2015 Frankfurt Motor Show – The Glitz and the Concept Cars
The 2015 Frankfurt Motor Show is one of the most eagerly awaited Auto events of the year, and this September’s programme has been filled with exciting new concepts. This year’s show has perhaps seen more new vehicles introduced by OEM’s than ever before, along with a variety of innovative concepts based around new ideas and new technology.
Source: IAA 2015
Last month we reported on some of the new vehicles that were due to be on show, including the all-new Audi A4, the latest BMW 7 Series, and Alfa Romeo’s successor to the 159, the new premium sector Guilia. We also previewed Jaguar’s entry into the SUV market with the F-Pace, which the OEM launched at Frankfurt with a daring, world-record breaking loop-the-loop stunt.
Equally, the show has seen the introduction of some extravagant new visions, not least the Mercedes-Benz IAA – Intelligent Aerodynamic Automobile – concept, which is designed for maximum aerodynamic efficiency. Here are just a few of the highlights from this year’s magnificent show.
The Mercedes-Benz "Concept IAA" has been designed purely for aerodynamics, and was launched after an elaborate eight-minute dance routine on the stage. The vehicle, according to Mercedes, is two cars in one: An aerodynamics ‘world champion’ with a Cd value of 0.19, and a four-door Coupe embodying irresistible design.
The vehicle automatically switches from ‘design’ mode to ‘aerodynamic’ mode when it reaches 80 km/h, whereby various aerodynamic measures alter the physical shape of the car. Aerodynamic mode can also be initiated at the touch of a button, whereby eight segments extend at the rear increasing length by up to 390mm; front flaps in the front bumper extend by 25mm to the front and 20mm to the rear, improving airflow around the front end and the front wheel arches; active rims alter their cupping from 55mm to zero; and the louvre in the front bumper moves 60mm to the rear to improve airflow under the body.
Prof. Dr Thomas Weber, member of the Daimler Board of Management responsible for group research, and head of Mercedes-Benz Cars Development, said the IAA concept, "Applies intelligent innovations to resolve the conflicting aims of functionality and aesthetics".
Porsche Mission E Concept
Another concept vehicle to catch the eye was the Mission E concept unveiled by Porsche – a 600hp all-electric sports car with a range of up to 500km.
The vehicle represents Porsche’s first foray into electric vehicles, but they’ve produced a highly exciting concept car that could be set to take on the likes of Tesla at the top end of the electric market. The car can accelerate from 0-100km/h in 3.5 seconds, has a top speed of 250km/h, and crucially a battery that can be 80% charged in a mere 15 minutes.
Wolfgang Hatz, head of research and development, said at the launch of the Mission E, "We always said when we do an electric car it would be a true sports car. We also said it would offer the performance traditional Porsche buyers demand".
The four-wheel drive concept is powered by two electric motors; one mounted at the front to drive the front axle, and one at the rear to act on the rear wheels. Porsche are yet to reveal the individual power loading of each motor, but confirmed that they run in a permanent synchronous state, and combine to achieve an output of over 600hp.
A retractable body element in the front wing of the vehicle provides access to the charging port and the Porsche Turbo Charging System. This uses an industry-first 800 volt system which is double the charging voltage used by Tesla for its Supercharger system. The upshot is that the Mission E’s battery can be charged to 80% capacity (providing a range of up to 249 miles) in just 15 minutes. A production version is on the way – possibly by the end of the decade – and it will offer a real challenge to the new Tesla S model which is also said to be under development.
Moving away from concepts to production ready vehicles and Jaguar Land Rover stole the headlines with a daring loop-the-loop stunt in the new F-Pace.
The extravagant entrance marks Jaguar’s first venture into the SUV market and the new vehicle will be available from next spring. The F-Pace, along with the XE model, has been targeted with reviving Jaguar sales with the aim of selling 200,000 units – an increase on the 81,000 cars it sold last year. Based on the same modular aluminium platform as the XE and the new XF, but with 81% new parts, the F-Pace will compete in the premium mid-size SUV segment with the likes of the BMW X3 and the Porsche Macan.
Another new entrant into this market is Bentley, who used the Frankfurt Motor Show to launch the £160,000 Bentayga, which it describes as "The fastest, most powerful, most luxurious and most exclusive SUV in the world".
That claim can perhaps be backed up by the news that Bentley has already taken deposit-paid orders for the first full year of production, and that the first model will be delivered to none other than Queen Elizabeth II.
The Bentayga is powered by a six-litre W12 engine with 600hp, can reach 62mph in 4.1 seconds and has a top speed of 187mph. It has undergone a million-mile test regime over five different continents to ensure it will handle the most rugged of environments, although engineering director Rolf Frech admitted that, "Owners may never drive these vehicles off-road, but they must know it will perform in tough conditions".
Production will begin next year, but with orders already stacking up, potential buyers will have to wait until at least 2017 to get their hands on the wheel of a Bentayga.
There’s been more at the show than can possibly be mentioned here, but some of the other highlights of the week included Bugatti’s Vision Gran Tourismo – a concept racing version of the Veyron; and the unveiling of the Ferrari 488 Spider with Apple’s Carplay infotainment system.
Aston Martin revealed that its next model will by the DB11 after giving James Bond exclusive use of the DB10 for the film ‘Spectre’. The DB11 will replace the 12-year-old DB9, and is earmarked for launch at next year’s Geneva Motor Show.
Meanwhile, there was drama for BMW as CEO, Harold Krueger, collapsed on stage during a press briefing on the opening day of the show. He was quickly helped off stage by two members of staff, and BMW say there is no cause for alarm – Krueger’s collapse was blamed on too much travelling and feeling unwell, but he is recovering well after being advised by doctors to rest.