Frankfurt auto show: a sneak peek at the cars set to be the stars

The third-generation Bentley Continental GT

The third-generation Bentley Continental GT

The 67th International Motor Show in Frankfurt doesn’t open its doors to the public until Sept. 14, but a host of major players including Audi, Bentley, Ferrari and Porsche have already started taking the wraps off cars that are destined to be a huge draw for visitors.

Audi will be using the biennial Frankfurt show to introduce its all-new flagship A8 luxury sedan to the public. It was shown to the world’s press in July, and it will be joined on the company’s stand by the world premiere of its sportier little brother, the A7 four-door coupé.

Bentley is showcasing the third-generation Continental GT at this year’s event. It boasts sleeker exterior lines, a host of cutting-edge driver aids and creature comforts and a heavily revised 12-cylinder engine. It can now go from 0-100km/h in 3.7 seconds and on to a 207mph (333km/h) top speed.

BMW will be bringing a host of concepts to this year’s show but the biggest real-world reveal will be the new M5 super sedan. The first ever M car to come with all-wheel drive as standard, it is also the first series production car from the company with a 190mph top speed. Until now, BMW electronically restricted its cars to 155mph.

Fresh from winning the 2017 World Car of the Year award for its first ever SUV, the F-Pace, Jaguar will be attempting to make it two years in a row with the E-Pace, a more compact but equally sporting crossover; the company expects it to become its most popular car in history when it goes on sale.

Mercedes could well have the event’s ultimate star car on its stand — a Formula 1-derived hybrid hypercar built in conjunction with AMG — but it is keeping the car a tightly guarded secret until the event proper. The world’s oldest carmaker will also be demonstrating a new autonomous car concept, the Smart Vision EQ fortwo, designed for ride sharing plus its first ever pickup truck, the X-Class. It will also be taking the wraps off the new S-Class Coupé and S-Class Cabriolet that will complete its flagship range after the S-Class sedan was unveiled in Shanghai in April.

Porsche’s biggest car at Frankfurt will be the new, third-generation Cayenne SUV. Longer and wider yet lower and lighter, it borrows a host of features and technologies from its seminal 911, including rear-wheel steering to boost handling and poise, even off road.

Ferrari is celebrating its 70th year in business and as such, Frankfurt will represent just one of many opportunities for celebration and for showcasing its capabilities. Nevertheless, it will be using the show for the world premiere of the Portofino, a 2+2 convertible with a retractable hardtop and a twin-turbocharged 600hp V8 engine. Capable of hitting 100km/h in 3.5 seconds and a top speed of 199mph, it will be replacing the existing California T when it goes on sale early next year.