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Previewing the 2013 Frankfurt Auto Show

August 28, 2013|By David Undercoffler
  • This stylized four-door concept deliberately challenges categorization, Infiniti said. Thus, it is part hatchback, part coupe, part crossover. It will debut at the 2013 Frankfurt Auto Show.
This stylized four-door concept deliberately challenges categorization,… (Infiniti )

With the impending Labor Day weekend about to put the final nail in summer’s coffin, automakers around the globe are turning their attention to auto shows. This year's season unofficially kicks off Sept. 10, when Germany's Frankfurt Auto Show will open its doors to the automotive press. 

One of the largest auto shows in the world, the Frankfurt event is held every two years. Dozens of world debuts are expected from automakers; many of these will then make their way to Los Angeles in November for their North American debuts at our own Los Angeles Auto Show.

PHOTOS: Highlights of the 2013 Frankfurt show

Here’s a look at some of the highlights expected at the show.

Infiniti Q30:
That this all-new concept vehicle doesn’t have an X is its name is telling. Infiniti is in the middle of renaming its entire lineup, with all cars getting a Q designation, and SUVs and crossovers going with a QX.

This stylized four-door concept “deliberately challenges categorization,” Infiniti said. Thus, it is part hatchback, part coupe, part crossover. Just not enough of a crossover to give it an X.

Since this is more of a design study, powertrain details weren’t announced. Right now it’s just content to tease one of several new directions Infiniti is headed in. “The Q30 Concept signals the next step in an aggressive strategy to extend the Infiniti brand into new premium segments,” the automaker said.

Land Rover hybrids:
Land Rover will be launching a pair of hybrid diesel SUVs in Frankfurt; one each for the Range Rover and Range Rover Sport models. While the company has no immediate plans to bring these models to the U.S., it’s clear that it will need to do so in the very near future to meet emissions requirements.

Helping these models' chances of winding up at a U.S. dealership is the fact that many luxury European brands already sell a diesel SUV here. BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Audi and Porsche all offer diesel engines as an option in their SUVs.

Regardless of where they're sold, both of these Land Rover hybrid models will share the same 3.0-liter diesel engine. When paired with a 35kW electric motor, total horsepower is 335 and torque is a whopping 516 pound-feet.

Land Rover says vehicles will be able to travel up to a mile on electric power alone, at speeds of 30 mph. The electric motor is powered by a lithium-ion battery. Both the Range Rover and Range Rover Sport will retain the passenger space and cargo space of the non-hybrid models.

Chevrolet Camaro convertible:
We last saw the refreshed Camaro at the New York Auto Show in April, where it debuted in coupe form. This drop-top model changes very little from that model, save for better access to sunlight.

That means aesthetically the cars get the same refreshed front and rear ends that debuted in the spring, with a sleeker design hoping to shed some of the clunkiness seen on the current model.

It will be available in the same three trim levels (base LT with the V-6, SS with the V-8 and fire-breathing supercharged V-8 in the LT1). Transmissions come in six-speed automatic or manual form.

GM says this car will debut in Germany at nearly the same time the model is going on sale in the U.S.

Volvo concept coupe:
Remember Volvo? This Swedish brand now owned by a Chinese company certainly hopes people do, despite a dearth of new products over the last several years. To keep Volvo relevant, the company will debut a concept coupe Thursday. Teaser videos of the car can be seen here and here.

“I can assure you that Volvo’s vanilla days are over,” Thomas Ingenlath says in the first of the two videos. He’s the vice president of design for Volvo, a position he’s had since early 2012, when he left Volkswagen Group.

More details will follow Thursday’s announcement.

Jaguar SUV concept:
Jaguar is rumored to be bringing a concept SUV to the Frankfurt show that will preview a production vehicle the company plans to launch in the next several years. Jaguar has made no bones about its desire to break into two volume (and profitable) segments: compact sedans and compact SUVs.

Jaguar already has the drivetrains needed for these models. In the last year it has launched both V-6 engines and all-wheel-drive, components crucial to the forthcoming compact sedan and SUV. These are paired with an eight-speed transmission, a setup that probably won’t change when the new models debut.

While Frankfurt will undoubtedly be an important show for the Indian-owned British automaker, there are indications that the brand will make some significant news in November at the L.A. Auto Show too.

Audi A8:
With Mercedes-Benz unleashing numerous versions of its all-new S-Class full-size sedan right now, Audi is keen to keep its flagship A8 sedan current. It will use Frankfurt to show off updated versions of the car, with subtle tweaks to the exterior and engines.

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