2017 Frankfurt Motor Show: Top Concepts

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceTop Concepts
At every major auto show, carmakers premiere concept vehicles that provide a glimpse into the future of the auto industry. Whether showcasing technology that may still be years — if not decades — away or revealing the design for a new model that will be in showrooms soon, concept cars are undoubtedly some of the most interesting rides at any show. Let’s look at the top concepts from this year’s Frankfurt Motor Show.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceAudi Aicon
Audi debuted two concept cars in Frankfurt, the Elaine and Aicon, as examples of how Audi plans to continue developing autonomous driving in the future. The names of both concepts include AI, for Audi AI, the abbreviation Audi uses for its mobile technologies that draw strategy and technology from artificial intelligence and machine learning. International Automotive Engineering has adopted a five-level scale to define automated driving: Driver Assistance, Partial Automation, Conditional Automation, High Automation and Full Automation. The Audi Aicon is an example of Level 5 Full Automation, with no steering wheel or pedals — all driver controls are eliminated. Aicon is powered by four electric motors that each drive a wheel with a total output of 260 kW and 406 lb-ft of torque.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceAudi Aicon
The Aicon design shows the future with Level 5 Full Automation because there is no need to design around driver controls. The 4-door 2+2 features opposed doors that open to either end with no B-pillar; two individual seats that swivel up to 15 degrees for ease of entry or to turn toward conversations; and storage space at both the front and the rear due to the packaging of the electric-drive system. The seats can slide nearly twenty inches on a raised platform, and two additional passengers can sit on a fixed bench seat. When a passenger enters the vehicle, LED accents illuminate, a Personal Intelligent Assistant recognizes the passenger and activates all personal settings and a full range of communications electronics.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceAudi Elaine
An example of Level 4 High Automation, Audi Elaine shares its exterior design, electric drive and distinctive exterior lighting with the Audi e-tron Sportback design study that debuted at Auto Shanghai in China in May 2017. Audi Elaine is an SUV coupe that features 23-inch 6-spoke wheels and lighting technology that uses digitally-controlled Matrix LED light units at the front and rear to turn the light into a communication tool. Powered by three electric motors, one at the front axle and two at the rear for a quattro-drive system, Audi Elaine will accelerate from zero to 62 mph in 4.5 seconds and has a range of more than 300 miles.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceAudi Elaine
Vehicles with Level 4 High Automation systems can take over driving completely without any driver assistance but are limited to specific circumstances, such as highway driving or a parking garage. Equipped with Highway Pilot, the Audi Elaine can take over at highway driving speeds from 37 to 80 mph. When Highway Pilot is in use , , Elaine will change lanes automatically or pass and return to the lane without any input from the driver, but at any time the driver can resume control.

© Mike Meredith, Automotive Content ExperienceBMW i Vision Dynamics
An indication of the design direction for a new electric model, the BMW i Vision Dynamics would fit into the current lineup between the i3 electric city car and the i8 electric sports car. Adrian van Hooydonk, senior vice president of BMW Group Design describes the i Vision Dynamics as “. . . combining electric mobility with the core values of BMW: dynamism and elegance. We are therefore demonstrating how the product range and the design language of BMW i can be evolved further into other concepts,” van Hooydonk noted.

© Mike Meredith, Automotive Content ExperienceBMW i Vision Dynamics
The exterior profile of the BMW i Vision Dynamics creates a new evolution of classic BMW proportions with a long wheelbase, flowing roofline and short overhangs. A 4-door gran coupe, the BMW i Vision Dynamics accelerates from zero to 62 mph in 4 seconds with a range of 373 miles and a top speed of more than 120 mph. The BMW i Vision Dynamics sports BMW’s signature dual kidney grilles, but sensors turn the surface into an “intelligence surface.” The classic BMW 4-headlight system is replaced with two LED lighting elements, which includes all necessary lighting to evoke a familiar BMW look.

