2017 Frankfurt Motor Show: High-Performance Rides

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceFrankfurt Favorites
No matter where they are held, auto shows are typically two-sided. On one hand, they function as showcases for the newest production cars designed for everyday driving — the bread and butter of most automakers. However, there is another side to most auto shows — the limited-run high-performance cars. Automakers bring these exclusive, exotic machines to auto shows to introduce new technology, but also to rev up the buying public. The 2017 Frankfurt Motor Show is no different: it hosts plenty of sexy, fast and — in some cases — outrageous new automobiles designed to inspire excitement behind the wheel. Here’s a look at our favorite high-performance rides from the 2017 Frankfurt Motor Show, listed in no particular order.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceBugatti Chiron
If you’re an auto enthusiast, you already know that the Bugatti Chiron is one of the most extreme sports cars on the planet. It boasts a massive 8.0-liter quad-turbo W16 engine producing 1500 horsepower and insane 1180 lb-ft of torque, available as low as 2000 rpm. Performances numbers are staggering. The Chiron reaches 62 mph in less than 2.5 seconds, 124 mph in around 6.5 seconds and — most amazing of all — 186 mph in less than 13.6 seconds.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceBugatti Chiron
Now the Chiron has a new stat to brag about. This Chiron recently went from zero to 400 km/h (249 mph) and back to zero in 41.96 seconds with race driver Juan Pablo Montoya behind the wheel. Acceleration to 400 took 32.6 seconds, and full braking (which puts 2 Gs of force on the driver) took the remaining 9.3 seconds. The time is considered a world record sprint; however, there aren’t many other production cars that can reach 249 mph, let alone do it in such a short time.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceLamborghini Aventador S Roadster
Nothing makes a bold statement like a Lamborghini — especially the flagship Aventador. Any Aventador turns heads, but here in Frankfurt the Italian car company turned up the “look at me” factor with a new Aventador S Roadster. A futuristic design that has creases and angles in myriad directions, the S Roadster clearly makes a bold statement. The engine cover has two windows so passersby can gawk at the massive V12 engine. The 2-seater offers a variety of interior treatments including leather, Alcantara and carbon fiber trim.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceLamborghini Aventador S Roadster
As with any Lamborghini, the Aventador S Roadster is as powerful as it looks. Lurking behind the passenger cabin is a 6.5-liter V12 engine producing 740 horsepower and 509 lb-ft of torque. Power is delivered to all four wheels via a “robotized” 7-speed gearbox that performs gear changes as quickly as 50 milliseconds. With the quick transmission and powerful engine, the Aventador S will achieve 100 km/h (62 mph) in a mere 3 seconds. In 6 more seconds 124 mph will flash by. With the driver’s right foot planted on the floor, this Aventador will eventually reach 217 mph. Deliveries of the new Aventador S Roadster will begin February 2018 with a base price of $460,247.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceFerrari Portofino
An all-new convertible graced the Ferrari stand at the Frankfurt Motor show. The Portofino replaces the aging California and takes its place as the entry-level model in the Ferrari lineup. The Portofino sports the same turbocharged 3.9-liter V8 engine as the California T; however, the engine has been updated to produce close to 600 horsepower — an increase of almost 50 ponies. Performance is at a level appropriate for a Ferrari — a sprint to 60 mph takes less than 3.5 seconds, while top speed is documented as approaching 200 mph. To help handle the power, an electronic rear differential improves mechanical grip and provides better control when the car is at its limits.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceFerrari Portofino
The Portofino employs a retractable hardtop that not only adds stiffness and security, when closed it creates a sleek fastback style. Overall styling for Portofino is more in line with the rest of the Ferrari lineup, looking much more modern than the California. This includes a larger grille, new LED headlights and new taillights. Ferrari’s new Portofino convertible seats four; however, rear-seat use should probably be limited to short trips. Portofino also has a new 10.2-inch display screen, a new steering wheel and 18-way power-adjustable front seats.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceMercedes-AMG Project ONE
