More than 1,000 exhibitors show off vehicles and technology in Frankfurt


The 2011 Frankfurt Motor Show features a dazzling display of vehicles and technology from one end of the automotive spectrum to the other.

From electric city cars to sports cars costing hundreds of thousands of dollars to cool concepts from Audi to Volvo. From hydrogen-powered luxury sedans to a 21st century dune buggy there's truly something for everyone at biennial auto show.

This year’s show has over 20 per cent more exhibition space than in 2009, with a claimed 1,007 exhibitors from 32 countries and 89 world premieres. The show runs from Sept. 15-25 and is expected to attract more than a million spectators.

MotorwayAmerica has put together highlights of the show that we hope you will enjoy.

Aston Martin shows new Carbon Editions

Aston Martin premieres two new Carbon Edition DBS sports cars at the Frankfurt Motor Show.

Following on from the success of the DBS Carbon Black, introduced in 2009, the 2012 DBS Carbon Edition will be available in two new colors including Flame Orange and Ceramic Grey together with the existing Carbon Black. 

Each DBS will undergo Aston Martin’s paint process receiving seven layers of paint together with a 25 hour hand flat-and-polish finish resulting in a glass veneer normally the reserve of jewelry production.

A first for Aston Martin is the option to specify a satin lacquer paint finish, creating a silk-like texture.

The DBS Carbon Edition features 10-spoke gloss black diamond turned wheels with a reversed diamond turned or full gloss black finish as an option. Complementing the wheels, black brake calipers will be delivered as standard with yellow, orange, red or grey as an option.  Harmonizing with the exterior finish is a warm black grille, carbon fibre mirror heads, carbon rear lamp in-fills and smoked rear lights creating a DBS specification like never before.

The interior of the coupe plays host to the familiar swathes of obsidian black or maranello orange semi-aniline leather. This type of leather is more natural looking and softer to touch. The interior of a DBS Carbon Edition will take in excess of 70 man hours to hand stitch and finish.

On the DBS Carbon Edition coupe, the headlining is quilted in leather.

Immediately distinguishing the Carbon Edition from a standard DBS is the carbon fibre facia with a carbon weave that has been positioned exactly to follow the form of the dashboard. Only by hand can the fibers be laid to create a perfectly aligned weave.

The standard DBS has recently been updated to feature the new Aston Martin Garmin satellite navigation system possessing improved graphics and intuition to provide a sleeker user experience. Beam blade windscreen wipers are also a new feature providing reduced wind noise and a cleaner wipe, even at high speeds.

DBS Carbon Edition prices start at £186,582 ($295,000) for the coupe and £196,581 ($310,000) for the Volante with customer deliveries expected early in 2012.

AMG not just for cars anymore — meet the Ducati Diavel

AMG performance is no longer just for cars.

The new Ducati Diavel AMG Special Edition has been unveiled at the Frankfurt Motor Show. it is the first tangible result of the collaboration announced last fall in Los Angeles between Ducati and Mercedes-Benz’s performance division.

The very potent machine features carbon fiber lateral radiator grills with aluminum trim and a slew of details highlighting AMG’s involvement, such as five-spoke wheels, a sport exhaust system and a horizontally ribbed seat. The Diavel AMG is reportedly powered by a 1.2 liter L-Twin engine which can put down 162 horsepower and 94 lb-ft of torque.

The first Diavel AMGs will be delivered in 2012.

Considerably more more details will be revealed at the Frankfurt Motor Show.

BMW hybrids on display

BMW has announced the production versions of the BMW ActiveHybrid X6 and the ActiveHybrid 7.

The X6 hybrid will reach US BMW Centers in fourth-quarter of this year. The 7-series hybrid will arrive sometime in spring 2010. BMW notes that ActiveHybrid technology provides a glimpse into the future, achieving outstanding driving dynamics with equally impressive efficiency. It melds both of these qualities to offer a truly unique driving experience. The X6 Sports Activity Coupe and 7-Series with full hybrid drive capitalizes on the options offered by combining the combustion engine with electric motors to create powertrains with new levels of performance and efficiency.

BMW ActiveHybrid technology offers a significant increase in driving dynamics and at the same time reduces fuel consumption by approximately 15 to 20 percent versus a comparable vehicle powered by a combustion engine alone. The result is enhanced fuel economy and CO2 management.

For the 7-Series BMW will offer an upgraded twin-turbo, High Precision Direct Injection, V8 engine with a 3-phase synchronous electric motor giving the BMW ActiveHybrid 7 a combined output of 455 horsepower and maximum torque of 516 pound-feet (preliminary figures). Power is transmitted via an 8-speed automatic transmission with the electric motor positioned between the engine and the torque converter. The electric motor receives its supply of energy from a lithium-ion battery developed specifically for use in this automobile.

Controlled interaction of both power sources serves to maximize the efficiency and performance of the BMW ActiveHybrid 7. The result is a driving experience that demonstrates the performance capabilities of modern hybrid technology. The BMW ActiveHybrid 7 accelerates to 60 mph in 4.8 seconds (preliminary), while delivering fuel economy approximately 15 percent better than the 750i. Official EPA ratings will be available closer to the U.S. market launch.

The overall drive system featured in the BMW ActiveHybrid X6 consists of a 400 horsepower twin-turbocharged V8 gasoline engine and two electric synchronous motors delivering 91
horsepower and 86 horsepower, respectively. Maximum system output is 480 horsepower, and peak torque reaches 575 pound-feet.
Controlled interaction of the three power units optimizes the overall efficiency of the BMW ActiveHybrid X6 at all speeds, with acceleration from a standstill to 60 mph in 5.4 seconds. Top speed of the BMW ActiveHybrid X6 is limited electronically to 130 mph, with average fuel consumption in the EU test cycle improved by roughly 20 percent, and a CO2 emission rating of 231 grams per kilometer.  EPA ratings will be available closer to the market introduction.


 Toyota shows new plug-in

Toyota debuts the production version of the Prius Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV) this week at the Frankfurt Motor Show.

The new Prius Plug-in Hybrid features a new, more compact lithium-ion battery which has been developed to meet Toyota’s rigorous standards for reliability. The new battery offers extended EV (electric power only) range, enabling the Prius PHEV to achieve remarkable fuel efficiency.

While some debate the relative merits of electric cars, the new Prius Plug-in Hybrid offers drivers the best of both worlds; extended EV driving range for shorter journeys in towns and cities, while the efficient hybrid petrol engine gives the car uncompromised long range capability and the very low fuel consumption of the standard Prius.

The Prius Plug-in Hybrid represents the latest development of Toyota’s Hybrid Synergy Drive (HSD) system. This trusted and reliable full hybrid technology has a track record earned through worldwide sales of over two million cars and billions of miles of driving.

The new Prius Plug-in becomes the flagship of the Prius range, a showcase for new technologies and further advances in hybrid technology.

Jaguar C-X16 concept offers sensual design

Jaguar is showing the C-X16 concept at the Frankfurt show.

Looking firmly to the future, the C-X16 marks a new chapter for Jaguar. The two-seater concept has inspired new advances in design, in engineering and in vehicle technology to create the most compact and responsive Jaguar in a generation.  A hybrid, the C-X16 combines searing performance with beautifully realized styling.

