Frankfurt Motor Show 2017

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Shuffling through the hordes of well-dressed German businessmen and their chronically attractive high heeled associates you could easily convince yourself that you were in a Ferrero Rocher advertisement, if it wasn’t for the uncouth looking nerds, like myself, scuttling around with weapons grade cameras and open mouths.  

I was at this year’s Frankfurt motor show to watch the unveiling of Skoda’s new mini Kodiaq, the Karoq, a car that will undoubtedly grace Irish roads in huge numbers. 

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Before they lifted the cover off the new Karoq, Skoda revealed their first ever purely electric concept car; the Skoda Vision E.  

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This completely electric car will be unveiled in 2020 and is expected to have level 3 autonomous drive by 2025.  

A level 3 autonomous car can completely take over steering on motorways, control overtaking and evasive manoeuvres, accelerate and even apply the brakes. 

Skoda says that this concept car will have a 225kw battery motor and a range of 500km and while at they also told the world’s press to expect a plug in hybrid Superb by 2019. 

Presented by Skoda CEO Bernhard Maier, the Karoq was unveiled to plethora of eager onlookers who were filled in on the car’s good looks and new features  

The Karoq, which seats five, is expected to be on Irish roads by this December, will have a new driver-assistance system, full LED headlights, a new digital information display and a new 1.5 TSI petrol engine, which is a first for Skoda.  

There will be five engines available in both diesel and petrol, ranging in power from 115bhp to 190bhp. 

The Karoq also has a VarioFlex system, meaning that all three rear seats can move or be removed independently.  

The top navigation systems, Columbus and Amundsen, offer a Wi-Fi hotspot and an optional LTE module is available for the Columbus system for on board WiFi. 

When I managed to peel myself away from the Karoq I stumbled upon a Bugatti Chiron which had recently broken a record by going from 0 to 400kmh and back to 0 again in 42-seconds.  

As I tried to snap a picture of the blue beast I noticed a small, South American looking man standing in the way of my shot, so I gestured with a flick of my wrist for him to get out of my way, which he politely did.  

I then bumbled off and found myself faced with two Lamborghini Aventador S Roadsters and CEO Stefano Domenicali who was teasing the world’s press with silhouettes and engine notes from their new Lambo Super-SUV, which will be launched in 2018.  

I passed Bughatti once again on the way out of the hangar as they introduced the Chiron and spoke about its record breaking run. 

Just as I arrived at the stand the speaker introduced the driver who had accomplished the high speed feat.  

Out walked, to a roaring applause, the man I had earlier gestured to get out of the way of the car, as the orator boomed the name “Juan Pablo Montoya”. 

For those of you who don’t know, Montoya was a Formula 1 star for almost a decade and now drives for IndyCar in the US. 

In my defence, he looks different with the helmet off.  

Walking around the music festival sized show it was clear as day that Electric Vehicles (EV) were getting all the attention and were firmly the belle of the ball. 

It was odd to see big, high horsepower exotic brands showing their eco sensitive side as they put their electric and hybrid models front and centre.  

Porsche had two hybrid Panameras at the front of their stand, flanked by a 718 Cayman and Boxter while their flagship 911 was hidden at the back.  

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While at the stand I popped into the Porsche shop, where I found three espresso cups on sale for €60, near a USB key with a price tag of €39, both however are still pale in comparison to the cufflinks on sale in the Bugatti area for an eye watering €230.  

Throughout the show name on everyone’s lips was Mercedes as they unveiled their 1,000bhp F1 derived hypercar, the Project One.

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The Mercedes-AMG car will go from 0-200kph in 6 seconds and onward to 350kph, all from a 1.6 litre V6 hybrid motor.  

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It’s near impossible to cram the extent of automotive wonder displayed at the Frankfurt show into one short article, but the range of jaw dropping cars, flanked on all sides by brand sponsored ‘lovely girls’  is comparable to strolling around in a young boy’s dream.  

So what can we take from the Frankfurt motor show? Everyone’s building electric cars and can’t stop talking about ones that drive themselves and I know now what Juan Pablo Montoya looks like.  

I do, however, know what The Stig actually looks like, read my interview with Ben Collins.

Morgan Flanagan Creagh

Sunday World 2017