PetrolBlog has been to the 2013 Frankfurt Motor Show and in time honoured fashion, is bringing you an alternative take on the event – a different spin. Over the course of the next three or four updates, you’ll get to see the best and wurst (did you see what we did there?) of Frankfurt’s small gathering of cars. No, it’s not quite in the same league as the Saffron Walden Motor Show, but it’s a good attempt.
For a more considered and well rounded summary of the show, head over to MSN Cars. In the meantime, settle down with a plateful of pork and a gallon of beer, and discover what PetrolBlog thought of the show.
Car of the show: BMW i3
Without any question, the best car, or at least the most happening car, at the Frankfurt Motor Show 2013 was the BMW i3. No matter what form of measurement you use, I reckon we’ll look back on this year’s event as the show that belonged to the electric BMW. Crowds of journalists and photographers clambered for a good look at one of the many i3s sat in the vast BMW hall. That’s right, BMW didn’t have a stand, it had a hall.
Twitter was alive with talk of the first premium-brand car to be designed from the ground up as an electric car. As BMW had cleverly plastered all over the hall, the i3 – along with the sublime i8 – was ‘Born Electric’. Although sadly this birth didn’t take place on Electric Avenue, Brixton. Sorry Eddy Grant.
There are so many things to like about the BMW i3. It weighs just 1,195kg, generates 170hp and will accelerate to 62mph in just 7.2 seconds. And because it’s electric, every bit of its 184lb ft of torque is available the moment you hit the accelerator. Oh, and it’s a BMW, so we can look forward to rear-wheel drive and a near 50:50 weight distribution.
What’s more, it looks fantastic, managing to combine a premium feel and yet remain accessible to all. The ‘Waitrose Essentials’ of electric cars then? It’s like a modern-day Audi A2 and that’s a good thing. A very good thing.
With prices starting from just over £25,000 it’s not extravagantly priced. Like any current (sorry) electric car, it won’t suit everyone’s needs and much will depend on how it drives and how well it delivers its green credentials. BMW claims up 100 miles is possible on a full charge, although this can be increased by opting for the Range Extender version, complete with its own motorbike engine over the rear wheels. The range increases to 186 miles, but the price goes up too, to a shade under £29,000.
Despite nearly being run over at least a dozen times by one of the BMW i3s working silently as a taxi service at the vast Frankfurt show, the car currently (sorry, again) tops the list of cars I want to drive this year. Please be good.
Most profanity heard in one place: Kia Niro
Kia is rightly proud of its Niro concept, eagerly unveiling it at an exclusive reveal party the night before the Frankfurt Motor Show threw open its doors. It’s claimed that – should the public greet the concept in a positive way – the Niro could become a full production car, forming the basis of the Korean firm’s next generation B-segment runabout.
Yes, it would be toned down a little. OK, it would be toned down rather a lot. The butterfly doors for example – great as a concept, not so good when you’re trying to make a good value B-segment vehicle. They’d also be a pain in a multi-storey car park. But if Kia had the courage to put this terrier-sized SUV into production, it would pretty much complete the Korean’s transformation from ‘not all that good’ to warranting our attention.
At the main reveal I was surrounded by excitable journalists, keen to see the Niro for the first time. A chap behind me was so impressed, he greeted the unveiling with “f*** me, that’s awesome”, before following this up with “f***ing hell, that’s a Kia?”. A positive, if profanity-riddled response. Kia should be pleased.
Sadly for them, the Niro had to be pushed out of its makeshift garage, having failed to move during the big reveal. Somebody had forgotten to connect the battery the night before. No doubt more profanity was heard backstage…
What happens when a Honda CR-V mates with a Land Rover Freelander?
This is a Changan CS75 – a new Chinese-made SUV which made its debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show 2013. Apparently it’s a ‘medium and large urban SUV for accomplished city youngsters who have a passion for life’. So if you’re after a medium and large SUV and just happen to be an accomplished city youngster who has a passion for life, the Changan CS75 could be for you.
It’s part Land Rover, part Honda, part Mitsubishi, part just about any Japanese or European SUV you could mention, but you know what, I reckon it looks pretty good. Sure, the quality is a notch or two down on what we’d expect in the UK, but it won’t be long before the likes of Changan are making significant inroads on the UK market.
