The 10 key cars from Frankfurt 2011

  • Our pick of the most significant reveals of the show
  • Focus on cleaner, greener cars plus some big refreshes
  • Several hybrid sports car and BMW’s new sub-brand

There were many big reveals this year and we’ve picked out the 10 key cars from the show.

The big focus once again was on cleanliness and efficiency. Even high-performance sports cars got the eco-treatment, with companies like Jaguar unveiling its hybrid C-X16. There was a further shift towards more electric-powered cars, including BMW showing off two cars from its ‘i’ sub-brand.

As well as the all-new models and concepts, there were also a number of significant refreshes for the coming year. These included Honda, displaying the new Civic, and Hyundai – who unveiled the face lifted i30, looking to build on its current successes.

Here’s our pick of the most important cars from the event:

1. Skoda MissionL

WHAT IS IT?

Presented as a concept car at the show, the MissionL is actually very close to a production car according to Skoda. The big deal is that it’s Skoda’s direct rival to the Ford Focus. With the company’s rising popularity it should give the big selling Ford some problems. The five-door hatch will sit between the Fabia and Octavia, and crucially also shows the company’s future design inspiration.

2. Hyundai i30

WHAT IS IT?

Even more competition for the Focus, Hyundai’s i30 has been given a thorough refresh with sharper styling and upgraded interior. It definitely looks the part and, if the new i40 model is any indicator, it should deliver on all the promise. With the core of the brand still resting on offering buyers good value for money it’s sure to continue the South Korean company’s growing reputation.

3. BMW i3

WHAT IS IT?

Part of the German manufacturer’s new ‘i’ sub-brand, the i3 and i8 got their first public display. It’s the smaller i3 that is the more significant of the two though (the i8 is a plug-in hybrid sports car), as it’s an all-electric city car. It’s only a concept for now but should appear by 2013. It will offer buyers a range of 80 to 100 miles and six hour charge time. Despite its green credentials, it produces 168bhp and has a 0-62mph time of 7.9s.

4. Mazda CX-5

WHAT IS IT?

Most manufacturers were demonstrating baffling electric concepts or hybrid models, in order to improve emissions. Mazda, on the other hand, took a simpler approach to making its cars cleaner. On display in the new CX-5 – a rival to the Ford Kuga and VW Tiguan – was Mazda’s new SKYACTIV technology. This attempts to lower emissions and fuel consumption by shedding weight and improving efficiency. As well as all the complicated stuff, the CX-5 also showed off the Mazda’s new design language – KODO.

5. Mercedes-Benz B-Class

WHAT IS IT?

It’s fair to say that the current B-Class isn’t exactly the most popular car in the Mercedes range, but the firm is attempting to rectify this with an all-new model. The changes are numerous, in an attempt to get buyers in to the VW Touran rival. It’s been lowered to help improve handling while the driving position has also been dropped, to take away the ‘lofty’ feel of the previous generation. There’s plenty of space on offer too, as rear legroom is bigger than both the S and E-Class models.

6. Toyota Plug-In Prius

WHAT IS IT?

The Japanese company has continued its development of hybrid tech with the introduction of the Plug-in Prius at the German show. Unlike the current Prius, this model can be charged for 90 minutes to offer 16 miles of solely electric powered range. This advance also means the car emits just 49g/km, can achieve up to 110mpg and cover a range of 620 miles - according to the manufacturer. Price could be an issue though, with Toyota advertising the car at £31,000.

7. Honda Civic

WHAT IS IT?

The previous Civic was a bit of a ground-breaker in its design, both inside and out.  While this new model may be rather close to the predecessor in its look, Honda claims there are plenty of improvements. The handling is claimed to be better while new suspension means the ride is also more comfortable. There’s also a new diesel engine that’s cleaner but offers more power. The interior has also been given an upgrade in the new model.

8. Volkswagen Up

WHAT IS IT?

Taking the award of most significant small car at the show had to be the Volkswagen Up. Around the same size as the Fiat 500, the Up will be powered by a 1.0-litre three cylinder petrol engine producing either 58bhp or 73bhp. It will also be the cheapest VW on sale, expected to start at around £8,000. If it comes with the usual VW build quality then at that price it is sure to be a popular small car.

9. Citroen DS5

WHAT IS IT?

Continuing its strange merging of model types, the French firm revealed another of its coupe/hatchback models with the DS5. The third model in the modern DS line-up, the usual spiel is being touted of premium finishes and ambient lighting. Nice. The big development, however, is the addition of a 200bhp Hybrid4 diesel hybrid model that will emit just 99g/km. That means you’ll pay no road tax. All good news.

10. Jaguar C-X16

WHAT IS IT?

The big showstopper at Frankfurt. Despite the sports car look, the 911 rival is actually a hybrid. It comes with a 375bhp 3.0-litre V6 engine with an electric motor offering an extra 95bhp. Now, the cool part. It comes with a button on the steering wheel that works like the Formula One Kinetic Energy Recovery System (KERS) to give you an extra boost of acceleration. It will hit 60mph in 4.4s but only emits 165g/km and will achieve 41mpg. Pretty special.