Bentley Continental GT
Ever since Wolfsburg took over in 2003, things have been cushty in Crewe — everyone skips through town whistling, and there are plenty of Volkswagen bits in the parts bin for all and sundry.
Joking aside, now it finally seems that Bentley — as part of the VW Group — has finally seen the error of its ways and the intolerable violating of its cabins with Audi gear knobs and Volkswagen navigation screens.
The all-new third-generation Continental GT, based on the Porsche Panamera’s Weissach-developed MSB platform, doesn’t have a trace of VW in its totally redesigned cabin. That’s good.
Some things don’t change though — happily the engine is still a 12-cylinder 6.0-litre twin-turbo, now boosted to develop 626bhp and 900Nm of torque — that’s an increase of 44bhp over the outgoing model, and keep in mind there are still planned electrified hybrid models coming with even more system power. Considering the second-gen Continental GT Supersports topped out with 700 horsepower, that gives us a nice ballpark figure to aim for with the new third-gen model.
Totally redesigned, with new teardrop taillights, LED Matrix headlights, available 22in wheels, and longer and lower profile with the front wheels pushed 135mm further forward for neater proportions, the new Conti also includes carbon fibre, knurled aluminium, over 10 square metres of wood, and 15 carpet options for its plush interior.
With the 80kg lighter aluminium body saving weight along with the new all-wheel drive chassis and 48-volt powered anti-roll system, the Continental GT will power on to a top speed of 333kph and complete the 0-100kph run in 3.7 seconds.
And in case you miss it squatting in Frankfurt as one of the show stars, don’t worry, because the 2018 Bentley Continental GT is coming to the Dubai motor show in November.
wheels first had a look at the new Audi A8 at the company’s tech summit in Barcelona a couple of months ago, and we’ll be driving the car later this year too, but the public will get the first look at Frankfurt next week — Audi’s new flagship limo features semi-autonomous driving modes and a new styling language.
Honda Urban EV
It’s amazing how late Honda has been to the party but the Japanese giant is finally preparing to unveil an all-new electric city car with a focus on the European market. So far all Honda is giving away about its zero-emissions runabout is a picture of a charging screen, and what’s more we’re only in for a concept and not a production car debut.
Cheap car enthusiasts in the Middle East rejoice, the new Dacia Duster aka Renault Duster is surfacing in Frankfurt before it goes on sale in our region next year. Okay, so it’s really just a facelift, but hey, it will start from around Dh50,000 so we can’t complain too much.
Now that Jaguar Land Rover has sold more than 600,000 cars over a year for the first time in the company’s history, the Brits can afford to have a little fun — see the mental Jaguar XE SV Project 8: a 600-horsepower, $200K, BMW M3 troll. But the bills have to be paid, so the real Frankfurt highlight from Jaguar will be an I-Pace electric production crossover featuring twin electric motors driving both axles with nearly 400 horsepower.
As if it was ever a secret, with all the teases, prototype drives, and spy shots circulating for months now, the new M5 has been officially revealed before its Frankfurt debut, complete with the expected 600 horsepower and rear-biased all-wheel drive with the ubiquitous ‘drift mode’. Carbon ceramic brakes, aluminium panels and carbon fibre reinforced bonnet help keep the bulk down.
The Korean design revolution has no end in sight, and Kia will woo crowds at the show with a stunning shooting brake concept that will eventually join the production line-up in Europe under the Kia Pro_ceed range, more familiar to us as the Cerato. Let’s hope Kia Middle East sees sense and brings this estate car to our region, too.
After 14 years of the seventh-generation Phantom, Rolls-Royce is finally ready to unveil the next-generation Goodwood flagship, based on an all-new aluminium platform and highlighted by a ‘Gallery’ novelty that’s really a glassed-off display case in the dash of sorts, designed to house very, very expensive cost options…
Chinese carmaker Chery is refocussing its brand with a new styling direction which will be previewed at the show by a compact SUV and an all-new model line - founded just 20 years ago, this company has exported and sold over 1.2 million cars overseas since 1997, so the Frankfurt premiere will be one to watch.
Suzuki Swift Sport
While we wait with baited breath for the launch of what’s really important over at Suzuki
(the 2019 Jimny…), the Japanese will keep us busy with a new 2018 Swift Sport that looks slightly less nice compared to the outgoing car, and ditches the zesty old naturally-aspirated engine in favour of a modern 1.4-litre turbo lump.
Mercedes-AMG Project One
What a time to be alive — we’ve just about started to calm down from the hypercar trifecta (Porsche 918 Spyder, LaFerrari, McLaren P1) and we’re onto the next big thing. Aston Martin’s Adrian Newey-designed Valkyrie will have competition of its own from Mercedes-AMG, who is finally getting ready to show off an F1 car for the road, with a hybrid V6 engine and a total of 1,000 horsepower for a top speed in excess of 350kph.
Mini Electric concept
Mini’s been dabbling with electric cars since the 2008 Mini E experiment, but this latest concept headed to Frankfurt reveals what an actual production electric Mini Cooper will look like when it goes on sale in 2019. Earlier this year the brand already revealed its first ever electrified production car, the Countryman Plug-in Hybrid, but this 2019 Mini will be totally emissions-free.
In 2008 Ferrari got it right with the California, the brand’s first front-engined V8 convertible targeting conquest sales and women buyers. What they got wrong though was the cumbersome styling with that vertical, stacked rear end emphasizing height instead of width. That’s all been sorted with the new Portofino successor model, looking good and going gooder, with a 3.9-litre twin-turbo making 592bhp. Even if you don’t like the looks you won’t have to look at it for long — 0-100kph takes 3.5 seconds.
The French are of course taking this as an opportunity to demonstrate their concept zaniness once again, so Renault has prepared for Frankfurt a connected car of the future, the year 2030 to be precise, so it will be suitably ridiculous, but hey, there is also a new Renault Sport Megan on the stand to look forward to, with the same 1.8-litre turbo motor found in the new mid-engined Alpine sportscar.
Smart Vision EQ
Mercedes will be launching its new electrified EQ sub-brand on sale from 2019 starting with an SUV — the company plans a total of at least 10 new electrified vehicles by 2022 — but in Frankfurt we’re in for an autonomous little pygmy Smart the envisions a future of connected, shareable cars, with a large display in place of a grille.
Borgward has already unveiled two SUVs and started sales with regional distributors established in the UAE, Kuwait and Bahrain, so now the reborn Chinese-owned German brand (that first went defunct back in 1961) is ready to show off a sportscar to act as the halo product for Borgward.
It’s hard to believe it took Volkswagen this long, but next week in Frankfurt the brand will finally unveil an entry-level crossover based on the MQB platform (everything from the Golf to the Audi Q2 this T-Roc is based on) - wheels reached out to VW Middle East and the company says there are currently no plans to introduce the T-Roc here. We’ll get the seven-seater VW Terramont SUV at next month’s Dubai motor show instead…