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Show Preview: Frankfurt motor show 2011

Tue, 23 Aug 2011

The biannual Internationale Automobil-Ausstellung, or the Frankfurt motor show, is again due to take place this September, swapping places with its sister show in Paris.

One of the world's largest motor shows – certainly physically – the IAA is held at Frankfurt's Messe complex, and in recent years has been themed, with the last event in 2009 carrying the theme of ‘electrification', with virtually every manufacturer revealing a vehicle using the latest battery technology.

Fittingly, the most notable unveil at that show was the BMW Vision Efficient Dynamics Concept, which was easily the most innovative and original car of 2009. That car felt like a real departure point for automotive design, and indeed Frankfurt has a history of being the birthplace for historically significant cars.

The Beetle (or what became it) was shown here for the first time, just before World War II broke out in 1939. BMW's Neue class was unveiled here too. More recently, Citroen's important C-Cactus concept was first shown here in 2007 and last time we were in town, Aston Martin's Rapide was unveiled.

This year looks to be more exciting than ever, and continuing on from Geneva's veritable splurge of new concepts and production cars, we expect Frankfurt to keep us busy, to say the least. Many cars we've heard about already – such as the Audi Urban concept – are bound to attract a lot of interest because they're radiclal departures for the brand.

Likewise, BMW's i3 and i8 are expected to be on show, and we're keen to see the i8 in particular in the metal to understand how it differs from the 2009 Vision Concept. Perhaps more importantly for the Munich brand, they release a new version of their most important car – the 3 Series – and if you've not had your fill of BMWs by the time you've seen that lot, the new 1 Series will be shown at a motor show for the first time too.

Likely to steal the limelight from all of these cars however is the new Porsche 911 (991) images of which were leaked onto the Internet earlier this month. It will vie for chief gawker rights with Ferrari's 458 Spider, equipped with a patented, fully retractable hard top – a world first for a sports car with its lay-out. Meanwhile, the Maserati GranCabrio Fendi, designed by Silvia Venturini Fendi, looks likely to be one of the more interesting exercises in color and trim at the show.

The new Volkswagen up! will also feature and you can preview images of it in the CDN New Cars section. Other new production cars should include the new Honda Civic, the Mercedes B-Class, a new Fiat Panda and Mazda's CX-5 crossover. The ‘work' installment of Laurens van den Acker's Renault concept car series debuts in the form of the Frendzy, and we know concept cars will also be shown by Peugeot, Citroen and Subaru. As the German home show, besides BMW's glut of new models, expect some surprise things from any of Mercedes, Audi, VW and Opel too.

Check out the ‘New Cars' section of the website for details of those vehicles we already have details on, and then make sure you come back for CDN Live in Frankfurt, which we'll be updating from the off on the first press day – Tuesday 13th September.

Related articles:
Design Review: Frankfurt Motor Show 2009 Trends and Overview
Auto Show: Frankfurt Motor Show 2009 - Highlights
CDN Live: Geneva 2011
Design Review: Paris Motorshow retrospective

By Rufus Thompson and Joe Simpson