Highlights From the Frankfurt Auto Show: A Hardcore Ferrari, Opel Monza Concept, and More

The Frankfurt Auto Show in Germany is one of the biggest automotive conventions of the year next to the displays in Detroit, Geneva, and Los Angeles, and I thought it more interesting to start coverage with a list of duds rather than the highlights. The Nissan Rogue, smart fourjoy, and Mansory La Revoluzione all compose the Bottom 3, but there were plenty of sweet performance-minded production and concept vehicles that debuted this week. Here are a few of the best cars premiered at the Frankfurt Auto Show:

Ferrari 458 Speciale

Ferrari 458 Speciale Front 34

As sure as there is a new V8 Ferrari, so there too shall be a stripped out version for weekend racers. Like the F430 Scuderia before it, the Ferrari 458 Speciale jettisons superfluous luxuries like carpeted flooring and leather encrusted everything, swapping Alcantara for the touch surfaces and adding in a rather unfortunate faux e-brake upon which the transmission buttons are attached.  The naturally aspirated 4.5L V8 gets a bump from an already potent 562hp to 596hp. Some exterior design elements, like the grille-mounted flaps at the front and triple exhaust pipes at the back have been erased or replaced. A new rear diffuser is added, and the intakes complementing the headlights have been enlarged. Like in the previous lightweight models, an unsubtle racing stripe marks the Speciale as the supercar unfit for GT work. The Speciale rockets to 60mph from standstill in under 3 seconds, and Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires keep the 458 Speciale glued to the track. No release date has been set.

Alpina D3 Bi-Turbo


There are very few high performance diesel engines in the motoring world, and Audi lays claim to most of them. From the Q7 V12 TDI to Audi’s racing success at Le Mans, the four-ringed wonder and parent Volkswagen certainly push hard for oil burners. It’s a surprise, then, that a new sports car fueled by diesel will soon come to market (although it has a snowball’s chance in hell of making it to the States), and it won’t carry the Audi badge. BMW’s ties with tuner Alpina have again paid off in the form of a hi-po diesel wagon known as the D3 Bi-Turbo. Although the D3 starts its life as a run-of-the-mill 3 Series Wagon, Alpina stuffs a twin-turbo 3.0L in the front and jacks the thrust to 11. The motor makes 345hp and a stonking 516lb-ft of torque, and buyers can choose between RWD or AWD. 4.6 seconds is the official sprint time, and the D3 will pull all the way to 176mph.

Opel Monza Concept

Opel Mona Front

Frankfurt is no stranger to concept vehicles, and 2013 is no different. We’ve already seen and been impressed by Jaguar’s C-X17 SUV, and Opel’s Monza concept is another unexpected hit. General Motors’ German subsidiary has been in a bit of a rough patch recently, and it needed a hit to convince the world that it is still relevant. If any part of the Monza influences future cars, Opel may be able to rise from the doldrums. The Monza is a long hatchback with roof-mounted doors that are wide enough to access both rows of seats. The view from the rear is the only questionable angle, as it looks a bit too much like a Porsche Panamera to be a completely beautiful design study. The interior of the car has more than a few shades of Mazda concept car design, and the fan-shaped wheels are seriously cool.

In other news:

Volvo V60 Wagon

Volvo will finally bring a wagon back to the United States next year in the form of the S60-based V60. The Volvo faithful cried foul when the Swedish automaker pulled the V50 in 2011 as it still struggled through the recession, but the dark days are over for Volvo wagon lovers. The R-Design package will include a turbo V6 developing 325hp, making it the fastest Volvo wagon ever.

Audi Sport Quattro Front

-The Audi Quattro concept that debuted in 2010 at the Paris Motor Show garnered a lot of attention, and rumors have persisted for years that Audi is looking to bring a limited-production version to market. Now, Audi has unveiled a new concept car called the Audi Sport Quattro, and this time the car is packing a twin-turbo V8 plug-in hybrid under the hood; the engine produces a monstrous 700hp and 590 lb-ft of torque. Unfortunately, there’s still no word on an actual production model.

-The BMW i8 plug-in hybrid sports car has been given an official price: $135,700 not including destination charges.


Ferrari 458 Speciale

Alpina D3 Bi-Turbo

Opel Monza Concept

Audi Sport Quattro

Photos courtesy of Ferrari, Alpina, Opel, Volvo, and Audi


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About Cameron Rogers

Cameron Rogers is the founder and lead writer at Downshift Autos, the only automotive blog on the Internet*. Born in the back of an AMC Gremlin, Cameron vowed to never let this extraordinarily embarrassing detail define him, so help him God. He drives a GTI but absolutely will not shut up about it if somebody asks. He will not hesitate to let people know that no, they shouldn't get a Porsche 911 when a Morgan 3 Wheeler is so obviously the superior choice. He is obsessed with the seats of a Carrera GT and the steering wheel of a Fisker Karma. He once sat in the driver's seat of a Tesla Model S, his greatest accomplishment to date. He is just now realizing that writing an autobiography, however miniscule, in the third person is odd and unnerving. *As of this writing, Cameron has been informed that there are, in fact, many websites and blogs centered around cars and car culture. He regrets his grievous error.

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