Auf widersehen, Frankfurt

The presentations are over, the press kits handed out, engineers and designers questioned, and now a bleary-eyed Wheels team are on long-haul flights back from the Frankfurt International Motor Show.

Between the oohs and ahhs of exciting concepts such as the Ford Evos and Jaguar C-X16, there were some design disasters, left-field curios and more prosaic concepts that shared space at the halls of Frankfurt that we’ll give a nod to here in our post-show wrap-up.

It was only a matter of time before a sports/premium brand followed Porsche down the populist (and profitable) road of building an SUV, and so it was when the drapes were whipped off the Maserati Kubang. The Italians have done an admirable job of disguising the large SUV’s Jeep Grand Cherokee origins, and although it utilises an eight-speed ZF auto, it is unclear whether the Kubang will gets a Maser V8 or the Chekka’s Hemi unit.

Either way, it certainly won’t be a fuel efficient vehicle, let alone emissions-free like the Mercedes-Benz F125 Concept. Large and luxurious, with gullwing doors, it boasts a 1000km range and is, according to Benz, the first hydrogen-powered vehicle with a fuel tank integrated in the bodyshell. Stuttgart reckons series production is possible for 2025.

Volvo’s You Concept is similar in style to the F125 – large, luxe-biased, but suicide-doored - and could form the next-generation S80, with regular doors and minus the show car’s 21-inch wheels and wooden floor. (Maybe a woodgrain floor will suit the S80 demographic?).

Suicide doors were also found in an SUV from Korea – Ssangyong’s XIV-1 Concept. It’s a compact SUV where the “designers took inspiration from the simplicity of the side view of a graceful sailing yacht”. We’re just pleased that they’re not penning Stavics…

Dune buggys were also revived by Volkswagen and Land Rover with their respective Buggy Up! and DC100 Sport Concept models. The German buggy is small and, as the name suggests, Up-hatch-based, meaning small TSI and TDI engines. The DC100 Sport is bigger and more powerful, with a 2.0-litre turbo-diesel, stop-start tech and an eight-speed auto. It brings “premium durability” to the off-road segment, according to Land Rover.

More prosaic models that will go into production include the Skoda MissionL, a sharp-looking mid-sized liftback expected to become the next-generation Octavia. All the oily bits will remain VW based, so expect a breed of TSI and TDI four-bangers and a Golf-based chassis.

Hot hatches were on heat at Frankfurt, with the (sadly not-for-Oz) facelifted Renaultsport Twingo making showgoers smile. Others wewillsee here include the Ford Fiesta ST, now packing a 135kW 1.6 turbo and six-speed manual that should do the chassis more justice than the old XR4’s atmo 2.0-litre ever did… Further up the pricing scale, the VW Beetle R lobs as, essentially, a 188kW front-drive Scirocco R dressed in cutsie drag. Not that that’s a bad thing at all.

For a comprehensive look at all the sexy concepts and fresh production vehicles shown at Frankfurt, check out the Wheels October issue, out this Wednesday 21st September.

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