: The new sedan--a Bentley Continental challenger, perhaps, but a pricey one--was unveiled at Frankfurt in a dashing shade of sable. There's a preview at the link, and elsewhere you can follow Rolls' Ghost configurator Web site through the process of customizing your Ghost. You can plan your colors and trims on your new British sedan before accessing all your home equity to actually pay for the thing. Big V-8 and V-12 engines are in the offing, along with an eight-speed automatic, coupe and convertible body styles, and a certain sense of privilege.
2011 Bentley Mulsanne
: Catfight Part II pits the 2011 Mulsanne right up against the dowager Rolls-Royce Phantom. Oh, yes--it's on. The Mulsanne gets a new architecture, a new V-8 engine, and probably a $300,000 base price. That's before you order the in-door drink carts, knurled aluminum dash, quilted seats, and before you order people around in that tone.
2010 Saab 9-5
: GM's set to sell the brand to Koenigsegg, which makes the future of Saab uncertain in our eyes. However, they're insisting the 2010 9-5 four-door and wagon are coming.
: Volvo’s ultra-stylish C70 Convertible has a received a facelift for the 2010 model year and has been revealed in Frankfurt, and it's a worthwhile update to the somewhat stodgy four-seat fold-top. Equipped with the same three-piece steel roof, practical seating for four adults and Volvo’s renowned reputation for safety, the facelifted C70 features an updated front and rear design, along with an updated interior.
2011 Mercedes-Benz E-Class Wagon
: It's returning to America in E350 4Matic form, to pair with the recently driven E-Class sedan and wagon. Alas, the AMG edition shown here won't make the trip to America.
BMW X1: The new crossover is smaller than an X3, pricier than a Honda CR-V, and more adept at social media than lots of auto Web sites we know. We'll take a closer look and maybe drive one around the Frankfurt halls, if we can grab the keys from unsuspecting PR folks.
Audi R8 Spyder: The convertible version of Audi's sportscar shows up, with V-10 power "inspired" by Lamborghini. Possibly with a crowd of followers, too. Audi promises a 195-mph hairstyle for those with $150,000 or so in their coffers (coiffeurs?). There's also the electric version, the wildly named e-tron concept. No light cycles, though, drat.
Hyundai Tucson: The new compact crossover is known as the ix35 in Europe. In Frankfurt, the Tucson shows up with a much more muscular style. Front-drive and all-wheel-drive versions will be offered in the U.S. Tucson; a four-cylinder engine and a six-cylinder option are expected to power the new crossover.MINI Cooper Camden and Mayfair: It's MINI's 50th anniversary, and these two models will show up, just waiting for someone to take their picture. We'll volunteer.
Superlight Mazda MX-5 Miata: A race-minded version of the "Miata" (get over it) shows up in Frankfurt; is your track license up to date?
2009 Mazda MX-5 Miata Superlight concept at the 2009 Frankfurt auto showEnlarge Photo
VW Polo: The new world subcompact takes a bow. Come 2011, it's coming to the U.S. to take on the Honda Fit and Ford Fiesta and Chevy Spark.
2012 Ford C-MAX: A new compact minivan based on the next Focus, the C-Max arrives in the U.S. late in 2011 with the global name and all.
2009 Frankfurt Auto Show: Concept Cars
BMW Concept EfficientDynamics
: It's a diesel, a hybrid, a plug-in, a three-cylinder--and a tour de force, perhaps? BMW's Vision EfficientDynamics concept car grafts fashionable green technology on the body of a 2+2 sports car. The promise: BMW M-car performance from a vehicle with a three-cylinder diesel plug-in hybrid powertrain.
Roadster Concepts: Dubbed the 2009 MINI Coupe or MINI Roadster Concept, the latest concept cars preview what will show up in the brand's showrooms in a couple of years. MINI is calling it a prototype for now but its engine and chassis, in this case a 211 horsepower and 192 pound-feet of torque (206 pound-feet with overboost) 1.6-liter gasoline unit and stiffened suspension lifted from the high-performance John Cooper Works model
, are entirely plausible for a production spec model. Strictly a two-seater, the low roof line, compact dimensions, perfect axle load distribution and lightweight construction are all trademarks of a genuine sports car.
2009 Lexus LF-Ch concept at the 2009 Frankfurt auto showEnlarge Photo
: The 2010 Lexus HS 250h is barely out and about, and already Lexus is preparing for an even more compact hybrid. The concept for the new concept, called the LF-Ch, has been revealed in Frankfurt. The rear three-quarters view of the car shows off some pleasant lines, but the heavily-styled rear fascia and stealthed door handles are not likely to make it to a production version.
Trabant electric car concept for 2009 Frankfurt auto showEnlarge Photo
: It's the brand no one wanted revived. Now, a German company with the rather itchy name of Herpa says it will reconstitute the Trabant brand at the 2009 Frankfurt auto show. They'll show a "New Trabi" prototype to lure investors in their scheme to restart the brand in its hometown of Zwickau. The concept will "sport" an electric drivetrain, a solar panel for battery recharges (perfect for powering up during those long, sunny winter days in Rostock), and a driving range of--well, they're claiming 156 miles.