The Greatest (motor) show on Earth
ROLL UP, ROLL UP TO SEE SEXY, PRACTICAL, BLINGING, FUTURISTIC, AND OF COURSE, THE SHOW-OFFS
It’s the world’s largest event of its kind, a chance for brands to show off future vehicles, and the Frankfurt motor show is revealing a renewed confidence in Europe’s vehicle industry.
Held from September 17 for 10 days, there are more than 1000 exhibitors across 10 halls with an expected one million visitors.
It’s also the time for local premium brands such as Mercedes-Benz, Audi and BMW to boast to the world. Each takes over a pavilion to display current line-ups, new releases and concepts.
While Mercedes has a four-storey set-up, BMW runs a racetrack around the roofline of its pavilion. Audi is doing its usual trick of creating its own venue at the two-yearly event.
This has taken three months to build. Audi has gone for a sci-fi theme at the entrance and mirrored walls inside to display the new A4 in sedan and Avant line-up, and a performance S4 version of the fifth generation car.
Mercedes-Benz C-Class coupe
Although BMW has already launched its 7 Series large luxury sedan to the media earlier this month in New York, it is the hero stand of the brand at Frankfurt. But most are at the pavilion to see the latest vehicle from BMW Group’s posh brand, Rolls Royce, with the Dawn convertible not only a head-turner thanks to its orange interior and “suicide” door but also a crowd-pleaser.
Rolls-Royce Dawn convertible
Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche presents the new S-Class convertible.
Mercedes has decided it doesn’t need its logo for its pavilion. It just has “welcome to the future of automobile” signs across the door.
Inside, the company has cleverly laid out a journey for visitors to take in the brand’s line-up with the futuristic self-drive F015 at the entrance and the Frankfurt launched S-Class convertible and C-Class coupe on the main stage.
It also has on display its concept compact SUV, the GLC Coupe.
Though Volkswagen Group has created a pavilion for Audi, the rest of its car brands — Bentley, Bugatti, Lamborghini, Porsche, SEAT, Skoda and VW — share a building. Porsche may be positioned in a corner but is taking its fair share of attention.
The concept Mission E electric created such a buzz that the world media was still three deep an hour after its press conference.
Porsche Mission E.
Set to take on Tesla, the Mission E is a stunning performance coupe that not only has clear Porsche heritage but will beat the US electric brand for style.
On the stand next to Porsche is Lamborghini, revealing the sexy Huracan Spyder with the soft-top roof opening in 17 seconds — and really, if you owned that super sportscar you’d have the roof off all the time.
Just near Lamborghini is another brand aiming for the seriously rich — Bentley with the Bentayga “blinging” SUV. I don’t think the brand’s designers could have made the grille bigger if they tried — but if you have the money to buy the exclusive SUV then you want to show it off.
The Brits are also making their presence known at the Frankfurt show, with Jaguar revealing the F-Pace compact SUV.
Jaguar boss Ian Callum says when he joined the brand 15 years ago he “never envisioned” he’d design a Jaguar SUV.
He did. And it’s fabulous. So much so that Jaguar NZ should prepare plenty of room in dealerships for when it arrives next year.
All-new Toyota Prius.
Toyota may have been criticised for picking Las Vegas to reveal the all-new Prius days before Frankfurt, but the hybrid hatch deserves the razzmatazz. The sharp lines and futuristic design completely move it away from being the pick for your local taxi driver, and it will again be the must-have hybrid for baby boomers.
The Frankfurt show isn’t just for production vehicles, it’s also time for concept vehicles to shine. Most of the brands’ concept cars are SUV-based with Nissan showing the Gripz, Peugeot the Quartz, Citroen the Aircross and DS the DS4 Crossback.
Mazda’s Koeru concept.
Mazda’s Koeru concept SUV wins praise for its design and is winning my prize for most likely to be production ready.
Praise also goes to Ford for its sports coupe GT — a vehicle I’d love to see make it from the motor show to the showroom.
Korean brand Hyundai has revealed its N sub-brand. It is named after the company’s Namyang R&D centre, and aimed at producing a vehicle that’s road and track ready.
Hyundai is using the upcoming N-branded 2016 WRC i20 as the way it will go style and performance-wise.