If Frankfurt Mercedes-AMG celebrated the AMG brand’s 50 anniversary in proper fashion with the introduction of an extreme supersports car, the Project ONE. This 2-seat coupe borrows from Mercedes’ extensive Formula One experience and builds what is basically a street-legal race car. When most car companies refer to bringing their racing technology and experience to the street, it usually isn’t as literal as what Mercedes-AMG has done. The Project ONE employs a full-fledged Formula One hybrid drive system consisting of a 1.6-liter direct-injection V6 engine that uses an electrically-assisted turbocharger. This gets teamed with an additional electric motor linked directly to the driveshaft, as well as two electric motors fitted to the front axle that provide acceleration and braking at each wheel for better stability and all-wheel-drive control.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceMercedes-AMG Project ONE
This extremely complex system of electric motors, gas engine and turbocharger comes together to produce more than 1000 horsepower. Although we typically tell you how fast a car such as the Project ONE would reach 60 mph, Mercedes-AMG is only reporting that this extreme supercar will reach 124 mph (200 km/h) in less than 6 seconds. Top speed is reported to be 217 mph. Mercedes-AMG describes the interior of the Project ONE as a Formula One car for two. The carbon fiber monocoque has integrated bucket seats, and the steering wheel adds to the race car feel with Formula One styling. We should point out that the Mercedes-AMG Project ONE is still a concept car. When it does go on sale only 275 will be built, and each will cost €2.275 million ($2.72 million).

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceAudi R8 RWS
Quattro all-wheel drive is the cornerstone of the Audi brand, so it is certainly news when the company introduces a special-edition rear-wheel-drive R8. The high-performance R8 RWS (rear-wheel series) is designed for the true driving enthusiast. “The R8 V10 RWS is made for purists,” said Stephan Winkelmann, CEO of Audi Sport GmbH. “A limited-edition special model for customers with an appreciation for essential driving enjoyment, the R8 V10 RWS is an absolutely exclusive offer. With its mid-mounted V10 engine and rear-wheel drive, it successfully brings the driving concept of our R8 LMS racing car to the streets,” Winkelmann noted.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceAudi R8 RWS
The R8 RWS features a mid-mounted naturally-aspirated 5.2-liter V10 engine that produces 540 horsepower and almost 400 lb-ft of torque. A limited number of rear-wheel-drive variants will be available, and those in the know will recognize the matte black Singleframe grille, matte black air intakes and gloss black color for the upper section of the signature blade. An optional red stripe further calls out this special R8.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperiencePorsche 911 GT2 RS
For those seeking the ultimate hi 911, the GT2 RS sits at the pinnacle of Porsche performance.. The fastest and most powerful street-legal production 911 ever, the GT2 RS boasts 700 horsepower while weighing only 3,241 pounds. This favorable power-to-weight ratio results in very quick 2.7-second sprint to 60 mph and a top track speed of 211 mph. Power comes from a 3.8-liter twin-turbo engine based on the powerplant from the 911 Turbo, but with larger turbochargers and an improved cooling system. The GT2 RS uses a custom 7-speed double clutch Porsche Doppelkupplung — or PDK — gearbox.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperiencePorsche 911 GT2 RS
The Porsche 911 is designed to do more than just sprint in a straight line – even the most basic model earns kudos as one of the best-handling sports cars on the road. The GT2 RS is no exception — it features a race-bred chassis with rear axle-steering and ultra-high-performance tires. Larger air intakes and a big rear wing provide necessary downforce, and the Porsche Ceramic Composite Brakes ensure consistent stopping power. The optional Weissach package reduces weight by nearly 40 pounds, further enhancing the performance of the 911 GT2 RS. The GT2 RS arrives in showrooms early in 2018 with a starting price of $293,200.

© Mike Meredith, Automotive Content ExperienceBMW M5
One of BMW’s most revered cars since its inception in 1984, the sixth-generation 2018 M5 made its debut at the Frankfurt show. This new M5 is the quickest and most technologically-advanced ever offered. With a 4.4-liter turbocharged V8 engine producing 600 horsepower, the new M5 will accelerate from zero to 60 mph in a mere 3.2 seconds with 124 mph arriving in 11.1 seconds. Top track speed is listed at 189 mph. All that power gets delivered to the ground through a new 8-speed M Steptronic transmission with Drivelogic and BMW’s new M xDrive all-wheel-drive system.

