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2013 Frankfurt Motor Show: BMW i3, Mercedes GLA And S Coupe The Stars Photo:
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2014 Mercedes-Benz GLA - Overseas Photo:
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2014 BMW i8 Coupe - Overseas Photo:
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Tim O'Brien | Sep, 12 2013 | 1 Comment

Man this is big. Too big to see everything. Big enough to have a train-station running through its heart.

Walk every aisle of the Frankfurt Motor Show and you'll walk 46 kilometres; most of the Melbourne or Sydney Motor Show will fit under the domed roof of the Mercedes pavilion alone.

And, at its media opening, the 65th Internationale Automobil-Ausstellung was host to more than 12,000 of the world's motoring press.

That's the Frankfurt Motor Show: a showcase of the best, the newest and the most desirable automobiles on the planet - and of the latest technologies and most extraordinary excess.

This year, more than ever before, the electric and hybrid theme is absolutely dominant.

And, writ equally large, the pursuit of economy and of miniscule emissions. Here, in Europe, it's an obsession driven as hard by manufacturers as it is by Governments and car-buyers.

Unlike Australia, here, carbon emissions are absolutely front and centre.

In a show like this, of this size and importance, the stars are many. But it's the electric i3 from BMW that stole the show (Even more so than its i8 coupe sibling, revealed here for the first time.)

This car - easily charged, unusually but appealingly styled, beautifully trimmed and with the latest in connectivity and user interface (linking directly to a smartphone), will redefine electric vehicles in every market it lands in.

It's coming to Australia this year. (A handful of evaluation units for the i8 will also hit Australia by year's end.)

As BMW Australia MD Phil Horton told TMR at the launch of the updated Z4, "BMW i is a massive, massive thing for the company. These are very convincing motor cars."

Other stars were the GLA compact SUV from Mercedes. If you've been thinking of a BMW X1, Mercedes has something to make you think again. It looks cracking, like an A-Class that's been through an Essendon fitness program.

And there, in that amazing MB pavilion was the breathtaking and impossibly svelte S-Class Coupe concept.

Other stars were Honda's gorgeous new NSX, the Jaguar C-X17, Volvo's stunning homage to the P1800, Opel's equally stunning Monza concept, the Brabus 'gruntmeisters', the delectable (and much larger than I expected) Alfa Romeo 4C, and the absolutely scintillating Tesla Model S.

This big, gorgeous four-door all-electric coupe was a honey-pot - people poured over it all day.

Also among the show-stoppers was Ford's stylish Mondeo Vignale and even Jaguar's XF Sportbrake, a year on from its unveiling.

Renault had its Captur, Kia its surprisingly stylish Pro_Cee'd GT, new Soul, restyled Optima and Niro crossover concept.

We can expect the XF Sportbrake, Captur and Kia models in Australia - and all will make a mark: the Captur in that amazing micro-SUV sector, the very smart Cee'd and Soul among hatch buyers and the XF snatching 5 Series Touring buyers.

And the new Mazda3 also took the world's spotlight. Its place on the stage followed a 15,000 kilometre odyssey from Hiroshima, through Siberia, Moscow and Minsk, and to Frankfurt.

Eight standard road cars set-off: none, aside from shredded tyres and bent rims, were defeated by the drive, but only six arrived.

(Two were detained in Belarus, for reasons unknown, by officials of Lukashenko, the curiously despotic 'horse's ring' who passes as its president.)

Mazda has high hopes of this car in Europe where the 6 and CX-5 take the lion's share of sales. (We'll be driving it through Germany today.)

There was more... mad machines, cars of monstrous excess, and astonishing technologies. But look out! Because here come the electric marvels.

Unveiled at 2013 Frankfurt Motor Show: Audi A3 Cabrio | Audi A8 update | Audi Sport Quattro concept | Audi Nanuk Quattro | BMW i8 | BMW X5 eDrive | Citroen Cactus | Ferrari 458 Speciale | Ford S-Max | Formula E race car | Honda Civic Tourer | Honda Civic Type R details | Infiniti Q30 | Jaguar C-X17 | Kia Niro | Lamborghini Gallardo LP 570-4 Squadra Corse | Lexus LF-NX | Mercedes-Benz CLA 45 AMG Racing | Mercedes-Benz S-Class Coupe | Mercedes-Benz GLA | Nissan X-Trail | Opel Monza | Peugeot 208 Hybrid FE | Peugeot 308 R | Peugeot 3008 and 5008 updates | Porsche 918 Spyder | Renault Initiale Paris | Skoda Yeti update | Skoda Rapid Spaceback | Suzuki iV-4 | Toyota Yaris Hybrid R | Volkswagen e-Golf | Volkswagen Golf R | Volkswagen Golf Sportsvan | Volvo Coupe Concept

?All Frankfurt Motor Show news

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