Hubert Burda Media

Frankfurt's Coolest Cars

The Frankfurt Motor Show is a crystal ball of eye-catching concept cars and electric vehicles. Here are eight new models you need to know

Frankfurt's Coolest Cars
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 Audi Nanuk Quattro

Audi pulled the wraps off a high-performance diesel sports car concept it calls the Nanuk Quattro. For petrolheads, it offers 544bhp and 305kph top speed. It is a chunky on-and-off-road sports car that a modern-day Starsky and Hutch might drive, powered by a newly developed five-litre V10 TDI engine. The result is a sports car for any stage of life and for any surface which will do 0-100kph in 3.8 seconds. While still a concept car, there is bound to be pressure to make it into mass production, given the warm reception it received at the motor show. The Nanuk (which is an Inuit word for polar bear) blends elements of supercar and SUV and is an evolution of the Parcour concept car unveiled by Volkswagen Group-owned Italdesign Giugiaro at this year's Geneva Motor Show.

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BMW i8

Another high-profile hybrid launch in Frankfurt was BMW's sleek-looking i8 sports car. It pairs a turbocharged 1.5-litre, three-cylinder engine and a 98kw electric motor for a total of 362bhp and 570Nm of torque. It will do 0-100kph in 4.5 seconds, thanks in part to being an all-wheel drive car. Not only does it look like the car of the future with its striking shape and gull-wing doors but it's also cleverly constructed. The i8 weighs less than 1,500kg, making it a veritable feather among modern cars. That lightweight comes from aluminium suspension elements and a carbon fibre body structure. As with the i3 model, BMW went to great lengths developing and sourcing the carbon fibre for this car. Drivers will be able to choose between electric, hybrid and sport operation. Both the i8 and i3 should be available by the middle of next year.

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 Porsche 918 Spyder

The Spyder was arguably the highlight of the show, fusing sporty design with advanced hybrid technology. This great-looking supercar houses not just one engine, but three. Sitting alongside the 4.6-litre, eight-cylinder engine, which has an output of up to 608bhp, there are electric motors on the rear and front axles, providing four-wheel drive for traction and stability. The electric motors also help bring down fuel consumption for this beast of a sports car. The back one produces 154bhp while the front delivers 127bhp, giving a combined total output of almost 900bhp. This allows the Spyder to get from 0-100kph in just 2.8 seconds. Its fuel economy figures are equally impressive boasting 3.0-3.3 litres per 100km, which is hard to believe when you look at the supercar's shell. Even in eco mode, you'll get to 100kph in less than seven seconds and can reach a top speed of 150kph.

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 Lamborghini Gallardo LP 570-4

Lamborghini rolled out a limited edition Gallardo LP 570-4 Squadra Corse entry-level supercar, which it described as the “most extreme model in the Gallardo line-up”. It says that the road car was inspired by the race car edition as both share the same powerful V10 engine. The Squadra Corse also uses the same rear wing as the racing car for increased downforce and stability during high-speed cornering. The engine cover of the road car also features the same quick release system as the racing car. The rear wing and hood are made from a carbon composite material, which means the Squadra Course weighs 1,340kg, making it 70kg lighter than the standard Gallardo LP 560-4. Lamborghini says this road beast can reach 100kph in 3.4 seconds and be on its way to 200kph in 10.4 seconds. The top speed is 320kph, thanks to a pulsating 570bhp engine.

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 Ferrari 458 Speciale

The new model features new active aerodynamic technology, while the V8 engine is the most extreme naturally aspirated one ever made by Ferrari. Initially rumoured to be called the 458 Monte Carlo, it has instead been named the Speciale while the 4.5-litre V8 engine has been tuned from 562bhp to 597bhp. It is the third road-going version of the popular 458, after the Italia and the Spider, and rockets from 0-100kph in three seconds. Among the aerodynamic breakthroughs are special flaps on its nose that activate at high speeds to reduce drag and generate downforce. There are also side vanes just in front of the rear wheel arches, plus a new rear diffuser and spoiler, which make this the most aero-efficient Ferrari road car ever. The Speciale also rides on specially developed Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tyres.

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 Audi Sport Quattro

Audi “Quattro” technology has become a true Audi marque, with more than five million cars sporting permanent all-wheel drive sold across the globe. The new Audi Sport Quattro concept is powered by a plug-in hybrid drive that combines a four-litre, twin-turbo V8 combustion engine. The V8 plant delivers a total of 552bhp and 700Nm of torque, while the electric motor adds another 147bhp. The electric motor takes its power from a liquid-cooled lithium-ion battery. With a combined output of 700bhp and 800Nm of torque, the Sport Quattro Concept sprints to 100kph in just 3.7 seconds and up to a top speed of 304kph. This is helped by a slick eight-speed automatic transmission. Up close, the Sport Quattro's toned shoulder and hip lines sit above subtly flared front and rear wheel arches. The tapered rear end and short boot lid are thoughtful reminders of the original Quattro coupé.

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 Mercedes-Benz S-Class Coupé

Another highly anticipated concept was the S-Class Coupé. It is based on the recently launched S-Class, considered by some to be the most technologically advanced production model in the world. The coupé, at nearly 200 inches (5.08m) from head to toe, is undoubtedly a big two-door. Yet up close, it enjoys an incredibly sleek and elegant look cleverly combined with sporty lines. A long bonnet and the familiar oversized Mercedes-Benz grille are joined by tapered, LED-accented headlights, which emphasise the coupé's athletic and aerodynamic presence. The interior mixes retro and contemporary elements with a slim, floating dashboard, intricately shaped air vents and organically shaped seats with fluted leather upholstery. Under the bonnet beats the heart of a twin-turbo 4.7-litre V8 engine producing 449bhp and 700Nm of torque. This is a very powerful yet sexy machine that should be hugely popular in Asia. It is hoped the production version will debut at next year's Geneva Motor Show.

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 Bugatti Veyron

Bugatti's latest special edition of the Veyron is named after Jean Bugatti, the son of the founder who took the company over in 1936 but tragically died three years later in a car crash. Only three will be made, each costing ¤2.28 million ($3.8 million). They are based on the Bugatti Veyron 16.4 Grand Sport Vitesse, which has an eight-litre W16 engine that generates a mind-blowing 1,184bhp. This supercar can accelerate from 0-100kph in a lightning 2.6 seconds. In developing the Jean Bugatti Legend Edition, the designers at the automaker aimed to follow the concept of its historic predecessor, the Type 57SC Atlantic “La Voiture Noire”(the black car), which was the personal transport of Jean Bugatti. Its body is constructed entirely from clear-coated carbon fibre, while platinum has been used for the traditional Bugatti horseshoe grille and the EB logos on the steering wheel and rump of the car.