Let me start today’s update by stating that my feet hurt. If you’ve been to Frankfurt Messe (Convention Center) you understand where that statement comes from. If you have not been imagine your local convention center times 12, because that’s how many separate buildings there are at the show, and that’s not counting the outdoor attractions like test tracks. So I got to the show somewhat earlier Friday (since there was no karting the night before) and walked to the far end of the Messe to start with the Mercedes booth.
I am going to bypass the multiple Smart car concepts because there just isn’t enough time or space to cover every new vehicle and I wanted to spend some time on the A-Class Concept. That isn’t to say either that the new B-Class wasn’t significant or the F125 Concept’s gull-wing doors weren’t impressive, but I found the A-Class Concept much more interesting. It was introduced in Shanghai a couple of months ago where apparently I wasn’t invited. I really thought it not only conveys sportiness, but a muscle that is unusual for a car its size. And of course the paint was perfectly matched to the shape and showed off every detail.
After the Mercedes building it was time to visit the Audi building. Whereas Mercedes had an awesome stage with a full choreographed show, Audi managed a test track in their booth just like BMW. I did not have much luck getting pictures though, this was easily the most packed booth at the show. Take a look below to see what I am talking about.
The A2 Concept was one of my favorite vehicles (again with the small hatches) but it wasn’t so much the size as it was the graphic details. I though the lighting band down the side was a nice touch (although probably not legal) and their attention to detail was superb as usual. For example, how an electric Audi’s front end should look without the need for a cooling grille. Audi also had a couple of small electric Urban Concepts that looked like pedals car in an awesome nostalgic way. Unfortunately, as the picture above indicates, there was no way to get close enough to get a decent picture so check here if you want to see them. Audi sure seems to be on a roll these days.
From Audi it was on to Volkswagen. No test track for VW, instead techno music and a bevy of dancers along with the cars but I will skip their description as I am trying to keep this blog SFW i.e. SafeForWork – suffice to say they were scantily clad (the dancers silly – not the concepts). You’ll just have to review the photo album when I upload them later this week. The Up! looks to be a really nice package entering the lower end of the market- its styling certainly separates it from the rest of the small cars on the market. I loved the interior considering what else is available in this size and price class – I have no doubt it will do very well in the marketplace. Too bad its not coming to the States. There were also several Up! Concepts which competed for my unofficial Most Fun in Show. I’ll take a GT Up! with 100HP and bigger wheels thank you very much.
Volkswagen also had the Beetle R Concept and the Nils Concept, another smaller take on the automobile designed to deal with traffic congestion. The Skoda and SEAT brands each had a family concept car. Skoda had the Mission L and SEAT had the IBL (perhaps they could have spent more time on the names though). Both were clean and sharp designs, a hallmark of the Volkswagen Group under de’ Silva. Porsche introduced the new 911 but quite honestly I spent all my time looking at a Cayman R. Besides, the new 911 will be covered ad naseum elsewhere so you can read all about it there. For me the car has grown too big and too fat to interest me any more, maybe when I am old….
To keep pace with Porsche’s 911 introduction and Ferrari’s 458 Spyder, Jaguar had a new concept at the show that has been well received. The C-X16 Concept is actually smaller than the others and is more of an entry level sports car along the line of the Cayman. It also a very clean design, its nice to see designers enshewing the addition of slats, winglets, scoops etc and concentrate on putting together a cohesive design that relies simply on its shape. OK, maybe the double openings in the fascia were a bit much but I liked them and the rear view is divine and so this will be one of the few cars where I post multiple pictures.
Next to Jaguar were a couple of new Land Rover Concepts, a DC100 and DC100 Sport. The Sport gets my vote for most fun at the show, I want to borrow it for the next JEEP Jamboree and see what happens. Across the aisle from Lotus was the Fisker booth and they had their new Surf wagon concept …. alright, they called it a Shooting Brake. What is a Shooting Brake anyways? Here is the answer thanks to Wikipedia.
And so another posting comes to a close. Tomorrow (or the first chance I get) I will finish up a review of the cars from the show. Then I can spend some time reviewing some exterior and interior trends and we can finish with a semi-awards post from “The Stud”.