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Frankfurt Motor Show: our favourites

  1. Paul Horrell, Consultant Editor, Top Gear magazine

    BMW i8 (above) 

    I’d have this in a heartbeat over a 911. True, it’ll probably not turn out to be quite such a great drive in extremis, but it’ll be more than OK. And I’m just so attracted to the design, the imagination of it, and the way it gets so much from such a small - but not uncharismatic - engine.

    Citroen Cactus

    Classy simplicity is hard to achieve in design, but I reckon this gets very close. It’s also a welcome rejection of over-complicated interiors. It’s congenial and non-aggressive: what a real Citroen should be. Production version ahoy.

    Volvo Coupe Concept

    Again a vision of classy non-macho minimalism, albeit with much more of a luxury vibe than the Cactus. It’s not retro, but the P1800’s memory is sensitively handled. More important, it shows Volvo as a whole is in good fettle. The proportions bode well for the upcoming engineering architecture, and the surfaces and detail highlight the talents of the design team.

  2. Piers Ward, Senior Road Test Editor, Top Gear magazine 

    BMW i3

    We’ve seen it countless times in photos, we’ve been inundated with numerous press releases, but it’s not until you’ve sat in an i3 that you realise how special this thing is. Little touches are what count - the exposed carbon sills to remind you what it’s made of, the weird felt-like material on the dash that shouts ‘I’m futuristic’. This is a game-changer, something that I think will genuinely alter the car market. Electric gets interesting.

    Audi Nanuk quattro (above) 

    It’s an obvious choice because it’s one of the few ‘surprise’ concepts (and journos get giddy around shiny surprises), but the Nanuk looks intriguing. It’s massive - much wider than you’d think, and with interestingly high-profile tyres. And it’s also got a hugely powerful diesel engine, mid-mounted, and comes with four-wheel drive. Audi R8 performance with an ability to head off-road? Yes please.

    Hyundai i10

    Hyundai is being punchy with this new car - not only has it launched it in VW’s back yard, but it’s also claiming the i10 will trounce the VW Up on space, price and quality. I had a sit in it, and the Koreans could well be right. Material finish is excellent, as is the amount of interior volume. Korea gets fighty.

  3. Vijay Pattni, Associate Editor, TopGear.com  

    Brabus G63S-700 (above) 

    Yes, I adore the BMW i8, think the Porsche 918 Spyder is a breathtaking piece of engineering, am sweaty-palmed in anticipation of the Honda NSX and get heart palpitations when I look at the Ferrari 458 Speciale. But, the Brabus is such a shameless, extravagant and over-endowed motor that I am genuinely in awe of the thing. It’s a massive middle-fingered salute to the decency of motoring, and I want one. What that says about me is a matter for my psychiatrist.

    Lamborghini Gallardo Squadra Corse

    Yes, it’s another racing-derived Lamborghini Gallardo. Yes, it’s getting on a bit in terms of age. Yes, it’s replacement is right around the corner and will be equally bombastic. I still don’t care. It’s a 570bhp supercar with a Lamborghini badge. It’ll still melt your face and give your neighbours something to smile about.

    Infiniti Q30

    Bit of a curve ball on this one. Not many people know about Infiniti, and this is the car the company hopes will change all of that - though not too many. Infiniti still wants to remain exclusive, and I kind of admire that. It’ll sit on the Mercedes A-Class platform, triple Formula One world champion Sebastian Vettel has been involved in developing the chassis from the project’s inception, it’ll be Made In Britain, and über-cool designer Alfonso Albaisa has cooked up something funky and different from the staid Germans. One to watch.

  4. Rowan Horncastle, Online Content Producer, Top Gear 

    My colleagues have all chosen what I’d consider my ‘Premiership’ top three: the Jaguar C-X17, BMW i3 and i8. So I’ve decided to go for three from the lower leagues - the Championship cars - ones that haven’t received much coverage but are worthy of it. Here’s who’s in the playoff…

    Smart Dragster

    Even though the second gen ForTwo first hit the motor show stands in 2007, that didn’t stop Mercedes belligerently pushing the funky city car with the help of scantily clad beach volleyball players and unlimited frozen yoghurt. But the coolest Smart was actually a gen one dragster version tucked in the corner of Hall 4. Thanks to a Nebuchadnezzar of NOS in the passenger seat, it has 450bhp, can do a sub ten-second quarter mile time and is owned by a German woman called Yvonne Kirschner. She’s brave… and a little bit crazy.

    CLA 45 AMG Race Concept (above) 

    How do you make an oddly proportioned mini Mercedes saloon look a bit better? Fit massive wings, canards and any other carbon fibre appendages you can to it. Then lower it with race suspension, fit some big brakes and wrap the wheels in sticky rubber. That’s how, and exactly what happened to the CLA 45 AMG to make the Race Concept. It’s potentially for keen gentleman racers who want to compete in 2.0-litre classes and is available with either four, or two-wheel drive. I’ll take mine with power to all four, please.

    Golf R

    In an exhibition hall where bright lights, overly loud music and women vacuum-packed in lycra combine to draw your eyes to a car, subtlety is something that should be applauded. That’s why the Golf R needs a mention. With 296bhp and a 0-62mph in 4.9 seconds, it’s silly, silly quick. But it sat silently on the VW stand - quad exhausts and all - giving the impression it was saying, ‘I don’t need to shout about anything, I’ll let my specs do the talking’. Also, for the nerds out there (and for an unknown reason to some VW bods) the Lapis Blue car we saw was on Pirelli P Zero Trofeo R tyres - not the standard Bridgestones. For the uninitiated, they’re a serious track/road tyre used on high-end cars and will probably make the car accelerate even faster. I want to drive it NOW!

  5. Jason Barlow, Editor-at-large, Top Gear magazine 

    BMW i3

    Frankfurt is so vast that some of the car companies lay on press shuttles for weary/lazy/obese hacks. I normally walk, but this year I couldn’t resist trying the back seat of one of the BMW i3s that were scooting silently about. Heavily trailed during the past few years it may have been, but the i3 still feels like the future has finally arrived. Tesla’s excellent Model S has moved the dial, but BMW’s i cars will prove to be the definitive tipping point for the electric car

    Jaguar C-X17 (above) 

    Honestly, I didn’t really want to like it. Conceptually it’s not really a game-changer, although it will be for Jaguar’s sales volumes. But when these start hitting the road in 2016, the ‘want one’ factor is going to be sky high. Fantastically cool interior, too

    Volvo Cross Coupe

    It’s just very, very pretty. It also introduces Volvo’s new ‘scaleable’ architecture, so all the big news is under the skin. But what a skin it is

What do you think?

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