Adrian Hallmark, Global Brand Director, Jaguar Cars: “The C-X16 embodies the established Jaguar strengths of sensual design, animal-like agility and inspirational performance and combines these with attributes that set us on a course to create sustainable sports cars of the future.”

Jaguar designer Ian Callum said, “Jaguars have always been dramatically different. With the C-X16 we have moved the current award-winning design language on to the next generation, creating a car that is the very essence of future Jaguar performance.”

Under the muscular clamshell hood is a next-generation supercharged V6 gas engine producing 375 horsepower and 332 lb. ft of torque. Already boasting a high specific power output of 124-horsepower per-liter, the performance of the C-X16 is further supplemented by a Formula 1-inspired hybrid boost system with a steering-wheel mounted button for on-demand acceleration.

Integrated into the eight-speed gearbox is a motor generator which draws power from a 1.6kWh battery pack mounted behind the seats for ideal 50:50 weight distribution. Charged through a brake energy regeneration system, the batteries allow the motor to provide an additional 94 horsepower and 173 lb. ft of torque.

Mounted in an aluminum chassis structure, the result is 0-62 mph acceleration in 4.4 seconds, a top speed of 186 mph and acceleration from 50-75 mph of 2.1 seconds.

Land Rover DC100 modern interpretation of iconic Defender

The Land Rover DC100, a modern interpretation of the iconic Land Rover Defender will makes its debut.

Commenting on the Land Rover DC100 concept car, Gerry McGovern, Director of Design, Land Rover said, "Replacing the iconic Defender is one of the biggest challenges in the automotive design world; it is a car that inspires people worldwide. This isn't a production-ready concept but the beginning of a four-year journey to design a relevant Defender for the 21st century."

John Edwards, Global Brand Director, Land Rover added, "Loved the world over for its simple, honest and distinctive design, we are determined that the new Defender will be true to its heritage, while meeting the requirements of a changing global market. 

"We plan to engage with existing and potential customers to help us finalize the details of the new vehicle. One thing's for sure, it's going to be an exciting journey, and we can't wait to get going," added Edwards.

The Land Rover DC100 concept builds upon the essential elements of the car's character and allows Land Rover to open the debate and inspire people to dream about the Defenders of the future. The next chapter in the Defender story will unfold at on Sept. 13 at the Frankfurt Motor Show. 


Mini Coupe makes world debut

The 2012 Mini Coupe makes its world premier at the show. The coupe is the next step in the expanding Mini range.

The brand's fifth model wraps up hallmark Mini qualities in a new and distinctive package.

The distinctive identity of the Mini Coupe is reflected in its design. With its sporty, hunkered-down feel and fresh new roof design, the two-seater occupies its very own niche within the model line-up. At the same time, though, familiar Mini exterior and interior design features clearly highlight its membership of the brand family.

Two years ago a concept car previewing a two-seater coupe turned heads at the Frankfurt show, and now that vision of even more sharply focused driving fun has become a reality on the road.

The base Cooper Coupe rides on 15-inch wheels and is powered by the naturally aspirated version of the brand’s ubiquitous 1.6-liter four, producing 121 horsepower and 118 pound-feet of torque. Likewise, the turbocharged Cooper S Coupe and John Cooper Works Coupe follow the same powertrain program that yields either 181 horsepower and 177-lb-ft or 208 horsepower 192 lb-ft in other models, each with an additional 15 lb-ft in overboost mode.

Like the other models, the coupes will offer a choice of six-speed manual and six-speed automatic transmissions, the latter available with paddle shifters.

Mini claims that the base Cooper Coupe will accelerate from zero to 60 mph in 8.3 seconds and hit a top speed of 127 mph. The Cooper S Coupe is estimated to hit 60 in 6.5 seconds on its way to a top speed of 142 mph, with the JCW version coming in at 6.1 seconds and 149 mph, which would make it Mini’s fastest production model ever.

In league with these powerful engines, the Coupe's suspension set-up, harmonious weight distribution, extremely rigid body and special aerodynamic tweaks — including an extending rear spoiler — help to bring a go-kart feeling to the car.


Audi shows A2 electric concept....

With the electric-only powertrain of the four-seat A2 concept, Audi is offering another glimpse into the future of electric mobility at the motor show.

The Audi A2 concept is just a littler over 12-feet long and 5.5 feet wide, yet it manages to make a powerful impression on the street. 

Its clean appearance concentrates on the essentials; all details are subtle but shaped for visual impact. The dark glass roof of the white-painted show car switches to transparency at the touch of a button.

With its headlights, Audi is presenting the next phase in LED technology, known as matrix beam. A package of LEDs and microreflectors generate a high-resolution and non-glaring high-beam light.

The dynamic light runs below the edge of the window from the front to the rear of the A2 concept — a band of light that contains a multitude of innovative, dynamic light functions. Integrated approach sensors detect the driver and unlock the doors via gesture control. While driving, the dynamic light functions as a continuous side marker light. If the car’s turn indicator is activated, light impulses run throughout the entire band of light.

In addition, a red bar of light flows forward from the tail lights when braking and demonstrates the strength of the brakes intuitively for other road users.

The dynamic light is also located in the cockpit area of the show car, structured in two separate arches. Like the entire interior, the dash panel has a light and clean look and intuitive controls.

.....and 1+1 urban car concept

Audi is again probing new horizons: the Audi urban concept is a 1+1-seat, ultra-light car for congested urban spaces. The technical study does not fit under conventional categories — the Audi urban concept combines elements of a racing car, a fun car and an urban car into one radical new concept. In addition to a Sportback model, Audi is also presenting a Spyder variant.

The Audi urban concept development is solely oriented on the strict principles of lightweight construction, efficiency and reduction. The result is a concept car with no unnecessary weight, and one that concentrates on the pure essence of sporty motion.

The concept has a sleek body. The wheels are free-standing and their surrounding protective plates feature blinking strips of LED lights. The highly concentrated look of the technical study, with its forward-urging lines, is dynamic and emotional – it lends to Audi’s design language a completely new impetus.

On board there is room for two people, their positions slightly staggered and at a sporty, low level. All controls and materials are subject to the dictates of ultra-lightweight construction in order to ensure that the sensory experience they convey is unique and compelling. The driver can adjust the steering wheel and pedals. Characteristic features of the Spyder include its low, continuous window area and its doors that open diagonally to the top.

The cockpit consists of carbon fiber-reinforced polymer, which integrates the undercarriage of both seats. The Audi urban concept rolls on wheels with a 21-inch diameter.

Two e-tron electric motors provide the propulsion – providing the ultra-light concept with the ability to accelerate quickly. A lithium-ion battery supplies the energy.


Audi also unveils limited-edition 552-horsepower R8 GT
The extreme Audi R8 GT quite literally got its second wind last week as a new open-air Spyder version.

Distilling the celebrated R8 V-10 formula into an even more concentrated form, the more intensively weight optimized GT soft-top will deliver its breathtaking pace and handling poise to just 333 customers worldwide.

They will have the opportunity to formally register their interest in right-hand-drive versions of the new convertible. Ordering will begin later this summer ahead of first customer deliveries in early 2012.

