Like every auto show held the past few years, there were lots of electric and autonomous concepts, though now many more seem production-ready—oh, and we can’t forget all the hypercars and weird one-off stuff, too
There’s a national election in Germany later this month, and whichever party forms the government, they’ll continue to force automakers to electrify their vehicles. They might also impose a national speed limit on the autobahn. Uh-oh. At the Frankfurt auto show, one of the stars was BMW’s Vision Dynamics concept car—a totally electric, totally self-driving sedan BMW promises will be put into production, one day.
Mercedes-Benz chairman Dieter Zetsche checks out the competition in the BMW hall, getting a closer look at the new-generation X3 compact SUV. This is the top-of-the-line M40i, which makes 335 hp and 369 lbs-ft of torque.
The star of the Mercedes display – though completely impractical – was the 1,000-hp Project ONE, a road-legal race car. F1 champion Lewis Hamilton drove it on stage and paused for a selfie as soon as it was parked.
Mercedes debuted a hydrogen-fuelled version of its GLC SUV, which it says will be sold in the U.S. in 2019. Don’t expect it to come to Canada until we have more hydrogen fuelling stations, though.
Perhaps the biggest embarrassment of the show was the self-driving smart, which drove itself on stage after a big song-and-dance production that praised its ability to change transportation as we know it. It then shut down and refused to drive off the stage, eventually needing a push from a stage manager, seen here, to get it out of the way.
Not all the concept cars at the show were new. This 1970 Mercedes-Benz C III is from Mercedes’ own museum—it’s a rotary-engined performance car that’s extremely rare.
One of the most famous cars at the show was Lightning McQueen, but this version of the Cars star was different—look closely and you’ll see his body is entirely made up of small cars from the movie.
And not every car made of LEGO is for children. This Ford GT racer was behind glass at the Ford stand to make sure nobody would be tempted to play with it.
A Ferrari stage assistant seems to be praying to the sports car god, but he’s actually just closing the hood on the new Portofino. There’s a 3.9-litre V8 under there that makes 600 hp, but the Portofino is considered an entry-level Ferrari, costing just a quarter-million dollars.
Racer Juan-Pablo Montoya was on hand to tell the media about driving a Bugatti Chiron from zero to 400 km/h and then back down to zero, all in less than 42 seconds. “It wasn’t that hard,” he told Bugatti’s boss. “You could have done it.”
Two journalists jockey for space in the Volkswagen ID Crozz, an all-electric SUV concept first seen at this year’s Shanghai auto show.
There are more than just cars at the auto show. Here, a journalist goes virtual surfing without having to get wet.
Some of the cars definitely had questionable taste, like this one-off “Memphis” design on a BMW i8—presumably based on Elvis’s jungle room at Graceland.
This little Honda was an unexpected hit, a totally modern “Urban EV Concept” based on the original Civic from 1972. It’ll go into production abroad, but not in North America.
And then there was the e-Boom, an all-electric buggy that starts at 30,000 euros, not including the funky trailer.