Held once every two years, the Frankfurt motor show is one of the biggest events in the motoring calendar. This year was no exception with important new cars announced by a number of major manufacturers not to mention a selection of crazy concepts. Here’s my top ten show stars.
As luxurious as the Range Rover is, Bentley seems to think that people want even more opulence from their SUV. Not only do you get, according to Bentley, “the world’s finest automotive cabin” but some serious speed as well. A new 6.0 litre turbocharged W12 engine pumps out 600bhp to give a top speed of 186mph. The looks may not be everyone’s cup of tea but it’s certainly imposing. Even with prices starting at £160k, Bentley seem to be on to something as the first year’s worth of production has sold out already.
Bugatti Vision Gran Turismo Concept
The makers of the world’s most expensive production car have at last made something we all have a chance of owning and driving. Sadly it’s only in the virtual world if you have a Playstation and a copy of Gran Turismo 6. Likely to represent the Veyron’s replacement (to be called the Chiron) on a heavy course of steroids, the Vision GT previews the next chapter of Bugatti’s design language and ramps up the aggression severely. Like the Veyron, it’s powered by a turbocharged W16 engine except power is now well over 1000bhp, good for a top speed over over 250mph.
If you’ve not heard of Infiniti then you might be surprised to hear they’ve been around since 1989. Like Lexus is Toyota’s luxury arm, Infiniti does the same job for Nissan although not quite as successfully it has to be said. The Q30 hatchback/crossover looks to change that by offering striking looks, an upmarket interior and affordable running costs. As it shares much with the Mercedes A-Class, this could be the car that sees Infiniti break into the mainstream. Any patriots out there might be interested to know it’ll be built in Sunderland too.
Ferrari 488 Spider
Frankfurt saw a bit of Italian rivalry between the prancing horse and raging bull as both released rival roadsters. Lamorghini’s Huracan may have looked dramatic but for me the Ferrari 488 Spider was the winner here. Not only does it boast more power but its significantly lighter too. Factor in sexier looks and a hard roof for when the heavens open and it’s a no brainer in my book. 0-62mph takes a scant 3.0 seconds flat while 124mph takes only 8.7 seconds. Keep your foot down and you’ll top 200mph, yes please!
Nissan Gripz Concept
Nissan have been producing ‘Z’ badged coupes for over forty years now, a lineage that’s currently represented by the 370Z. Unfortunately for sports car fans, Nissan’s penchant for crossovers seems to know no bounds with the Gripz concept previewing a revolution for ‘Z’ cars. Said to be inspired by 240Z rally cars of the 70’s, it’s not just the jacked up stance that’s new. While there is an (undisclosed) petrol engine under the bonnet, this acts as a generator to power electric motors that drive the wheels. It may upset a few purists but it looks good and is likely to appeal to a much wider audience than the 370Z.
Considering they haven’t produced a truly great car for quite some time now, there’s always plenty of love for Alfa Romeo. Petrolheads (me included) always want to love the Italian brand but have been disappointed by previous ‘comebacks’. The Giulia – fingers crossed – should be the car we’ve yearned to own for decades. Rear wheel drive is back and the 3 Series sized saloon packs 510hp in top QV trim, enough to make it quicker than an M3 or Merc C63 AMG. It’s also far more attractive and even comparatively kind to the environment. Fingers crossed it lives up to expectations.
Mercedes Concept IAA
Standing for Intelligent Aerodynamic Automobile, this Mercedes concept is the closest you’ll get to a Transformer for the road. Below 80km/h the IAA’s main focus is style, offering a glimpse as to what a future CLS might look like. Above this speed, the tail extends by 390mm, the front bumper changes shape and the wheels become flat to help the IAA cleave through the air more efficiently. The interior may seem space age but is said to preview the next E-Class executive saloon while the hybrid drivetrain is fairly conventional too. If this is Mercedes’ future, BMW and Audi had best up their game.
Honda Project 2&4 Concept
Did anyone ever think the Ariel Atom was a little tame? Probably not but that didn’t stop Honda trying to top it with the certifiable Project 2&4. Powered by a 1.0 litre V4 engine lifted from their MotoGP racing bike, it weighs just 405kg, even less than the Atom. It isn’t short of power either, the engine may be dinky but it’ll rev to a staggering 14,000rpm and produces 215hp without a turbo. Uniquely, the driver sits on a floating seat that is designed to leave you as exposed as possible just like a motorbike. Bonkers.
Bentley aren’t the only manufacturer launching their first ever SUV, Jaguar are muscling in on the action too with the F-Pace. Available withworthy (but dull) four cylinder diesels, a 300hp V6 diesel (warmer) or a 380hp supercharged V6 (juuust riiiight), it manages to combine familiar brand aesthetics with chunky 4×4 looks much more successfully than the Bentayga. Jaguars also have a habit of being fantastic to drive and I can’t see the F-Pace bucking the trend. With prices starting at around £35k, it should put a big cat amongst the German pigeons.
Porsche Mission E
Arguably the star of the show, the Mission E suggests what would happen if – or more likely when – Porsche decides to produce a rival for the Tesla Model S. With an electric motor for the front wheels and another for the rears, the Mission E develops over 600hp in total to give 0-62mph in less than 3.5 seconds. Not only is it fast, but it’s also capable of over 300 miles on a single charge. With only fifteen minutes needed to get the batteries from flat to 80% full, you could happily travel much further than that in a day too. Welcome to the future.