WALKING THE HALLS OF THE FRANKURT MESSE IS not for the fainthearted or those who value style over substance when it comes to footwear. As with every Frankfurt motor show, the home manufacturers ruled the roost this year, or rather they would like you to think they did. And while the remarkable achievement of AMG turning Lewis Hamilton’s 2015 F1 car into a road car can never be underestimated – where on Earth do you start with such a project? – the ‘me too’ approach to product planning by filling every niche with a crossover was beyond tiresome.
However, away from the Mercedes cathedral, the VW Group’s hanger and BMW’S new town, there were as many, if not more, interesting stories percolating throughout the other eight halls. None more so than on Hyundai’s stand.
It wasn’t brash, over the top or attempting to rival a small city’s population when it came to the number of staff working on it. Rather there was a selection of products to demonstrate why Korea’s largest car manufacturer should be taken seriously now it has decided to enter the performance car market.
The first road-going fruit of this strategy is the i30 N, driven on page 32, but it was what was positioned around it – the WRC i20 Coupe, the i30 N TCR race car, and the i30 N that Hyundai entered into this year’s N24 – that illustrated the breadth of the company’s aspirations. So it was no surprise to spot a handful of execs and engineers from Europe’s leading manufacturers passing by to take in the rather impressive, if understated, message of intent.
While others focus on the thrill of niche filling, it’s refreshing to see a new contender take on the challenge of delivering the thrill of driving.
Cover image photographed by Aston Parrott