The two-seater will is being shown at Frankfurt  and will launch in just a few weeks. It draws heavily on the earlier R8 GT coupe, sharing elements of its styling, lightweight construction and mechanical package.

At the heart of the new Audi is a powered-up version of the standard R8 Spyder's 5.2-liter V-10 engine kicking out 552 horsepower. Drive is sent through a standard six-speed sequential-manual gearbox with paddle-shift capability and a viscous-coupling all-wheel-drive system set up to provide a nominal rear-wheel-drive bias.

With select carbon-fiber body panels, a lightened interior and carbon-ceramic brakes helping to reduce curb weight over the standard R8 5.2 FSI quattro Spyder, the R8 GT Spyder is claimed to hit 62 mph in just 3.8 seconds and have a top speed of 197 mph.

Mazda shows Tribute replacement, the CX-5

Mazda is using Frankfurt for the world premiere of its all-new Mazda CX-5 compact crossover SUV. The CX-5 is the first of a new generation of Mazda products that will adopt the full range of Mazda’s breakthrough SKYACTIV TECHNOLOGY and the new design theme, "KODO – Soul of Motion."

The compact CX-5 will slot in below the CX-7 and CX-9 in Mazda's crossover lineup and replace the aging Tribute, a rebadged Ford Escape.

Mazda says the CX-5, which evolves Mazda’s hallmark fun-to-drive character, will be progressively introduced to global markets from early 2012.  Developed around the full range of SKYACTIV TECHNOLOGY — including all-new Mazda gasoline and diesel engines, manual and automatic transmissions, body and chassis — the CX-5 delivers precise handling responses and a high-quality ride, matched with outstanding environmental credentials and an advanced safety performance.

The engine line-up for the European specification CX-5 will include Mazda’s SKYACTIV-G 2.0 gasoline engine and SKYACTIV-D 2.2 diesel engine, which will be available in Standard Power and High Power versions.

Engines available in the U.S. have not been announced.

The CX-5 is also the first production model to showcase Mazda’s new design theme, "KODO – Soul of Motion," which was previewed with the Mazda SHINARI and Mazda MINAGI concept cars.  Unique themes of the KODO design theme include a prominent new frontal treatment with a bolder Mazda family face and more dynamic styling that conveys a strong sense of vitality and agility.


Fiat introduces new Panda city car

Fiat is showing its new Panda city car. The new arrival, which will go on sale in UK next spring, is a consistent evolution of a highly successful city car that has always been a by-word for functional design, maneuverability, space, reliability and comfort.

While still remaining true to its compact design brief, new Panda has ‘grown’ by just a few centimeters to ensure the attainment of the highest safety standards, and improve the generous level of passenger and luggage space still further. With an overall length of 365cm (143 inches) and width of 164cm (64 inches), the new Panda can comfortably accommodate up to five people and is equipped with one of the largest luggage compartments in its segment.

Panda was the first car in its market segment to win the prestigious Car of the Year award (in 2004). It was the first compact (less than four meters in length) to feature a diesel engine (1986), and it was the first to offer both four-wheel drive (1983) and a range of eco-friendly engines designed to limit fuel consumption. (Panda Elettra, introduced in 1990, was one of the first electric cars).

Now in its third generation, new Panda has taken another major step forward in terms of comfort, technology and safety equipment, making its first public appearance with a modern and harmonious new style, but without relinquishing the essential family feeling that has so characterized the marque over the years.

Customers will be able to choose from two TwinAir twin cylinder engines: the International Engine of the Year 2011 85 horsepower TwinAir Turbo, or the new 65 horsepower naturally aspirated TwinAir, both equipped with Start and Stop as standard.

The recently revised four cylinder  69 horsepower 1.2 liter completes the gas engine range at launch, but a state-of-the-art turbodiesel 75 horsepower 1.3 liter MultiJet 2  engine, also with Start and Stop as standard, will also be offered.

At launch, the new Panda will be front-wheel drive only, but a four-wheel drive version is planned.


Hyundai unveils next evolution of fluidic sculpture design

Hyundai is showing an exciting new look for the company’s best-selling C-segment hatchback.

Hyundai expects the new-generation i30 to build on the success of the original model — the company’s first car launched with the ‘i’ prefix, introducing a new nomenclature and heralding a new era for Hyundai in Europe.

There has been speculation that the new i30 might reappear in North America as the new Elantra Touring model. It carries all the styling cues of the new North American Elantra.

The original i30 was also the first model to be designed and engineered in Europe, the first to be produced at the company’s state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in the Czech Republic, and the first Hyundai car to receive five stars from Euro NCAP.

After its July 2007 launch, the i30 went on to increase its sales in Europe every year, attracting 115,000 buyers in 2010 — the highest-ever annual sales figure for an individual Hyundai model in Europe — and achieving total sales of more than 350,000 units up to mid-2011.

Designed and engineered at the Hyundai Motor Europe Technical Centre in Rüsselsheim, Germany, the new-generation i30 represents a further evolution of the unique Hyundai form language, ‘fluidic sculpture’, displaying the company’s distinctive design DNA.

Thomas Bürkle, Chief Designer at Hyundai Motor Europe Technical Centre, commented: “The new-generation i30 is recognizable thanks to the Hyundai family face with its signature hexagonal-shaped front grille and the jewel-like design of the headlamps, together with distinctive daytime running lights. These lights present an angular shape within a more softly-edged recess, adding a strong personality to the vehicle, as well as a sense of refinement and luxury.”

“Through the profile of the new generation i30, a strong character line runs over the front and rear wheel arches all the way to the tail lamps. A softer, lower character line rises up the car’s flank creating a play of light and shadow — a fundamental feature of fluidic sculpture,” Bürkle concluded.

Allan Rushforth, Senior Vice President and COO of Hyundai Motor Europe, commented, “We expect the new-generation i30 to appeal to young, progressive buyers who want a car that not only performs well but looks great too. In this way, the new-generation i30 will contribute to future sales success, growing brand awareness and improving perceptions of Hyundai among European consumers.”

Subaru offers up XV crossover ...

 Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd., parent company of Subaru Automobiles, today announced the world production premiere of the all new Subaru XV (European specification) at the 64th Frankfurt Motor Show.

The Subaru XV defines a whole new generation of Subaru crossover vehicles.

The concept version of the XV received a warm welcome when it was first shown at the Auto Shanghai motor show in April, its design successfully combining the latest distinctive Subaru elements with the commanding silhouette expected of a crossover.

Subaru XV concept

The final production version of the XV remains true to the concept and Subaru is confident that it will bring something fresh, as well as a new level of engineering excellence, to the segment.

Subaru also expects the XV will bring a new type of customer to the brand, people who are confident in the knowledge of the company’s AWD and engineering expertise and who are also looking for the flexibility and lifestyle statement that owning a crossover brings.

The Subaru XV is due for launch in the UK in early 2012. No word of the XV for the North American market, but there is speculation that it could arrive as the new Impreza Outback.

...and the BRZ

Subaru unveils the Subaru BRZ Prologue — Boxer Sports Car Architecture II. The BRZ is Subaru's companion to the Toyota FT-86, which will be marketed in the U.S. as the Scion FR-S.

