Volkswagen took the wraps off of their completely restyled Beetle at the beginning of 2011, and they’ve come to the Frankfurt Motor Show to show off one of the new car’s variants. Well, in concept form anyway. The new Beetle R Concept provides a glimpse of the future production model and is the "sportiest Beetle ever."

The new Beetle R concept will be distinguished by completely redesigned front and rear bumpers that gain an extra 30mm from the standard Beetle. The front bumper is designed as a motorsport-inspired splitter and houses three air intakes in a contrasting “Black High Gloss", one supplies the engine with oxygen and the other two cool the brakes. The hood also offers ventilation with its own air vent. The rear bumper features air exhaust vents, a diffuser integrated in the lower bumper area, a rear spoiler that is significantly larger than in the production model, and an exhaust system with two sets of dual chrome tailpipes.

The entire car is covered in a "Serious Gray" color which find its way into the interior, in the form of accents like the brushed aluminum pedal caps. The motorsport shell seats are upholstered in black Nappa leather combined with "Space Blue" on the seats seat seams and piping. The dashboard accents and decorative elements around the gear shift grip are finished in "Black High Gloss" and the entire central instrument cluster has been designed in the Volkswagen’s R-specific: tachometer in the middle, in the style of a sports car. The "R" logo also appears to illustrate that the Beetle R is the more powerful version of the Beetle.

One of the big models unveiled on Ford ’s booth for the 2011 Frankfurt Motor Show was the Ford Focus ST , but in the ST’s shadow is the race-tweaked, production-based Focus ST-R. The Focus ST-R is purpose-built for the track by Ford Racing in North America and will be available for racing teams soon.

The production based Focus ST-R features stock body panels and production parts where possible. The company is insistent that it is a fully-prepared race car that will only need communications equipment and decals to head to the track.

"We’re thrilled to be taking the Focus ST-R from concept to reality for motorsport enthusiasts initially in North America and potentially around the world," said Jamie Allison, director, Ford Racing. "The previous turn-key race cars we developed for North American racing have been hugely successful, so we are hopeful that the ST-R will be the first such vehicle for global series and as a direct result of the company’s global platform strategy and our technical support program for motorsport applications of Focus and Fiesta models."

UPDATE 11/07/2011: The Focus ST-R made its North American debut in Las Vegas at the 2011 SEMA Show, giving us the perfect opportunity to get some fresh images of the vehicle. Check them out in the picture gallery!

UPDATE 12/15/11: Ford has officially announced the pricing details of the race-spec Ford Focus ST-R and we must advise those that are interested in the car: hold on to your drinks, fellas. The Focus ST-R has been priced at $98,995. Wow.

UPDATE 01/20/12: Global RallyCross Champion and founding member of the Octane Academy Tanner Foust spent a day at Homestead-Miami Speedway last week testing the racing prototype Focus ST-R. Check out the video of his experience!

Lotus promised a trio of sports cars occupying their space at the 2011 Frankfurt Motor Show and, next to the new generation Exige S and the Exige R-GT , that promise has been delivered with a new addition to the Elise lineup: the Elise S. This new model will replace the existing Elise SC which just displayed its final hoorah with the special edition Elise SC Final Edition .

The Lotus Elise first appeared about 15 years ago and promised the performance of a supercar, but the fuel economy of a city car. That idea is still going on strong today with a new 1.8 liter super charged engine delivering a total of 217 HP and 184 lb-ft of torque. The great thing about the new Elise S is that it has a comparable power output to the Elise SC - it actually has a higher peak torque (184 lb-ft to the SC’s 156 lb-ft) - but it has answered the fuel economy and CO2 emissions issues brought on by the change of regulations.

Want to know more? Hit the jump for details on the Lotus Elise S.

Maserati was already late in the sporty SUV game when it first debuted the Kubang Concept back in 2003, and now the Italian luxury car maker is hoping we forget about the eight year long hiatus their SUV has taken to reintroduce the Kubang at the 2011 Frankfurt Motor Show. Tsk, tsk, Maserati. It’s one thing to bring about a second concept of the same vehicle (look at Toyota’s FT-86 ), but it is quite another to ignore the laid back attitude taken in developing it.

