Concept cars: Frankfurt Motor Show 2013

  • Our pick of the concept cars at the Frankfurt show
  • Some are extremely outlandish experiments...
  • ...while others are thinly veiled production cars

As ever at larger motor shows, the Frankfurt event has seen a huge amount of concept cars unveiled.

In this article we bring you our pick of the bunch and explain a little about why they appeal to us.

Jaguar C-X17

Jaguar C-X17 concept

This concept is significant in more ways than one. The possibility of a 4x4 Jag has been talked about for years, and although Jaguar says this is purely a design study we can take this as a sign of things to come.

The small SUV market is on the up and up, and Jaguar is keen to be a part of it. The C-X17 concept previews what we can expect such a Jaguar crossover to look like.

Although a car like this may be a departure from Jaguar’s traditional saloons and sports cars, there are plenty of nods to the company’s traditional design cues throughout. The tail-lights have clearly been influenced by the F-Type sports car and there’s more sports car design language in the curvy rear wheel arches and air outlet behind the front wheels.

Dark, road-coloured plastic on the car’s sills and along the bottom of the bumpers makes it appear to have a higher ground clearance than it really does without making it look ungainly.

The C-X17 is an important car under the skin too, as it’s underpinned by Jaguar’s new chassis architecture. This will form the basis for all kinds of potential bodystyles, including a compact saloon to rival the BMW 3 Series due in 2015 – well worth waiting for.

Read more here.

Audi Nanuk Quattro

Audi Nanuk Quattro

One of the surprises of the show this year is this mid-engined, diesel-powered design study from Audi.

Created in conjunction with famous Italian design studio Italdesign Giugiaro, it features a new twin-turbo 5.0-litre TDI engine packing 536bhp and a toughened-up version of the seven-speed automatic gearbox found in the Audi R8 supercar.

Speaking of the R8, there are definitely a few hints of its design cues in the Nanuk, in particular the air intake ‘blades’ on the car’s flanks finished in a contrasting colour to the body. With plenty of sharp creases and angular forms there’s more than a hint of Lamborghini, too.

This isn’t a typical supercar concept though, as with big wheels and a high ground clearance, Audi says this is a sports car that can venture of the tarmac from time to time. It’s fitted with air suspension  linked to the car’s sat-nav system, with the ability to adjust the ride height by up to 70mm according to road surface.

The main reason why we should be taking note of the Nanuk, however, is because Audi says it is the start of ‘a new chapter in the Audi design language’ – so we could well see elements of the Nanuk’s design make an appearance on the next generation R8 and TT.

Read more here.

Audi Sport Quattro

Audi Sport Quattro concept Frankfurt 2013

The Nanuk isn’t the only Quattro concept on Audi’s stand this year. There’s also the Sport Quattro, a design study that celebrates the 30th birthday of the famous Quattro performance car launched in 1983.

If the concept looks familiar, that’s because it’s a development of a previous Audi quattro concept displayed at the Paris motor show in 2010.

It’s a little toned down by comparison with the car from three years ago, with less bonnet scoops and grilles, and, interestingly, looks more production-ready. Could it make the jump from the show stand to your local Audi dealership? Audi has dropped hints that a small production run could be possible in a couple of years’ time, but expect the Quattro to carry a six-figure price tag if that does indeed happen.

There’s no shortage of performance as the concept is powered by the same 552bhp 4.0-litre V8 found in the RS6 and RS7, coupled to a hybrid powertrain with a 147bhp electric motor. Together that means a total power output of more than 690bhp, but Audi reckon it’ll average up to 113mpg thanks to the part-electric powertrain.

Read more here.

Opel Monza

Opel Monza Vauxhall concept Frankfurt 2013

The best looking car to wear an Opel (Vauxhall’s brand name in Europe) badge for some time, concept or otherwise, the Monza is named after the coupe of the same name produced in the 1970s.

It’s a sleek 2+2 with enormous gullwing door running the length of the cabin, enabling access to the front and rear seats at the same time. Like the majority of show cars it’s unlikely to make it to production but enables Vauxhall’s designers to experiment with ideas that may indeed appear on more ordinary production cars in the future.