© Mike Meredith, Automotive Content ExperienceBMW Concept X7
From the automaker that forged its reputation with nimble, sporty sedans comes the Concept X7 iPerformance — a full-size luxury SUV to join the top of the X line of Sport Activity Vehicles above the current X5 and X6 models. The largest SUV ever to be offered by BMW, the 6-seat Concept X7 iPerformance offers a look at the production version of the X7 that will follow, scheduled to go on sale in 2018. The plug-in hybrid powertrain of the Concept X7 iPerformance combines a BMW TwinPower Turbo gasoline engine with electric eDrive technology.

© Mike Meredith, Automotive Content ExperienceBMW Concept X7
Final details still need to be ironed out, but the overall design looks very close to being production ready. The Concept X7 iPerformance features a large version of the signature BMW dual-kidney grille, ultra-slim headlights and deep lower air intakes. Inside, the Concept X7 iPerformance emphasizes the amount of open space with simple forms and a panoramic roof, while luxury materials and the latest infotainment technology create an exclusive feel. Seats are covered in a combination of Dark Olive-bronze leather and Smoke White quilted leather. The instrument panel is reduced to essential information for a clean look, with the 12.3-inch instrument cluster screen and center touchscreen placed close together for interactive use and a single continuous display.

© Mike Meredith, Automotive Content ExperienceBMW Concept Z4
The BMW Concept Z4 is officially a concept, but the next-generation Z4 roadster is expected to closely follow this design. 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. The Concept Z4 made its world debut at Pebble Beach in August and according to Senior Vice President of BMW Group Design Adrian van Hooydonk, “The concept expresses the new BMW design language from all perspectives and in all details. From the dynamic-looking front to the striking flanks to the clean-cut tail end.”

© Mike Meredith, Automotive Content ExperienceBMW Concept Z4
The front end of the Z4 Concept offers a new take on the classic BMW kidney grille and the headlights are arranged more vertically for a new front-end appearance. 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.

© Mike Meredith, Automotive Content ExperienceHonda Urban EV Concept
An all-electric car smaller than the current Honda Jazz supermini, the Urban EV Concept debuted in Frankfurt, and Honda Motor Co. President and CEO Takahiro Hachigo stated, “This is not some vision of the distant future; a production version of this car will be here in Europe in 2019.” Built on an all-new platform, the Urban EV Concept is low and wide, with a simple, somewhat retro design. The Honda emblem is backlit in blue, which will be a new styling element for future electric vehicles. Between the headlights, messages can be displayed such as greetings, messages for other drivers or charging status.

