Earlier this week the 66th International Automobile Ausstellung (IAA) kicked off with some of the best, exciting, and craziest cars of the year. With key model launches for next year’s models, interesting concept ideas for cars of the future, and new variants of existing cars, this year’s Frankfurt Motor Show had something for everyone.

In no particular order, here is a quick round-up of some of the highlights from the show.

Alfa Romeo Giulia
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In its top QV form the Giulia is a 510bhp/375kW, 6-speed manual, rear-driven sports sedan to take on the BMW M3 and Mercedes C63. But it looks prettier, has a Ferrari-sourced V6 engine, and oh did I mention the 6-speed manual? Can’t wait to see a comparison test with its rivals. The Giulia is set to go on sale in NZ “late 2016” with prices close to the competition.

Rolls Royce Dawn
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Perhaps we won’t see a comparo test with this; the Rolls Royce Dawn. Until Bentley bring out a new Azure, the Dawn is quite literally without rival. Essentially a convertible version of the Wraith it shares the same 6.75L twin-turbo V12. Plush, ostentatious, and completely unnecessary. Sheiks and Hollywood A-listers form an orderly queue.

Mercedes Benz S-Class Cabriolet
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A convertible version of the two-door version of the (arguably) the world’s best luxury sedan. If ever there were a car to flaunt your wealth at peasants it’s this. Luckily it’s not too offensive looking. In fact I’d go as far as to say it’s one of Mercedes’ best designs of all time. A classy, beautiful thing worthy of carrying on from where the W110 left off.

BMW 7-Series
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As the flagship Bimmer, the 7-Series debuts some incredible new technology which will eventually be found on the rest of the BMW range in the near future. Constructed from a hybrid of lightweight materials such as aluminium and carbon fibre making this new 7 bigger and lighter than before. Other new tech include four-wheel steering, the ability to park itself without needing the driver to be in the car, and gesture control for the iDrive. An optional extra are laser headlights seen on the i8. The 7 range will kick off with the 730d and top out with the 750Li xDrive. BMW will add a plug-in hybrid in the near future. A high-performance version is also a possibility.

Ferrari 488 Spider
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There’s a theme going on here. The topless version of the 488 GTB, this turbocharged 640bhp drop-top replaces the 458 Spider. It has the same folding hard top roof, the same pretty buttresses, and the same 0-100 km/h (3 sec) as the GTB. The Spider is only 50kg heavier than the GTB but thanks to the use of 11 different alloys, rigidity is said to be 23% better than the 458 Spider. Top speed is 325 km/h. Expect it to be as expensive as it is exciting.

Lamborghini Huracan Spyder
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From a ‘Spider’ to a ‘Spyder’. It can’t have been mere coincidence both Ferrari and Lamborghini debuted their new convertibles at the same motor show. The Huracan Spyder is 40% stiffer than the Gallardo Spyder and produces 50% more downforces. Power comes from the same 602bhp 5.2-litre V10 as the Coupe. That means 0-100 km/h in 3.4 seconds (two-tenths behind the Coupe). Top speed is 323 km/h. This or the Ferrari? Hmm…

Audi S4
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Subtle power is the name of the game here. The S4 has also been discreet and this new one is no different. It comes with the usual S4 styling cues such as the metallic wing mirrors, quad tailpipes, and a shinier grille. Paving the way for the upcoming RS4, the “in between” model comes with a new lightweight 3.0-litre TFSI engine pumping out 347 bhp. That’s good for a 0-100 km/h sprint of just 4.7 seconds. More or less the same as the B7 RS4. The intelligent diff can transfer power between the axles depending on the conditions.

Bentley Bentayga
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Crewe’s first SUV is said to be “the fastest, most powerful, most luxurious, and most exclusive SUV in the world”. A tall order indeed. The Bentayga will come with Bentley’s 6.0L W12 twin-turbo engine producing 600bhp and 663 NM of torque. 0-100 km/h is done in 4 seconds flat and on to a top speed of 300 km/h. The Bentayga sits on VAG’s MLB-Evo platform which is also used by the Audi Q7. The interior echoes that of existing Bentleys, perhaps the most Bentley thing about the Bentayga. If you want one it’ll set you back a lot. It’ll be a great deal more than a top-spec Range Rover so be prepared to part in excess of $300k for the privelege. Though you’ll have to wait until 2017 as the Bentayga has just sold out for 2016.

