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2005 Frankfurt Auto Show, Part III

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2005 BMW 3-Series Touring

2005 BMW 3-Series Touring

2005 Frankfurt Auto Show Index by TCC Team (9/5/2005)

 

 

MINI Traveller Concept

 

2000 Mercedes CL Coupe

2000 Mercedes CL Coupe

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Despite some time confusion on the floor of the MINI stand – could it really be 4 p.m. in Buenos Aires and 8 p.m. in New York, as the logo beneath would have it? — there’s no confusing the future of the MINI Traveler concept shown at Frankfurt on Monday. MINI says it’s going to broaden its future lineup, and while the Traveler may be a bit much to contemplate now, it’s certainly being considered as an addition to the next generation car coming in a year or so.

Pitching it as a latter-day successor to the Mini Traveller that bowed exactly 45 years ago in September 1960, the new concept has a long side view made more expansive by the lack of a B-pillar. Big doors make for easier access to the back seats. And the back of the vehicle is bespoke with all sorts of utility solutions: the doors are symmetrically split, the roof opens for loading taller objects and the cargo box at the rear has a clear sliding shelf that moves out of the way for your stuff – or flips toward the headliner and latches into place to provide a see-through separator between humans and their things.

While its press conference was hipster pitch-perfect (do you recall all the words to the 1980s novelty hit Double Dutch Bus?) the Traveller proved a bit of a paradox. Does the world want a bigger MINI? The concept of jumbo shrimp seems to work okay, but then they’re not fueled by $3 a gallon gas, nor are they particularly difficult to park.

 

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BMW Z4 Coupe Concept

 

2000 Mercedes C-class Sport

2000 Mercedes C-class Sport

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Is the Z4 Coupe a logical candidate for production? Is the Pope German? BMW executives were fairly open about the prospects for the Z4 Coupe Concept, which looks much like the new Viper coupe or Porsche Cayman and improves markedly on the base roadster’s shape.

Like the Cayman, the Z4 Concept shares its fundamentals with a roadster, and while it has its own roof and luggage area, the Z4 Concept shares the Z4’s 3.0-liter in-line six-cylinder engine with 265 hp and 232 lb-ft of torque. BMW says it will take only 5.7 seconds to accelerate from 0 to 60 mph and will hit a top speed of 155 mph. Electric power steering and more powerful brakes are expected to make it into the production version of the Z4 Coupe when it arrives in the 2007 model year.

 

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BMW EfficientDynamics Concept

 

2005 BMW 3-Series Touring

2005 BMW 3-Series Touring

Enlarge Photo
BMW packed more than any other manufacturer into its 30-minute presentation on Monday, namechecking the ten new models it’s introduced since the last Frankfurt show and rolling off the laundry list of new models gracing the stand this year, including a new 3-Series with xDrive; an uprated 650i Convertible, which replaces the former 645Ci; new four-cylinder gas and six-cylinder diesel models in the 3-Series lineup; a long-wheelbase 730Ld diesel; and a new 265-hp version of the 1-Series compact, the 130i.

 

But the most intriguing vehicle, given recent developments on the hybrid front, was the X3-based EfficientDynamics concept. BMW’s take on hybrids offers a system that uses supercapacitors to store energy and deliver it in bursts under heavy acceleration. Combined with “high-precision” direct fuel injection and a transmission outfitted with an electric-motor system, the system could have some bearing on what BMW will bring to the hybrid party now that it has signed an agreement to cooperate with GM and DaimlerChrysler on hybrid development. BMW says its system can boost fuel economy in the European city cycle by up to 20 percent.


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