2015 Frankfurt motor show:: hits and misses

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The 2015 Frankfurt motor show was the biggest ever, with more than 200 reveals at the packed German IAA fair – and plenty of them were SUVs, either in show car form or as new models debuting in production guise.

As with all major motor shows, there were vehicles that stopped the press and the company executives in their tracks, for reasons both good and bad.

With a record number of staff on hand at the 2015 Frankfurt motor show, the CarAdvice team formed their own opinions on what were the hits and misses at the show. We’ve broken it down in to best production car (you’ll notice a bit of a common theme, here), best concept car and biggest miss.

Matt Campbell – on the ground:

Best production car: Jaguar F-Pace

This is, I’m convinced, is the best looking SUV on the planet. It is sleek, it is svelte, it is muscled but not macho, it is aggressive but not angry. It’s bloody gorgeous.

The interior is excellent, too: there’s good space throughout, the boot is big and the new InControl touchscreen is sharp, yet simple. I can’t wait to drive it.

Best concept car: Mazda Koeru

Please, Mazda. Make this stunner a showroom-ready car.

It is broad and bold, despite being based off the same platform as the CX-5, and there’s every chance a production model is in the pipeline, possibly wearing the CX-4 badge. Gosh I hope there is.

Biggest miss: Bentley Bentayga

It looks a lot like the spy images, and not enough like the concept car. Yes, you read that correctly. I wish it looked more like the EXP-9F concept of a few years back. At least that was more cohesive.

The rear haunches of the car are too square for the roundness of the vehicle up-front, and the nose looks a bit droopy. It looks sad. And it makes me sad.

Trent Nikolic – on the ground

Best production car: Jaguar F- Pace

This is definitely the hit production car for me. It looks gorgeous, oozes Jaguar style despite being the company’s first attempt at an SUV and is set to have the likes of BMW and Mercedes-Benz looking over their shoulders. Just about everything Jaguar has touched of late has turned to gold, and this is as good as anything.

Best concept car: Audi e-tron quattro SUV

The best concept car for me was the almost production-ready Audi e-tron quattro SUV. The level of technology, a genuine 500km+ range and typical Audi build quality makes this a real window into the future. It looks cool and tough at the same time and the driver interface in the cabin is way beyond anything currently on the market. The future isn’t so gloomy after all.

Biggest miss: Bentley Bentayga

Biggest miss by a country mile is the hideous Bentley Bentayga SUV. It’s as ugly as you can possibly imagine and I can’t find an angle where it doesn’t look awful. Oh there is one sorry – when my eyes are closed. I have no idea who in their right mind – in fact any frame of mind – would want to own one. Stop it Bentley. Stop it now while you still can.

Paul Maric – on the ground

Best production car: Jaguar F-Pace

I spent a great deal of time chatting to Jaguar design boss Ian Callum and the engineers in charge of developing this vehicle. The technology, materials and engineering that has gone into Jaguar’s first ever SUV is simply staggering.

While we’re yet to drive it, it will no doubt drive as good as it looks. Now…to ask for that pay rise again.

Best concept car: Porsche Mission E

This is just utterly stunning. Porsche has finally started to be a little daring with the design of its cars and this is the first example in a while (sans the 918 Spyder) of a bespoke and articulated design.

Perhaps it should have been called the Mission T, the hunt for Tesla, a company that has taken the Germans by total surprise.

Biggest miss: Startech Range Rover Ute

Sure, it’s not a proper production car, but the Startech Range Rover ute is a terrible looking thing that should never have happened.

It has the tray capacity of a Suzuki Mighty Boy and insults everything built on by cool Australian utes.

Let’s not forget about the colour. Ew.

Anthony Crawford – on the ground

Best production car: Jaguar F-Pace

It’s Jaguar’s first ever SUV in a history that spans 93 years, and they’ve nailed it first time out.

The F-Pace is built off the same platform as the new XE and XF, both of which are class-leading cars with superb ride and handling, so the F-Pace should be something special in this regard.

Best concept car: Hyundai N 2025 Vision Gran Turismo

At this year’s Frankfurt Motor Show there are several brilliant concept cars, but none more daring that Hyundai’s N 2025 Vision Gran Turismo.

Looking more like a Le Mans LMP1 sports car, this concept is a window into the company’s new sub-brand, N Sport – Hyundai’s new high-performance division.

Biggest miss: Bentley Bentayga

That’s easy, the Bentley Bentayga. It’s hideously ugly compared with any of its Bentley siblings and not a good look for the brand as a whole.

It smacks of a Chinese-only production run.

Mike Costello – on the ground

Best production car: Renault Megane

It’s all well and good to harp on about how amazing such-and-such sports car or limo looks, but to truly blitz the design and execution of a mainstream hatchback rival to the eponymous Volkswagen Golf is a whole different scenario.

But Renault has nailed the brief. Its design team led by sneakered Dutch wizard Laurens van den Acker have crafted a sexy, tres chic hatchback that looks pert and fun, but houses a spacious and upmarket cabin.

