Perhaps the only downside to attending an international auto show is seeing the rides that will not make the trek to Canada. While some are no great loss, there are a few that would be greatly appreciated. Here are some of the hotties from the 2017 Frankfurt Motor Show.
Audi RS 4 Avant
With the current crossover craze, there seems to be little room for the once-loved station wagon. That’s verging on criminal when you look at the Audi RS4 Avant. It has the room and flexibility of a crossover, but it also has the road holding and power of a world-class sports car. That’s a win-win! The RS4 Avant is a sleeper of the first order, and this in spite of its sensuously blistered fenders.
However, looks are deceiving. In this case, popping the hood reveals a 2.9-litre, twin-turbocharged V6 that pushes no fewer than 450 horsepower and a tire-shredding 443 lb.-ft. of torque anywhere between 1,900 and 5,000 rpm. This lot is slammed to the road through an eight-speed automatic and a rear-biased version of Audi’s Quattro all-wheel-drive system. The combination sees the RS4 Avant warp from standstill to 100 km/h in 4.1 seconds. To handle the power, the RS4 Avant gets a serious suspension with the option of adding adaptive dampers, dynamic steering, 20-inch wheels and ceramic brakes. All I can say is, bring it and people will buy it!
To bolster its compact crossover range, Kia released the Rio-based Stonic. It is designed to be all things to all potential customers — there are 20 two-tone paint schemes along with five roof colours. The choice theme continues with the three gas engines (a new turbocharged, three-cylinder 1.0L, along with 1.25- and 1.4-litre four-cylinder engines). They are joined by a 1.6L four-cylinder turbodiesel; the latter would work wonders in the Sportage! In an odd move, Stonic is only offered with front-wheel-drive, an on-going knock against the Soul.
Renault Megane RS
The new Renault Megane RS was helped along in the development process by Renault’s Formula One team. That tells you the company is not messing about with its latest hot hatch, which will be offered in Sport and Cup editions. While RS is based on the mortal hatch, it features a much sportier, bolder design — it’s wider, sits on 18- or 19-inch wheels, and features F1-like chequered flag LED fog lights.
Where things heat up is with the 1.8-litre turbo-four. In spite of its smaller displacement, it still manages to twist out 276 horsepower and 288 lb.-ft. of torque. The engine can be teamed with a six-speed manual or six-speed dual-clutch gearbox. The upshot is a sub-six second run to 100 km/h. To ensure it has the corner-carving power the segment demands, the RS gets four-wheel steering and it can be customized — Comfort, Normal, Sport, Personal and Race modes. The last setting on the Cup car sees the stability control system switched off completely! Now if all of this is not quite enough, Renault will launch the 300-horsepower Megane RS Trophy edition later next year.
The T-Roc will slide in beneath the Tiguan in Volkswagen’s line-up. While it is noticeably smaller, it adopts many of the Tiguan’s design cues. It is a good looker with tons of space — 445 litres seats up and 1,290 litres with the 60/40 split rear seat folded. Up front VW’s next-gen infotainment system with an 11.7-inch screen takes pride of place in the centre stack. Peek under the hood there’s a wide range of turbocharged engines: Three gas engines (TSI) and three diesels (TDI). Each is offered with front-wheel drive and manual gearbox or 4Motion all-wheel-drive with a seven-speed twin-clutch gearbox. The rest of its makeup, promises VW, will mirror the Golf. At last, a crossover with some real sportiness in its DNA!
Volkswagen Polo GTI
The hot, sixth-generation Volkswagen Polo GTI arrives with a lot of promise — the 2.0L turbocharged four pumps out 200 horsepower and, more importantly, 236 lb.-ft. of torque at 1,400 rpm. It fires the stallions to the pavement through a six-speed manual and the front wheels or seven-speed twin-clutch box and VW’s 4Motion all-wheel-drive. The larger platform delivers a high level of agility, low weight and the stiffness needed to support the sports suspenders.
The GTI-specific features include the mandatory red stripe in the grille, a front lip spoiler, rear diffuser and twin tailpipes. Inside, the chunky sports steering wheel and legendary “Clark” plaid seats complete the GTI feel. The other intriguing model sitting on the floor was the up! GTI — 115 horsepower does not seem like much, but in what amounts to a large roller skate, it has real promise!
It is too sad that these vehicles will not make it to Canada. In most cases, there is not much of a business case to be made for importing them. But on an emotional level, they are all money in the bank!