(Pics) Frankfurt Motorshow Concept Cars

(Pics) Frankfurt Motorshow Concept Cars

Purple List member Drew Smith attended the recent Frankfurt Motorshow, and captured a selection of eleven of the most interesting concept cars on display at the event.

Dan Gould
  • 12 october 2009

Purple List member Drew Smith attended the recent Frankfurt Motorshow, and captured a selection of eleven of the most interesting concept cars on display at the event.

Citroen Revolte

Every motor show has it’s left-fielder; they’re needed to throw a bit of imbalance into the mix and keep things exciting. At Frankfurt, the undoubted left-field star was the somewhat perilously named, joyously over-the-top Citroen Revolte.

From it’s Moulin Rouge-esque interior materials (think lipstick-gloss-pink, red velveteen and seductive lighting) replete with a pulsing touch-screen begging to be touched to an exterior design theme that, controversially, recalls the this car’s diametric spiritual opposite, the utilitarian Citroen 2CV, this car was a one-fingered salute to the seriousness of the German offerings.


Volkswagen E-Up!

VW’s joyfully named E-Up! seemed to split opinion at the Frankfurt show. Some thought the diminutive hatch too conservative when the world is looking for exciting new answers. Others, recognising that the car on the show stand will be on European roads a year or two from now chose to revel in the typically VW (read flawless) execution of everything from the stunning interface graphics, old-school manual windows and mirrors, sun visors that double as solar panels and a hood line that recalls that other back-to-basics VW, the Beetle. And check those beautiful aero-wheels and the badge that hides the charging point. Neat!


Volkswagen L1

Small but perfectly formed seemed to be the theme at VW this year. Playing on safe home soil, they outed the latest iteration of chairman Ferdinand Piech’s extreme dream, the 1L. A 3.8m long tandem 2-seater, designer Maximilian Missoni spoke of how VW’s relentlessly focussed approach to engineering drove the exterior design theme.

Remarkably pure in overall form, there are delightful details that inject some visual intrigue. The motorised cooling vents on the side, for example are hidden until required, at which point the surface literally peels into the body form, while the rear lamps were Missoni’s “crescendo”, adding some intricate surfacing that makes the design, in our eyes, pitch-perfect.


Lexus LF-Ch

Lexus’ gently-gently approach means that their concepts sometimes miss the boat and the LF-Ch is no exception. Closely aping the BMW 1 Series, the LF-Ch swaps the Beemer’s complex surfaces for a more iron-fist-velvet-glove approach as it’s key stylistic differentiator, but with the 1 Series already 5 years old, we wonder if Lexus couldn’t have pushed a little harder on the outside. Inside, the organic metal forms and edge-lit Japanese silk headliner showed more character, providing a refreshing alternative to the staid Germans this car will compete against.


Renault Twizy Z. E.

One of two concepts at the show to investigate a new approach to 4-wheeled urban mobility (the other being Peugeot’s BB1), the Renaul Twizy Z. E. won over both our hearts and minds with it’s cute, well resolved form and innovative layout.

The Twizy woos car drivers into a new form of city transport by feeling, believe it or not, just like a car to sit in. Patrick Lecharpy, Renault’s V. P. of advanced design, told us how the designers also worked towards reducing people’s electric vehicle anxiety by indicating battery charge using a super-Zen lotus flower that closes as range decreases.

The best thing? Renault says it’ll be on a Parisian street some time in 2011. We can’t wait!


Mini Coupe and Roadster

Presenting as a pair of rowdy twins, you couldn’t help smiling at the Mini Coupe and Roadster concepts. Trotted out to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the brand, the cars simultaneously demonstrate the difficulties of making big leaps with such a heritage laden brand and that you can still have fun within amazingly tight constraints.

With a distinct masculine character, the coupe boasted a new roof line that looked to be inspired by a baseball cap, or indeed toupée (Mini is 50 after all…) while the interior of the more feminine roadster boasted beautiful woven Poltrona Frau leather contrasted against black neoprene.


Peugeot BB1

Peugeot decided to turn the Renault Twizy’s drive-like-a-car-look-like-something-else approach on it’s head with their 2.5m long BB1. Looking like almost like a car, the BB1 can seat four people, but to fit them in the designers have made some fundamental changes to how they sit and how the driver, well, drives. Drawing – unintentionally according to chief designer Gilles Vidal – on Peugeot’s history as a scooter manufacturer, the BB1 features handlebars, a twist-to-go accelerator. Like on a scooter, you also wrap your legs around the person in front. Cosy, non? As with many other concepts at the show, an iPhone formed an integral component of the vehicle’s climate, entertainment and navigation systems.


Mazda MX-5 Superlight

You wouldn’t think that taking a standard MX-5, removing the roof and stripping the interior could have so dramatic an impact on such a familiar shape. Yet from the Nagare (flow)inspired central rear-view mirror and luscious ‘digital’ punched leather to the pared-back instrument panel (with requisite iPhone dock), the MX-5 Superlight is a testament to the passion lead designer Hassip Gurgin and his team have for Mazda’s Zoom-Zoom philosophy. Although it was one of the lower-key reveals of the show, many other designers we spoke to were only too happy to admit they’d have one in their garage.