Subaru says the initials BRZ actually stand for something — boxer engine, rear-wheel drive and zenith.

The BRZ architecture employs Subaru’s new platform, built around its key component, the horizontally-opposed boxer engine. Subaru says the newest boxer engine, a 2-liter 4-cylinder, will have direct injection, exclusively designed for the new sports car.

Subaru says the BRZ Prologue will showcase Subaru’s state-of-the-art engineering technology and claims it will deliver a “Pure Handling Delight” driving experience.

The BRZ was shown in concept form earlier this year at the 2011 Geneva Auto Show.

The new sports car will probably go on sale as a 2013 model.


Volkswagen shows UP! ....

Volkswagen Up! made its official debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show today. The tiny city car is set to go on sale in Europe in December.

VW offered no indication of whether it might come to the United States. 

The two-door four-seater is just under 140 inches long, with a wheelbase of 95 inches. By comparison, the Mini Cooper hardtop is about seven inches longer.

There are three versions for different budgets and needs: Take Up! is the entry-level car, Move Up! the comfort-oriented model and High Up! the top version.  At the car’s market launch, there will also be two models based on the High Up!: Up! black and Up! white.

VW’s smallest and cheapest model will have a three-cylinder engine, delivering as much as 75 horsepower, and be furnished with an emergency-brake function to avoid collisions at speeds of less than 18 mph. VW aims to introduce an electric-powered Up! by 2013, the carmaker said.

The interior is as colorful as it is capacious, with either decor paint or body color (depending on the equipment line) used in the interior, including across the dashboard facia. The clean and well-organized layout of the interior of the Up! also offers clever details, fun styling and a level of quality that will enhance the market segment.

Along with the initial three-door model revealed, Volkswagen is also developing a five-door version of the Up! that is due to go on sale in Europe in 2012.

If the Up! comes to the U.S., competitors will include the Toyota iQ and the Fiat 500.

The Up! is being built in Bratislava, Slovakia.

... and a single seat electric

Nils, a single-seat electric concept vehicle that offers a glimpse of a new form of minimalist mobility is unveiled by Volkswagen here at the Frankfurt Motor Show. 

This concept car — which features an aluminum space frame, wing doors and free-standing wheels — has the dynamic performance of a sports car, yet travels silently, and with zero emissions.

The Nils project is supported by the German Federal Ministry of Transport, Building and Urban Development, and is designed to be both technically realistic and economically supportable.

"‘NILS anticipates the future. The goal of the NILS project is to research a technically concrete and economically feasible vehicle concept for micro-mobility which restructures individual transportation to make it more efficient and environmentally compatible based on electric drive technology," said Dr Ulrich Hackenberg, member of the Board of Management and Head of Development for the Volkswagen Brand.

With a range of 40 miles and a top speed of 80 mph Nils would be the ideal vehicle for the majority of commuters in Germany.  According to the German Bureau of Statistics, 73.9 per cent of all commuters residing between Berlin and Munich cover less than15.5 miles on their way to work.

Cars have always been mirrors of their times — their design styles and technological standards reflecting a particular era — and Nils is no different.  It uses emissions-reducing electric drive technology to fulfill the specific requirements of commuters.  In Germany, for example, about 60 per cent of all commuters travel by car, according to the Federal Bureau of Statistics; of these over 90 per cent travel alone.  Zero-emissions vehicles like Nils will offer these frequent drivers a new eco-friendly mobility solution.

Nils is a very compact car that requires extremely little space in traffic.  It is only 3.04 meters long – making it about 50 cm shorter than the new Volkswagen up! – just 0.39 meters wide from wheel to wheel, and a mere 1.2 meters tall.

To help quell nerves over the Nils' diminutive size, the car is equipped with a radar-based automatic braking system, a collision warning system, four disc brakes, and electronic stability control. The wing doors include a crash reinforcement section, and the aluminum space frame has been designed to act as a safety cell in the event of a collision.

Nils has the same basic layout as a Formula 1 race car, with the driver in the middle, the engine in back, and free-standing outboard wheels.  The 17-inch alloy wheels are equipped with 115/80 (front) and 125/80 (rear) tires optimized for low rolling resistance.

A lithium-ion battery supplies the electric motor with energy.  The battery capacity (5.3 kWh) enables driving ranges of up to 65 km, depending on the style of driving.  A battery of this size is relatively inexpensive, and can be charged either via a conventional 230-volt electrical outlet (maximum charging time two hours) or at an electric vehicle charging station.  The socket is located at the back underneath the rear lighting module.

 Opel unplugs small electric

Opel is showing a two-seat electric microcar here at the Frankfurt Motor Show, one of several small two-seaters that will be on the showroom floor pointing to a growing demand for high-mileage personal "city car" transportation.

Opel says the creatively styled concept has production potential.

The battery-powered electric vehicle will have a 60-mile range and be capable of 75 mph. The concept has two seats in a tandem layout, and its light weight — around a third of a small modern car’s — would allow it to be agile.

The small cockpit seems to be similar to the layout used in the VW and Audi EVs that use a slightly offset seating layout.


Porsche unleashess new 911s

At 48, the Porsche 911 Carrera is younger than ever. The completely redesigned seventh-generation sports car icon is stepping into the limelight with a sleek and stretched silhouette, exciting contours and precisely designed features.

Yet from every angle it is unmistakably a 911, holding true to the Porsche 911 Carrera "evolution, not revolution" design philosophy.

The 2012 911 is being unveiled here at the Frankfurt Motor Show.

The 3.9 inch longer wheelbase and reduced overall height underpin the new appearance. When viewed from the front, the eye is drawn to the 911's trademark wide-arched fenders, emphasizing the wider front track. The side mirrors are now mounted on the upper edge of the door, which also helps highlight the new design line and gives the visual impression of width.

The new lightweight body is an aluminum-steel composite construction and contributes greatly to the 100 pound weight reduction when compared to the previous 911 body.

To complement the modern exterior design, Porsche designers created an interior reminiscent of the Carrera GT.

A Start Stop function, engine and transmission thermal management, electrical system recuperation, the world's first seven-speed manual transmission and —  in conjunction with the Porsche Doppelkupplungsgetriebe (PDK) — the ability to 'sail' or coast are all part of the new Porsche. The new electro-mechanical power steering offers not only Porsche's typical precision and feedback but also helps increase efficiency and reduce fuel-consumption.

The 911 Carrera gets a new 350-horsepower, 3.4-liter boxer engine. The 911 Carrera S has a 400 horsepower, 3.8-liter boxer engine — 15 horsepower more than before.

At the same time there are performance improvements in both models. The 911 Carrera S with PDK accelerates from 0 to 60 in 4.1 seconds. Using the Launch Control function of the optional Sport Chrono Package cuts that to 3.9 seconds. The 911 Carrera with PDK needs only 4.4 seconds to sprint from a standing start to 60 mph (4.2 seconds when using the optional Sport Chrono Package's Launch Control function). Top-track speed for the 911 Carrera S and 911 Carrera is 188 mph and 179 mph, respectively.

