2011 Frankfurt Auto Show
Every year just before Oktoberfest, Germany harvests a bumper crop of new cars at the International Automobile Exposition (also known as the Frankfurt Auto Show). Audis, BMWs, Mercedes-Benzes, and Volkwagens galore soak up several kilowatts worth of spotlight on their home turf. It's the kickoff week for a national festival of engineering innovations, automotive masterpieces, and beer.
At this year's Frankfurt show, however, an American stole the show when Ford unveiled the Evos, a concept car with butterfly doors. Although the fancy doors are only for show and won't be seen at Ford dealerships in the near future, the car's overall shape is likely an indication of things to come. Much of the underlying technology could make it to market soon as well. The Evos is a plug-in hybrid, which suggests that Ford executives noticed Toyota displaying a sales-ready plug-in Prius PHEV (which debuted as a concept in Frankfurt just two years ago) in its booth. A plug-in similar to the Evos could make its way to market in a similar time frame.
Ford’s current product line benefits mostly from turbocharging. For instance, cars like the new Focus ST (which we may see in the U.S.) and Fiesta ST (which we may not, given that the three-door version of Ford’s subcompact isn’t sold stateside) use turbos. Alongside these hot hatches was a new version of the venerable Formula Ford racing car. The open-wheel racer’s powered by a 1.6-liter turbocharged four-cylinder, much like the engine in the Fiesta. Ford also pulled the wraps off a 1-liter turbo three-cylinder Fiesta that gets 45 mpg. If this engine comes to the U.S. — as Ford has previously suggested — expect it to replace the Fiesta’s naturally-aspirated 1.6-liter and possibly also appear in the Focus.
Leaping upmarket, Jaguar rolled out a stunner penned by Ian Callum. The C-X16 (which will likely be called the XE when it comes to production) combines a supercharged V-6 with a hybrid designed to improve power. At the touch of a button, this Jag's electric motor supplies a 94-horsepower boost for ten seconds; sort of like a nitrous bottle that never requires refilling. Far from gimmickry, hybrids are indeed coming to sports cars. Set to slot in below the XK in Jaguar’s sporting lineup, the XE’s designed to take on the BMW Z4 and Porsche’s