We love auto show season, but the European events–like the one in Frankfurt set to open to the public Thursday–always cause pangs of jealousy in our collective octane-fueled guts. Here’s a quick overview of a few cars revealed today at Frankfurt’s auto show that will never grace a North American showroom, much to our eternal sadness.
2016 Renault Megane
It seems a strange thing to get excited about a compact family car, but what’s notable here is Renault’s decision to launch the latest generation Megane with the sport-oriented GT model. It’ll be powered by a gas motor making 202 hp, and a diesel good for 163 hp will come later in the model year; both engines will be matched with dual-clutch transmissions with wheel-mounted shift paddles. Other notable stuff includes four-wheel steering, and five drive modes that work not only on the car’s mechanics, but also the front seats’ massage function, and cabin lighting.
With GM’s upscale Buick division effectively being a North American clearing house for Opel vehicles, we don’t think it unreasonable that the new Astra should come here. If Buick is serious about courting younger buyers, this good-looking little hatchback would be a neat alternative to the Verano sedan that serves as the brand’s entry-level model in North America. We don’t know whether a Buick hatchback would sell more than a handful of examples a year, but we’d like to see GM give it a shot. The new Astra line also includes the handsome Sports Tourer wagon.
Volkswagen GTI Clubsport
Another can’t-have-it from VW is the GTI Clubsport, which takes the GTI as we in North American know it, and turns the performance up to 11. A familiar 2.0L four-cylinder cranks out 261 hp, or 286 in a 10-second overboost mode, which is nearly enough time for two runs from zero to 100 km/h, a feat VW says the Clubsport does in less than six seconds. With unique aero add-ons, sport seats, and an Alcantara-trimmed interior, the Clubsport might sound like everything you want, but unless you live in Europe, you can’t have it.
Volkswagen Multivan Panamericana concept
Its name is a mouthful, but perhaps that’s fitting for a van made to carry a motorcycle in its cargo hold. The Multivan Panamericana (surely Porsche can’t be happy about this) is a concept, but a realistic one, being based on the latest-generation Transporter. As familiar as the van’s styling are the 2.0L turbodiesel engine and a DSG dual-clutch transmission used in all kinds of other VW models. Not only does a motorbike fit in back, but this concept includes an electric ramp to help get it inside, and tie hooks to keep it still once it’s in.
Seat Leon Cupra and Leon Cross Sport
We kind of wish every car was a Volkswagen GTI, and to fans of Seat (a Spanish brand owned by VW), the Leon Cupra 290 basically is one, with a different body. Following a similar line is the Leon Cross Sport, which takes the Cupra and adds a lifted suspension and all-wheel drive. Strangely enough, it’s the latter we like the sound of more: kind of like a Subaru XV Crosstrek with a personality.