This year’s Frankfurt auto show is full of conceptual shocks and protoype surprises from the outlandish Bugatti Gran Turismo concept to the ingenious Mercedes IAA.
Here are eight of some of the more significant concepts that saw spotlight time in Frankfurt this past week.
1. The Concept Bugatti Vision Gran Turismo
We’ve talked about Bugatti’s Vision Gran Turismo Concept before, but the car actually made a physical debut outside of the confines of a PlayStation 3 at Frankfurt’s show. This solidifies the notion that the Vision Gran Turismo concept is an early playbook to the forthcoming Bugatti Chiron, which will be replacing the Veyron not only in the stable, but as the leader of the production car speed record.
2. The Honda Project 2&4 Concept
Honda has said that its concept, which combines the best its motorcycle and car arms have to offer in the pursuit of a perfect track-day vehicle will be going into production. The 2&4 uses the 999cc engine in the company’s latest MotoGP bike and technology and know-how from Formula 1 to offer a driving experience that is definitely unique
3. Mercedes-Benz Concept IAA
Coincidently sharing a name with the show that hosted it (though it stands for something else), the Mercedes IAA concept was a study in active aerodynamics. Said our own Derek Sapienza, “at around 50 miles per hour, the car begins transforming. Flaps inside grille close, the front air splitter extends backward and down to smooth wind traveling beneath it, and the ‘Active Rims’ move out from the wheel hub, going from a 55 millimeter cup to perfectly flat. Most noticeably, eight panels extend from the rear deck, adding 15 inches to the car, giving it an even slipperier shape.”
4. The Citroen Cactus M Concept
As big on fun as it is on ideas, the Cactus M Concept is meant to evoke memoires of the equally entertaining Mehari 4×4 from the 1970s and 80s but in bang up-to-date fashion. So for instance it has no rear doors – passengers climb into their seats. The roof’s inflatable, the seats are waterproof and fold down into a bed and there’s even an optional tent.
5. The Nissan Gripz Concept
As a concept, the Gripz is awesome — a high-riding sporty crossover brawler. But its supposed intention is where the issues come in, since Nissan reportedly wants to phase out its Z-line of sports cars in favor of a Z-branded crossover SUV. Would it be fun? You bet. But the Z — long meant for enthusiasts — has years of tradition that Nissan would simply wipe off the map. Slap a Nismo-branded Juke badge on it, and that’s the direction Nissan should head in.
6. The Porsche Mission E Concept Car
In possibly a hint to the future of the Panamera, Porsche brought the stunning all-electric Mission E concept to the show to illustrate its commitment to family cars. Sleeker and slipperier than the Panamera, the Mission E improves on the former’s design flaws while throwing down a fresh gauntlet before Tesla Motors.
“The Mission E uses two motors derived from the ones used in Porsche’s 919 Le Mans racecars to produce a total of 600 horsepower. Sending that power to all four wheels with a need-based all-wheel-drive system means the Mission E is able to turn that power into a sub-3.5 second zero-to-60 time. It’s also reportedly lapped the Nürburgring in less than eight minutes,” Collin Woodard wrote.
7. Seat Leon SC Cross Sport Concept
Seat is one of the few mainstream brands without a crossover or SUV in its model lineup but that is about to change. However, how quickly is down to the public. This crossover based on the Leon will be greenlit for production, only if the social media buzz it generates is sufficient. So, if you fancy a Seat with four-wheel drive, get tweeting.
8. The Thunder Power EV Concept
As well as a wonderful name, this battery-powered prototype promises miraculous range – some 600km on a single charge and performance levels that would put it on a par with the Tesla Model S. Developed by a Taiwanese tool company the project is backed by ex Bugatti and Ford employees and is aiming for a real-world debut within the next two years.