Frankfurt Motor Show: When Spen King first penned the Range Rover, the world’s first 4×4 that had also been designed with on-road comfort in mind, he cannot have imagined that more than 40 years later, the SUV would be foremost in virtually every car manufacturer’s plans at the Frankfurt Motor Show, one of the most important dates in the motor industry calendar.
Probably the star of the Frankfurt Motor Show was the Jaguar C-X17, a very smart off-roader styled by Ian Callum, the man behind some of the prettiest Aston Martins in living memory. Although still nominally a concept car to gauge public reaction, it is obviously nearly production ready, and will fit in between the Evoque and the Range Rover Sport in terms of price and size, but with a more sporty bias than either.
If you think of the task that Jaguar has, to change perception of its brand from “Gin and Jag” to “Cool Britannia”, this will help, along with the F Type. It will also sell by the truck load and it is good to see JLR’s management not preventing Jaguar from following Porsche into the lucrative SUV market just because they also own Land Rover.
The Jaguar C-X17, a very smart off-roader styled by Ian Callum, has been one of the stars of the Frankfurt Motor Show so far.
Elsewhere at the Frankfurt Motor Show, there was a lightly face-lifted Discovery, a new Nissan X Trail and a small Lexus SUV concept that had, to modify Emperor Joseph’s criticism of Mozart, too many creases. Mercedes showed their might G63AMG 6×6, a civilian version of a six wheel drive truck developed for the Australian military, and tuner Brabus a 500,000 Euro, 691bhp version of the same, which is claimed to do 0-60 in 7.4 seconds, despite weighing 3775kg. There are a couple of shoots at which I think it could be extremely amusing to turn up in something like that. Equally, there is virtually every other shoot I know to which I would never be invited again were I to turn up in something like that.
Away from the SUV front, a fleet of BMW’s new city car, the i3, was ferrying hacks around the halls of the Frankfurt Motor Show, which are huge and some distance away from each other. Although it isn’t exactly the most logical shooting bus, the i3, along with the Tesla Model S, looks like they are really moving the game on and will make ownership of a car that you plug in over night a realistic proposition for the first time.
At the other end of the scale, my last visit before leaving the Frankfurt Motor Show was for a glass of Prosecco on the Ferrari stand where their amiable head of PR showed me the level of personalisation possible on their four-wheel drive shooting brake, the FF. When I explained what a gun box looked like, there was a lot of excited pulling out of nicely figured walnut samples, chrome handles and buttery-soft leather samples. If you see a new optional extra on the Ferrari price list soon, you’ll know where it originated.
The Frankfurt Motor Show runs until September 22.
Ben Samuelson is the managing director of PR and events agency Samuelson Wylie Associates. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/bensamuelson