Back in 2002, I lived in Germany for a year. During that time I was only really starting to get into the automotive craze, but what a place to start right?

It was also my first visit to the Frankfurt International Automotive Ausstellung (Exhibition). Being very much into Gran Turismo, the new GD WRX Impreza STi was my showroom hero.. Skip forward 11 years, it’s great to see Subaru still updating that model.


Getting up at an ungodly hour to beat traffic into the city of Frankfurt was well worth it.


At first I thought it was going to be quite a small show considering the amount of available parks, but how I was mistaken. The doors opened and the masses flooded through. Trying to avoid the crowd I headed to Hall 5. Just to put that into perspective, each hall has multiple levels and each level has the same surface area as the Brisbane Convention Centre. There are 10 halls in total, so it’s understandable why so many people come back for a second visit.

Hall 5 consisted of automotive engineering companies such as Recaro, Continental and Bosch, however Hall 5 also had many aftermarket and tuner companies, Alpina being the first to catch my attention (not biased at all). Those unfamiliar with the company, Alpina develops and builds components and complete cars based on BMWs. Alpina offer many varieties of mechanical, exterior and interior combinations.



But there was another company that takes German cars as the base and turns the dial up to 11. Meet the infamous Brabus SLS 700.


Brabus are well known for using Mercedes Benz’s high-powered AMG monsters and squeezing even more power out of the Stuttgart developed motors. They have a large range of cars from the new A-Class to the GL-Class offroader and even an 800HP SL Roadster. Unbelievable!


If these cars are too mainstream for you, then maybe consider the tuners at Mansory, taking this Ferrari F12 and adding some unique aspects, like that crystal infused carbon. [Matyi: *rolls eyes*]


Or how about this widebody Range Rover Evoque?


I had to wonder where all the people were.. then I headed over to Audi and found them! It would be an understatement to say that Germans love their Audis.


One of the big focus points of the Frankfurt International Motorshow is always on advancements in technology. This year more than any before, the focus was on alternative energy. While many other manufacturers were presenting cars the public could buy, Audi was teasing with their Quattro Concept. The Quattro has been in development for quite a while, is suggested to have the same 4 litre twin turbo as the RS6, but assisted with an electric motor. Theoretically it only has an electric range of 50km, but with continued race use in their R18 e-tron 24-hour Le Mans racer these figures will be sure to continue to increase rapidly.


One interesting question is: “do we really need this much car?” Ask yourself, how often do you actually have a car full with people? Not often. Volkswagen has noticed that a lot of people don’t really need a big car most of the time, meaning that in most cases they could probably drive around with something much smaller and economical. This project has been going on for many years and has undertaken many different configurations: the pre-release XL1. The reason for its name is because it is designed to consume 1L/100km of fuel, through very light weight, drag reduction and an 800cc engine coupled with a small electric motor.



But lets be honest: 0-100km/h in 14.3 seconds isn’t very fun. How about 6 seconds from a vehicle powered by KERS?


Dubbed the Twizy F1 from Renault, it directly shows that Renault is using technology from F1. The Twizy has a modified KERS system being able to produce 97hp over 13 seconds. Renault also has a road based version whereby the occupants sit right behind each other. Coupled together with a purely electric drivetrain, it is definitely an interesting city cruiser.


So lets say you get one of these “super smalls” as a daily. Obviously you’ll then need a more exciting weekender. Hmmmm…


That’s more like it! The Mercedes SLS AMG Black Edition. Being the first time I had sat in an SLS, you immediately realised this car packs plenty of punch under that long bonnet. The way you are seated in the cabin is low and focused yet not over-done. There is lots of carbon as expected in a Black Edition, but even so it is still elegant.


A lot of this exclusivity can now be had in the smallest of the AMG editions, the A45 AMG. Holding the title as the most powerful 4-cylinder production car, it also looks the part! Front carnards, carbon rear diffuser and aggressive lines all add to complete the package.



After finally getting through Mercedes Benz’s enormous hall…


It was time to head to the next largest hall, at BMW. The main focus was on the release of their “i” range of plug-in-hybrid models such as the i8 and i3.


The i8 was designed as a sports car hybrid, achieving acceleration of 0-100 in 4.4 seconds while also being able to achieve a fuel consumption of 2.5L/100km. BMW also wanted to display the zero emissions of these cars and had set up a short indoor track which passed through the hall. Potential clients and enthusiasts were able to be taken for short drives to get a feeling of driving without sound, while still maintaining decent performance.


Regarding BMW and performance, I was quite disappointed that the new M4 was not on display. While it doesn’t introduce any massive changes engine-wise over the current 2013 M3, I wanted to see for myself why the BMW marketing/design team felt the need to change the name of the M3. Instead, they had this completely optioned up M435i from the BMW Performance catalog. I’ll be honest, I stopped caring what it was called. I’ll take one!


Next, a car that has brought up a lot of discussion among driving enthusiasts regarding the direction the company has taken with the car: the 991 Porsche GT3.



I was excited like a schoolgirl when I saw this car but was disappointed that the car was locked. So I cant report on how the interior felt, but the rest of the car was simply astonishing.

Finally we come to the hero of the IAA. Yes, you guessed it another hybrid, but this one might actually interest you.


Like many of us, I’ve been following the development of the 918 through Drive or EVOTV, and it seems like Porsche is lagging a bit behind in regards to performance when compared to the LaFerrari or McLaren P1. In styling, the Porsche definitely makes up for it. It is subtle as a Porsche should be, but still makes your jaw drop every time you see it. It will be interesting to see how it actually compares to the other supercar hybrids. Can’t wait for my YouTube menu to read “Chris Harris Compares SuperHybrids”!


For anyone considering going to the IAA, it is definitely worth the trip: the chance of being part of automotive history, while being able to sample the finest and newest of what’s on the market. You might even be able to see your dream car!


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