The first new 911 models will arrive in U.S. dealerships beginning in February. The new 911 Carrera Coupe will have a base MSRP of $82,100, while the 911 Carrera S Coupe's base MSRP will be $96,400 (excluding destination). Both models will include substantial additional equipment when compared to the previous models.

 Vauxhall launches Zafira ...

Vauxhall has introduced the procuction version of the Zafira Tourer with first cars in UK showrooms by early 2012.

The new model will sit above the current Zafira model in Vauxhall’s line-up and is set to raise the bar for design, luxury, flexibility and innovation in the MPV sector, says the company.

The production car’s design, shown here, has deviated very little from the Geneva concept seen earlier this year, illustrating design-chief, Mark Adams’ continued influence on the look of all new Vauxhall products, and reinforcing his "Sculptural artistry meets technical precision" mantra.

While the Zafira Tourer will continue to use Flex7 seating, which set new standards for seven-seat integration in the original 1999 Zafira, the system has evolved radically in the new car to offer even greater levels of flexibility, innovation and comfort. Improved material quality, more cabin space and an overwhelmingly airy cabin further define the Zafira Tourer from its compact MPV Zafira sibling.

The Zafira Tourer will also hold great driver appeal. A new chassis, using key components from the Insignia, with a longer wheelbase (complementing its 17.5-inch increase in overall length) and wider tracks, will provide outstanding dynamics, while offering occupants more cabin space and ride comfort. Vauxhall’s FlexRide adaptive damping system will also be available as an option.

Emphasis has been placed on safety in the Zafira Tourer, with a number of driver-assist systems making a first appearance in the new model. Traffic Sign Recognition, Side Blind Spot Alert and Advance Park Assist — which helps drivers find an adequate parking space and guides them in to it — are among the option highlights.

Two new engines — a 1.4 Turbo gas and a 2.0 CDTi diesel (with three outputs) — join a 1.8-liter gas unit to offer a spread of power options from 110 horsepower to 165 horsepower.

... and the new Astra GTC

Here's a stunner that will never reach North American shores.

These images of the Vauxhall Astra GTC may show it in a virtual landscape, but as it races down an imaginary road, real cars are now getting ready to run on real roads — that’s right, the Astra GTC is officially a production reality for Europe.

They've been taking orders since June 7 when Vauxhall revealed full details about the GTC giving customers the chance to specify their ideal model and place an order early.

First production cars will begin appearing in UK showrooms in late autumn.

The production GTC features a 3-door body with dramatic proportions, yet will be capable of carrying five adults. The company says the GTC features the very best of Vauxhall’s latest technology, as well as unique chassis features.


Renault creates a Frendzy

Renault has introduce the quixotic Frendzy here at the 64th Frankfurt Motor Show.

Shown here in concept form the Frendzy is an electric commercial vehicle that takes its inspiration from unconventionally shaped aircraft and appears to target the Ford Transit Connect Electric.

The latest design to be produced under the leadership of Laurens van den Acker is crafted as a multi-talented vehicle. As a commercial business vehicle which can double up perfectly as a comfortable car, it meets the requirements of business users on the one hand and those of families on the other.

The quirky-looking workhorse lacks a center pillar and gets one conventional door and one sliding door with a 37-inch display that can flash advertising messages or such information as the battery-charging method.

The name is supposed to call up images of a "multi-faceted friend," said the French automaker.

Exterior designer, Deyan Denkov: "...[Frendzy's] asymmetric body design was the most logical way to express this vehicle’s two roles. From the very start, I wanted to move away from the traditional format for commercial vehicles and, in doing so, show that this type of vehicle could also be more emotional, more dynamic and more attractive. I took inspiration from a wide variety of sources, including unconventionally shaped aircraft such as the Airbus Beluga and the Antonov 224.”

Unlike most EVs, which are silent, the Frendzy gets a broad range of sounds, including a sporty note. Renault says that the sound program lets people in the vicinity know whether the Frendzy is "in business or passenger-car mode, thanks simply to its sound signature."

The Frendzy is equipped with a 60-horsepower electric motor and lithium-ion batteries.

The cabin is supposed to look like a futuristic workbench with a "molten metal" look. The cabin gets leather latticework seats and lots of wood trim. The single-piece rear seat is integrated into the floor. Sensors located on the door sills can log the loading or unloading of packages tagged with RFID (radio frequency identification) chips with information such as destination address.


 Chevrolet displays two concepts

Over the course of its 100-year history, Chevrolet has created and refined an array of beautiful car designs. Some of these have moved on to become true road legends, such as the Belair, the Suburban, the Corvette, or the Camaro.

Though Chevrolet cars are very diverse in their appearance, reflecting the different uses they have, there is a common design and brand DNA and a set of exterior and interior features that distinguishes them from a multitude of competitors.

The Chevrolet Miray and the Colorado Rally Concept, which celebrate their European premiere,  embody these design principles and take current trends in their respective segment a step into the future.

Whereas the powerful Colorado Rally Concept previews the next generation of this midsize pickup truck, the futuristic-looking Chevrolet Miray merges a jet-inspired exterior with an advanced hybrid powertrain technology.

Sitting atop an AWD chassis, the double-cab Colorado Rally Concept, first revealed at the Buenos Aires International Auto Show, conveys strength through every square centimeter of its bodywork. It aims to deliver maximum authenticity and was designed with a rally raid category in mind.

With its wide stance, 18-inch aluminum wheels with mud terrain tires, a height-adjustable suspension system and Fox Racing Shox shocks, the second show version of the Colorado midsize pickup truck communicates durability and performance. The first Colorado show truck was unveiled at the Bangkok Motor Show in April this year.

First unveiled at the Seoul Motor Show in March, the Chevrolet Miray concept offers a fresh interpretation of some typical Chevrolet design cues while paying tribute to Chevrolet's sports car heritage. The Miray is propelled by two front-mounted, battery-powered 15-kW electric motors for quick acceleration and zero emissions in urban driving.

"'Miray' is Korean for 'future.' The concept strengthens the bond between car and driver and takes a fresh look at what a sports cars of the future might be," said Wayne Brannon, President and Managing Director of Chevrolet Europe. "Many of the components used in its drivetrain are an extension of our systems. The Miray demonstrates the potential for rescaling and extending today's propulsion technologies."

Being small and open like the 1963 Monza SS, and light and purposeful like the 1962 Corvair Super Spyder, the Miray has an aerodynamic fuselage reminiscent of modern jet fighters. Its dual-port grille is flanked by LED headlamps with new signature daytime running lamps.

The front and rear fenders evoke Chevrolet Corvettes of the past and express the concept's sports car spirit. Carbon fibre spoilers at the corners help control down force and airflow. From above, the cabin has a unique diamond shape.

The Miray's "mid-electric" propulsion system, located primarily behind and beneath the driver, has been engineered to maximize performance and fuel efficiency. Its two front-mounted 15-kW electric motors are powered by a 1.6 kWh lithium-ion battery that is charged through regenerative braking energy. The system can be switched from front-wheel to rear-wheel drive.

A 1.5-liter four-cylinder turbo-charged engine mounted behind the cockpit combines with the electric motors for performance driving. It provides spirited torque, while seamlessly integrating electrification technology that sets a new standard in the compact roadster segment.

