If you wanted a glimpse into the car industry’s future, then there really isn’t a better place to be at right now than the world’s largest auto show. Carmakers the world over are bringing their best and brightest models to the show, and in terms of sheer visual delight, the Frankfurt motor show 2013
is second to none.
As part of a rather novel idea, BMW
had dozens of completely silent, production-spec i3 electric cars being used as shuttles to convey people from one end of the show to the other.
There's always traffic, mind you, but you can usually hear it coming. Thankfully, a pair of Issigonis Minis, shuttling with the secondary purpose of publicising a Mini-sponsored party at the end of press day, could be identified 100 yards away by their timing-chain rattle.
Frankfurt's crop of new cars was as huge as ever, and split as ever into three categories -- cars and concepts that were really new; new cars that seemed to have been coming a long time; and useful improvements to familiar faces. Jaguar
sprang to the head of the "really new" group because its trend-setting C-X17 SUV
did so much more than look great: it confirmed that the much-rumoured small Jag really is coming -- on entirely new aluminium underpinnings. Best part, the new range would include an SUV!
Ian Callum's single blue concept car embodied all this, as well as proving that Jaguar's designers have the skills to extend the design values and features recently revealed on the F-type sports car to an SUV. This thing made a show star for sure.
The "really new" brigade included plenty more SUVs, most of them in the compact segment. The remarkable success of the Range Rover Evoque, still booming after three years, is far from lost on the rest -- especially Lexus with their LF-NX
, a design many thought over-aggressive. Nissan Juke clones continued to pile up, the latest examples being creditable concepts in the form of the Suzuki i-V4
and Kia Niro.
The only full-size soft-roader -- and one of the few Chinese offerings here -- was a Porsche Cayenne-sized Chang’an concept that looked considerably better than its exalted rival, even if unlikely to beat it on the road.
The Porsche 918 Spyde
r was revealed at last, the BMW 4-series
was present in all its much-anticipated glory, and that manufacturer's i3 and i8 offerings also showed up in near-production guise. Honda’s NSX was there again, and Ford attempted to make up for a gap of several years between showing us its new Ford Mondeo and offering it in a European showroom, by displaying a heavily decorated Vignale version.
Much of the rest was business as usual for Frankfurt Motor Show. Three fast Sedan cars – Honda Civic Type R, Peugeot 308R and Subaru WRX -- bobbed up to challenge Renault sport's creations. Lots more received facelifts: the Renault Megane, the Peugeot 3008, the Skoda Yeti
, the Chevy Camaro the Dacia Duster
and the Audi A8
and a dozen more.
Overall, it was much as expected at the Frankfurt motor show 2013
. There were surprises aplenty, carmakers brought in their shiniest toys, and attendants were treated to exactly what they expected. Quite befitting of what’s, in fact, the world’s largest autocar show.