Share This Article

09/14/03 THE BIG SHOW

This article is from our archives and has not been updated and integrated with our "new" site yet... Even so, it's still awesome - so keep reading!

Published on Sat, Sep 13, 2003

By: The LACar Editorial Staff


By Contributing Editor CHUCK DAPOZ

The Frankfurt International Motor Show, running from September 13 - 21, is the biggest of the world's auto shows. This year more than 50 production and concept vehicles were premiered, giving a preview of cars that will soon be on the road as well as design exercises that will never be built

BIG IMPRESSIONS FROM THE BIG SHOW It was no surprise to see more-powerful engines and bigger wheels, and they were prominent in Frankfurt. What was surprising were clever concepts for people carriers - read that as "minivans" - and expanded use of glass in large windows, roof panels and even an all-glass tailgate.

Another surprise was that three of the more-notable concept vehicles were French, Czech and Japanese. Frankfurt has always been a showcase for German manufacturers, so perhaps the prominence of non-German brands is a sign of the intensity of competition in the auto industry. RENAULT BE BOP

Renault Be Bop concept vehicle

Renault Be Bop concept vehicle The Renault Be Bop is an innovative 4x4 SUV concept. Large windows and a glass roof give a sense of spaciousness, and there is, indeed, plenty of room inside. Rear-hinged rear doors give easy access. All four seats are attached to a central arch rather than the floor, freeing up floor space and allowing the rear seats to fold and slide under the front seats at the flick of a switch. The 1.6L four-cylinder engine produces 115 horsepower. More than eight inches of ground clearance is partly attributed to 21-inch tires.

Renault Be Bop Sport There's a second version of the Be Bop, a front-wheel-drive MPV called the "sporting model" and painted bright yellow, which is characteristic of all Renault Sport vehicles. Its turbocharged, 2.0L, four-cylinder engine pumps 225 horsepower. It also rides on 21-inch tires. Renault says the two Be Bop version share about half of their bodywork parts . SKODA ROOMSTER

Skoda Roomster concept vehicle The name Roomster comes from combining "room" with "roadster." The idea behind this concept vehicle, we're told, was to create a five-passenger family vehicle by marrying an airplane with a house. Really. And the windshield and front door windows resemble an airplane cockpit. Ample interior space feels larger than it is, especially for rear-seat passengers, because of large windows, two lengthwise sunroofs and a rear hatch made completely of glass that extends down to the bumper. The rear seat slides back to the tailgate - the seat travel is 30 inches - giving more legroom than a limousine and the cargo space of a small van. The front passenger seat swivels 180 degrees, so rather than just keep an eye on the kids, you can face them. There's a rear door on the passenger side only that slides back parallel to the body on a large hinge. When VW bought Skoda Auto in 1991, who could have foreseen this 100-year-old Czech brand becoming a style and innovation leader, like the Czech Republic itself? There are no plans to produce the Roomster, but some design elements may appear on future Skoda vehicles.


Toyota CS&S (Concept vehicle) Another innovative vehicle was Toyota CS&S (Compact Sports & Speciality), a concept sports car bringing together a hybrid powerplant, innovative packaging and revolutionary technologies. The CS&S is a mid-engined 2+2 open sports car, sized between the Celica and MR2. It's powered by the second-generation hybrid powerplant going into the new Prius: a 1.5L gas engine mounted in the center of the car driving the rear wheels and a far-more-powerful-than-before electric motor powering the front wheels, providing four-wheel drive and strong acceleration because of the electric motor's high torque. At first glance the CS&S looks like an open-seater, but it's a true 2+2 sports car with removable rear canopies that can cover the rear seats. In addition, the front seats can be rotated to cover the front cockpit. A futuristic technology is "Toyota Space Touch" which uses holographic projections that the user "touches" to make a selection. Spheres of information appear to float in space, but they can be touched to control functions such as A/C, audio and satellite navigation. Toyota says people will find it easy to use and that it breaks new ground in terms of human-machine interface. The CS&S was designed by Toyota's styling studio in the south of France.

Frankfurt Part 2: German Brands Audi Le Mans quattro (Concept vehicle) BMW X3 (Production vehicle) BMW 6 Series (Production vehicle) Jetcar 2.5 (Production vehicle) Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren (Production vehicle) Mercedes-Benz Vision CLS (Concept vehicle) Opel Astra (Production vehicle) Opel Insignia (Concept vehicle) Porsche 911 Turbo Cabriolet (Production vehicle) smart forfour (Production vehicle) Volkswagen Golf (Production vehicle) Volkswagen Golf GTI (Concept vehicle) Volkswagen Concept R (Concept vehicle)

Frankfurt Part 3: Non-German European Brands Alfa Romeo 166 (Production vehicle) Aston Martin DB9 (Production vehicle) Citroen C-Airlounge (Concept vehicle) Fiat Panda (Production vehicle) Jaguar X-Type Estate (Production vehicle) Jaguar R-D6 (Concept vehicle) Lancia Fulvia (Concept vehicle) Maserati Quattroporte (Production vehicle) Peugeot 407 Elixir (Concept vehicle) Saab 9-3 Sport Combi (Concept vehicle) SEAT Altea (Production vehicle) Volvo S40 (Production vehicle)

Frankfurt Part 4: Non-European Brands Chrysler 300C Touring (Concept vehicle) Daewoo Lacetti (Production vehicle) Ford Visos (Concept vehicle) Hyundai CCS (Concept vehicle) Lexus LS430 (Production vehicle) Mazda3 (Production vehicle) Mazda Kusabi (Concept vehicle) Mitsubishi i (Concept vehicle) Nissan Dunehawk (Concept vehicle)

You Might Also Like These Articles:

image of an engine bay

VIN-Verified Parts Shopping - Your Ultimate Guide

image of the 2024 Toyota Sienna

2024 Toyota Sienna

image of a person talking to police

Understanding Auto Accident Laws: A Driver's Guide

video thumbnail for the review

Review Of Tim Considine's Work On Le Mans

image of a legal library

Why Is an Automobile Injury Lawyer Essential for Your Post-Accident Compensation?