The Top 20 Debuts of the 2013 Frankfurt Motor Show
Every 24 months, the automotive world descends upon the German city of Frankfurt for the Frankfurt Motor Show. And every 24 months, the Frankfurt Motor Show kicks off the global auto show season, setting the tone for next six-or-so months. For its 2013 rendition, the Frankfurt show is heavy on hybrids and cuckoo for concepts. In fact, a lot of the debutants are concepts with hybrid power! But as you’re about to see, such vehicles don’t comprise all of our picks for the 20 biggest premieres…
It’s been a while since BMW offered a true halo car (We aren’t counting a fully-loaded 7 Series.) like the Z8 or the 8 Series coupes. The 2015 i8 picks up the range-topping two-door baton, but there’s a twist: It’s a plug-in hybrid, with a mid-mounted 1.5L twin-turbo triple driving the rear wheels and an electric motor powering the fronts. Total system output is 362 horsepower, which is enough to fling this carbon-fiber-tubbed 2+2 to 62 mph in just 4.4 seconds. Sticker price will be just under $136,000 (before applicable tax credits) when it glides into U.S. BMW dealerships early next year.
Jaguar C-X17 Concept
While the idea of a Jaguar crossover seems rather redundant (since Land Rover is part of the same company and uses the same engines), the C-X17 Concept suggests that – at least visually – it might not be the worst thing ever. But the fact that this concept is a crossover wearing the Jag nameplate might not be the most significant thing about it: The C-X17 is built on a new all-aluminum midsize platform that will underpin multiple future Jaguars, including (we assume) the next generation XF and a new 3 Series/C-Class/A4 fighter. A snazzy soft-roader patterned after this design study would just be icing on the alloy cake.
Audi Sport Quattro Concept
After Audi announced it wouldn’t be putting the Quattro Concept of a few years ago into production, we assumed that was that. Well it turns out the boffins in Ingolstadt may have pulled a fast one on us, because they’ve created this updated show car called the Sport Quattro Concept (in honor of the 30th anniversary of the original Sport Quattro short-wheelbase Group B rally weapon). Unlike the 2010 concept and its Ur-Quattro-aping turbocharged inline-five, this yellow fellow is powered by Audi’s new 4.0L twin-turbo V8 and an electric motor for a combined 700 horsepower. Even if this, too, fails to reach production, we at least hope it inspires the likes of Peugeot, Lancia and Ford to reach into their Killer B back catalogs.
Alpina D3 Bi-Turbo
We’re hella-excited about the new-to-America BMW 328d clean diesel sedan and wagon (though we really wish they’d offer the latter with rear-drive like they do the former). But we’d be even more excited if the Alpina D3 Bi-Turbo was being sent here. Unlike the four-cylinder 328d, the D3 Bi-Turbo houses the 3.0L twin-turbo inline-six diesel from the old E90-chassis 335d…except in this application it’s making 345 horsepowerand 516 lb.-ft of torque. Alpina says it will scoot from 0-62 mph in 4.6 seconds and max out at 173 mph. Oh, and you can get it as a sedan or wagon with rear- or all-wheel-drive. Naturally, there’s near-as-makes-no-difference zero chance of it coming to the U.S.
Toyota Yaris Hybrid-R Concept
Normally, the Toyota Yaris is about as exciting as watching a nun write a check. Fortify a Toyota Yaris with hybrid drivetrain tech derived from the company’s TS030 Le Mans Prototype racecar, however, and you have a considerably more attractive proposition. A turbocharged 1.6L four-banger rated at 300 horsepower drives the front wheels, while each rear wheel is spun by a 60 horsepower electric motor. A third 60hp electric motor located between the gas engine and 6-speed sequential transmission serves as a generator to charge the rear-mounted supercapacitor during deceleration, and power the rear motors under acceleration.
Don’t look for a production Yaris Hybrid-R any time soon (if ever), but we wouldn’t be surprised to see some of its technology to reach dealers in the next few years.
Mercedes-Benz Concept S-Class Coupe
Bad news, gang: The Mercedes-Benz CL-Class is not long for this world. But there’s good news, too: It’s being replaced by the S-Class Coupe, a designation that was applied to Merc’s W126– and early-W140-based big two-door hardtops. Officially, the big beauty you see here is a concept, but take away things like the scrawny side view mirrors and funky grille inserts (We’re hoping the C126-esque thin metal band above the taillights stays.) and you should more-or-less have the production version. Bet on the 4.6L twin-turbo V8 under the concept’s hood also reaching showrooms first (with AMG versions and maybe a V12 to follow).
