|Green was the theme at the 2007 Frankfurt Motor Show but, judging by the number of rides sporting 200-mph speedometers, it’s safe to say the choice of upcoming vehicles won’t be limited to planet-saving bubble cars. Every eco-friendly debut was matched by a newly introduced sports car tuned for more power and sharper handling. Ask someone else to tell you how many grams of CO2/km will be saved worldwide. Read on to get the lowdown on the hottest Euro pavement pounders pending release. Before jumping headfirst into the exotic pool, though, let’s check out some more attainable items.
BMW M presented their newest 3-series transformation. The E92-based M3 coupe comes standard with an unpainted carbon fiber roof and ditches the 335i’s TT inline 6 in favor of a 4-liter V8 (based on the current M5/M6 V10) good for 414 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque, with a screaming 8400-rpm redline. The new M3 hits US showrooms early next year. Rumors of the four-door version’s return are also floating around.
Mercedes-Benz and AMG have already prepared their pre-emptive strike against a possible M3 sedan. The same basic formula applies: small 4-door, big V8. In AMG’s case, at 6.2 liters, it’s pretty darn big. Badged C 63 AMG, the car is based on the newly updated C-Class and boogies to the tune of 450 hp and 440 lb-ft of torque. The C 63 AMG is easily identified by its prominently flared wheel arches, large silver 6-pot front calipers and signature quad-tailpipe exhaust. If you need to take your skis aboard on your way to 60 mph (which takes 4.5 seconds) a wagon version will also be available.
What, 450 hp not enough? Audi doesn’t think so. Alongside the company’s premiere of the new A4 sat the most powerful production wagon in the world – the Audi RS 6 Avant. Audi and its subsidiary quattro GmbH have a long tradition of über-powerful, silly-fast sleeper wagons and the new Avant fully lives up to its RS namesake. With 580 hp from a twin-turbocharged and intercooled version of the Gallardo V10, how could it not? Expect a sedan version to follow sometime after the car’s European launch in April of next year.
Further up the sports car food chain, factory tuned track specials were the order of the day. Debuts from Aston Martin (DBS), Ferrari (430 Scuderia) and Porsche (911 GT2) all share a common design approach: take a company road car and tweak it for a purer driving experience by upgrading the chassis while reducing weight and adding power. To this end, composite materials are freely used. All three cars feature carbon ceramic brake discs as standard equipment to reduce unsprung weight and rotational mass. Carbon fiber is used for the DBS’ hood, front fenders and trunk, which alone reduces 65 pounds from a standard DB9’s curb weight. The 430 Scuderia also benefits from the material for the car’s hood, side sills, and rear diffuser. Inside, the Ferrari’s steering wheel, seatbacks and entire door panels are all made of CF. As in the previous generation, Porsche engineers shed most of the 911 GT2’s weight by removing its AWD system. The new “widowmaker” employs the same variable turbine geometry as the 911 Turbo but with larger turbochargers and more efficient intercoolers. The setup is good for 530 hp and an impressive 505 lb-ft of torque on tap from 2200 through 4500 rpm. A power to weight ratio of 6 lbs / hp skips the GT2 to 60 mph in 3.6 seconds. Its new aero package allows the car to hit in excess of 200 mph making it the first production 911 with this ability. The Aston and Ferrari are no slouches either, with the former’s 6-liter V12 and the latter’s 4.3-liter V8 each making 510 hp. The DBS reaches 60 in 4.3 seconds. The 430 Scuderia’s lower weight and new F1-SuperFast2 clutchless 6-speed manual (with 60 ms shift times) allow it to attain the same mark in 3.6 s. Both top faster than 190 mph.
The biggest buzz of the show came from the Lamborghini stand. The boys from Sant’Agata Bolognese unveiled a jaw-dropping supercar with a jaw-dropping price: 1.4 million dollars. Finished in beautiful matte silver with subtle metallic green flakes, the Lamborghini Reventón continues the company’s tradition of naming its cars after famous Italian fighting bulls. The car’s base is in fact the Murciélago LP640 but the exterior and interior have undergone a complete redesign. Power comes from the Murci’s 6.5-liter V12 and thanks to revised variable-geometry air intakes is increased to 650 hp, up 10 ponies over the LP640. Lamborghini says its design language for the car was inspired by modern fighter jets (think F-22 Raptor) and this is particularly apparent in the instrument panel where TFT liquid crystal displays replace traditional analog gauges. The displays’ content is switchable and one of the choices is a G-meter to update the pilot on the extremeness of his… er, driving. Assuming you have the means to pick one up, you’re still out of luck since all 20 examples to be built are spoken for.
As sick as the OEM offerings were in Frankfurt, they paled in comparison to the bombshell dropped on the show floor by Brabus. In celebration of its 30th anniversary the infamous Benz tuner trumped M-B’s own in-house skunkworks by releasing the most intense C-Class sedan ever. The Brabus Bullit is stuffed with a twin-turbo V12 punched out to 6.2 liters to produce 720 hp and 974 lb-ft of torque, which is limited by the car’s ECU to 811 lb-ft to keep the heavily-modified 5-speed automatic in one piece. Brabus call the car the ultimate wolf in sheep’s clothing but that description is tough to accept given the car’s extensive aerodynamic overhaul. A deep aggressive air dam wraps into the Bullit’s flared fenders, which add 60 mm to the sedan’s overall width. Air extractors are cut into the trailing edge of the flares to help cool the massive brakes needed to keep this 225-mph supersedan under control. The front rotors measure 15” in diameter and are clamped by 12-piston aluminum calipers while the rear stoppers make do with 14” rotors and 6-pot binders. At the tail Brabus have included a 3-piece carbon fiber lip and an air diffuser integrated in the bumper to keep the car glued to the pavement. The Bullit is built to order and pricing starts above $480,000. How’s that for green?