A dual-clutch transmission obviates the need for a torque converter, thereby enabling a reduction of the engine's size. Shifts are quick and firm, with the shift pattern having been tuned for improved top speed in performance mode. A start-stop system operates in conjunction with the Miray's dual-clutch transmission.

Eterniti Motors unveils 620-horsepower SUV

A new British car company, Eterniti Motors, is showing its first product, a powerful luxury SUV.

The Hemera, called the world’s first Super-SUV, will bring new levels of luxury and performance to the SUV segment when production starts in 2012. Hand-built in London, it will feature a limousine-like rear cabin, including twin electric reclining seats, iPads and a drinks chiller, giving customers the option of being chauffeured as well as driving.

However, its relatively compact dimensions, 4x4 ruggedness and dynamic performance mean that it is more practical than a limousine and offers considerable driver appeal, with over 620 horsepower on tap and a top speed in excess of 180 mph.

Eterniti said its product "is based on the latest generation of the best large SUV platform available, which will undergo a chassis-up rebuild, with a new, repackaged interior, carbon-composite body panels and additional performance."

The company plans to set up a London showroom, with attached assembly and service center where cars will be "hand-built on site by British craftsmen and technicians."

"Further showrooms in key international cities (will) follow from 2012," Eterniti said.

Last month, Britain's Autocar said the Hemera will be a rival to the upcoming Aston Martin Lagonda and as-yet-unnamed Bentley SUV, and will be priced from around $250,000.

Ford concept to set direction for the future

Making its global debut is the Ford Evos Concept representing the ultimate expression of Ford’s new global design language, and exploring key future powertrain and vehicle technologies.

The Evos is a plug-in hybrid with four gullwing doors. The doors won't make it into production, but many design cues of the Evos will be on new cars and crossovers starting next year.

The Evos represents the direction the Ford brand's global design will take over the next five years, said J Mays, Ford group vice president in charge of design and chief creative officer.
The fastback introduces Ford’s first truly global design language as the momentum of the company’s One Ford product plan continues to build.
“The Ford Evos Concept unites three key elements which are at the core of our One Ford global product strategy: outstanding design, smart technologies and fuel economy leadership,” said Derrick Kuzak, group vice president of Global Product Development.
“With its compelling design and innovative technology experience, this is a clear demonstration of the exciting vision we have for the Ford brand. While you will never see this car on the road, the next generation of Ford products around the world will display many of the distinctive design ideas and advanced technologies it showcases.”
Ford Evos Concept is not just a design-led exercise. It also embodies the global Ford product development team's move to design and develop vehicles as more than just an interior and exterior, or a collection of attributes.
"Our goal is to focus on enriching a customer's every experience with their vehicle — by personalizing it, adapting it, and creating unique, unexpected features that surprise and delight them," said Kuzak. "In the Ford Evos Concept, this objective is explored and extended to the area of connectivity, where the intent is not to convert the vehicle into a smartphone, but rather to provide personalized and safe connection to the outside world in an enriching manner designed totally for the vehicle context."

Ford's global Research and Innovation team, led by Paul Mascarenas, was tasked with building Evos Concept around a technology experience as visionary as the design. The result signals how Ford intends to build on the momentum of innovations like the SYNC in-car connectivity system.
“At Ford, the future of technology in the car will be defined by the experience that it delivers to the driver and passengers,” said Paul Mascarenas, chief technical officer and vice president of Ford Research and Innovation. “We see technology as more than just an impressive list of microprocessors, sensors and software; it’s about the application of that technology to create an experience that enhances the driver’s time behind the wheel.”
The concept’s technology experience embraces a new generation of driver interaction and awareness currently under development in the Ford Research and Innovation laboratories. Seamless connectivity between the vehicle and the driver’s ‘personal cloud’ of information is at the heart of the vision for its capabilities.
“The possibilities are fascinating when we explore how to enable a seamless lifestyle between home, office and car linked by access to the driver’s personal information,” Mascarenas said.
Reflecting the fun-to-drive spirit of its exterior design, the interior of the Ford Evos Concept is built around the driver. A stylish and innovative cockpit promises new levels of driving pleasure and driver interaction.
The interior architecture features clean and simple surfaces, with a muscular, athletic character to the slim upper instrument panel, enhanced by bold trapezoidal cut-outs. Contrasting these muscular forms, curvaceous cockpit display surfaces sweep down either side of the driver, providing secondary information about vehicle and infotainment systems.
The concept features a bold red driver’s seat and the vision of unprecedented driver interaction via an advanced driver interface. The two rear seat passengers get an equally special experience, with dedicated touch-screen displays to interact with the vehicle and individually adjustable sports seats.
“Both the exterior and interior of the Ford Evos Concept clearly communicate that this is a driver’s car, so that as soon as people see the vehicle, they will immediately want to get in and drive,” said executive design director Moray Callum.


Ford introduces first global performance car ...

The covers are finally off the production version of Ford’s first global performance car, the new Focus ST. Building on the DNA of the Sport Technologies badge, the new model combines strong performance, exceptional handling, eye-catching style and everyday refinement. Focus ST will launch around the world in 2012, being sold in over 40 countries spanning six continents.

Powered by a 2.0-liter Ford EcoBoost engine mated to a specially revised six-speed manual transmission, Focus ST offers an uncompromising mix of performance and efficiency. The lightweight, all-aluminum engine delivers a maximum output of 246 horsepower and peak torque of 265 pound-feet of torque.

Alongside the five-door model, Ford is also revealing a special treat for European customers — the stylish Focus ST Wagon. A unique offering in the segment, the Wagon shows just how far the performance DNA of an ST model can stretch.

“There’s nothing comparable in the market to the Focus ST Wagon,” said Jost Capito, director of Global Performance Vehicles. “It builds on the practical element of the Focus ST but doesn’t take away any of the performance, handling abilities or refinement of the five-door model. Wagons are very popular in many of the major European countries so we have high hopes for the ST wagon being a great success.”

