Inside the Inception-Style City Audi Built to Sell Cars

Automakers have a long history of deploying ridiculous architectural feats to sell cars—from Volkswagen’s gleaming parking towers to Lamborghini’s crazy light show at Autostadt. But all that pales in comparison to the installations on display at this year’s Frankfurt Motor Show.

Among the most elaborate pavilions on view? The sensational ceiling at Audi’s pavilion, which hung an entire fake city, a la Inception, above the brand’s latest models. Check it out below.

This Wild Inception-Like Architecture Is An Amazing Convention Display

Visitors to this year's Frankfurt Motor Show will walk through an inverted forest, over an Inception'd city, and under a massive floating track just to see Germany's latest cars. As the biggest auto show in the world, by size, what carmakers do to the massive convention space is as interesting as the cars they display.

All three of the big German premium carmakers are trying to attract attention from convention goers at their home show in the hopes that they can reinvigorate a sagging market. So what's their angle?


I believe Mercedes wants to tell you that they are the greatest. Always were, always will be. Audi on the other hand says hey, look at us, we can do anything. We are the most advanced of them all. BMW put the focus on playfulness, with a promise that the future of mobility is not as boring as it would seem.

Audi gets the trophy simply because what looks like this from the outside ...

...turns out to be like this on the inside:

It's wicked. Trees hanging from the ceiling, cars appearing in the most unexpected places, colorful visuals and lights taking you to funky town. Even Batman would blink twice before understanding this upside down mirror fantasy from Ingolstadt.

And with cars like the Nanuk around, the Audi hall is undoubtedly the hottest party arena in Frankfurt this week. Imagine what happens there after the guests leave at 7...

There are only winners here, but if I'd have to rank them, I would put Mercedes-Benz at #3.


Mostly because they have their own arena to play with, with a Smart volleyball field next to it. You know, because Smarts go so well with sand and volleyballs.

Starting with a building like that, it's no wonder they can turn it into an absolute must see in no time. An arena worthy of the brand with the three-pointed star.

It's also clever because if you go to the top, the only way down passes every car they have on display. Didn't care about the GL Klasse? No matter, you have to see it.

Second place goes to BMW with their futuristic figure 8 track running above and under the visitor floors.

This year, it's not about the M cars or horsepower but urban efficiency and panda saving in the most dynamic fashion.

And while the i8 hybrid sports car was the crown jewel on the top floor, it was the small i3s setting the mood of the place with their quiet but consistent looping around the track.

What a show!

Photo credit: Máté Petrány/Jalopnik, Getty Images