FRANKFURT, Germany — As September draws to a close, let’s take a look back at some of the cars that we found most impressive at this year’s Frankfurt Auto Show. So here’s a look at eight of the most striking and expensive new vehicles on display at this year’s Frankfurt Auto Show, which concluded this past Sunday.
Best Concept: Volvo Concept
You had to do double and triple takes of the rounded, low-profile, hunkered-down cruise-missile Volvo Concept coupe to register it in your mind as a Volvo, especially from the rear. Your Uncle Olaf is freaking out. He shouldn’t be: Once we noticed the Volvo signature grille and the visual of the P1800 on the wall above it, it all suddenly made sense. It certainly looks more P1800 than Bertone Coupe. And it sure looks better than the four-door Volvo You concept from the 2011 Frankfurt show.
Others considered: Opel Monza, Mercedes S-class Concept Coupe
Most Fun: Golf R
There has always been a cult following for the Golf R and R32 and rightly so. The new R promises to continue the legacy with 296 hp powering all four wheels in the seventh generation Golf chassis, a combination that has to be freakishly good. But the question is always whether more than a few Americans will pay close to $40K for a Golf. Regardless of whether we would buy one, there is no question we look forward to driving it. The Golf R goes on sale in Europe in January and later next year in the U.S., we hope.
Others Considered: Ferrari 458 Speciale, Porsche 911 Turbo S
Best In Show: Audi Sport Quattro Concept
t was a fairly easy choice to name the Audi Sport quattro concept Best in Show. Why? Because it’s the concept with everything: 700-hp, high-tech plug-in hybrid drivetrain, superb heritage, really cool lines and the hope of production. In addition to all those original Coupe Quattros from 1984 on, we got to drive the precursor to this car, the quattro concept of 2010. And while we haven’t driven this one yet, we look forward to getting into a production version. When will that be? We’re hearing as early as next year, based on an S5 platform but larger, faster and more powerful — all qualities we admire in a car. In fact, word is it would outpace even the fastest R8. See why it was our favorite?
Others Considered: Mercedes S-class Concept Coupe
Most Interesting: BMW i8
The BMW i8 is a very futuristic looking vehicle, one that I thought would never make it to production when I saw the first concept as it was unveiled. Even though the BMW i8 houses a fairly large lithium-ion battery, it doesn’t weigh much more than the average sports car of this size. This is thanks to the healthy dose of light-weight materials used throughout the i8 including carbon fiber which is used to build the main passenger tub and doors, magnesium used to support the instrument cluster, and an aluminum chassis.
Six Awesomely Expensive Cars
At Frankfurt Also Worth Mentioning
Ferrari 458 Speciale
Should you need to accelerate to 62 mph in 3 seconds flat and go twice as fast again in another 6.1 seconds, this is your car. The Speciale, flaunting Ferrari’s most powerful V-8 engine ever, has spoilers that swing out to increase downdraft and keep it pinned to the road above 93 mph. Top speed is above 202 mph. Ferrari is also proud of how quickly it can stop: in 400 feet from 124 mph. With its dipped hood, the 458 Speciale is slighter and less muscular-looking than the typical Ferrari. At Frankfurt, it was shown in Ferrari red, with a blue-and-white racing stripe that traces the hood, roof and trunk of the car. The price starts at $315,000.
Aston Martin CC100
The first thing you’ll need to drive this racer is a helmet — and a sunny day. Modeled on the 1950s DBR1 race car, the CC100 has no windscreen, no roof and cutouts in the sides. The 100 stands for Aston Martin’s 100th anniversary and is embossed on the car’s long, elegant hood, just like a racing number. It looks ready for the track, but it’s entirely street-legal. The V-12 engine can go from rest to 62 mph in a little over 4 seconds. Top speed: 180 mph.
Bugatti Veyron 16.4 Grand Sport
Bugatti declared this the world’s fastest roadster after it reached a speed of 254.04 mph on a German test track. The 16-cylinder engine, visible in the back of the car, packs 1,200 horsepower and can accelerate from 0 to 62 mph in 2.6 seconds. At Frankfurt, the car was shown with two different exteriors: one aluminum-clad — $2.6 million — and one black-carbon fiber — for about $3 million.
Lamborghini Gallardo LP 570-4 Squadra Corse
A street version of the company’s Super Trofeo racing machine, the low-slung Squadra Corse shows its pedigree with an aerodynamic rear spoiler to keep it on the road at high speed. It has the same V-10 engine as the race car. Step on the gas and it spits out an intimidating roar. It goes from 0 to 62 mph in 3.4 seconds; top speed is 200 mph. It’s on sale for anyone with $254,300 to spare, not including tax.
Porsche 918 Spyder
Porsche calls it the supercar of the future: a plug-in hybrid with a monstrous 887 horsepower from a V-8 internal-combustion racing engine and two electric motors. Drive carefully and it can get mileage of up to 3 liters per 100 kilometers, or 72 mpg. Or, go zero to 62 in a blazing 2.8 seconds. Your choice. Cost is $1.02 million.
Bentley GT V8 S
This smoothly contoured coupe with a big grille was presented in dazzling white. Its 4.0-liter, twin-turbocharged V8 puts out 528 horsepower for an exhilarating but still smooth ride. The car has “a little bit more power, a little bit more performance” for fans of the luxury brand, said Kevin Rose, Bentley’s marketing director. There’s a convertible version. They’re taking orders for early next year: In the U.S.: $194,600 coupe, $214,000 convertible.