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Frankfurt Motor Show 2007

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Sugar Cayenne

Between the 385 bhp Cayenne S and the 500 bhp Cayenne Turbo lay a void that Porsche has been looking to fill for a while. It has now answered it with the Cayenne GTS, a harder, faster Cayenne S that not only sports a new GTS red colour, but also lower springs, 21-inch rims and a body kit from the Turbo. The extra 20 bhp has come via the use of DFI or Direct Fuel Injection to counter the likes of Greenpeace. Too bad, they didn't take any of the lovely kit from the Transsyberia. Boo hoo!

Fly A4ay

Just months after the launch of the new Mercedes C-Class comes Audi's answer. And they did it by getting Bryan Adams to extol the virtues of the car through his song, 'Run to you' at the motor show. The new A4 might look a lot like its bigger cousin, the A5 coupe, but that's not a bad idea considering that one is a looker. Besides the head-turning LED headlamps and the curved shoulder line, the two also share the 2700cc TDI diesel and the 3200cc FSI petrol engines, producing 190 bhp and 265 bhp respectively.

What matters to India are the engines that most likely will form a major chunk of the car's sales here. The 1800cc TFSI petrol now gets a power bump to 160 bhp, while the 2000cc TDI's power gets uprated to 143 bhp. Gearbox options include multitronic CVT, a six-speed tiptronic and six-speed manual across the board. Audi says the cars will be here by May next year, by which time the new C-Class would have made it here. Expect a premium over the outgoing model, but that extra money does not include a private performance with Mr. Adams.

Family matter

The story of the A4 doesn't stop here. First could be the S4, the fast A4 with the same 4200cc V8, but with power nudging past 360 bhp. It should be followed by the new A4 convertible and Avant and will round off with the all new RS4 sports saloon by late next year. Rumours suggest a twin-turbo version of the existing V8 with over 450 bhp on tap. Avant and cabriolet versions will follow thereafter.

It pricks

This one won't hurt, but the name surely does. The Cactus concept by Citroen is yet another low consumption-low emission vehicle to appease the men at Brussels. The diesel-electric hybrid is not pretty, and definitely not as appealing as the Toyota iQ or the VW Up!, but hey it has a C02 figure that is just 78 g/km and gives a stupendous fuel economy of 37.5 kpl. With a sale date likely to be 2010, it would be hard not to resist, even if the looks do hurt.

Gaining focus

Now that bigger brother Mondeo looks straight out of The Space Odyssey, the Focus gets new kinetic design headlamps and grille as part of its mid-life facelift. Apart from keeping customers happy, Ford also wants to do its bit for the environment, and the new Ford Shift gearbox on the 2.0 TDCI has helped reduce emissions and fuel consumption by 10 per cent. Even the 1.6 TDCI falls within the 120 g/km CO2 mark, thanks to improved aerodynamics and use of lower resistance tyres. 

In Flux

Peugeot had another interesting concept besides the much awaited 308 RCZ coupe. The hydrogen powered Flux, designed by Mihai Panaitescu was the winner of the fourth annual Peugeot design competition, the concept living up to the design theme's requirements of pleasure, lightweight, efficiency, accessibility, simplicity and ecology or P.L.E.A.S.E. Besides going from drawing board to showcar, it will also be one of the cars in the XBOX 360 game, Project Gotham Racing 4. 

A soft Trib-ute

Soft utes are the current flavour among Europeans and Seat couldn't ignore the segment. The Tribu concept crossover, a rival to the likes of the Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV-4. Sketched by Luc Donckerwolke, the man also behind the Lamborghini Gallardo, the crossover does gain from some of the Raging Bull's paintwork, but it does look like Seat is in for a new design direction. Besides having three driving modes such as urban, sport and freerun, the Tribu is also likely to be based on the VW Tiguan platform and feature a range of petrol and diesel engines when it comes into production.

What a Splash

The Splash was finally unveiled to the world at the Frankfurt Motor Show after getting a first glimpse and details of the car months ago. Based on the Swift platform, it is larger than the Swift and replaces the Wagon-R in several world markets. The car is also likely to come to India by next year in both petrol and diesel guises. 