One of the most noteworthy aspects of the car is its futuristic digital instrument panel, which uses LED technology to project graphics onto sections of the dashboard and turn them into a display screen with graphics for vehicle information, satellite navigation and infotainment.

The Monza is a plug-in hybrid, mixing the electric gubbins from the Ampera with a new 1.0-litre three-cylinder petrol engine. That’s one bit of the Monza that will make production, for it’s scheduled for a home under the bonnet of the little Adam hatchback next year.

Read more here.

Kia Niro

Kia Niro concept

The Nissan Juke has been a runaway success in the UK. It seems a small 4x4-style ‘crossover’ with oddball styling is a recipe for success and Kia is ready to jump on the bandwagon.

The Niro is very much a show car but Kia says it could be put into production if reaction at the show is positive enough.

Like the Juke it’s a high-riding but compact car with Marmite looks, although if it does make the jump into production we can expect the styling to be toned down a little. Some of the most interesting elements, like the upwards-hinged doors, would also be left on the cutting room floor.

Read more here.

Smart Forjoy

Smart Forjoy concept

With no doors, rear window and not quite a whole roof, the Forjoy probably isn’t a concept designed with British buyers in mind.

Picture it with a full complement of doors, however, and things are a little more clear – it’s essentially the new Smart ForFour hatchback, set to go on sale next year. The previous ForFour borrowed its underpinnings with the Mitsubishi Colt but the new car shares its structure with the next-gen Renault Twingo.

The concept seats four people, the rear passengers sitting on a clamshell shaped seating unit that looks like it’s been pinched from a futuristic living room somewhere. A smartphone docking station takes the place of a conventional multimedia system on the centre console.

With two electric longboards fastened to the roof and a pair of crash helmets under the rear seats, it’s one of the quirkier concepts at the show and all the more interesting for it.

Read more here.

Volvo Concept Coupe

Volvo Concept Coupe Frankfurt 2013

The stunning Concept Coupe borrows a few of its styling cues from the classic Volvo P1800 of the 1960s but manages to avoid looking overtly retro. In fact, like many of the other concepts here, part of its purpose is to gauge public reaction to design cues planned for future Volvos.

In particular, the T-shaped LED light graphics at the front are part of the new Volvo face which we’ll see on the next-generation XC60 and XC90 models.

The concept is also significant because it’s built upon Volvo’s new scalable architecture, the structure which will form the basis for many of its future models from ‘60’ series saloons and estates all the way up to the big XC90 4x4. It’s the XC90 that will be the first production car to be built upon the new architecture next year.

Under the bonnet is one of Volvo’s all-new ‘Drive-E’ engines, a 2.0-litre petrol engine that uses a combination of turbocharging and supercharging to make its power. It’s coupled with an electric motor and battery pack on the rear axle, making the Concept Coupe a hybrid. Volvo says total power output is around 395bhp, giving the concept a decent turn of pace to match its sleek lines.

Read more here.

Volkswagen Golf Sportsvan

Volkswagen Golf Sportsvan

VW says this is a concept but it’s essentially the latest version of the Volkswagen Golf Plus production car, on its way next year. Its wheelbase is a little longer than the regular five-door Golf and it’s also taller and wider, all with the aim of boosting interior space.

The rear seats can slide forward to create more luggage space and as an optional extra the front passenger seat can fold forwards too.  

It might not be one of the most exciting concepts at Frankfurt but it’s certainly one of the most production-ready: there’ s already a range of engines mapped out, starting with a 1.4-litre petrol engine with around 80bhp and topped by a 1.6-litre BlueMotion diesel capable of a claimed 76mpg average.

More info here.

Suzuki iV-4

Suzuki iV-4 concept

Suzuki is plotting a new small 4x4 to rival the Nissan Juke, slated for launch ready for 2015. It’s previewed by this concept, a chunky Tonka Toy-style SUV.

Expect the road version to ride on smaller wheels and feature a range of low-emissions engines. The concept’s large ground clearance and outsized wheel arches also imply it’ll be fairly handy off-road, a quality that previous small Suzukis such as the Jimny have developed a niche but loyal following for.

Next on the list for Suzuki is a new city car, which we should see for the first time next year, and a new small hatchback scheduled for 2016.

You can read Parkers full A-Z of the 2013 Frankfurt show here.