Regardless of the misguided marketing ploys, the new Kubang Concept is here again with a more modern interpretation and a promise that, this time, the concept previews a new sport luxury SUV that will be used to enlarge Maserati’s product range and strengthen its presence in the sport luxury market. The new Kubang was created by the Maserati Style Center headed by Lorenzo Ram Ram aciotti and despite its Jeep platform, is supposed to be all Maserati. Everything from the style, engine, suspension, brakes, handling, and performance is said to be in continuity with the brand’s core values of sportiness, style, elegance, luxury, performance and craftsmanship.

Maserati has also promised that the production version will be powered by a new-generation high-tech Maserati proprietary engine designed in Modena by Paolo Martinelli and produced in Maranello by Ferrari Ferrari . The SUV will also receive a new AT 8 speed automatic transmission and specific performance settings set to the configurations of the suspension, brakes, and steering exclusively developed in Modena by the Maserati Product Development Department.

Updated 09/28/2011: Maserati has unveiled a first official video for the Kubang concept who made its world debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show. A production version will be built in Detroit and will be put on sale sometime in 2013. Until then enjoy the concept in action!

Updated 04/27/2012: In a recent interview with Automotive News, Maserati CEO Harald Wester announced that the Beijing Auto Show has been the last appearance of their Kubang concept. Next time we will see a Maserati Maserati SUV will be in 2014 at the Detroit Auto Show when the company will bring it in a production version and with a different name. Sales will begin in the first half of 2014.

Next to the study buggy up! , Volkswagen has also brought the cross up! concept to the Frankfurt Motor Show. The company has promised that even if this was displayed as a concept, it is in fact a near production version and reveals how a cross Up! version will look like.

The Cross up! concept is finished in a "Tornado Red" exterior paint combined with silver elements and dark anthracite on the wheel well extensions and side sill extensions. The roof rails highlight the look in "matte silver." The bumpers have received a new design and is combined with a larger honeycomb grille, larger air intakes, and a silver cross-bar in the bumper. The concept sits on a special set of 16" alloy wheels in cross design.

On the interior, the seats feature a special cross trim with center panels and grey side panels, while the steering wheel, gear shift grip, and parking brake grip are wrapped in leather.

The new Volkswagen up! might have caught all the attention at Volkswagen ’s stand in Frankfurt, but next to it there were six other concept cars worth taking a look at. The first of these concepts is called the Volkswagen study buggy up! and unlike the original Buggy launched in the 1960s which was based on the Beetle , the new concept is based on the recently launched Up!

The new study buggy up! keeps the underbody, running gear, and
drive technology of the up!, but adds a completed redesigned roof-less exterior skin, and a lowered ride height (lowered by 20 mm). The study will immediately be recognized as an Up! model, but the bonnet is built much flatter, the bumpers show an independent character, and the roof was inspired by small convertible sports cars. The study is also about 44 mm longer and 31 mm wider than the production Up!, while the height has been lowered by 190 mm. The new buggy sits on a new set of 18" alloy wheels and is finished in a "hot orange paint which was specially created for this vehicle.

Another feature for the new study buggy up! is that it is 100% beach ready; everything on the interior is waterproof, including the controls for the infotainment system.

The second concept car - next to the DC100 Concept - Land Rover has unveiled in Frankfurt is the sportier version, the DC100 Sport. The second concept is basically a roof-less version of the DC100 with a more aggressive appearance. It takes its inspiration from the early canvas-roofed Defenders with their fold-down windscreens, but has been redesigned as a performance concept for the 21st century.

The DC100 Sport features a wraparound aero screen and cut-down side
windows, and is painted in a special yellow inspired by the vibrant ochre hues found in Africa. On the interior, the seats are trimmed in leather with a lightweight, breathable mesh insert in a bold Tribal Tech pattern. The same pattern is repeated on the floor of the DC100 Sport where floor mats
are made of Ombrae, a sculptural medium used in art installations and modern architecture.

