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.
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.
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.
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 horsepower and 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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
Progress in the world of automobiles.