Kid me not

The Kizashi concept was also part of the Suzuki stand and it looks like Suzuki has given it the green light to go from concept to production. Not much was said about the car, except that it is powered by a 2000cc diesel engine and measures in as much as the Civic. Production is still a while away, but expect an Indian launch when it does.

It's a Mini adventure

The famous baseline that made the new Mini a cult following is about to do the same to the Mini Clubman and the John Cooper Works Mini. To depict the Clubman's unique features, Mini placed the car in a club-setting, but for all its Britishness, the suicide doors open on the wrong side. But apart from that, the Clubman has more luggage and occupant space on the inside than the standard Mini.

For those who like a bit more power, the John Cooper Works version is fast enough to get you to the John quicker. Power rises from 167 bhp to 189 bhp, while it gets a sport button that improves throttle response and steering feel by a mite. 

Artfully GT

We couldn't help but give this car a look at the Artega stall at the IAA Motor Show. Surrounded by the likes of GM and Peugeot Citroen in the hall, the GT's design and specifications made us think for a while. For starters, it could very well be an Elise coupe, and weighing in at just 1100 kg, it has all the ingredients of a sportscar. Designed by Henrik Fisker, the same guy who designed the Aston Martin looking SL based Fisker Tramonte coupe, the GT has the 3600cc VR6 6-cyl engine from Volkswagen, placed in the rear. Artega claim a 0-100 timing of less than 5 seconds and a top speed of 270 kph. We can't wait for Nick (Hall) to tell us just how it feels to drive.

Michael learns to rock

Ferrari launched the F430 Scuderia at the show, but more than the car, people were clammering over each other to get a glimpse of their national hero, Michael Schumacher as he brought the wraps off the lightweight supercar. This photograph is the best that we could manage.


Bull in a China shop
Award: Meanest looking car at the show

We call the Lamborghini Reventon the meanest looking car of the year. And yes it is. Deriving inspiration from the F-22 stealth fighter and named after an undefeated bull from the 1940s, this limited edition Murcielago on steroids costs 1 million euros a piece and only 20 will be made. Not that Lamborghini will find it difficult to find owners for the car, but as the most wickedest Lambo of all time, this one surely takes the cake.

Other winners:

Porsche 997 GT2: 530 bhp. 0-100 kph in 3.6 seconds. Top speed: 330 kph. Take cover.

Bugatti Veyron Pur Sang: 1001 bhp. Top speed: 404 kph. Price: E1.4 million. 5 units only. All sold.


The fifth estate
Award: Stationwagon of the show

The Germans just can't get over their fixation with horsepower. And more horsepower. And plonking 580 bhp in a harmless station wagon is the pinnacle of such obsession. Add 0-100 kph timing of 4.6 seconds and a de-restricted top speed in excess of 300 kph, and you have the recipe for perfect lunacy. It is also more fuel efficient and less polluting than its previous generation which featured 'only' 471 bhp. The name? Audi RS6.  

Other winners

Skoda Fabia Combi: Four doors. Big boot. Not headed to India. 

C-Class Estate: New C-Class. Bigger boot. Also not headed to India.

Future ready

Daimler didn't have much to offer in terms of new cars at the show as it focussed more on hybrids of existing versions. What was the cynosure at the stall was the Mercedes F700. Showgoers and Mercedes were terming it as the future S-Class, and if it is, then Audi, BMW, Maserati and Jaguar have hard times ahead.  As mentioned a couple of issues ago, the F700 features Mercedes' new revolutionary DiesOtto engine, the 1800cc petrol engine with diesel like torque. Producing 238 bhp, the DiesOtto features direct fuel injection, controlled auto ignition and turbocharging, all of which translates into power and performance like the 3500cc V6. Too bad, for all its technology, its looks are not palatable.