The DC100 Sport is powered by a 2.0-liter four-cylinder petrol engine
with hybrid compatibility mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission with Intelligent Stop/Start and a transfer case.

UPDATE 01/06/12: Land Rover trooped to the 2012 Auto Delhi Expo and brought their two new Land Rover Defender Concepts dressed in a fiery Firenze Red finish. We gotta say, these new digs are all sorts of smokin’ in our eyes! Agree? Check out the gallery!

Earlier this year Volvo unveiled the Concept Universe that gave customers an inside look at what we can expect from Volvo’s next large sedan. Now, Volvo has brought the new Concept You to the 2011 Frankfurt Motor Show that refines the future of Volvo’s future model.

The new Concept You is powered by a four-cylinder engine that drives the front wheels and is combined with the Flywheel KERS (Kinetic Energy Recovery System) fitted to the car’s rear axle. This system offers an additional 80 HP and also helps to improve fuel economy.

"Concept You gives a good indication of what you can expect from our next large sedan. The blend of contemporary Scandinavian design, exquisite craftsmanship and intuitive technology will appeal to luxury car buyers all over the world," says Stefan Jacoby, President and CEO of Volvo Car Corporation.

Hit the jump to read more about the Volvo Concept You.

Another major auto show begins and another Hamann Hawk appears to show off its sleek and stylish exterior. Hamann has tweaked the 571 HP Mercedes SLS AMG a couple of times already, and this model shares many of the same additions as the previous packages , including an engine upgrade and a number of exterior and interior modifications.

The only real change to the Hamann Hawk is its exterior color. The new Hawk switches out the Everose Gold exterior finish with a Pure White. This new color is then combined with the same carbon fiber elements from the original package and a set of 21" wheels. The interior has also been modified in order to combine VIP lounge with motorsports characteristics.

The updated Hawk package is still all about power and speed, so Hamann has remapped the car’s ECU once again to produce a total of 636 HP. The performance specs also remain the same with a 0-60 mph sprint time of 3.6 seconds - a minor improvement from the car’s standard 3.7 seconds - and a top speed of 199 mph.

Hit the jump to read more about the Hamann Hawk.

During the 2011 Geneva Motor Show, Carlsson unveiled the first upgrade package for the 2012 Mercedes CLS63 AMG , but it seems they opted out of taking a vacation over the summer to present us with something new. For the 2011 Frankfurt Show, the tuner has revealed the CK63 RS; a new package with even more impressive exterior modifications and an extra 50 HP over the previous package.

The new CK63 RS starts off with the new CLS63 AMG equipped with the AMG Performance Package which increases the V8’s engine output to 557 HP and 589 lbs-ft (up from 525 HP and 516 lbs-ft of torque). After a few tuning tweaks, the new CK63 RS delivers a total of 649 HP and 663 lbs-ft of torque, sprinting the Mercedes from 0 to 60 mph in 4.1 seconds.

The exterior design for the new generation Mercedes CL S isn’t ho-hum by any means, but the added muscle provided by Carlsson warranted some changes. For that the tuner added a new front spoiler, a carbon fiber front spoiler lip, painted stainless steel grille inserts, a discrete trunk lip spoiler, and a new rear bumper. There is also a new set of 20" wheels in a double spoke design (available in Brilliant Edition, Graphite Edition, and Titanium Edition) and a new stainless steel sport exhaust system with 4 oval end pipes.

The Mercedes can also be lowered by about 30mm with a Carlsson patented suspension with two sport springs. This suspension reads the road conditions every 150 milliseconds and adjusts accordingly.

For the interior, customers can choose between wood, leather, Alcantara, and carbon fiber. The vehicle’s door panels, seats, and the rear seat bench are covered in Mokka brown Carlsson nappa leather and the dashboard, door panels, and center console have dark brown/matte carbon inlays. Other features of the interior include illuminated door sill panels, soft velour floor mats with a Carlsson logo, and brushed aluminum door pins.

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