Where past Frankfurt Motor Shows have centred on themes such as horsepower, hybrids, or electric cars, ‘connectivity’ dominated the stage this year for the first time ever.
While autonomous driving cars have been in the news over the past couple of years, the reality is that they are still perhaps 20 years away. But right here and now, the ability of a car to link into software and features from the likes of Apple, Google and others as the mobile extension of your life online, has become a must have feature for many busy people on the go.
In the larger scheme of things, increasingly powerful electronics have enabled features such as active cruise control, lane departure warning and parking assist to become realities on normal cars. These radar-guided systems are available as individual options on today’s cars, but collectively are the basic tools required for an autonomous driving vehicle.
Mercedes already fired their shots in this direction with their F 015 concept car at the CES back in January. This time, they showed their Concept IAA with its super low drag coefficient to remind the world that they are still working towards making conventional cars as efficient as possible.
At the traditional luxury and supercar segments, the Rolls-Royce Dawn took the prize for most desirable new convertible, while Ferrari and Lamborghini both showed the open versions of their mid-engined supercars. Co-incidentally, both these Italian rivals were dressed in blue.
Having finally sold all 450 cars in the Veyron series, Bugatti unveiled their Vision Gran Turismo, whose aggressive appearance was like a cross between a Veyron and a Formula One car. It is nice to know that that in this age of safety and low emissions, someone is still willing to push the boundaries of what is possible.
The eagerly awaited 488 Spider was the star of the Ferrari stand. The solid folding roof takes just 14 seconds to open so you can hear the 660 horses in full cry.
Ferrari's faster ever Spider is 10kg lighter than its predecessor but has the same torsional stiffness as its coupe sister.
Not to be outdone, Lamborghini launched the Spyder version of their LP-610-4 Huracan.
The new car is 40 percent stiffer than the Gallardo Spyder yet weighs around the same as the coupe. The soft top fully cycles in 17 seconds, and is deployable up to 50km/h on the fly.
Porsche's Mission E all-electric four seater concept promises a range of nearly 500km on a single change, and takes just 15 minutes to charge to 80 percent capacity.