|Mercedes-Benz celebrates 125 years with the F125, as modelled by Daimler boss Dieter Zetsche and his magnificent facial hair
1. Kia GT Concept
EcoVelocity and they felt pretty darn good. The Koreans are also moving away from mimicking European styling and developing their own look out of it, which is where this beauty comes in. Some have criticised it for still having one or two details from other cars (notably the intakes that cut into the headlights, à la Aston Martin One-77), but I'm not terribly bothered by that. If you showed someone this car five years ago and told them it was a Kia, they would not believe you, and Kia say they want to start making more exciting cars, so who knows? Maybe this rear-wheel-drive 3.3 V6 GT with 390bhp and 394lb/ft could one day be a reality. In fact, Autocar reports it could happen in 2013, although probably without the carbon fibre wheels and rearview cameras (pushed forward, so they sort of look like the wing mirrors on an old Japanese car). Also note the delightful absence of batteries here. This isn't a V6 hybrid as opposed to a V8, this is a pure GT car sitting in the Nissan 370Z/Infiniti G37 area of performance. An 8-speed automatic makes sense in a car like this, too. If they do it properly, this could even prove to be a cheaper and interesting alternative to a BMW 3-Series, Mercedes-Benz CLS or more likely the VW Passat CC. If it keeps the ~400 horsepower, maybe even Jaguars and Maseratis if one is optimistic. It's brave of them to start going for this neck of the woods, but if Kia improve at the rate they currently are, in 2013 the GT could be a genuinely good car. We'll just have to wait and see...
2. Jaguar C-X16
3. Lotus Exige V6
4. Lamborghini Gallardo LP 570-4 Super Trofeo Stradale
this and the Superleggera, these two "ultimate Gallardo" editions are... exactly the same. So all this special 150-piece limited edition is after all is a Superleggera with red paint and a bigger spoiler on it. Oh! I found something else: "The V10's unique firing order delivers the striking sound you hear in motor racing". So there you go. It also sounds better. Totally worth it...
5. Peugeot HX1 Concept
all of them though). All the same, it's a smart-looking thing, and the way the middle seats can sink into the front seats to make it a 2+2 is pretty cool. Unlike MPVs, it's low and wide, mostly for aerodynamic purposes, and the aero theme continues with transforming wheels (that either look like the ones pictured or fan out to make a disc) and pop-up flaps to complement a pop-up spoiler, all to mix style and low drag. Low drag, of course, helps them get the best mileage out of the car's Hybrid4 system, with a 2.2-litre diesel driving the front wheels and a 70kW motor driving the rear. They combine to make a 4-Wheel-Drive car with 300bhp, which would make for a pretty good MPV! Of course, this will never get made, and anyone disappointed by this news was kidding themselves from the start, but the Hybrid4 system will appear in the 508 RXH (Peugeot's Audi Allroad of sorts) and the 3008 Crossover. The pull-out middle seats and butterfly-wing doors? Probably not.
6. Citroën Tubik Concept
7. Honda Civic (2012 EU Version)
drove one. Of course, it's customary for writers at this point to mention that there's currently no word on when the Type-R version will arrive, but I would expect it to be around 12 months after the standard car hits showrooms in early 2012. Personally, I would also expect it to have more than 200bhp and be powered by a 1.6 turbo engine, but I can't back that up with anything other than observations of other hot hatches. Meanwhile, the Civic will be available with 1.4 and 1.8 litre petrol engines and a 2.2 diesel, all paired with a 6-speed manual (or a 5-speed auto for the 1.8), and all coming with "Hill Start Assist, ECO Assist, advanced fuelling control technology and Idle Stop", the latter of which I assume is a Stop/Start system of some description. Prices haven't yet been announced.
8. Maserati Kubang
9. BRABUS Rocket 800
10. BMW M5 (F10)
seen the new BMW M5 at the Goodwood Festival of Speed, as well as countless near-identical speculative renders before that, the appearance isn't surprising. I also won't be surprised if it proves to be the new class benchmark and is heralded as the best performance saloon on sale today. I guess I've become slightly jaded by the M5. For some reason it was never exciting during the run-up to its release. It looks like a 5-Series M-Sport with some chrome bits, it has a V8 Twin-Turbo like the Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG, and it makes 552bhp, which is on par for its class nowadays (it's also quite a lot). It does 0-60 in 4.4 seconds and has a limited top speed of 155mph, which again is the kind of thing one can expect from the current generation of mid-sized super-saloons. Maybe instead we should compare it to the outgoing M5 (E60) to see why this is so good. That had a 5-litre V10 making 507bhp (when you told it to, otherwise 400bhp for better fuel economy) and a tremendous noise. It also struggled greatly to get 20mpg and would even drop below 10mpg if you ever decided to get on with it. The new F10's 4.4 V8TT will apparently do 28.5mpg, probably averaging above 20mpg during average driving in real life. Peak torque in the E60 was at 6100rpm, and there was but 384 lb/ft of it (red-lining at 8250rpm), whereas the F10 reaches its full 502lb/ft of torque at just 1500rpm, and holds onto it until 5750rpm (red-lining at 7200rpm), thus giving it much more linear acceleration and acres more grunt in the low-mid range, which is the area in the revs one actually uses most of the time. You can thank the twin-scroll turbochargers for that. The DCT is also much smoother than the single-clutch automated manual in the E60, so really it's the powertrain where this new car shines. I also think it's good-looking, mixing executive smartness with underlying muscle, although I could do without the faux Aston Martin vents ahead of the doors. It seems to have all the bases covered. New benchmark it is, then.
Honourable Mentions include the new Porsche 911 (991), Ferrari 458 Spider, a preview of BMW's i8 hybrid supercar, a look at the next Land Rover Defender, another Alfa Romeo 4C Concept, the Fisker Surf (an estate version of the Karma electric hybrid) and the production version of the Suzuki Swift Sport. The Swift is an unsung hero of sorts in the supermini category, and a fizzy little hot hatch version could be a lot of fun. Apparently the last one was, and this one's still small and light, so who knows? It could be a hidden gem on eBay in the years to come. Until then, why not gaze at next year's new Formula Ford car? It's pretty cool, you know.
For press releases and wallpapers of all the cars from the Frankfurt Motor Show, use the tool below from Netcarshow.com.