© Mike Meredith, Automotive Content ExperienceBMW M5
The 2018 M5 is the first BMW ever offered with M xDrive, the M-specific all-wheel-drive system that has three modes: 4WD, 4WD Sport and 2WD with no dynamic stability control. The default mode is 4WD with DSC, which offers a small amount of slip at the rear wheels when accelerating out of corners; for the true driving enthusiast looking for the same type of experience as the previous-generation M5, all power can be sent to the rear wheels when set to 2WD with no DSC. Bespoke M compound brakes are standard, with optional M carbon ceramic brakes that provide a 50-pound reduction in unsprung weight. The 2018 M5 will go on sale in spring 2018; 400 M5 First Editions will be offered worldwide, with 50 available for the U.S. market.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceMINI John Cooper Works GP Concept
Although most current owners probably don’t know it, MINI has a rich racing heritage. To pay homage to its racing past, MINI designers created the John Cooper Works GP Concept. There have been limited edition GP MINIs in the past — this concept picks up where those left off. “If you know about MINI, you’ll be aware of the brand’s long and successful history in motor sport,” said Adrian van Hooydonk, senior vice president of BMW Group Design. “The MINI John Cooper Works GP Concept brings together the full suite of defining MINI design features and showcases them at their sportiest and most exciting. What we’re looking at here is maximum performance, maximum MINI,” van Hooydonk noted.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceMINI John Cooper Works GP Concept
Considerably wider than a standard MINI, the GP Concept features large front and rear aprons, side skirts and a prominent roof spoiler, making it clear that this little car would be very much at home on the track. As if it didn’t already turn heads, this racing MINI is painted in Black Jack Anthracite with Curbside Red metallic accents throughout. Use of lightweight materials such as carbon fiber help increase performance, while the 50/50 weight distribution adds to the driving fun. Don’t look for the JCW GP concept to go into production as-is; however, there have been special GP versions of the MINI in the past, so some elements may make it to the street.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceAudi RS4 Avant
The dream car of many auto enthusiasts, the latest edition of the vaunted Audi RS4 Avant made its debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show. Wagons have lost favor in America; however, their popularity remains strong in Europe. However, the RS4 is more than a typical wagon — it’s more like a sports car trapped in a wagon body. Power comes from a biturbo 2.9-liter V6 engine that generates 450 horsepower and 443 lb-ft of torque available as low as 1900 rpm. Power gets shipped to all four wheels via Audi’s legendary quattro all-wheel-drive system. Big power and excellent grip make for impressive acceleration: the RS4 can sprint to 100 km/h (62 mph) in 4.1 seconds. With the optional RS Dynamic package, top speed is purported to be 174 mph.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceAudi RS4 Avant
The RS4 features styling that helps it stand out from the lesser S4 and A4 variants. Large air inlets and the flat Singleframe grille use the typical RS honeycomb treatment, while larger wheel arches indicate the power within. At the rear sits a spoiler as well as large oval exhaust outlets surrounded by carbon fiber. Nineteen-inch forged aluminum wheels complete the high-performance look. Unfortunately for Americans, this one goes onto the wish list since Audi has no current plans to bring the RS4 Avant stateside.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperiencePorsche 911 GT3 with Touring Package
The Porsche 911 GT3 is an extreme sports car, offering the highest performance possible in a 911 with a non-turbo engine. But there are those who want the performance of the GT3 but prefer to avoid the attention that the larger rear spoiler inevitably attracts. For these Porschephiles there is the all-new GT3 with Touring Package. The primary difference is the removal of the fixed rear spoiler, and instead using the automatically-extending spoiler of the 911 Carrera models. The Touring Package also adds side window surrounds, Sport Exhaust tailpipes and the Porsche logo in silver at the rear.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperiencePorsche 911 GT3 with Touring Package