Bentley Continental GT V8 S
Not that long ago, Bentley introduced cheaper, more economical versions of the Continental GT and GTC powered by Audi’s 4.0L twin-turbo V8 rather than the thumping 6.0L twin-turbo W12. However, it would appear that Bentley was perturbed by the 100 horsepower gap between the two models, for the company has introduced V8 S versions of its beloved coupe and convertible. Extra power (21 ponies, for a total of 521hp), a retuned suspension system and a super-subtle body kit distinguish the S from the “lesser” Continental V8s.
Infiniti Q30 Concept
Now that Infiniti has fixed its model naming convention (assuming you agree with management’s assessment that it was even broken in the first place), it now has to address the rather glaring lack of a model below the Q50 (nee G37) in terms of size and price. That’s where the Q30 Concept comes into play. Infiniti says the styling of this classy compact incorporates attributes from a hatchback, a coupe and a crossover, though other than the low roofline, we don’t see much coupe. We’d wager a production version will hit dealers within the next 24 months to lock horns with the likes of the Audi A3, Mercedes-Benz CLA and Lexus CT.
Ferrari 458 Speciale
Because Ferrari released hardcore, track-focused versions of its previous two V8 mid-engine models, you should have seen the 458 Speciale coming. Like the 360 Challenge Stradale and F430 Scuderia before it, the extreme version of the already gobsmacking 458 Italia trims fat (almost 400 lbs. worth) and adds muscle (34 horsepower, for a total of 596hp) to create an even more thrilling ride. Toss in revised aerodynamics that yield even more downforce and a sophisticated electronic yaw control system and you’re left with a “junior” Ferrari that should be able to rope-a-dope an Enzo with ease.
Volvo Concept Coupe
With both the C30 hatchback and C70 hardtop convertible receiving their proverbial gold pocket watches, Volvo suddenly finds itself without a two-door production model. That may change in a few years, if the oh-so-cleverly-named Concept Coupe is anything to go by. Volvo says its main inspiration for this car was the classic P1800, though we see some echoes of the 262C Bertone and the first-gen C70, too. The 400 combined horsepower hybrid drivetrain (A turbocharged and supercharged 2.0L four drives the front wheels and an electric motor drives the rears.), however, is thoroughly modern, Millie.
Lexus LF-NX Concept
Small crossovers are red hot right now, particularly ones from luxury brands. Lexus has stayed on the sidelines in this segment, which is rather surprising when you consider parent brand Toyota has the RAV4. But it looks like the Big L is just about ready to jump into the segment; why else would it have created the LF-NX Concept? The angular exterior features elements from the LFA and the new IS, while propulsion comes courtesy of an unspecified hybrid system. We can’t imagine a production version being too far away time-wise, but we can imagine the styling being toned-down a bit (at least, we hope it will be).
Bugatti Veyron Grand Sport Vitesse Jean Bugatti Edition
It’s a day ending in “y,” so it must be time for Bugatti to introduce another special edition Veyron, right? Well, yeah. This particular Veyron Grand Sport Vitesse is named for Jean Bugatti, the eldest son of company founder Ettore Bugatti. Jean Bugatti was responsible for the design of many of the brand’s road and race cars during the 1930s, the most noteworthy of which was the legendary Type 57SC Atlantic coupe. The Veyron bearing his name features a color scheme patterned after that of Jean’s personal 57SC Atlantic, “La Voiture Noire” (“The Black Car”), with a jet black exterior and a beige-and-brown interior. Just three of these raven rockets will be made, with a MSRP of about $3.03 million.
Audi Nanuk Quattro Concept
Back in March at Geneva, Italdesign Giugiaro (which is currently 90% owned by the Volkswagen Group) presented a tall-riding Lamborghini Gallardo based concept called the Parcour. Audi management must have really fallen in love with it, for the Nanuk Quattro Concept bears more than a slight resemblance to the Parcour. It also shares its V10 engine configuration with the Parcour; however, the Nanuk uses a 5.0L turbodiesel instead of its predecessor’s 5.2L atmo gasser. Call us crazy, but we’re starting to want “sport-utility supercars” (We should probably trademark that…) to become a thing.
