Performance new sports cars still rule despite electric vehicle mania.
THE Frankfurt Motor Show is one of the biggest events on the automotive industry calendar. It offers key insights into the future of motoring as each of the German car making behemoths attempts to out-do its rivals at their home show. Predictably, the buzzwords were electricity and autonomy, with most manufacturers keen to spruik their vision of a zero-emissions, zero-responsibility future, though Jaguar’s announcement of a one-make race series for its forthcoming battery-powered iPace SUV, which will support Formula E from 2018, was a little left-field Thankfully for us red-blooded enthusiasts, the cars that actually earn manufacturers money still make noise, burn fuel and transport the driver from A-to-B as quickly and as entertainingly as possible if he or she so wishes. Therefore, in stark contrast to the silent, all-knowing concepts, a riot of drool worthy performance metal also made its debut in Frankfurt. Mercedes-AMG stole the show with its F1-engined Project One hypercar, however, performance hybridisation is still the preserve of the top end of town with the (slightly) more attainable offerings powered by the traditional means of turbo four-banger (Swift Sport, Megane RS), forced induction V8 (Cayenne Turbo, Portofino, Discovery SVX) or just plain old cubic capacity (R8 V10 RWS, Aventador S Roadster).
A number of European marques skipped Frankfurt this year, including Volvo, Citroen, Fiat, Aston Martin and McLaren, while the major Japanese manufacturers will be saving their headline acts for the Tokyo Motor Show in late October. Refreshingly, 10 of our 11 Frankfurt stars are productionready – the exception being the Mini Works GP Concept, which is likely to make production anyhow – and all will make their way to
Australia, catering for every budget from $25,000 (Swift Sport) to approximately $5million (Project One). The future of performance is still unknown, but the present still looks bright – for now.