Top 10 car tech innovations at the Frankfurt Motor Show 2013

6. Volkswagen e-Golf

VW e-Golf

If Marks and Spencer made cars, they'd look an awful lot like the VW Golf. Well made, and just a whiff of middle-class aspiration.

Except mass market cars have now become so high tech, we now have a purel-electric, lithium-powered Golf. Remarkable. As if that wasn't enough, the Golf is now available with a metric tonne of techy options.

Robo-parking? Radar-controlled cruise? Auto-dipping headlights? Yup, the Golf's got the lot. It's a bit like pulling on a pair of M&S pants and finding a touchscreen and digicam sown into the waistband. UK prices have yet to be announced.

7. Alfa 4C

Alfa 4C

It's been an awfully long time coming, but finally there's an Alfa Romeo worthy of the badge. The new 4C is simply a stunner.

There's a lot more to it that just good looks, too. Its hewn from carbon fibre. That's critical in achieving the incredible sub-900kg kerb weight.

Then there's the engine and gearbox. Out goes the traditional multi-cylinder Italian orchestra. In comes a modern, compact direct-injection, turbocharged four-cylinder lump and a dual-clutch robo-shifter.

Less romantic? Perhaps, but almost definitely more effective. The only pity is the pricing. £50,000-plus is an awful lot for a 1.7-litre sports car, even one this desirable.

8. Citroën Cactus

Citroen Cactus

Once upon a time, Citroën was perhaps the most innovative, most intellectually vibrant of all car manufacturers. In recent decades? The odd flourish aside, not so much.

But things are looking up with the new Cactus concept. Critically, Citroën says a production version little changed from the concept will be forthcoming shortly.

They'll have to add a middle pillar, so the open-plan airiness of the cabin will take a hit. But if the intriguing compressed air hybrid tech and impact-absorbing capsules on the body make the showroom, we'll be very happy bunnies.

9. Volvo Coupe Concept

Volvo Coupe

Bashing Volvo for producing boring looking boxes used to be the familiar refrain. But the truth is, the Swedish car maker has one of the most elegant car ranges currently available.

Enter the Volvo Coupe Concept. Not the most imaginative name, but maybe all the creative effort went into the beautiful body shape. The attractions go beyond the visual, however. The concept showcases Volvo's upcoming range of automated driver aids and safety features.

That includes smart cruise that can steer you through traffic jams and pedestrian detection and collision avoidance technology. There's a large touchscreen and a head up display, too, because, well, you're nobody in this business without a few of those.

Volvo also paid lip service to the natural integration of user interfaces in its upcoming cars, but time will tell how that works in practice.

10. Nissan Friend-Me

Nissan Friend Me

If there was a disappointment about the Frankfurt show, it was the lack of some really whizz bang multimedia and in-car infotainment demos.

Enter the Nissan Friend-Me. Garbled Japlish moniker aside, this concept is all about ticking boxes for the technophilic urban youth. There's a panoply of screens inside and advanced smartphone integration, including support for mutiple handsets.

Nissan Friend Me

The idea is that you jump on board with your chums, hook up and do you social networking thing. Except the screens are dummies and the technology appears to be entirely conceptual. Or not real, in layman's terms. Pity.


Technology and cars. Increasingly the twain shall meet. Which is handy, because Jeremy (Twitter) is addicted to both. Long-time tech journalist, former editor of iCar magazine and incumbent car guru for T3 magazine, Jeremy reckons in-car technology is about to go thermonuclear. No, not exploding cars. That would be silly. And dangerous. But rather an explosive period of unprecedented innovation. Enjoy the ride.