Six pence none the richer

There are some advantages of being part of a family. Mazda's latest 6 continues the tradition, being based on the new Mondeo platform. Apart from that, the 6 also shares the 3.5-litre gasoline powered V6 with its European cousin with smaller 2500cc, 2000cc and 1800cc four-potters. A 2.0 turbodiesel is also part of the range. Apart from the Mazda 6, the company also showed a special edition RX-8 in pearl white and leather interiors. It is also planning a faster version of the new Mazda 2 and a revised Mazda RX8, both headed for the Tokyo Motor Show.

X6 marks the spot

BMW believes that future SUVs could look like this. Or what they term CUVs or Crossover Utility Vehicles. Considering banana shaped CLS can be called a four-door coupe, this is a four-door coupe on stilts. Nevertheless, the X6 was shown to the audience in two guises, one featuring the regular IC engines and the other an ActiveHybrid, the result of the GM-DaimlerChrysler-BMW deal. It looks no different head-on from the X5 and it has something called December duck plastic bumpers (whatever they mean!). It doesn't look a duck-billed platypus but industry sources expect the car to hit European roads by next year, with an Indian launch following soon after.

Lancer attack

The fact that there have been so many concepts of the new generation Lancer (along with the Evos), that it was getting hard to differentiate whether we had the concept or the actual production model on hand. Luckily, this is it and the new Lancer is looking very good. On the outside it's a radical, yet well designed car, but step inside and it's still a Mitsu. Engines will include the same 2.0 petrol as on the Cedia and a few more mills, including a diesel and the turbocharged madness called the Evo. We don't expect it here anytime soon, with the Outlander soft-roader to be the next likely model for India.

A blue that's green

Tired of seeing green? Well, here's another, but it's name is i-blue. Hyundai's idea of an iPod that saves planet earth, the 2+2 seater features a 136 bhp electric motor to power you out of a guilt trip. It's a concept for now, but it seemingly looks like the days of the internal combustion engine are numbered.

Kee to a new future

Sister company Kia too had an interesting concept on show, the Kee. Penned by ex-Audi designer Peter Schreyer, one could help but notice some traces of Schreyer's own Audi RSQ concept for iRobot in 2003. Thankfully Kia seemed to avoid the green theme by placing in a 200 bhp engine mated to a six-speed auto. Schreyer terms the car as an important milestone in the future of Kia's designs. If they look like Audis, we won't be complaining.

Nine lives

The S-Type replacement is finally here and by the look of it, Jaguar seem to have got it spot on. The new XF has been getting a lot of positive comments, even from its German competitors. They could be since the XF will be priced very much in line with its rivals across the English Channel. Apart from the 3.0 and 4.2 supercharged petrols, there will also be a 2.7 diesel and in due course a 500 bhp sports variant to take on the likes of the BMW M5 and Mercedes E65 AMG. It's got the looks, it's got the power and with a new owner to be decided soon, Jaguar could very well be back to its leaping days.

bi-choice

The car you see here is the Alpina B3 bi-turbo, the car that most Europeans term as an alternative to the BMW M3. The BMW supported tuning division revealed the cabrio at the show, the coupe having wowed showgoers at the Geneva Motor Show. Producing 360 bhp using , it is smack bang between the 306 bhp twin-turbo 335i and the 414 bhp M3, but with a whole load of leather, low-pro wheels and attitude.

More efficiency

The C30 efficiency was something we read about last month that uses the 105 bhp diesel engine from the Focus and the low friction gearbox as well. Volvo meanwhile have launched the XC90 SUV and S80 sedan in India and going by Volvo's own plans to launch two new cars a year, the C30 (Efficiency or not) might have a great chance for India. It won't be cheap, so better start saving up!

True tourer

Immediately after the launch of the new Accord saloon, Honda previewed the Accord Tourer concept at the IAA Frankfurt Motor Show. This swoopy design with a grille that looks like a Samurai's headgear is also going to be the inspiration for the production Tourer when it is launched mid next year. Powertrain options will include the 2.0 and 2.4 four-pot petrols and the 2200cc iCTDi diesel as well, all Euro-V ready. Meanwhile, India should be getting the first of the new Accord saloons in the first half of 2008.