CarsMotormouth Reviews

Motor industry shows off wares in Frankfurt - not a banger in sight

Golf GTE Sport concept car
Golf GTE Sport concept car

Although Frankfurt is famous for its sausages, there wasn’t a ‘banger’ in sight this week when car brands from all over the world arrived to display their dishy new models.

The 66th International Motor Show kicked off against a background of the most stunning productions and stands that seem to be getting more outrageously extravagant every year.

Alongside the glamour of the crazy concepts, beautiful models and lottery cars on display, the show gives a good indication of the everyday cars we’ll be seeing in showrooms and on our roads over the coming year. One of the most hotly-anticipated reveals was the new Opel Astra which, along with a sharp new design, will come with some new stand-out features such as the ground-breaking new ‘Onstar’ technology system, and back-health-promoting wellness seats.

A massive seller here anyway, it’s now a more complete package with features that rival the premium class, and is sure to shake up the C-segment when it arrives here at the end of October.

And it doesn’t stop there for Opel. General Motors Chief Executive Officer Mary Barra went on to announce some important news on the European product and model offensive.

“We will speed up the model offensive at Opel. From 2016 to 2020, we will launch 29 new vehicles including an electric vehicle and a second flagship alongside the Insignia.

“This all-new SUV will be produced in Rüsselsheim by the end of decade and will give the brand a further technological boost.

“The goal for the future is clearly defined: Opel have their sights firmly set on becoming the second largest automaker on the European market by 2022 after securing third place on the European Union passenger car market last year.”

Included in the 29 new models is the funky new Opel Vivaro Surf Concept, which went on show this week. This sporty-version is ideal for outdoor pursuits, has room for up to six passengers along with sports and fitness equipment.

Elsewhere in Frankfurt, the crossover segment is about to get a lot more heated too, as Kia’s Sportage gets a fresh new look which should be a challenge to the Nissan Qashqai in the new year, alongside the Renault Kadjar and Hyundai’s new Tucson.

Local lads Audi, not to be outdone by foreign rivals, unveiled the new A4 and it looks like they have opted not to mess with a winning formula as, like most Audi replacements, the exterior is not hugely different to the last one.

It does have a new chassis, and a heavily-revised engine line-up, which will no doubt ensure it becomes another huge seller for them here.

The premium stands were as bold as ever where Mercedes introduced their S-Class Cabriolet alongside the futuristic IAA concept, and BMW showcased their new 7-series and a facelift for the 3-series.

Everything paled in comparison to Jaguar’s launch of the new F-Pace SUV on Monday night, where it was used to break the Guinness World record for the biggest loop-the-loop ever performed by a car in one of the most impressive publicity stunts of the show. Its popularity on the Jaguar stand proved that it doesn’t need to defy gravity to turn heads either.

Bentley divided opinion with their opulent take on an SUV in the Bentayga, and whether the domineering looks agree with everyone or not, it is now officially the world’s fastest SUV.

The Alfa Romeo stand remained constantly swamped by crowds fighting to get a glimpse of their long-awaited 3-series competitor, the Giulia. The Quadrifoglio models on display had stunning presence and, depending on how they drive, might just give the brand a much-needed boost here.

Honda displayed their weird but wonderful half-bike/half-car 2X4 concept which, while unlikely to ever make it to your local dealer, did look like a lot of fun. As did Citroen’s Cactus M Concept – a convertible dune buggy version of the already quite out-there Cactus. Nissan also pulled out a last minute surprise with their sporty Gripz crossover concept.

Mazda’s handsome Koeru looks like it has strong potential to become their latest coupe crossover, and Opel debuted a fun Vivaro Surf concept – doing the unthinkable by creating a seriously desirable van.

Hyundai previewed their upcoming N-badged performance range, which looked quite impressive in their conceptual stage and will take on the likes of Ford’s RS and Volkswagen’s R models when they go into production.

Seat also showcased some hot hatches with their updated Leon and Ibiza Cupras, as well as a new Leon Cross Sport Concept.

Surprisingly handsome in the metal was Suzuki’s new Baleno – back in the guise of a new super mini which will sit slightly above the Swift in the range in the brand’s latest attempt to create ‘the ultimate small car’.

More new models which made an appearance were Renault’s new Mégane and Espace, and Volkswagen’s latest Tiguan, all of which we are sure to see plenty of here when they arrive. Others that impressed but which we may unfortunately see slightly less of include Porsche’s new 911 and the Lamborghini Huracan Spyder. 


Sinead McCann