiasts were for a manual GT3, with Porsche combining the two ideas into one special Touring Package option. Unlike the 911 R, there are no limits on numbers here – thus enabling as many Porsche purists as possible to buy one.
Out goes the giant rear wing, and in comes a tiny Gurney flap to provide downforce instead. Although the front bumper from the regular GT3 remains, the overall effect is a far subtler-looking 911. Inside is luxurious leather in place of Alcantara, but the heart of the GT3 stays the same, with the 4.0-litre flat-six engine still producing 500hp.
Audi R8 V10 RWS
Whilst Porsche is making cars for purists available to all, Audi is doing the opposite with special limited-edition version of the R8 V10 supercar. Despite being known for Quattro all-wheel drive, Audi has ditched the front differential for the R8 Rear Wheel Series, mirroring the drivetrain used by the successful R8 LMS racing cars. Audi also argues that the steering is purer in the RWS without power being sent to the front wheels.
Shifting to just rear-wheel drive helps save up to 50kg of weight from the R8, while the same 540hp 5.2-litre V10 engine used in the normal car remains. Set to be limited to just 999 units, and covering both coupe and Spyder versions, the R8 RWS can be ordered from Friday, with a starting price of £110,000 in the UK.
Mercedes-AMG Project One
As a showstopper, the Mercedes-AMG Project One might just take the crown at Frankfurt 2017. Its the closest thing yet to a road-going Formula 1 car: extreme to the max. Powered by a 1.6-litre V6 turbocharged engine from an actual F1 racer, combined with four electric motors, the mid-engined Project One has a peak power output in excess of 1,000hp.
Top speed is estimated at around 220mph, with 0-124mph taking less than six seconds. A giant two-stage extending rear wing should provide substantial levels of downforce, while torque vectoring and ESP should help keep all that power under control. Although the interior is minimalist, there’s still room for air conditioning and an infotainment system. The Project One is currently pegged as a concept, but production looks guaranteed for 2019.
Lamborghini Aventador S Roadster
After making revisions to the coupe version, Lamborghini has extended its enhancements to the open-top Aventador as well. ‘S’ specification brings more power for the naturally aspirated 6.5-litre V12 engine, with peak output now boosted to a faintly ridiculous 730hp, with 507lb ft of torque. Hitting 62mph in 3.0 seconds is a rapid way to mess up your hair, while a top speed of 217mph is also a big deal.
The Aventador S isn’t just about performance in a straight line, with changes to the chassis as well. The suspension is completely overhauled for greater focus, while a new four-wheel steering system is taken from the coupe version. Also added is the ability to customise the Aventador S to the owner’s exacting standards with the Ad Personam programme, which includes a range of special colours and interior trims developed just for the Roadster
Bentley Continental GT
Thoroughly updated for a third-generation, the all-new Continental GT matches a sleeker design with even greater luxury. The looks are inspired by the EXP 10 Speed 6 concept car shown at the 2015 Geneva Motor Show, with a new aluminium forming technique used to create the complex shapes. It also helps save some 80kg in weight compared to the outgoing second-generation machine.
Under the bonnet is an updated version of the turbocharged 6.0-litre W12 engine, with some 626hp and 664lb ft of torque. With all-wheel drive, and an eight-speed dual-clutch gearbox, all that power is enough for 0-62mph in 3.7 seconds, plus a top speed of 207 mph. The main party piece is an optional rotating display, which hides a 12.3-inch touchscreen behind a veneer panel in the dashboard until the car is started.
Ford Mustang V8
It might seem like the Mustang has only been on sale in Europe for a short period of time, but progress doesn’t stop. As part of the 2018 model year update, the revised 5.0-litre V8 Mustang gets more power with 450hp, and the option of a 10-speed automatic gearbox. The styling has also been updated, with a longer, drooping nose and V8-powered versions gaining four exhaust tailpipes as standard. New colour choices include the extravagant Orange Fury, with polished aluminium and nickel colour options offered for the alloy wheels.
Underneath the revised body is an updated interior, which now gives UK customers the option to specify Recaro bucket seats for the first time. Magnetic suspension dampers are also on the options list, while a novel ‘Good Neighbour Mode’ allows the exhaust system to be quietened down to avoid annoying everyone around you. A 12-inch touchscreen is also new, with the possibility of replacing the conventional instrument dials with an LCD screen also on the cards. European deliveries will begin in 2018.
Mercedes-Maybach 6 Cabriolet
Excess all areas, baby. Maybach’s yacht-like 6 Cabriolet ‘Vision’ (Mercedes-speak for a concept) is 5.7 metres long and only has two seats. Those fabulous 24-inch alloys have an electric motor each, with a combined total of 750hp. Claimed NEDC range is 310 miles.
We’re unlikely to see a production version of the 6 Cabriolet anytime soon. But it’s a fabulous mission statement for the relaunched Maybach sub-brand – and one that could inspire, for example, ultra-luxurious versions of the SL and S-Class Cabriolet. Watch this space.
The BMW M5 is a supercar in a suit. It packs a 600hp 4.4-litre V8 and four-wheel drive for 0-62mph in 3.4 seconds. It also, like the Mustang, has a button to make the exhaust quieter. Yep, this is a Porsche-slayer with a social conscience.
You can spot the M5 by its more aggressive bumpers, bespoke alloys and quad exhausts. Inside, you’ll find electric sports seats and an eight-speed semi-automatic gearbox (there’s no manual option). Prices for the new M5 start from £89,640 – almost £40,000 more than the current top-of-the-range 5 Series.
Say goodbye to the California T, and hello to the brand-new Ferrari Portofino. As the new entry-level offering in the Ferrari range, the biggest news is an updated aluminium chassis, and styling that has been influenced by the GTC4Lusso. It’s a more resolved and cohesive design, both with the folding metal roof up and down.
Beneath the lengthy bonnet is the same 3.9-litre turbocharged V8 as before, but now with more power to take the total output to 600hp. That’s more than sufficient for a 0-62mph time of 3.5 seconds, and a 199mph top speed. Ferrari also claims to have tuned the exhaust for more aural excitement, but if you somehow get bored of engine noise, a new 10.2-inch touchscreen is on hand to control the multimedia system.
Audi RS4 Avant
Set to reclaim the motoring journalism cliche of “all the car you’ll ever need” is the latest generation of Audi’s compact performance estate. Things have gone completely full-circle, with a return to a turbocharged V6 engine – just the like the original launched in 1999. Unlike that car, the new RS4 has 444hp and an impressive 443lb ft of torque, which represents an increase of some 125lb ft over the previous V8 version. Performance improves, with 0-62mph in just 4.1 seconds, while top speed is limited to 155mph.
Despite the extra performance on offer, the 2.9-litre twin-turbo V6 is said to be some 17% more efficient than the old V8-powered car. New sports suspension lowers the RS4 by 7mm, while Dynamic Ride Control and carbon ceramic brakes are on the options list. Iconic Nogaro Blue paintwork will be available from the outset when orders begin later in the autumn, with first customer deliveries expected in early 2018.
BMW 8 Series
The 8 Series concept is a stylish and not-very-subtle hint about how BMW’s forthcoming flagship coupe will look. And the answer is: ‘a lot like an Aston Martin’, especially from the rear. But that’s no bad thing. Saloon (Gran Coupe?) and convertible versions are mooted, too.
There’s no word yet on powertrains, but a plug-in hybrid looks likely – and buyers will be offered a choice of rear- or four-wheel drive. Don’t expect to see the finished article until 2019, though. We can’t wait.