The IAA Frankfurt Motor Show was certainly a show of contrasts in 2009. On the one hand, it was packed to the gunwhales with new supercars all vying for attention; but on the other, manufacturers clamored to get on board the green car bandwagon, by launching all manner of electrically powered devices.
The canny ones, of course, combined the two. Audi, who's R8 has changed the face of affordable supercars, used the Frankfurt show as a launching pad for its electrically powered e-tron concept. Yes, an R8 powered by batteries. It wasn't the only one.
The stars of the show, though, ended up being the supercars - with Octane's vote going to the Ferrari 458. Although its styling lacks the all out drama of the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG, it's conventionally striking and moves the V8 powered line suitably forward. However, it's what's underneath the 458 Italia's skin that that really excites us.
The spoiler for the 458 will undoubtedly be the 600bhp McLaren MP4-12C - will the car from Surrey really shake up the establishment and force Lamborghini and Ferrari to up their game? Only time will tell.
Speaking of Lamborghini, the Sant'Agata company pulled the wraps off the the Roadster version of the Reventon, and it looks absolutely stunning. Yes, by all means compare it with the standard Murcielago, and wonder at the price difference, but there's no mistaking the new car's utterly striking looks.
Rolls-Royce and Bentley also showed new metal at the show. The new Ghost looks far nicer in the flesh than the breeze-blockesque Phantom, and marks a lower entry point for buyers hankering after a new Rolls-Royce. Bentley, on the other hand, has moved upmarket with the new Mulsanne. The plaudits thought it looked as good at Frankfurt as it did at Pebble Beach.
The four-door Aston Martin Rapide might not be a saloon in the accepted sense of the word, but like the Porsche Panamera, it will end up on the same shoppig lists as some raher tasty three-boxes. We'll see what the Aston Martin is like to drive later in the year, but for now can say that it certainly looks like it's worth the £150,000-plus price tag it's bound to wear.
Here's a gallery of the event's most significant cars - as always, let us know what you think.