Jaguar F-Pace
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A high-riding Jaguar? Surely that’s a Range Rover right? Not anymore. Now people who want the luxury and the pedigree of a Jaguar but aren’t keen on having something as big as a Range Rover can have the F-Pace. With the Porsche Macan in its sights, the F-Pace sets out to be the sportiest of Sports Utility Vehicles. The ingredients are there to make this one of the sportiest crossovers on the market. It shares architecture with the XE and XF. 80% of the body is aluminium. It’ll be powered by Jag’s diesel and petrol engines – including the 375bhp supercharged V6 found in the F-Type.

Renault Megane
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VW Golf, Ford Focus, Mazda3…. Look out. Renault have come guns blazing with the new Megane. Looking like a Clio XL with hints of the new Espace and Talisman, the Megane is a good looking family hatch with more French flair than both of its French rivals. It’ll be available with a range of petrol and diesel engines, the most powerful being a 202bhp/148kW turbo petrol.

Mini Clubman
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First there was the Mini 3-door. Then came the 5-door. Now we have the Clubman. Taking the wagon role in the ever growing Mini family, the new Clubman has four conventional doors and a ‘double door’ tailgate. The Clubman also gains a bespoke dash design, differentiating it from the rest of the Mini range. It’ll be powered by the same engines as the new Mini Hatch though a three-cylinder petrol hybrid may join the range later.

Infiniti Q30
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The production version of Infiniti’s smallest car made its debut at Frankfurt. Based on the same platform as the Mercedes A-Class, the Q30 is a high-riding hatchback/crossover more similar to the GLA and Volvo V40 Cross Country. It’ll be powered by a 1.6 turbo petrol, 2.0 turbo petrol, 1.5 turbo diesel, or a 2.2 turbo diesel. If that engine range sounds familiar that’s because you’ll also find them in Mercedes’ ‘A’ family.

Toyota Prius
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Based on Toyota’s new TGNA platform, the new Prius is said to have better handling and agility. The 1.8-litre petrol/hybrid powertrain is 10% more efficient than before. Then there’s the polarising design. Some like, some don’t. It *might* be better in the metal, time will tell. It’ll go on sale next year so lots of time to brace yourselves.

Smart fortwo Cabrio
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The new convertible Smart fortwo comes with a “three-stage” roof. The roof can be pushed back like a big sunroof, as seen on the Fiat 500C, or it can be fully retracted into the luggage area. The roof rails are also removable, like the old Citoren C3 Pluriel. Apart from the fiddly-sounding roof everything is the same as the hardtop fortwo. There’ll be two three cylinder engines to choose from; a 70bp 1.0-litre or a 89bhp 900cc turbo. Still no word if they’ll reach our shores.

Volkswagen Tiguan
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Finally, VW has made a second-generation of the Tiguan. Now it looks more like a Golf on stilts than ever. But crucially, it’s larger than before. The new Tiguan is 60mm longer, 30mm wider, and 33mm lower than the car it replaces meaning space inside has increased too. The boot has increased by 145L to a more useable 615L. At the same time the Tiguan is also more efficient. As before it’ll be available with front or four-wheel drive. There’ll be a range of petrol and diesels, though expect NZ-market Tiguans to have similar choices as the Golf/current Tiguan.

Opel Astra
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The new Astra should be coming to our shores soon badged as a Holden. It sits on GM’s D2 platform and is smaller and lighter than the outgoing Astra. The new Astra gets a host of new engines ranging from a 1.4-litre petrol to a 1.6 turbo petrol with 197bhp. There’ll also be turbo and bi-turbo diesels. The new Astra benefits from an array of new tech such as a touchscreen satnav, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

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