December 11, 2000

2000 Essen Motor Show
Text by Brad Beardow and Photos by Adrian Jones

I don't sleep on airplanes, not even the ones that travel eight hours through the dead of night. It's a good thing that our destination was Germany, because I can tell you that the moment we hit the ground, adrenaline took over and a lack of sleep was but a minor irritation.

It's Frankfurt to Essen via an Audi A6 Avant 2.5 TDi with 22km on the clock. If we could have driven this thing from D.C., we'd have chosen it over the cramped 747 for sure. The journey is about 200 miles, and we made it in about an hour a half. On a downhill run on the A3 Autobahn, Adrian and I saw 240kmh (150mph) several times while our good friend and travel companion Artie sat in the back, eyes closed. Needless to say, we were almost disappointed to arrive at Essen so soon.

The Essen Motorshow is nirvana incarnate (in-car-nate, get it?) for the auto geek in all of us. Adrian and I attend each year to meet with the various vendors we deal with and to discuss business plans for the coming year. Yeah, right. Let's be honest -- we can do most of that over the phone. It's simply one of the coolest ways to spend some time looking at so many of the cars we usually only read about.

A perfect example is Hans Dahlback's 900bhp (!) Golf IV. Adrian and I got to actually sit in the car and it's just incredible. The doors weigh about 5lbs a piece, and carbon fiber is absolutely everywhere. Digi-tec had a GTi 1.8T that had every single seam, molding, and recess filled until it was as smooth as a you-know-what. TTs were everywhere, and even a couple of Boras, too. Golf IVs with Bora fronts were popular, and some incredible Mk1, 2 & 3 show cars were on display. Gold plated intake manifolds, anyone?

Some of the major players even had time to prepare new A4s for the show. While Adrian and I didn't see much that impressed us, we chalked it up to the fact that we were seeing the new model for the very first time and that was pretty impressive in and of itself. We both really liked the car after seeing it in the flesh. It's not as pretty as the prior model, but much more aggressive. Massive wheel openings accommodate 19x10 wheels and tires at all four corners. Yes, we're now ready to see it on US streets, and anyone that knows Adrian well enough will know that he's more than a little impatient to see an Avant version.

This year, there was a brand new hall added where all the automobile manufacturers displayed their 2001 line-ups. Porsche showed their new mega-buck Carrera GT, BMW had a couple new Minis (cool), and Mercedes displayed its new C-Class Coupe (blech). VAG had the biggest chunk of the hall by a landslide. It is always very cool to see the divisions from our favorite corporation not represented in the US, such as Skoda and Seat. Europeans can buy a Seat Leon (Golf IV chassis) 180bhp 1.8T 4-Motion 6-speed for thousands less than a similar VW/Audi model. Fair? Hardly.

Centered perfectly in the middle of the huge hall was an Imola Yellow RS4. Sitting a little lower than a "standard" version, the car also had an incredible interior consisting of Recaro SPG seats lined in black leather and yellow alcantara, 4-point harnesses, and extra carbon fiber scattered throughout. I believe Adrian has about 150 different pics of this particular car, and I'm sure he's willing to share if you're interested.

Two days are nowhere near enough time to see everything, but that's all we had. The weekend crowds are unbelievable, and cigarette smoke hangs thickly just about everywhere. These factors made leaving a little easier, plus we had the return trip to Frankfurt via the A6 Avant that was waiting for us in the carpark.

And wouldn't you know it, we were running way behind schedule to make our flight. It shouldn't surprise you to find that neither Adrian nor I was the least bit worried, though I can't speak for Artie.

Brad and Adrian are the owners of 1552 Design a Volkswagen and Audi aftermarket tuner Located in Sarasota Florida. They were nice enough to provide coverage of this event for AudiWorld and VWvortex to which we thank them for all the "hard" work.