 .... and a concept performance car, the Fiesta ST

Ford has showcased the company’s vision to take its ST performance family around the world with the surprise reveal of an exciting new Fiesta ST Concept alongside the production debut of the all-new Focus ST.
Ford’s global performance vehicle strategy is accelerating, promising a new era for driving enthusiasts around the world with the expansion of its ST – Sport Technologies – range. The international reach of these performance models is made possible by a new generation of global small car platforms from Ford.
The possibility of a Fiesta ST joining the Focus ST would bring Ford performance to drivers in two major global segments.
“We’re leveraging our global product platforms to create great new performance vehicles like the Focus ST,” said Derrick Kuzak, group vice president, Global Product Development. “By taking advantage of platform efficiencies and focusing our performance engineering resources globally, we can bring performance vehicles to more customers in more markets, plus we’re better positioned for Ford products to compete successfully in global motorsport.”
The production-ready Focus ST was revealed at the 2011 Frankfurt Motor Show as Ford’s first performance vehicle to be sold into more than 40 markets around the world, including the U.S., Canada, Mexico, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand and 15 European countries. Its launch kicks off a new era for enthusiasts while the exciting reveal of the Fiesta ST Concept also highlights Ford’s promise for even more to come on the performance front.
Ford’s ST models are the company’s most accessible performance vehicles, combining exhilarating and balanced performance with a level of refinement that makes them exciting to drive yet ideal for everyday use.    
They are the central point of Ford’s broader performance strategy that establishes the DNA for the company’s performance models globally and opens up possibilities for more higher-tier performance vehicles.
This DNA was created by the Ford Performance Vehicles group — embracing Europe’s Ford Team RS and North America’s Special Vehicle Team (SVT) — who delved deeply into their performance expertise and insight to define the appropriate DNA characteristics for all of Ford’s future global performance vehicles.
Target performance levels for the Fiesta ST Concept are 177 horsepower and 177 lb.-ft. of torque, enough to propel it from 0-60 mph in less than seven seconds. A top speed exceeding 136 mph is targeted.
The advanced design of the turbocharged, four-cylinder Ford EcoBoost engine — connected to a six-speed manual transmission — means the Fiesta ST Concept is forecast to deliver CO2 emissions of less than 140 g/km.
A global Fiesta ST would also extend the proud, 35-year history of delivering high-performance Fiestas in Europe, including the Fiesta XR2 and XR2i, RS Turbo and the more recent first-generation Fiesta ST.
“With the Focus ST and the Fiesta ST, enthusiasts will immediately understand what a Ford ST model promises and what each model shares in terms of balanced performance feel, style and driver features,” said Jost Capito, Ford director of global Performance Vehicles and Motorsport Development. “We’ve developed both vehicles from the same DNA. They are born performers that know how to make drivers smile.”

Lexus GS 450h hybrid makes world debut

The new Lexus GS 450h full hybrid makes its world debut marking the start of further expansion of the GS range in the near future.

The GS has an all-new exterior and interior which reflect development of Lexus’s L-finesse design philosophy. The bold and dynamic exterior design includes a stronger frontal treatment which gives the new GS a commanding road presence that is appropriate for a Lexus performance sedan.

Inside, the next-generation interior design theme is carried forward, with an ergonomically designed, driver-focused cockpit with advanced human-machine interface technologies to help keep the driver alert and everyone on board comfortable over long periods of time.

Several highly innovative technologies are making their first appearance in the new GS: a new, energy saving air conditioning system with S-Flow and ‘Nano-e’ technologies; a second-generation Remote Touch Interface (RTI) linked to the world’s largest on-board multi-information display screen; and a choice of audio systems that offer unparalleled power and clarity.

The GS 450h uniquely uses a V-6 Atkinson cycle petrol engine, with a two-motor hybrid system in a front-engine/rear-wheel drive configuration.

Improvements have been made to every aspect of its second-generation Lexus Hybrid Drive system, achieving both significant reductions in fuel consumption, CO2, NOx and PM emissions with performance that is on par with comparable V8-powered rivals.

The new, fourth-generation GS has been designed for an engaging driving experience, with sharp, accurate steering, excellent body control, high-speed stability and a level of ride comfort that befits a Lexus performance model.

Significant improvements to the car’s driving dynamics have been achieved through a re-engineered body shell, new suspension, more powerful brakes and leading-edge technologies such as Active Variable Suspension and Dynamic Rear Steering.


Bentley Continental GTC moves to next generation

Taking cues from its GT coupe sibling launched last year, the new Continental GTC builds on the highly successful foundation of the previous cabriolet, which premiered in 2006. Bentley’s design and engineering teams have improved virtually every aspect of the iconic convertible with an uncompromising focus on quality.

While the first Continental GTC was elegant and understated, the sharper radii and assertive stance of the new model delivers a more contemporary and muscular presence.

Advanced manufacturing techniques produce aluminum front wings without the need for seams or welds creating the look and feel of a coach built car. Twenty-inch wheels are now standard with three styles of 21-inch wheel, a first for GTC, available as an option, reinforcing the distinctive, sporting stance of the new Bentley.

The four-seater luxury convertible features a new, even more spacious and sumptuous hand-crafted cabin, with soft-touch leather hides, an extensive range of wood veneers, cool-touch metals and deep-pile carpets. There are 17 standard soft-touch leather hide colors with six color split combinations, complemented by a range of seven veneers, all produced by Bentley’s talented craftsmen and women.

The GTC’s renowned coupe-like refinement is also enhanced. The tailored, multi-layered fabric hood is complemented by acoustic glass and under-body panels, for optimum noise isolation.

Superb everyday practicality for a luxury convertible was a hallmark of the original GTC and much valued by its customers. The cabin of the new GTC is now even more practical, with additional rear legroom, new storage solutions and innovative features such as touch-screen infotainment, automatic seat-belt presenters and a Bentley-designed Neck Warmer for comfortable roof-down motoring whatever the temperature.

A wider track, front and rear, sharper steering and retuned suspension provide a more exhilarating and class-leading drive. Bentley’s advanced all-wheel drive system features a new 40:60 rear torque bias (compared with 50:50 of the original GTC) minimizing understeer during hard cornering and allowing the spirited driver to manage the car’s line and balance via precise throttle control.

This compelling dynamic package is combined with a more powerful 6.0-liter, twin-turbocharged W12 engine as well as a new QuickShift transmission enabling faster gear changes than ever before. Power output is raised from 552 horsepower to 567 horsepower and the famed Bentley ‘wave of torque’ has been increased  to 516 lb ft.


Honda launches Civic five-door for European market

Honda has launched the new European market Civic at the Frankfurt Motor Show. The Civic will be offered exclusively as a five-door hatchback and will compete in the C-segment, the heart of the European Car market. It will reach European showrooms in early 2012.

The designers of the new Civic wanted to keep the sporty and advanced elements of the car's character but tailor them to express the new model's even more elegant yet dynamic feel. "We have lowered the height by 20mm and increased the width by 10mm compared with the current car," said  Mitsuru Kariya, Civic development leader.

"Defining the correct proportions was the most important challenge for the design of the new Civic," says Kariya. "We enhanced the sporty aspect of the design while creating a clean, dynamic shape." Sources of inspiration included a "blended wing body" airplane in which the fuselage and wings blend into a single body for superior aerodynamic performance, quietness and habitability.

The new interior is focussed around the driver and creates a sporty ambience. "We wanted to create the feeling of a cockpit, like a racing car or an airplane," explains Yukio Emi, the Design Chief of the Civic Interior.

The quality of the interior for the new Civic has been improved without compromising the class leading utility space. "The key target was to increase the feeling of quality," says Kariya. "We have changed our approach to match customer expectations and European standards. The new Civic has a high quality cabin, both in the way that it feels and the way that it looks. Offering class leading boot space and with the versatile seat combinations means that it is the most practical yet."


Maserati introduces sport utility concept

A new Maserati vehicle in the sport luxury SUV segment will represent a natural direction for Maserati to enlarge its product range and strengthen its presence in the sport luxury market.

For some reason SUVs today never seem to offer the kind of uplifting driving pleasure and luxury atmosphere that are two givens of today’s high-end sports and luxury cars. And this is precisely what Maserati set out to do with its new sport luxury SUV concept unveiled at the Frankfurt Auto Show , the forerunner of the future Maserati range, creating at once discontinuity by entering a new segment, and continuity by maintaining the integrity of Maserati’s DNA.