Questions and criticisms remain: the three-door is dead, and the engines appear carryover, but on first impressions I walked away extremely impressed. Bring on Q3, 2016 for its Australian launch.

Best concept car: Porsche Mission E

Those lines and proportions are the best Porsche has created in a long time, retaining vestiges of legacy but adding a healthy dose of the new. If the next Panamera comes close, it’ll be an almost perfect about-face from the current iteration.

But the EV tech, the remarkable cabin with its high-tech infotainment, and its 500km range also excite. It’s a Tesla Model S rival par excellence, and a sure sign that the mighty VW empire is awake to the threat posed by said Silicon Valley startup.

Biggest miss: Toyota Prius

It’s much more efficient than before, it promises a better driving experience and the new interior is a step up. And its modular architecture is a step forward for the brand.

But the new Toyota Prius, THE hybrid car for the globe, also sports grievous design. I won’t judge until I drive, but if we’re basing something on motorshow stand appear, here’s your biggest disappointment

Tegan Lawson – on the ground

Best production car: Mercedes-AMG S63 Cabriolet

Seeing the Mercedes-AMG S63 Cabriolet in the metal was a highlight for me. It looks beautifully proportioned and the interior was impressive in red leather with chrome everywhere and speakers in the back of the front headrests.

Best concept car: Nissan Gripz

The Nissan Gripz is a mix of SUV, Nissan Z and rally car. It looks manic but has an electric motor as well as a petrol engine that acts as a generator.

It has front scissor doors and rear suicide doors, with cameras in the headlights. What’s not to love?

Biggest miss: Volkswagen Tiguan

The Volkswagen Tiguan was unfortunately a little bland for me. Conservative styling is the VW way but I hoped for a little bit more character when I saw it at the show.

Tim Beissmann – on the ground

Best production car: Jaguar F-Pace

I have a theory that all car fans secretly enjoy it when the likes of BMW, Porsche and co. release a car that looks all kinds of wrong (I’m thinking Beemer’s GT monstrosities, the Panamera, etc.). But for some reason there’s a handful of brands that everyone wants to see nail it, like Alfa Romeo, Maserati and Jaguar.

It’s positive outworking of this theory that makes the Jaguar F-Pace the feel-good car of the show for me. It’s the most important model Jaguar has released in my lifetime, and soon they’re going to be everywhere, because it looks phenomenal.

Ian Callum, take a bow, sir.

Best concept car: Peugeot Fractal

We hear again and again that car makers are looking to shift from traditional sports coupes to performance crossovers, but in my head I’ve never been able to make this work – until now.

Peugeot didn’t seem to make a massive deal of the Fractal – it was kind of just sitting at the edge of the brand’s display as you walked past.

But boy is it a head-turner! Muscular, sinister, dramatic. After 10 seconds looking at it I was convinced the Fractal has more personality than most people I know.

Biggest miss: Borgward BX7

The opportunity to resurrect a long-lost brand isn’t one that comes along every day. I think that’s why I feel so much pain when I look at the Borgward BX7.

Borgward designers: stealing the nose of the Buick Enclave and the bum of the Haval H2 and gluing them together on a generic SUV body is nobody’s idea of a distinctive new design language.

Back to the drawing board, I think…

Alborz Fallah – on the ground

Best production car: Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio Look, it may cost around $150,000 when it comes to Australia, but the bloody thing is quick. 0-100km/h in 3.9 seconds makes it even faster than the top-spec Mercedes-AMG C 63 S, and it’s faster than an M4 around the ‘ring. It’s really hard to argue. Whether it will all work when its out in the wild remains to be seen, but as far as come backs are concerned, Alfa is well on its way.

Best concept car: Porsche Mission E I think Elon Musk is making that “I told you face” to the VW group at the moment.

The Mission E Concept is a great looking thing, perhaps it showcases what the next Panamera will be in some extent.

And, considering it can finally match the Tesla Model S for range, it’s vindication for electric cars at last and also a sign of what is to come.

Biggest miss: Toyota Prius A few years ago I had the current Prius for six months. It was Toyota’s attempt to make me hate it less. It worked, I actually came to appreciate it for what it is. An honest and efficient A-to-B car.

But times have moved on, electric cars have taken the mantle of not only being environmentally friendly but also being cool. And to make matters worse, this new Prius… it’s as if someone told the designers, it needs to look like the current Prius, but… significantly more hideous.

The lines running through it and the shape of the tail light is abhorrent. I noticed a few car designers from other manufacturers becoming violently ill as they walked past.

This is not a timeless shape, it will age so poorly (much like the current flock of Lexus cars that in less than a few years are already looking over styled and tired) and signal the end of the Prius, which, while having driven the segment back in the day, is now a lagging dinosaur of technological ineptness in the grandest of proportions.

Want to make up your own mind? Check out our 2015 Frankfurt motor show galleries – Day 1 : Day 2

Click on the Photos tab for more images by Jarrod Moore.