© Mike Meredith, Automotive Content ExperienceHonda Urban EV Concept
Inside, the Urban EV Concept seats four in two bench seats, the front seat finished in grey fabric with a wood trim seatback and armrests. The large floating dashboard console is also trimmed in wood with simple controls and a panoramic screen on top. A wraparound panoramic screen behind the console extends into the doors and replaces the side mirrors with camera displays. Slim A-pillars and a wraparound windshield improve visibility for the driver. The doors are rear-hinged.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceKia Proceed Concept
Created by Kia’s European design center located in Frankfurt, the Kia Proceed Concept for the Frankfurt Motor Show is a look at a new bodystyle for the cee’d model. Described as an extended hot hatch, the 4-door hatchback design has a low roofline and an aggressive stance with a “sharkblade” shape at the C-pillar that emphasizes the lack of B-pillars. The Proceed Concept includes Kia’s tiger nose grille, sculpted hood inspired by the Stinger and full-length roof glazing. The car is finished in Lava Red paint that requires multiple hand-applied layers of black, chrome-effect silver and red-tinted lacquer.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceKia Proceed Concept
A unique design element is the Luminline, an illuminated outline of the side window graphic that emphasizes the fastback slope of the roofline and highlights the sharkblade. Inside, the Proceed Concept features hand-tailored black elastane material that is cut, trimmed and rippled to create a contrast with the sleek instrument panel. The instrument panel and infotainment panel incorporate color-coding for the drive modes: Lava Red for GT mode, Forest Green Eco mode and Ghost White for Autonomous mode. The floating center console includes aluminum controls and is supported by a carbon fiber piece element that runs the length of the interior. A shelf mounted in the dashboard contains three containers of fragrance to evoke memories: aged leather, the oily fragrance of a garage, and high-octane motorsport fuel.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceMercedes-Benz Concept EQA
The first all-electric EQ concept vehicle from Mercedes-Benz in the compact segment, the Concept EQA follows the debut of the Concept EQ in Paris in September 2016, which launched the Mercedes-Benz EQ product and technology brand. The Concept EQA continues the Sensual purity design language with reduced sharp edges and lines, and laser-fiber light technology with a spiral-shaped light. A two-box design with short overhangs, the Concept EQA has a sporty, modern character. At the front, a black panel festooned with LEDs replaces the traditional grille, creating a virtual radiator grille that can change in appearance.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceMercedes-Benz Concept EQA
Powered by two electric motors, one at each of the axles, Concept EQA has a total power output of over 200 kW with maximum torque of 368 lb-ft. Concept EQA will accelerate from zero to 60 mph in around 5 seconds, with a total range around 249 miles. Two drive modes, Sport and Sport Plus, offer different front to rear torque splits. Concept EQA can be charged at home or at work via induction or wallbox, and is also ready for rapid charging where available.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceMercedes-AMG Project ONE
Mercedes-Benz wowed the crowd during press preview days at the 2017 Frankfurt Motor Show with the debut of Project ONE, a 2-seat supercar with extensive use of technology developed through the Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One race program. The powertrain is essentially the same as the team’s Formula One race car — a 1.6-liter direct-injection V6 engine with an electrically-assisted turbocharger that can spin up to 100000 rpm, delivered through an 8-speed automated mechanical transmission. The V6 can rev up to 11000 rpm, and a second electric motor links directly to the driveshaft for extra power. Two additional electric motors on the front axle provide acceleration and braking at each wheel for stability and all-wheel-drive control.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceMercedes-AMG Project ONE
Total power output for the complex system of turbocharged V6 and electric motors is more than 1000 horsepower. Mercedes-AMG did not release zero to 60 mph figures but did say that Project ONE will accelerate from zero to 124 mph in less than 6 seconds with a top speed of 217 mph. The 10-spoke forged aluminum wheels have a center lock with a carbon-fiber semi-cover that improves airflow around the wheels, wrapped in Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires developed exclusively for this Mercedes-AMG supercar and paired with lightweight ceramic high-performance compound brakes. Inside, the carbon fiber monocoque has integrated bucket seats and a Formula One-style rectangular wheel with integrated controls at the center as well as LED shift lights. Still a concept car, the production version of Project ONE should not change much. When it does go on sale only 275 will be built, and each will sell for €2.275 million ($2.72 million).

© Mike Meredith, Automotive Content ExperienceMINI Electric Concept
Starting with the iconic MINI design — compact and agile for the urban environment — the MINI Electric Concept hints at a design direction for a future all-electric MINI. With an all-electric model planned for 2019, MINI is focusing on aerodynamics and light weight to maximize electric range. From a design standpoint, the surfaces are precise and contemporary, with accents and contrasts for the distinctive MINI attitude. Finished in Silver with contrasting Striking Yellow, the hexagonal grille and round headlights quickly identify the MINI Electric Concept, but the grille is closed for aerodynamic efficiency with a high-gloss yellow accent bar and MINI E badge.

© Mike Meredith, Automotive Content ExperienceMINI Electric Concept
The silver and yellow color scheme evokes the earlier MINI E driven by private owners in 2008 field trials but never went into production. The matte white roof fades to high-gloss yellow, while the yellow of the side skirts fades as it blends into the body color. The 19-inch wheels are finished in dark grey with yellow accents, and the aerodynamic inserts are manufactured via a 3D printing process. At the rear, taillights have the classic MINI outline but they each present one half of the Union Jack with an LED dot matrix.