Inside the GT3 with Touring Package are leather sport seats as well as leather trim for the steering wheel, shift lever, door panels and other surfaces. The interior is also trimmed in black brushed aluminum. Although this GT3 may be softer on the inside, it is still a true sports car. The 4.0-liter flat-six engine puts out 500 horsepower — good enough to accelerate the 911 to 60 mph in 3.8 seconds with a top speed of 196 mph. A 6-speed manual will be the only transmission available on the GT3 with Touring Package when it goes on sale early next year.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperiencePorsche Cayenne Turbo
The all-new 2019 Porsche Cayenne made its world debut at this year’s Frankfurt Motor Show, led by the high-performance Cayenne Turbo. This third-generation Cayenne has fresh styling inside and out, although the Turbo stands out from the rest of the lineup with a unique front end, LED headlights, larger wheel arches, quad exhaust outlets and special 21-inch wheels. The Turbo also has an adaptive roof spoiler that adjusts depending on acceleration and braking.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperiencePorsche Cayenne Turbo
Powering the new Cayenne Turbo is a 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 that generates 550 horsepower and 567 lb-ft of torque. Able to reach 60 mph in 3.7 seconds and with a top speed of 177 mph, the third gen is quicker and faster than the last-gen Cayenne Turbo S. The Cayenne Turbo also features a new lightweight chassis, 3-chamber air suspension, high-performance Porsche Surface Coated Brake technology, rear-axle steering and Porsche Torque Vectoring Plus — all designed to improve ride and handling. The 2019 Porsche Cayenne Turbo will be available for ordering later this year, but don’t look for it to arrive in showrooms until fall 2018.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceBMW Z4 Concept
Originally shown at the Pebble Beach Concours earlier this year, the BMW Z4 concept provides an early look at the next-generation Z4 roadster. The Concept Z4 features classic roadster lines with a long wheelbase, short overhangs and a compact rear end. The car sits low and wide, which gives the roadster an aggressive stance and the potential for great handling. Although the Concept Z4 is recognizable as a BMW, the front end offers a new take on the classic BMW kidney grille. Headlights are completely new and arranged in a more vertical fashion, providing the Z4 with a fresh look.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceBMW Z4 Concept
Concept Z4 designers made the conscious choice to highlight the divide between driver and passenger. The passenger sits in a light-colored seat surrounded by matching soft surfaces, while the driver’s cockpit — which includes the center console — is black. The red start button and red paddle shifters reinforce performance aspects of the concept. Controls are integrated into soft-touch selectors, and a wide touchscreen and digital gauge cluster provide information to the driver. A subtle touch: dashboard vents match the exhaust outlets. BMW has not provided any indication about potential powertrains. We expect there will be more details released when the Concept Z4 gets closer to becoming a production model. Look for the next-generation Z4 — based on this concept — to debut sometime next year.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceJaguar I-PACE Race Car
Late last year Jaguar took the wraps off a concept version of its upcoming electric crossover called the I-PACE. The stunning I-PACE concept offers plenty of performance, but this sporty SUV is all electric. Two powerful motors — one driving each axle for all-wheel-drive performance — are integrated with the transmission and provide a total of 400 horsepower and 516 lb-ft or torque. At this year’s Frankfurt show, Jaguar furthered the potential of this electric vehicle by turning it into a race car.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceJaguar I-PACE Race Car
Jaguar is already one of the first manufacturers to participate in Formula E — a racing series featuring open-wheel electric vehicles. With this I-Pace race car, the British marques announced the creation of a new racing series designed for production-based electric cars. The Jaguar I-PACE eTrophy series will take place in conjunction with the FIA Formula E Championship races and will feature Jaguar I-Pace eTrophy race cars exclusively. “I am looking forward to seeing a full grid of Jaguar I-PACE race cars in late 2018, soon after the first Jaguar I-PACE hits the road in Europe. Ultimately this innovative series will enhance the technology in our future electric vehicles and benefit our customers,” said Gerd Mauser, chairman of Jaguar Racing.

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