Frankfurt 2011: Our Favorite Finds — Robert Cumberford

Our editors have been plenty busy scouring the show floor of the 2011 Frankfurt Motor Show — but in between running to and from press conferences and battling spotty Wi-Fi connections, they picked their three favorite concept and production cars at the show.

Robert Cumberford, Automotive Design Editor


Ford Evos

Not really a car, rather a direction forward for Ford styling. It’s much cleaner, simpler and elegant than recent mainstream Fords, and promises a set of products from Mustang to big SUVs that have a certain coherence and company identity. Let’s just hope they don’t use the same set of cues for Lincoln, too.

Citroën Tubik

Not a chance in hell that we’ll see a production derivative, but this is a  funny, nostalgic and yet forward-looking concept. I sat in it, found it really agreeable and think the whole notion of enjoying the trip rather than focusing on the destination a fine idea for a concept. Funky and fun.

BMW i8

When this compact four seater comes to market it’s not likely to retain transparent side panels, but it will still be the production car closest to a far-out concept available to the public. Dramatic, practical and ecologically correct, it recalls what BMW is supposed to be.


Citroën DS 5

After a long period of fumbling and missing the mark, Citroën has come back with one of the most elaborately thought-out and well-executed interiors in the business. Fit, function and finish are exemplary, impressing every designer I talked with in Frankfurt. A nice surprise.

Volkswagen Up

The simplicity of form, clarity of purpose, and promise of accessible pricing make this new VW the true successor of the original Beetle. I suspect it will cannibalize sales of the Polo and Golf, but will also make life difficult for all Asian and European competitors. It has been a long time coming, forty years after the Porsche-designed, engine-under-the-back seat.

Porsche 911

Yes, it’s important, and many valuable changes have been made, but the appearance is frankly disappointing, far too slavishly following past practice. But being faster, lighter and less apt to catch out unprepared drivers is certainly praiseworthy. And of course its success is preordained.

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