Ferrari 458 Italia

If the chatter amongst designers at Frankfurt was anything to go by, the new junior Ferrari was the crisis-be-damned star of the show. Displaying a delicacy that has been noticeably absent from recent mid-engined Ferraris, the 458 heralds a return to the beautifully judged flamboyance that made earlier models like the ‘Magnum, P. I.’ 308 so moreish to gaze upon. Beautiful and innovative in equal measure, the car features moveable front aerofoils (that look, incidentally, like Magnum’s moustache) while inside the instruments consist of two TFT panels flanking a traditional rev counter, with buttons on the steering wheel replacing the column stalks.


BMW Vision Efficient Dynamics

The undisputed visual queen of the Frankfurt show, the Vision Efficient Dynamics concept was typically provocative and packed with innovative ideas.

A statement of BMW’s environmental prowess from start to finish, features like layered, twisted panels that, through their inherent strength, enable the underlying structure to be lightened, integrated aerodynamic surfaces and a hybrid powertrain that delivers M3-equalling performance with 62.6 US mpg prove that supercars can continue to be relevant in a social climate that demands ever more environmental responsibility.

The best bit? Because of the freedoms afforded by smaller powertrain components, you can take three friends along for what is sure to be a wild ride.


Hyundai iX-Metro

Following hot on the heels of Nissan’s launch of the similar Qazana concept at the Geneva motor show in March, the iX-Metro shows Hyundai’s intent to surf the growing wave of interest in baby crossovers in Europe.

Combining the things we love about SUVs (high seating position, feeling of security) with an environmentally friendly package that is sensitive to urban environments, Hyundai’s boisterous baby could be a sure-fire hit. Inside, we loved the ice-white dash and a new take on the hub-less steering wheel, while outside, the simple surfaces combined with cats-claw lamp features evoke just the right amount of toughness for the urban jungle.

Contributed by Drew Smith


Machine Printer Uses Coffee Drips To Create Intricate Portraits

Arts & Culture
Retail Today

Nine Technologies To Invest In When It Comes To Retail [Future Of Retail]

Retailers are leveraging assistive technology to help employees in their daily tasks and customers on the sales floor

Travel Today

Acura Cockpit Envisions The Future Of Autonomous Travel

The car brand has built a proof that offers a sneak peek of the self-driving vehicle experience


Get PSFK's Related Report: Future of Automotive

See All
Technology Today

Genetics Startup Is Working To Create A Completely Personalized, DNA-Based Range Of Products

DNA data has the potential to drive brands forward to new levels of unique product personalization

Retail Today

How Artificial Intelligence Is Enabling Anytime Shopping & On-Demand Support

Retailers are leveraging advanced technology to relieve associates from mundane tasks, while better assisting customers

Syndicated Today

NYC Map Calculates Economic Benefits Of Every Tree

TreesCount! maps all the greenery in the five boroughs and even figures out how much money it saves the city

Fashion Today

Create A Perfectly Tailored Shirt Using Just Your Phone

UKYS has created an application to get accurate measurements of buyers through a few simple pictures for custom shirts

Home Today

Tiny Home Robot Turns Switches On And Off

The miniature device attaches to the side of an appliance or switch to enable remote control through a person's phone


Future Of Retail 2017
Transformation Strategies For Customer-First Business

PSFK Op-Ed november 22, 2016

Digital Strategist: Why “Big Sensing” Is Key To Retail’s Future

Bud Caddell, Founder of NOBL, shares why the most capable and useful asset in any retail environment is the workforce

PSFK Labs december 1, 2016

Retail Spotlight: Home Depot Reimagines How Employees Conduct Tasks

The home improvement retailer puts the customer first by initiating local fulfillment centers and simplifying freight-to-shelf inventory management

Technology december 2, 2016

Why Nest Doesn't Get The Holidays

PSFK founder reacts to the damaging effects of poor email marketing

Children december 2, 2016

Robots Could Be Joining Dubai’s Police Force In 2017

The real-life RoboCops can salute, shake hands and collect traffic fines

Travel december 2, 2016

Parka Hides And Charges Portable Devices

Bolt is a jacket that lets people carry and charge their various electronics without the need for an outlet

USA december 2, 2016

Twitter-Powered Metronome Measures The Tempo Of Austin

The installation is designed to swing faster as more tweet come in

Food december 2, 2016

Yelp's New 'Yelfie' Feature Lets Diners Take Selfies

The update is designed to encourage people to attach a selfie when they share their experiences


Future Of Work
Cultivating The Next Generation Of Leaders

Food december 2, 2016

Build Your Own Savory Cheese Advent Calendar

A British food blogger has created a guide to building a different kind of holiday surprise

Fitness & Sport december 2, 2016

Floating Gym Concept In Paris Is Powered By Your Workout

The proposed design from Carlo Ratti Associati lets passengers ride a stationary bike as they travel through Paris along the Seine River

Syndicated december 2, 2016

What Does The Future Of Android Look Like In A World With The Pixel?

Google’s decision to make its own phone might have looked like a blow to the likes of Samsung but the reality is much more interesting

No search results found.