Frankfurt 2013: Top 5 hottest car debuts

Summer break is over, and you know what that means… It’s auto show season! Leading off is the 2013 Frankfurt Motor Show, which opens Tuesday. Here are the top five significant debuts we’re expecting in the coming days.

Audi Sport quattro concept

At the 2010 Paris Motor Show, Audi teased car enthusiasts with the quattro concept, a reimagined version of the classic 1980s Coupe Quattro rally machine. Now, it’s doing it again.

However, while the 2010 concept had a 2.5 five-cylinder engine, the Sport quattro has a 4.0-liter twin-turbocharged V8, with an electric motor spliced between the engine and eight-speed Tiptronic transmission for good measure.

Audi Sport quattro concept overhead

Total system output is 700 horsepower and 590 pound-feet of torque.

The flip side of that is an all-electric mode, allowing the Sport quattro to cruise on volts for up to 31 miles.

BMW i8

The i8 plug-in hybrid sports car debuted as a concept at Frankfurt in 2011, and the production version is finally here. Thankfully, the styling hasn’t changed much from that original concept car. The i8 is impossibly slinky for a BMW, and has doors that look like they belong on a Lamborghini (see photo at the top of this story).

BMW i8 cutaway

Under the skin is a 1.5-liter, three-cylinder gasoline engine and an electric motor. Total system output is 362 hp and 420 lb-ft of torque.

The i8 can do 0 to 60 mph in 4.5 seconds and, like most BMWs, has an electronically limited top speed of 155 mph. It also has a 22-mile electric-only range.

Mercedes-Benz Concept S-Class Coupe

The car formerly known as CL-Class is about to get a major makeover, with the same aristocratic tech as the S-Class sedan unveiled a few months ago. From the glimpses Mercedes has allowed to slip out, it looks like the Coupe will add a little drama to the sedan’s handsome but staid styling.

Mercedes-Benz S-Class Coupe concept sketch

The production S-Class Coupe will likely carry most of the sedan’s features in a more attractive, two-door shell. That means an opulent interior, a battery of sensors to detect potential obstacles and, possibly, a perfume spritzer.

Like the sedan, the coupe will probably launch is an S550 with a 4.7-liter twin-turbocharged V8. A more powerful AMG version, and possibly a V12-powered S600, will likely follow.

Opel Monza concept

Chevrolet Volts and Opels don’t normally get much attention from car enthusiasts, but look what happens when you combine them.

The Opel Monza is named after a car GM’s European produced from 1977 to 1986 (do any of these really qualify as classics?) and features a plug-in hybrid powertrain, plus Gullwing doors.

Opel Monza concept rear three quarter doors open

Equally mesmerizing is the dashboard, which features LED projection technology. This allowed Opel’s designers to eliminate individual gauges and screens, creating one seem-less display across the entire dash.

However, the performance doesn’t back up the looks. It’s range-extender is a 1.0-liter compressed natural gas (CNG) three-cylinder, which will soon find its way into the Opel Adam city car.

Volvo Coupe Concept

A stylish Volvo? It happened once before, and Gothenburg hopes it will happen again. The Coupe Concept is meant to evoke the classic P1800, and remind people that Volvo can build desirable cars.

Beneath the chiseled sheetmetal, the Coupe Concept is an important car for Volvo. It doesn’t just introduce a new styling direction for the Swedish carmaker; it also rides on a new Scalable Product Architecture (SPA) platform that will underpin several future production cars, including the next XC90 SUV.

Volvo Coupe Concept

Volvo says its SPA cars will be designed for autonomous driving, but human beings will probably want to take the wheel of this one.

Like nearly everything else set to appear at Frankfurt this year, the Coupe Concept is a plug-in hybrid. Its powertrain consists of a 2.0-liter four-cylinder gasoline engine that is both supercharged and turbocharged, along with an electric motor. Total system ouput is 400 hp and 440 lb-ft. 

Tell us which of these cars is your favorite in the comments, and check back for more 2013 Frankfurt Motor Show coverage.

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