The Frankfurt Motor Show is easily the most important event on the global auto industry calendar. Officially known by its German IAA acronym, and tracing its origins back to 1897, the show is used to unveil the latest road cars, futuristic concepts, industry announcements, brands, and automotive technologies.
By Ghaith Madadha
This year’s Frankfurt Motor show attracted around 1,100 exhibitors from all sections of the motoring industry, and well over 900,000 visitors. Held on a sprawling site the size of 33 soccer pitches, the show had something for every auto enthusiast and was best visited over two days to cover its various exhibits and attractions. On home ground, the German manufacturers always take center stage, with Audi even erecting a huge standalone hall in the exhibit forecourt. Meanwhile the rest of the Volkswagen group, Mercedes Benz, BMW, and their respective subsidiaries each occupied separate halls.
With 219 world debuts, including high tech concepts such as the all-electric Audi E-Tron Quattro SUV earmarked for 2018 production and the aerodynamically advanced Mercedes-Benz Concept IAA, the show also featured a slew of new and revised production cars from the exotic to the sensible and everything in between, including the new Audi A4. The show, a showcase for the sexiest and most compelling sports and fan favorite supercars, also hosted drop-top debuts in the form of the Lamborghini Huracan and Ferrari 488, while Honda unveiled the ultra light car-bike hybrid, Project 2&4.
The show is held in Germany’s aviation hub with daily direct flights from Amman. It is an all-day event to enthusiasts and professionals and offers numerous dining options. Beyond the car stands, Frankfurt also features test drive opportunities from some manufacturers, including Hyundai and Citroen, who even provided 30-minute slots including segments of Germany’s speed de-restricted Autobahn. Meanwhile, tech demonstrations, model cars, and automotive literature are available for hobbyists.
Frankfurt Motorshow 2015 – Highlights
Audi E-Tron Quattro Concept
For a clear sign of what the future holds for Audi look no further than the all-electric E-Tron Quattro Concept. Earmarked for a 2018 production debut, the high tech vehicle utilizes one front and two rear electric motors to provide four-wheel-drive and near perfect weight balance. Under-floor liquid-cooled batteries provide a low center of gravity. The E-Tron’s combined 496 BHP output allows swift 4.6-second 0-100 km/h acceleration, while driving range over 500 km, an advanced and sculpted design generating low CD0.25 aerodynamic drag. Offering conventional, wireless, and fast battery charging options, a 400 km charge takes just 30 minutes, while roof-mounted solar panels contribute up to an additional 1,000 km driving distance per year.
Debuting alongside garden-variety versions of Audi’s new A4 compact executive range, the S4 is for now the range-topping model, until an RS4 variant soon arrives. The S4 is lighter, quicker, more aerodynamic and efficient, and packed to the rafters with high tech infotainment, driver assistance, and semi-autonomous systems. It also features Audi’s tenaciously grippy Quattro four-wheel-drive. The elegant S4 is a discrete ‘sleeper’ performance saloon, powered by a turbocharged 3-liter V6 engine, developing 349 BHP and 3,69 lb/ft over a broad and accessible 1300-4500 rpm mid-range. Able to rocket to 100 km/h in 4.7 seconds and onto an electronically-governed 250 km/h, the S4 is offered in saloon or estate body Avant versions.
VW Golf GTI Clubsport
Celebrating the iconic hot hatch’s fortieth anniversary and unleashed in production form at Frankfurt, the Golf GTI Clubsport is a more focused and hardcore track-oriented evolution. The Clubsport, which is the most powerful production Golf GTI to date, is aimed squarely at its Seat Leon Cupra cousin, Renault Megane RS265, and Honda Civic Type R. It benefits from a louder bodykit, which includes a roof spoiler and deep air splitter for more road-hugging cornering. Almost as powerful as its four-wheel-drive Golf R sister, the nimble front-drive Clubsport, however, uses a front limited-slip differential to channel its might 286 BHP (on overboost), and can clock the 0-100 km/h sprint in six seconds with a 6-speed manual gearbox and 5.9 seconds with DSG automated dual clutch shifter.
Honda Project 2&4
Taking a less-is-more approach similar to ultra-light sports car makers Caterham and Ariel, the Honda Project 2&4 concept is a collaborative work between the Japanese manufacturer’s automobile and motorcycle wings. The 2&4 is built on an exposed aluminum frame with exposed suspension and a floating single seat. It captures the visceral, raw, and exposed thrills of a bike with the nimble maneuverability and sure-footed stability of a diminutive and lightweight sports car. Powered by a high-revving mid-mounted 1-liter V4 MotoGP bike engine developing 212 BHP at 13,000 rpm and 87l b/ft at 10,500 rpm, the 405 kg 2&4 is expected to blitz the 0-100 km/h benchmark in under three seconds.
Lamborghini Huracan LP610-4 Spyder
The Huracan’s dramatic design, with sharp jutting lines, an emphasis on width, muscular haunches, and discrete buttresses behind the cabin, translates well as a soft-top. Lamborghini’s sexy Huracan LP610-4 Spyder is a show stopping stunner as expected of the iconic Italian brand, and features a conveniently folding fabric roof, with an al fresco experience to better enjoy its ultra-responsive and precisely linear 5.2-liter V10 engine. Delivering 601 BHP and 412 lb/ft, the Huracan rockets to 100 km/h in 3.4 seconds and onto 324 km/h. Razor-sharp mid-engine handling is assisted by sure-footed four-wheel-drive traction and grip.
Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio
First previewed in June for Alfa Romeo’s 105 anniversary, the resurrected Giulia saloon made its debut in Frankfurt and is set to re-establish Alfa’s position as a premium segment player. The seductive Giulia is presented only in top BMW M3-baiting Quadrifoglio super saloon guise, and is powered by a prodigious 2.9-liter twin-turbo V6, developing 503 BHP and 442 lb/ft. Offered with rear or four-wheel-drive, and manual or auto gearbox, the Quadrifoglio rockets to 100 km/h in 3.9 seconds, onto 307 km/h and claims a devastating 7:39 Nurburgring Nordscleife lap time.