The idea of a sport luxury SUV is naturally not totally new to Maserati. Many will remember the Kubang concept that was unveiled at the Detroit Auto Show in 2003. At a time in which few other brands were going in the direction of a sport luxury SUV, Maserati was already thinking to build one.

Today potential synergies with sister brand Jeep — a brand that 70 years ago created a new segment of the market and is today a leader of this very segment – are the important catalyst for Maserati’s own interpretation of a sport luxury SUV. And it seems only appropriate to give the model that we are unveiling today the very name of the concept that opened the way: Maserati Kubang.  

The essence and all major system components of the Maserati sport luxury SUV will unmistakably be Maserati: style, engine, suspensions, brakes, handling and performance will all be 100% Maserati in picture-perfect continuity with the brand’s core values of sportiness, style, elegance, luxury, performance and craftsmanship.

The distinctive Maserati style that makes the Kubang immediately recognizable as a true Maserati has been created by the Maserati Style Center headed by Lorenzo Ramaciotti.

New-generation high-tech Maserati proprietary engines will be designed in Modena by Paolo Martinelli – Head of the Maserati Powertrain Department and for nearly 30 years at Ferrari, where he also served as engine chief of the Formula One racing team — and will be produced in Maranello by Ferrari.

An AT 8 speed automatic transmission and specific performance settings such as suspensions, brakes, steering will be exclusively developed in Modena for the Maserati sport luxury SUV by the Maserati Product Development Department.

Until today Maserati has been producing sedans, coupes and two- or four-seater convertibles. Whether we named them Quattroporte, GranTurismo or GranCabrio — or, before them, Ghibli, Mistral, Bora or Indy — their common denominator rested in two words: sportiness and luxury. Times have changed: sportiness and luxury today don’t have just one definition. They can also take the form of a very dynamic looking and high performing sport luxury SUV.


Surf's up at Fisker

Taking center stage at Fisker Automotive’s Frankfurt Show stand is a stunning new version of the Fisker Karma — the Fisker Surf — a new model that delivers on Fisker’s promise of "Pure Driving Passion and Uncompromised Responsible Luxury." 

The new Surf is the world’s first electric luxury/sports automobile for an active and eco-friendly lifestyle. The Surf builds on the success of the ground-breaking Karma Electric Vehicle with extended range by adding additional, flexible load-carrying capability, along with a spirited new attitude all its own.

Fisker Surf combines performance, luxury, style, utility, and economy with an enduring concern for the sustainable use of resources and respect for our natural environment. As a global company Fisker Automotive will offer the Surf in all its markets around the world for the 2013 model year. 

The Surf is Fisker’s vision of a crossover between a sports car and a station wagon and shows how Fisker is expanding its Karma platform rapidly with additional models that again create a new market niche.

“The Surf is a first-of-its-kind eco-friendly lifestyle vehicle that offers space, performance and luxury design for people who live an active, environmentally conscious lifestyle and like to drive beautiful cars,” said Henrik Fisker, CEO/Executive Design Director, Fisker Automotive.


Mercedes introduces new B-Class vehicle

Mercedes-Benz is introducing the second-generation compact B-class--the first model to sit on the company's latest front-wheel-drive platform.

The B-class has been thoroughly re-engineered in a move the German carmaker says gives it added interior space, greater refinement, better economy and improved safety credentials.

Planned for European sale starting in November, the five-seater follows the same design path as its predecessor, using a conventional one-and-half box silhouette overlaid with distinctive detailing, including heavy creases along the flanks first hinted to on Mercedes-Benz's wide range of Blue Zero concept cars.

At 171.6 inches long, 70.3 inches wide and 61.3 inches high, the new B-class is 3.5 inches longer, 0.4 of an inch wider and 1.9 inches lower than the first-generation model on sale in Europe since 2005.

Along with its new platform, the second-generation B-class also adopts an all-new range of four-cylinder engines. Kicking off the proceedings is a turbocharged 1.6-liter direct-injection gasoline engine. A development of Mercedes-Benz's M270 engine that has been reduced in capacity and engineered for transverse mounting, it produces 120 horsepower and 147 lb-ft in the entry-level B180 and 154 horsepower and 184 lb-ft in the B200.

Also planned from the outset of European sales is a new 1.8-liter common-rail diesel. Channeling drive to the front wheels is a fresh six-speed manual, boasting a three-shaft design that Mercedes-Benz claims gives it greater precision and lower frictional losses. Mercedes will also offer the B-class with an optional seven-speed dual-clutch transmission. Developed in-house, it has an electric oil pump for start/stop capability, a feature that will be offered as standard across the lineup.

Kia concept is powerful four-passenger rear-drive sedan

Now that Kia has proven itself to be a leader in automotive design, it is taking its design language to an intriguing concept vehicle, the GT.

While every new Kia design has been created for a front-wheel-drive platform, Kia is entering the world of the rear-wheel-drive architecture with the GT concept, making its debut in Frankfurt.

Although work on the Kia GT concept first started in November 2010, the idea of a powerful rear-wheel drive Kia saloon had been percolating in the minds of Kia's European designers for some time. "This concept allows us to explore exciting new design directions, as using a rear-drive layout creates very different proportions compared to a front-wheel drive car," says Peter Schreyer, Kia's Chief Design Officer. "The classic front-engined, rear-wheel drive layout of a performance saloon has distinct appeal not just for the domestic Korean audience, but also for the European and American markets."

"At the onset of this project," said Gregory Guillaume, Kia's European design chief "the design team was inspired by the spirit of iconic 1970s GT cars: sumptuous and elegant vehicles capable of whisking passengers from Paris to the South of France in effortless style and at high speed. We wanted to create something similarly graceful, athletic and confident, but not aggressive or overbearing."

The GT concept is powered by a 3.3-liter turbocharged V6, producing 389 horsepower and 394 pound-feet of torque, mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission.

Inside, the GT concept uses single-piece seats floating on arched supports, as well as a glass instrument panel with three layers of organic LED lights. This glass panel not only gives an interesting, 3D view of the information display, but allows the center console to be freed up of its usual buttons and displays, allowing for a cleaner, more spacious feel.

Volvo Concept You points to company's future

The Volvo Concept You is the next iteration of the Concept Universe originally shown in Shanghai earlier this year. The You is all about showing off the future of Volvo luxury and how the Swedes plan on evolving the infotainment game.

The You's controls are distilled down into a single touchscreen mounted in the center console, partnered with a heads-up display on the windshield and a customizable dash. When the driver looks in the direction of the screen, a pair of infrared cameras register the eye movement and wakes the display from sleep.

All the normal climate, audio and infotainment controls are accessible — including internet for the passenger side— and drivers can swipe data from the touchscreen to the heads-up display or to share with back seat passengers. If it's anything like Volvo's standard navigation and audio controls, it should be pretty slick and less distracting than other systems.

The other interior innovation comes in the form of a new audio system developed by Alpine, equipped with a "FreshAir" subwoofer that drops the weight of the speaker from around 33 pounds down to three pounds.