Our intrepid reporter recaps the coolest concepts, plus some models you (or your rich uncle) can actually buy.
Europe’s largest car show has long been a source for fantastic debuts. This year marked a trend reversal for many carmakers, as small-car companies like Mini and Peugeot introduced more comfortable models, while large-car makers scaled things down. Several breathtaking designs were also on display, like Lamborghini’s futuristic $1.4-million carbon-fiber Reventon. But the mantra of the show was “fuel efficiency.” From hybrid-diesel engines, to ultracompacts, to plug-ins that could power a house in a brownout, Frankfurt’s carmakers had gas-sipping on the brain in 2007.
For a look at the newest and shiniest Europe has to offer, launch the slideshow here.
Mini Clubman: Stretched 3-Door
The Clubman was possibly the most highly anticipated debut at the show. This stretched Mini features a larger backseat and a bigger rear cargo area.
Ford Verve: Future Ford Compact
The Verve concept forecasts the company´s plans for an upcoming compact model. This is basically a styling exercise; technology innovation is limited to little touches like LED lighting
Kia Kee: Four-Seat Coupe Concept
Kia is ready to announce its graduation from economy cars to luxury models. The Kee sport coupe features a 197-horsepower V-6 engine and six-speed manual transmission wrapped in a sleek “2+2” body (with tiny rear seats) courtesy of the company’s new German design center.
Mitsubishi Concept cX: Clean Diesel
The Concept-cX shows Mitsubishi’s notion of high performance in an environmentally conscious world. The cX is a turbocharged all-wheel-drive sporty compact SUV employing a dual-clutch transmission for maximum power to the road. But the engine is a fuel-efficient 1.8-liter clean diesel featuring a variable geometry turbocharger that maximizes turbo boost, plus a catalytic converter (new for diesel cars) and a particulate filter to minimize emissions.
Audi RS6 Avant: Twin-Turbo V-10 Wagon
When the baby is crying and you need those diapers fast, Audi has your car. To build the RS6, the company stuffed a 580-horsepower twin-turbo V-10 engine into its A6 Avant wagon. The result: the speediest grocery-getter ever built.
Jaguar XF: Facing the Future
The XF marks Jaguar’s first serious effort to remake itself as a contemporary manufacturer competing on the merit of its products rather than trading on nostalgia. The supercharged 4.2-liter V-8 cat will compete against sleek sedans like the Mercedes CLS-Class
BMW X6 Concept ActiveHybrid: Hybrid Crossover Coupe
BMW’s latest concept is a new kind of car: the sport activity coupe. It’s basically a four-door sedan with a sloping coupe-like roofline and a jacked-up four-wheel-drive undercarriage. The concept also features a version of the fuel-saving two-mode hybrid-electric transmission that BMW has jointly developed with General Motors and DaimlerChrysler.
Nissan Mixim: Scissor-Door Three-Seater Concept
Nissan is targeting this all-wheel-drive electric subcompact at younger buyers more accustomed to PlayStation than to Plymouth. The Mixim puts the driver in the center of the car, with two full-size rear seats and a little child’s seat/parcel shelf behind the driver. Passengers enter through large scissor-style doors that lift out of the way.