RAC Cars News


The Drama Of Frankfurt

By raccars Published

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So far this year's Frankfurt Motor Show has only been open to the press, but already the event has been full of drama and excitement.

On the eve of the show, Jaguar's new F-pace 'family sports car' made an audacious new entry into the book of Guinness World Records by performing the biggest loop the loop stunt ever seen. The stunt was a pretty dramatic way to introduce the new SUV and saw stunt driver, Terry Grant, withstanding 6.5G, or six and a half times the force of normal gravity - that's more than the force faced by space shuttle pilots taking off. The F-Pace took a 360 degree turn around a 19.08 metre high loop, after two months of training by Mr Grant and months of planning by mathematicians, structural engineers and safety experts. The stunt was designed to show off the F-Pace's lightweight structure, agility and sporty characteristics.

With the opening of the show, Jaguar has released the pricing and specification details of the F-Pace, which is due to hit the market next Spring starting at £34,170. A special First Edition will also be available in the UK to celebrate Jaguar's 80th anniversary, with a limited 2,000 model production run priced at £65,275.

Jaguar Land Rover took the opportunity of the Frankfurt show to announce record sales this year and to promise a number of new products. A decade ago, JLR's two brands combined sold less than 200,000 per year, but the company has predicted sales of more than half a million units this year.

One new model on display at Frankfurt is a £10,000 pedal version of the iconic Land Rover Defender, available for big and small kids from next year.

On the following morning, Tuesday, there was drama of a completely different kind as BMW chief exec, Harald Krueger, presenting the new i8 at a press conference for the show, suffered some kind of collapse on stage. The 49 year old fainted and fell backwards, and was helped off stage by two members of staff, leaving the show's commentator and the assembled press stunned. Mr Krueger had been on stage for five minutes before suffering a dizzy turn, having complained of feeling unwell before the event. He was examined by a doctor and soon recovered well, but BMW's Chief Financial Officer, Friedrich Eichiner, stood in for Mr Krueger at a press conference later in the morning.

The i8 supercar is revolutionising the electric car scene, recharging lithium ion batteries while driving using its three cylinder 1.5 litre engine. This was the first appearance for Mr Krueger at Frankfurt in his position as the chief executive of BMW, having taken over the post in May.

Commercial excitement was provided by Bentley, which announced that it has already sold out of its first year production run of the upcoming Bentayga SUV. Deposits had been taken and a waiting list opened for the car before it has even made its public debut, when Frankfurt opens its doors to visitors on Thursday 17th. Anyone who has their eye on a Bentayga now is unlikely to see one before 2017. Prices for the luxury SUV start at £160,200 and Bentley claims its Crewe factory has a capacity of 3,000-4,500 units.

The Bentayga is part of a small group of super premium SUVs, created to fill a gap above the most expensive Range Rover, along with the Rolls-Royce Cullinan and the Lamborghini Urus. The Bentayga is the first to hit the market, which Bentley hopes will help it take the sales lead in this small market segment.

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