Recession? What recession? Clearly, nobody told the auto makers showing at this year’s International Motor Show (aka the Frankfurt Motor Show) that much of the world low on coin these days. While we won’t be driving any of these vehicles home, E3 Spark Plugs truly enjoyed taking a look at the amazing cars and concepts on the showroom floors today. A trove of driver- and passenger-friendly technology, a ton of glam and a little bit of wacky caught our eye.
True to its curious name, little-known Russian firm Yo-Auto (ë-Avto) unveiled an equally curious Yo-Concept. Not destined for production, the Yo-concept is a vamped up example of the styling the company is using to develop future vehicles. It features an extended-range setup similar to the gas-electric plug-in system that powers the Chevy Volt. But we were most interested in its novel curved doors that slide up and disappear into the rear of the vehicle.
Opel RAK e Concept
We love this funky little urban transport vehicle almost as much as we love its history. Opel, GeneralMotors’ oldest industrial division, started as a sewing machine manufacturer in 1862. The company dabbled in bicycle production before turning to automobiles in 1899. The new RAK e Concept comes a full 83 years after its predecessor, the experimental RAK 2, a streamlined, solid-fuel rocket propulsion system that grabbed headlines worldwide in 1928. The lightweight (838 pounds) RAK e is a narrow four-wheeler build around a steel space frame powered by a 49-horsepower electric motor with a five-kWh lithium-ion battery pack and capable of a 62-mile trip fully charged. Operating costs: about $2.19 per 100 miles.
Among the most out-of-this-world sights we saw was the Citroën Tubik, a nine-passenger, modular seating, hybrid mini-bus with a “Jetsons-go-glam” kind of feel. Seats can be arranged in various ways inside the lounge style, tubular cabin. The French automaker is known for its unique interior aesthetics and it shows in surprising picks like leather flooring, felt seating and silk-covered backrests and doors.
Bentley Mulsanne Executive Interior Concept
For the on-the-go executive, the Bentley Mulsanne’s executive interior concept is a tech-tricked office on wheels. Power-folding wood veneer tables drop down from the backs of the front seats and feature separate iPad work stations and Bluetooth wireless keyboards connected via a Mac Mini mounted in the trunk. Alongside the telephone nestled into the armrest, you’ll find a Tibaldi pen. This ain’t your 99-cent ball point – we’re talking over-the-top fountain pens from a line that can run from a few hundred dollars to upwards of $50,000. When you’re done editing that financial report, kick back and relax with a movie on your ceiling-mounted 15.6-inch high definition LCD TV.
Really? Need we say much? Just look at the pictures of this fashion statement of a performance machine. And by “fashion statement,” we mean that literally. Maserati collaborated with fashion powerhouse Fendi . With bodywork that “seems to be drawn tight over the frame like a figure hugging dress,” Maserati’s website says, the GranTurismo is definitely one of the lookers of this year’s event.