According to China Car Times, the CS75 is likely to cost in the region of £15,000, depending on spec. So no chance of it rivalling the Dacia Duster when it comes to exceptional value, but it would almost certainly be well equipped. Not interested? OK, well you might be in the next item…
Most likely to enter the ‘Turbo Zone’: Renault Fuego Turbo
Situated in the same hall as Changan was a marvellous display of old metal. The PetrolBlog corner of the Frankfurt Motor Show 2013. I’ll introduce you to most of them over the course of the coming updates, but my favourite, and perhaps the most PetrolBloggy of the lot would have to be the Renault Fuego Turbo.
Just look at it. It’s red, it has its Turbo decals intact and it has the all important yellow fog lights.
Sure, it would look better with a set of period French number plates, but it remains a beautiful thing. Wonderful.
Racing Shatchback of the show: Citroën C-Elysee WTCC
The Citroën C-Elysee is a hateful looking Shatchback. But bloody hell, how good does it look in full WTCC spec?
The Citroën C-Elysee WTCC will be campaigned by Sébastien Loeb and Yvan Muller in the World Touring Car Championship, and is powered by a 380bhp 1.6-litre engine. Pretty impressive figures and a very, very good looking Shatchback. Enough for PetrolBlog to change its opinion on these automotive afterthoughts? Not a bit of it. But a good effort all the same. Well done, Citroën, have a patronising pat on the head.
Friendliest model at the show: Peugeot 308R
The Peugeot 308R is one of those cars which leads you into pleading with the manufacturer to just make it. Although we could do without the rather garish paint job, thank you.
But I have to give a special mention to the model who – having watched me take numerous photos of Peugeot’s concept – offered to leave the podium to enable me to take some photos without her presence. Naturally I declined, it wouldn’t be gentlemanly to imply that ‘could you move aside, love, you’re ruining the view’. Indeed, there were some cars at the show that could have really done with her presence.
All that’s left to say is ‘nice arse’. That’s the Peugeot 308R, not the model, obviously. Ahem.
The future of the motor show: Ford Social Media Team
Ford took its social media team to the Frankfurt Motor Show. Which is nice. And to be honest, I’d much rather look at the social media team than the horrendous Ford EcoSport.
But I wonder, is this the future of the motor show? Are we facing a future where all ‘reveals’ are, er, revealed prior to the motor show? And then the actual reveals are carried out over webcams and live streams? It’s unlikely, but a virtual motor show, or a motor show with virtual elements isn’t out of the question.
Would certainly cut down on the number of foot blisters.
Most likely to cause a stumble: irregular edges
They’re the curse of anyone wandering around a motor show. No, I’m not talking about trailing flight bags, although they’re a constant menace, I’m talking about irregular edges on many of the show stands.
Some stands are fine – many will have a consistent step around the edge, so you know where you stand – or rather step – with them. Others may have a gentle slope leading up to the cars. But some have hidden steps – a slope and a step in quick succession. Stand next to one of these trip hazards for long enough and you’ll see countless people trip over, which is followed by a glance backwards and a disapproving expression on their faces.
It would be quite amusing, had you not just tripped over for the fourteenth time in one hour…
Export it to the UK please: Cadillac Elmiraj
This is the Cadillac Elmiraj – a car which, despite sounding like the name of an Indian takeaway, completely stole my heart at the Frankfurt Motor Show. Cadillac claims that it’s a vision of how performance and luxury will look for the next generation of luxury drivers. It’s a stylish brute of a car, with just two doors and a thumping great 4.5-litre twin-turbo V8 delivering 500hp through the rear wheels.
To Cadillac I say this. Build the Elmiraj. Make it right-hand drive. Export it to the UK. Sell it to people with more cash than me. And then in ten years time when the Elmirag is worth less than a Morphy Richards toaster, I’ll buy one.
Most anonymous car: Subaru Trezia
What was the most anonymous car at Frankfurt? The car that attracted the least amount of attention? Neither so bad it’s almost good, or so good it’s almost brilliant. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the Subaru Trezia.
If it looks familiar, that’s because it’s based on the Toyota Verso S – a pint-sized compact SUV delivered in the same style as the Honda Jazz. So it’s essentially a forgettable little car. And to think that the Subaru-Toyota partnership also gave us the wonderful GT86…
Fortunately for us, the Trezia isn’t sold in the UK. If nothing else, it sounds too much like a professional and affordable hair product. It sat on the edge of the Subaru stand, almost completely blending in to its surroundings. Not warranting a look by anyone – perhaps the least photographed car in Frankfurt? At one point I witnessed a dog cocking its leg on the rear wheel and a young chap attempting to do some fly posting on its front wing. Poor little thing.
Which brings to an end the first part of PetrolBlog’s ‘Best and Wurst of Frankfurt 2013’. Stay tuned for part two. I bet you can hardly wait…