The biennial Frankfurt auto show in Germany is Europe's biggest display of new cars and SUVs and cutting-edge technology. Although mainly focused on European models, the Frankfurt show also hosts the debuts of many cars and SUVs that are headed to U.S. showrooms. Edmunds chose some highlights of this year's show to give consumers a preview of what they might see on U.S. roads in 2018.
SUVs, big and small
The popularity of SUVs continues to grow and there was no shortage of new options in Frankfurt. One of the biggest debuts, quite literally, was the BMW X7 concept. A full-size SUV with three rows of seating, the X7 was designed specifically for the U.S. market. It will be built in BMW's plant in South Carolina starting next year and compete with vehicles such as the Cadillac Escalade and Lincoln Navigator. The concept's exterior styling will likely be toned down for the production model, but the overall size and layout won't change. The X7 will be positioned well above the current X5 SUV, so expect to see a starting price in the upper $60,000s.
For those who don't need three rows of seating, there's the new midsize Porsche Cayenne SUV . Its styling hasn't changed much, but the new Cayenne is lighter and more powerful. The cabin is still heavy on technology, but the overall look is less stark than before. Look for the new 2019 Porsche Cayenne to arrive in the U.S. next summer with a starting price of $66,750.
If the Cayenne is still too big for you, the redesigned BMW X3 small SUV is worth a look. Although its exterior dimensions haven't changed, there's more space inside for improved rear passenger comfort. It also boasts two engine options, sharp handling and multiple upgrade packages that make it feel like a true luxury car. And for those in cold climates, the X3 also has 8 inches of ground clearance to help it navigate deep snow with ease. It goes into production in November at the same South Carolina plant that will build the larger X7.
Jaguar introduced its first SUV, the F-Pace, last year. The storied British brand unveiled the next step in its SUV strategy with the introduction of the E-Pace small SUV in Frankfurt. Sized to compete with vehicles such as the Audi Q5 and the BMW X3, the E-Pace packs plenty of performance and British charm into a handsome and practical package. It's set to arrive in early 2018 with a starting price just under $40,000.
It wasn't all luxury brands on display. Volkswagen unveiled the new T-Roc compact SUV. An all-new Volkswagen that's smaller than the Tiguan, the T-Roc promises sporty handling, a fuel-efficient engine and top-notch safety equipment. Volkswagen hasn't officially announced that the T-Roc will join the U.S. lineup, but it's a likely candidate now that the new 2018 Tiguan is larger than its predecessor.
Large luxury sedans edge closer to autonomy
With so much attention given to SUVs, it's easy to forget that most automakers still consider their large luxury sedans the flagship models of their lineups. Audi used the Frankfurt show for the first public reveal of its fully updated A8 sedan. In addition to the spacious and beautifully built interior, the 2019 A8 features Audi's most advanced driver assistance system to date. It's not quite autonomous yet (Audi calls it Level 3), but it's another small step toward that goal.
It's much the same story with the latest Mercedes-Benz S-Class. The 2018 Mercedes-Benz S-Class is another big luxury sedan with an endless array of interior features to go along with its cutting-edge driver assistance systems. There's also a plug-in hybrid version for those who want to reduce their carbon footprint, even if only by the smallest amount.
Supercar performance, supercar price
Every once in a while, an automaker rolls out a car that's designed to make a statement. This year, that car was the Mercedes-AMG Project One supercar. The two-seat exotic boasts more than 1,000 horsepower and is capable of a top speed well above 200 mph, according to Mercedes-Benz. Built using technology borrowed from Mercedes' Formula One racing teams, the Project One will be built in small numbers for customers who are willing, and capable, of paying its extraordinary $2.7 million-plus asking price.
Edmunds says: When BMW decides to make a competitor to the Escalade, that's a pretty good sign that SUVs aren't going away anytime soon.
This story was provided to The Associated Press by the automotive website Edmunds. Ed Hellwig is a senior editor at Edmunds. Twitter: @edhellwig
— First Look: 2019 Porsche Cayenne (https://www.edmunds.com/car-news/first-impressions/2019-porsche-cayenne-first-look.html )
— Model Review: 2018 BMW X3 (https://www.edmunds.com/bmw/x3/2018/suv/review/ )