Volkswagen Golf R
Although neither the seventh generation Golf nor the seventh generation GTI has made it to the U.S. yet, Volkswagen is already set to unleash the new Golf R upon Europe. The turbocharged 2.0L inline-four sends 296 horsepower and 280 lb.-ft of torque to either a 6-speed manual or 6-speed dual clutch transmission and VW’s 4Motion all-wheel-drive system. We enjoyed our time with the Mk. 6 based Golf R, so we’re chomping at the bit for the latest Mk. 7 derived model to hit our shores; unfortunately, that’s probably about 18 months away.
Opel Monza Concept
Back in the 1980s, Opel offered a mid-size rear-drive hatchback coupe called the Monza. Skip ahead to today and GM’s German outpost is showing off a rakish hatchback/shooting brake concept of the same name. Don’t expect the massive gullwing doors to show up on a production Opel anytime soon, but we reckon some of the styling cues and the latest version of GM’s Voltec plug-in hybrid driveline (featuring a natural gas burning 1.0L inline-three serving as the onboard generator) to reach Opel (and maybe Buick) showrooms fairly soon.
Brabus B63S 700 6×6
Sometimes, you just want to let the world know that you don’t give a flying you-know-what what it thinks of you. If you want to broadcast this message with what you drive, you probably can’t do much better than the Brabus B63S 700 6×6. Based on the already loony limited production Mercedes-Benz G63 AMG 6×6, Brabus adds different interior and exterior trim, plus some extra speed parts under the hood to let the 5.5L twin-turbo V8 punch out 691 horsepower and 708 lb.-ft of torque. And with six-wheel-drive, portal axles and big knobby tires, you can uncork that power just about anywhere on dry land.
We know what you’re thinking: “Oh goody, another single-seater racing series. The world so doesn’t have enough of those.” But the Spark-Renault SRT_01E (How long before Ralph Gilles calls them out on Twitter?) isn’t just another formula car; it’s an all-electric formula car. It will be the spec car for the inaugural Formula E Championship, which is set to kick off a year from now and tentatively include races in Los Angeles and Miami; after the first season, it is hoped other manufacturers will build their own cars. But even if they don’t, the 270 horsepower SRT_01E at least looks (if not sounds) sufficiently racy to carry the series forward.
BMW Concept X5 eDrive
The i8 wasn’t the only plug-in hybrid BMW chose to debut at Frankfurt; it also rolled out the Concept X5 eDrive. Starting with the new third generation X5, the gang from Munich dropped in a twin-turbocharged inline-four of undisclosed displacement and output and a 95 horsepower electric motor to create a luxury SUV that is allegedly capable of some pretty mean feats (19 miles on battery power, 62 MPGe, and 0-62 mph in less than seven seconds). Again, it’s officially a concept but, if you ask us, it seems pretty polished and well-sorted for a concept…
Mansory La Revoluzione
The Ferrari F12 Berlinetta is stupendously powerful and stupendously fast, but that hasn’t stopped Mansory from trying to improve on it. As you’d expect from a Mansory creation, the styling is decidedly…uh…different from the vehicle on which it’s based (though we kinda dig the red carbon fiber), but the La Revoluzione is quite different mechanically, too. The 6.3L V12 now breathes through a pair of turbochargers, producing a claimed 1,200 horsepower. That’s good enough to lower 0-62 mph times to 2.9 seconds, and raise the top speed to something beyond 230 mph. Yowzer.
Mercedes-Benz CLA45 AMG Racing Series
One-make production car racing series, be it the Porsche Carrera Cup, Playboy Mazda MX-5 Cup or something else, are great ways for both young up-and-coming racers and older gentleman drivers to get out on track and test their road racing mettle. Mercedes-Benz isn’t joining that club (yet), but it’s given the world an idea of what a spec racer based on the new CLA45 AMG might look like. Alternatively, Mercedes-Benz says the car could have its all-wheel-drive and 2.0L turbo engine replaced with front-wheel-drive and a smaller engine to allow it to compete in, for example, the World Touring Car Championship. Regardless of where it might race, it would definitely add a heaping dose of style to the starting grid.