Frankfurt 2011: Our Favorite Finds — Donny Nordlicht

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.

Donny Nordlicht, Associate Web Editor


Jaguar C-X16

This is the concept I cannot wait to see enter production. Jaguar says it wants to return to being a performance-oriented brand, and a two-seat sports car would do just that. While the C-X16 may look great in photos, it looks absolutely gorgeous in person: it’s hard to really take in the car’s low, wide, and relatively long proportions without standing next to it. One neat detail? The jungle cat pictured within the traditional Jaguar grille emblem is wearing sunglasses on this car. A cool cat, indeed.

Ford Fiesta ST

The Fiesta ST may only be a concept by technicality, but it shows that Ford is absolutely serious about expanding its performance portfolio and doing so worldwide. The Fiesta ST utilizes a 180-hp EcoBoost four-cylinder and will probably see the same kind of performance upgrades of its Focus ST big brother, but in a smaller package. What’s so wrong with more performance for the masses? I say nothing at all.

Fisker Surf

Fisker calls this a concept for the time being, but if things — including delivery and production of the basic Karma sedan — go according to plan, the Surf could be in production by 2013/2014. Until then, it’s just too beautiful to ignore. It takes the muscular design of the Karma sedan, and adds a level of seduction by elongating the roofline and a sleekly sloping hatch.


Mercedes-Benz B-Class

The B-Class is by no means the most attractive car at this year’s Frankfurt Motor Show – not the Mercedes-Benz stand, for that matter – but it makes my top three for its significance. It is the first of a number of vehicles to be built on Mercedes’ new MFA front-wheel drive platform, four or five of which we will see here in the U.S. While the B-Class may not stir the soul, it’s rumored that the “baby CLS” that will ride on this platform is breathtaking.

Ford Focus ST/Opel Astra GTC (tie)

These two hot hatches tie because they make my list for the same reason: they are compact performance hatches and are both heading, undiluted, to the U.S. The fact that both Ford and General Motors are getting serious about giving the states the cars journalists have been crooning over for years shows that not only are they unifying their lineups, but that the American consumer is no longer one who steers away from sportiness. Let’s just hope that Buick manages to build up its brand credibility with the Regal GS in order to build a business case for the GTC’s arrival in our market.