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Frankfurt motor show: the concepts

  1. OK, you’ve been bombarded with concept cars the past couple of days. But what exactly do they all mean? Well, here’s a handy guide for you. We’ve rated each one for:

    • Probability (likelihood that car based on this idea will make production)
    • Proximity (how soon it would happen, if it did)
    • Resemblance (and how much its exterior would look like the concept)

    Read on, and become remarkably better informed…

    Words: Paul Horrell 

  2. Audi Sport Quattro

    Audi tried this three years ago of course, with a car called simply the Quattro Concept that was much more true to the original spirit. But it would have meant tooling up a new lightweight carbon-intensive shell, and re-engineering the turbo five to go longitudinally. Those are big-ticket items, and the revenue for a 350bhp-odd car wouldn’t justify it. So now we get a bulkier, more powerful, more complex, and far more yellow machine. If they did sell it they could charge more because it’s a V8, yet development cost would actually be lower, because it uses the firm’s modular hybrid drivetrain and forthcoming MLB2 architecture.

    Probability 60%, proximity 3+ years, resemblance 7/10

  3. Jaguar C-X17

    Jaguar has announced a new 3-series rival on this variable-sized aluminium architecture. It will then use the same adaptable engineering to replace the XF. After that it’s time for a crossover, because ALL its rivals have one, two, three or four of the things. It’s definitely planned, but at this distance it’s not too late to cancel. Not quite.
    Probability 95%, proximity 3 years, resemblance 8/10

  4. Citroen Cactus

    The C4 Cactus is signed off. This concept is just to get us used to the idea. The ‘Airbump’ body protection is real. Even the concept’s glovebox is a re-decorated version of the production moulding. But the wheels will be downsized, and conventional powertrains installed (no Hybrid Air yet). And it’ll get window glass and door pillars.

    Probability 100%, proximity 5 months, resemblance 7/10

  5. Mercedes-Benz S-class coupe

    This is a weak Frankfurt show for new production cars. Apart from the Porsche 918 Spyder and BMW i3, the only German production car that hadn’t been unveiled to the public before was the Audi A3 Cabrio. The rest were only new powertrains or facelifts. So as a nearly-production car, the S-class Coupe Concept, has a lot of attention. It’s the replacement for the CL, dressed up with a bit of aluminium tinsel around the cabin. There’ll be a convertible version later.

    Probability 100%, proximity 18 months, resemblance 9.5/10

  6. Renault Initiale Paris

    Well they’ve been postponing the new Espace for years, and now they’re nearly ready. But it won’t look quite like this, and actually it isn’t planned to come to Britain.

    Probability 100%, proximity 18 months, resemblance 4/10

  7. Opel Monza

    They won’t build a car this big, nor one with gullwings. But there will be a new Insignia and it will have a nose and tail rather like this. The Monza also shows that GM wants to do better in connectivity and entertainment.

    Probability 0% (Monza) 100% (Insignia), proximity 3 years, resemblance 4/10

  8. Volvo Coupe Concept

    Just like Jaguar, Volvo has its very own new post-Ford architecture and has signed off other cars to use it before the concept. Next autumn is the new XC90, and after that the new S80 and V70. Those done, they might turn to the Coupe. Or they might not.

    Probability 65%, proximity 3 years, resemblance 7/10

  9. Ford S-Max

    Replacement for the estimably sleek and driveable family wagon. The actual car will have a slightly higher roof, but not look much different. We also spent some of the Frankfurt show trying to convince the MD of Ford Britain to produce an S-Max ST. He seemed keen…

    Probability 100%, proximity 1 year, resemblance 8/10

  10. Lexus LF-NX

    Lexus will do a second crossover below the RX, and like the RX it’ll be hybrid. Its mission is to tackle the diesel BMW X1 and Audi Q3. Those wheel-arches will be softened, the mouth will be less shouty and those sharp-elbowed arches will shrink. But you should be able to recognise the real thing in the concept.

    Probability 100%, proximity 1 year, resemblance 5/10

  11. Suzuki iV-4

    This cute-ute takes Jimny and Vitara cues and updates them neatly. Before long it will turn into a Nissan Juke rival - far more car-like than the Vitara could dream of.

    Probability 100%, proximity 18 months, resemblance 7/10

  12. Infiniti Q30

    This is the second concept along this theme, and they’ve announced the investment to build it at Sunderland, and the Mercedes platform basis. They might even offer it in this slightly queasy copper-pink colour, but grey will be available.

    Probability 100%, proximity 1 year, resemblance 9/10

  13. Toyota Yaris R

    Calm down. There will be no hot Yaris, least of all one with 400bhp, 4WD and supercapacitor hybrid. The concept was done simply to give the race workshop something to do in quiet moments. Sadly, there won’t yet be a supercar hybrid GT86 yet either, though test prototypes have been built.

    Probability 0%, proximity infinite, resemblance N/A

  14. Audi Nanuk

    Bonkers Giugiaro Parcour re-imagined as an Audi. Most people would hate it, but there’s bound to be a few loaded dune-bashers who’d pay handsomely for one. So Audi might, just might, do a limited production run at a stratospheric price, like VW is doing the XL1. It’d have to look very like this otherwise its egoistic buyers, used to getting what they want and pay for, would surely take the hump.

    Probability 20%, proximity 4 years, resemblance 7/10

  15. Kia Niro

    Kia hasn’t done well with its Venga mini-MPV, just like Renault didn’t do well with its Modus mini-MPV. Renault switched to the Captur, a small crossover. Kia might go the same well-trodden path.

    Probability 50%, proximity 2 years, resemblance 5/10

  16. Smart Fourjoy

    Latest in a series of whack conceptery from Smart, but like the others it’s serious underneath. Previews the fact that Smart has a new production four-seater in the works. There will also be a short two-seater as now. Both of them will use a new rear-engined platform, shared with Renault to spawn a new Twingo. The nose and tail and profile of the Fourjoy concept aren’t so far from reality, but the doorlessness will be attended to.

    Probability 100%, proximity 6 months, resemblance 6/10

What do you think?

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