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At Frankfurt's International Motor Show, cars that drive the imagination

FRANKFURT, Germany — Car enthusiasts have a chance to glimpse the future at the 65th International Motor Show in Frankfurt as automakers showcase their latest offerings and ideas.

If the new models and concept cars on display in Frankfurt are any indication, highways of the future will be a visual and performance feast.

Many manufacturers are using the Frankfurt show to unveil new sports and performance cars that aim to show going green doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice life in the fast lane.

Porsche’s 918 Spyder is a head-turning, plug-in hybrid sports car that will do 0 to 60 mph in just under 2.8 seconds. The price tag on the new model is about a million dollars.

BMW unveiled a production model of the i8 hybrid, a progressive sports car that boasts impressive performance numbers while maintaining the fuel economy of a compact car.

Unique angles, a pair of doors that swing up and a two-color scheme give the i8 a distinctive appearance. Developers of the car, which is expected to arrive in the U.S. next spring, say its design was inspired from water droplets and their aerodynamic shape when falling.

Nissan showed off what it billed as the world’s fastest zero emission racing car that can reach speeds of more than 185 mph with electric technology. The ZEOD RC, which looks like a cross between a bullet and the batmobile, will make its race debut at next year’s Le Mans 24 hours.

“The Nissan ZEOD RC, under electric power alone, could run laps around Le Mans faster than a Ferrari GT car,” Nissan executive Vice President Andy Palmer was quoted as saying on a display by the car at Frankfurt.

Although not a hybrid vehicle, much buzz and anticipation came to a head at a press day for the Frankfurt show when Italian carmaker Ferrari showed off its new 458 Speciale, a 4.5-liter V8 supercar — with adjustable aerodynamic elements — that can reach 0 to 62 mph in a measly three seconds.

“This is the most powerful Ferrari 8 cylinder ever made before,” said Ferrari chairman Luca Cordero di Montezemolo during the car’s unveiling at Frankfurt.

Manufacturers also highlighted possible future models.

One of the more impressive concepts on display is Peugeot’s sleek Onyx concept car. The aggressive looking sports car boasts a body made of carbon and copper, featuring a felt and wood-like interior made from recycled newspapers.

Audi unveiled its Nanuk Quattro concept, a unique cross between a supercar and an SUV, powered by a twin-turbo V10 diesel engine. Don’t let the SUV description fool you, though, this powerhorse with gull-wing doors can get up to 62 mph in 3.8 sec and can reach 189 mph.

The Volvo Concept Coupe’s torpedo-like front end with a long, flowing hood definitely strays away from the company’s soccer mom image.

Another company whose concept car was a break from the routine is Lexus. The no-nonsense looking LF-NX hybrid SUV crossover features a front-end with a honeycomb-like grille and futuristic headlights.

Those who prefer a smaller car might be interested in Smart’s four-seat concept. The Fourjoy has no doors and an open roof, easier to show off the funky lounge furniture look of the front and rear seats.

Plenty of everyday brands brought some excitement with them as well, such as Honda’s world premiere of the Civic Tourer, a longer and roomier Civic. Hyundai showed off its Equus, an attempt by the carmaker to venture into the luxury market. The Equus even has a statue on the hood, reminiscent of a Rolls-Royce.

The International Motor Show in Frankfurt is open to the public through Sept. 22.

If you go

Location: Frankfurt fairgrounds, Frankfurt, Germany.

When: Sept. 14-22 from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily.

Costs: Saturday-Sunday: 15 euros; Monday through Friday, 13 euros. Children under the age of seven are free. Visitors in wheelchairs, and one person to assist them, also receive free admission. Some reduced admission prices are available after 3 p.m. on weekdays and for students. A two-day gift ticket is available for 18 euros, if ordered in advance online. Tickets can be purchased online or at the event.

Food and drink: There are plenty of foods and drink stands scattered throughout the show.

Website: iaa.de, with an English option.

Directions/Information: Autobahn exit Frankfurt West/Messe or other exits following IAA signs. Roads to the allocated car parks are also signposted. To get directly to the visitors parking lots, enter ““Frankfurt Messegelände” into your navigation system and then follow the signs to the IAA visitor parking lots in the Frankfurt metropolitan area.

Free shuttle buses will be traveling from all IAA parking lots to the exhibition grounds and back at short intervals.

The daily price for a car is 12 euros in the Rebstock multi-story car park and 10 euros on the outdoor parking lots. The parking fee is generally paid when exiting.

The Rebstock multi-story car park opens two hours prior to the start of the exhibition. All parking lots close two hours after the end of the exhibition.

patton.mark@stripes.com

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