RAC Cars News


2013 Frankfurt Motor Show Highlights

By raccars Published

RAC Cars’ stars of the show

RAC Cars is at the 2013 Frankfurt Motor Show this week. It’s a show dominated by Volkswagen, BMW, Audi, Mercedes-Benz and Porsche – and a bold concept car from Britain’s Jaguar.

Here, we run down the stars of the show, and some of the hit cars across the categories. Come back later in the week for more analysis from the huge international motor show – including the inside line on that attention-grabbing new Jaguar C-X17 SUV concept…

RAC Cars’ Top 5 stars of the 2013 Frankfurt Motor Show

BMW i3

The BMW i3 electric-drive car is now officially on sale – and BMW made sure it was the most-seen car at the show by brilliantly laying on a fleet of i3 press shuttles to carry journalists around the vast show grounds. This was the media’s first opportunity to see its revolutionary EV in action and try it out for size. First impressions: everything else suddenly seems old-fashioned. The start of something big could have begin here at Frankfurt.

Mercedes-Benz GLA

The pretty Mercedes-Benz GLA is the firm’s Range Rover Evoque crossover rival: and it looks like Land Rover has a fight on its hands. Unexpectedly well conceived, the taut and pretty GLA is a very good looking car that has a premium appearance and a decent dose of standout style. A model that’s certain to do well for Mercedes.

Jaguar C-X17

The undoubted star of the show was the Jaguar C-X17. A crossover SUV concept, it is the firm’s first-ever attempt at building an SUV 4x4 and is, officially, just a toe in the water to see what the reaction is. That reaction has been overwhelmingly positive. If the firm put this on sale tomorrow, it would sell like hot cakes. Expect a production version by 2016: watch out, BMW X5 and Audi Q5.

Porsche 918 Spyder

The amazing Porsche 918 Spyder has finally been revealed in production-ready form, prior to going on sale on 18th September (9-18 – geddit?). A very elegant V8 plug-in hybrid supercar, it produces 887hp and can accelerate from 0-62mph in 2.8 seconds, ensuring genuine hypercar status. Yet it can also average up to 94mpg: This is a rule-breaker as well as a ground-breaker.

Ford Vignale

Ford is selling more and more cars to buyers who are trading across from premium brands. They have asked the firm to make more expensive, more exclusive variants: Vignale is Ford’s response. It will launch with next year’s new Mondeo and offer premium features, detailing and overall luxury at Ford mainstream prices. A concept as clever as Citroen’s DS line that the blue oval has high hopes for.

Production cars at the Frankfurt Motor Show

Many production cars received their show debut at the 2013 Frankfurt Motor Show: for many, this is a first glance at their next new car. Most refreshing was the Nissan X-Trail, a huge improvement on the dated and body current car – the new one’s set to be a firm rival to the Ford Kuga. The Kia Soul is also much-improved and may finally deliver what the original promised, while the Hyundai i10 will give the firm a much more modern entrant in the city car sector.

We think the Skoda Rapid Spaceback is a very clever concept for those seeing a budget estate with Audi-like style, while estate buyers with more to spend will like the very different-looking Honda Civic Tourer. Even Caterham was here with a show debut, the fully type-approved Seven 165. Using a tiny Suzuki turbo engine, this is the firm’s new ‘eco special’ and is all set to be a blast to drive.

Supercars at the Frankfurt Motor Show

Supercars are motor show stars and there was not shortage of them at the 2013 Frankfurt Motor Show. The Ferrari 458 Speciale was an early hit, with the promise of further honing an already brilliant car meaning we can only assume it’s going to be exceptional. Lamborghini countered with its stripped-back alternative, the race-inspired Gallardo Squadra Corse (the giant rear wing is, literally, straight off a race car).

Subtler was the Bentley Continental GT S; Aston Martin took the half way house with the bright yellow V12 Vantage S. The stealthiest of the supercars was Bugatti’s jewel-like ‘legends edition’ Jean Bugatti. Limited to just three cars, the finish of this car is staggering and stretches as far as using solid platinum for the grille and badges. As you’d expect, given a £2.3 million price tag…

Alternative fuel cars at the Frankfurt Motor Show

Alternative fuel cars were a constant source of eyebrow-raising stats here at the 2013 Frankfurt Motor Show. The Mercedes-Benz S-Class Plug-in Hybrid, for example: how is it possible for the world’s finest luxury car to also average 94mpg? The Range Rover Hybrid is a fully capable SUV that averages 44mpg – again, amazing. Pure electric motoring has also come to Europe’s favourite family hatchback, the Volkswagen Golf: the Nissan LEAF has a tough new opponent here.

BMW again had the most standout alternative fuel car, though. The i8 combines small petrol turbo engine with a powerful electric motor to deliver 362hp, 0-62mph in 4.4 seconds AND 113mpg. It looks like nothing else and is going to redefine the supercar template, just as the i3 may rewrite the form book for family cars.

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