Frankfurt Motor Show: Eddie Cunningham rates Honda 2&4 to the Toyota Prius
All the main marques are vying for attention in the countdown to this month's big motor show. We report on the latest batch
They are lining up concepts and realities at a rate of knots for next week's Frankfurt Motor Show with virtually every manufacturer on the market promising or revealing something new.
It's always the same - nearly everything is leaked in advance because that way they at least get a share of publicity that might be substantially less when the feeding frenzy begins on the day.
So here's a flavour of what has emerged in just the past few days.
Only revealed for public consumption at midnight is Honda's '2&4' concept.
This is a vehicle they claim combines the thrill of riding a motorbike with the fun of driving a car.
The oddly-named '2&4' Project has an open cockpit and the driver's seat is, as they say, 'suspended just above the road' - which is where you get the motorbike effect.
The RC213V competition motorcycle engine, modified to run on public roads, is the basis for extreme performance with the red line only coming at 14,000 rpm.
The 999cc V4 four-stroke gets to 215PS at 13,000rpm with peak torque of 118Nm at 10,500 rpm. There is a 6spd DCT gearbox.
Design of the body and the location of mid-mounted engine draw on the classic Honda RA272 from 1965.
The concept is just 3,040mm long, 1,820mm wide and 995mm high. It only weighs 405kg.
Much closer to reality is Jaguar's new F-Pace and the latest preview image shows the side profile of the marque's first SUV.
Something to whet the appetite, no doubt.
They have been extensively testing this and it seems to be generating a lot of interest.
Not to be outdone, Bentley says its first SUV, the Bentayga, will be the fastest of its kind on the road - as well as being the most expensive.
It will have a top speed of 301kmh. Now that should be one stunning drive.
And the next-generation Nissan Zed will be previewed with a baby SUV concept which is due on the market by 2017.
BMW will underline a serious push on plug-ins by debuting the 225xe, 330e and 740e. (See opposite page).
Sure to be a major attraction too will be the Mercedes S-Class Cabriolet (it is due to arrive here next summer). The range topping S63 577bhp should be quite something.
And the design of the next Veyron will be strongly hinted at if not detailed by Bugatti when it unfurls its Vision Gran Turismo.
Citroen will show their Cactus M concept, with the convertible version drawing inspiration from the lightweight Mehari 4x4.
Hyundai will beef up the i20 range with an Active version, due to go on sale early next year.
One of the really big arrivals will be the fourth generation Toyota Prius. This will be the first to be based on the company's new modular architecture.
The new hybrid is expected to be here in time for the 161-registration period.
Peugeot always have something eye-catching at these shows and their Fractal concept will, among other things, give us a clue about future interiors as well as a sound symposer safety system.
And SEAT's Leon Cupra 290 gets even more power (290PS) and will go on sale in the autumn.
The 290PS comes from the 2-litre turbocharged petrol engine.
And that, by my calculation, puts it ahead of the mighty Volkswagen Golf R and Ford Focus ST-2 in the power stakes.
Meanwhile, Porsche is adding turbocharged engines to its 911 range to meet tougher fuel consumption and emission rules.
Motors will be there to bring you full coverage of the show next week. Don't miss it.