© Mike Meredith, Automotive Content ExperienceMINI John Cooper Works GP Concept
Inspired by MINI’s victories in the Monte Carlo Rally 50 years ago, the MINI John Cooper Works GP Concept presents the modern interpretation of Mini racing heritage. Wider than the current MINI, the large front spoiler, rear apron, side skirts and large roof spoiler create an aggressive appearance, while lightweight materials such as carbon fiber are used to reduce weight. The bold front spoiler curves up to channel air around the front fender flares, and the carbon matting is visible via its high-gloss finish.

© Mike Meredith, Automotive Content ExperienceMINI John Cooper Works GP Concept
The number 0059 on the front fender indicates the first year of the classic Mini, and the 19-inch Racetrack lightweight wheels are a classic multi-spoke design with Curbside Red Metallic accents and Highspeed Orange on the inner surface of the rims. Inside, the MINI John Cooper Works GP Concept gets pared down to basics with the rear seat, door panels and headliner removed and a roll cage, low-mounted bucket seats and 5-point seat belts installed. Despite the stark interior, the seats are covered with black patinaed smooth leather on the head restraints and side bolsters, with a black-and-white knitted textile for the seat inserts. Curbside Red and Highspeed Orange add detail to the interior.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experiencesmart vision EQ fortwo
Electric drive was first offered for the smart fortwo in 2007, and today smart offers electric drive for all its models. The smart vision EQ fortwo is not only electric drive, but it offers a vision for autonomous, shared transportation. A level 5 autonomous vehicle, the smart vision EQ fortwo does not have a steering wheel or pedals. With the interest in car sharing services growing, smart vision EQ fortwo demonstrates how car sharing can evolve via autonomous vehicles, since users will no longer need to choose a location to pick up a car — the car will come to them.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experiencesmart vision EQ fortwo
After a user requests a smart vision EQ fortwo using a mobile device, the black panel on the front and the projection surfaces on the sides can be used to personalize the vehicle and alert users that their car has arrived. A unique feature of the smart vision EQ fortwo is the new door design. To save space and make access easier, the doors pivot like wings above the rear axle. Users communicate with the smart vision EQ fortwo with a mobile device or with voice commands.

© Mike Meredith, Automotive Content ExperienceToyota C-HR HY-Power Concept
Toyota debuted the new C-HR HY-Power Concept in Frankfurt with a more robust hybrid powertrain. The new hybrid unit in the C-HR HY-Power Concept produces more power than the current production C-HR engine, and indicates a strategy of offering higher performance hybrid options for core Toyota models.

© Mike Meredith, Automotive Content ExperienceToyota C-HR HY-Power Concept
The exterior of the C-HR HY-Power Concept is finished in matte Dark Carbon silver paint with a dramatic contrast of anodized Burning Orange. The theme gets carried over to the interior with much of the interior finished in black and Burning Orange elements on the seats, armrests and dash.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceVolkswagen I.D. Crozz II Concept
Volkswagen plans to launch the I.D. family of zero-emission cars in 2020 and showed the latest version — the I.D. Crozz II — at the Frankfurt Motor Show. First shown in Shanghai in April, the I.D. Crozz II will be the second model to launch in 2020 after the I.D. four door. The I.D. Crozz II Concept unveiled in Frankfurt gives a stronger indication of what the second vehicle will look like, with a new color (Hibiscus Red Metallic), a new interior and electric 4Motion all-wheel drive.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceVolkswagen I.D. Crozz II Concept
Changes for I.D. Crozz II Concept over the first version include extended voice control, smart lights that become active once the driver or a passenger begins voice commands, and a light shade integrated into the illuminated panoramic roof. The I.D. Crozz II Concept is all-wheel drive with a 150-kW motor for the rear axle and a 75-kW motor for the front axle. When conditions dictate a different distribution, an “electric propshaft” redistributes power between the front and rear wheels.

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