Honda Project 2&4
Peugeot Fractal concept
Vauxhall Astra Sports Tourer
All-new Vauxhall Astra
Seat Leon Sport Cross
All-new Fiat 500
The full display of everything that launched at VW Group night
The all-new Volkswagen Tiguan
Seat Leon Sport Cross
This would be a happy show, the pundits said, but car makers would smile through gritted teeth.
New product would be thick on the ground but the Chinese, Russian and South American markets, whose expansion had recently done so much to generate the product rush, had waned and selling cars in these places was now going to get difficult.
In the event, it wasn't like that at all. Sure, there were concerns, but most sellers seemed to reckon they could cope.
China, after all, was still expanding at 6% annually. The US market was healthy, Southern Europe was improving and the good old UK was doing what it always seems to do these days - reliably accepting premium products in generous numbers.
Thus the Frankfurt motor show could get on with treating us to one of the most remarkable sets of new car launches ever; each of the new models the product of a series of bold decisions that must have been taken in the light of the "bottomless" recession that began in 2008.
The recession had confronted every car maker with the stark choice of investing heavily in an uncertain future, or losing vital ground to its deadly rivals. Frankfurt seemed to show that the biggest risk-takers had been the most successful.
UK-based premium manufacturers Jaguar and Bentley both unveiled cars of a type they'd never built before – SUVs.
To make matters better, the F-Pace and Bentayga were pronounced impressively competent and handsome by the show's swirling hordes of journalists and industry experts, and each manufacturer was able to report that strong demand had been established from faithful customers and frantic dealers even before anyone had driven their cars.
Two more key big-car debuts, apparently stimulated by the extraordinary success and notoriety of Tesla, seemed to stress the point that in the medium term, battery power is most likely to be associated with luxury.
Audi's handsome e-tron Quattro concept, promising a 300-mile range, was an obvious signpost to a Q6 e-tron production model with big performance and an almost affordable price.
Porsche bowled over everyone with the superb Mission E four-seat concept, which also has a 300-mile battery range, plus a 125mph top speed (with vivid off-the-mark acceleration) and the implicit promise that, as with every other Porsche concept, this one would lead to a similar-looking and functioning production car.
Peugeot chimed in with its own brand of premium electric car, a city coupé called Fractal, which had Mazda MX-5 proportions but still promised a 280-mile range. And then there was Taiwanese-based Thunder Power, tucked in a corner, whose exotically named CEO, Wellem Sham, was promising to best them all with a 450bhp electric saloon that could manage 400 miles on a single charge.
Clearly, progress with batteries and battery control systems, plus a keen appreciation of customers' concerns about range anxiety, is spurring those manufacturers betting on electric cars to increase electric ranges radically.
Meanwhile Tesla, generator of all this activity, ducked the limelight with the much-delayed car that should spur the company to even bigger things: the Model X electric SUV. Elon Musk, Tesla's boss, is famously lukewarm about motor shows and once more kept his cards close to his chest.
Subtract all of the above, and you still had a remarkably healthy common-or-garden motor show. There were two new entrants in the bumper-selling C-segment, the Vauxhall Astra and Renault Megane, both well received.
We also saw the new and vital Alfa Romeo Giulia for the first time, and it looked good. Good enough for America, said the many hacks who had crossed the Atlantic to be in Frankfurt.
Audi's A4, a vital volume builder, was hardly noticed in the melee, and neither was Volkswagen's new Tiguan. Ferrari, however, had its usual easy win by doing something as comparatively simple as removing the top of its latest 488 to make the new Spider, over which everyone fawned.
Honda's Project 2&4 looked amazing, and there were always crowds around Citroën's Cactus M convertible, mainly because they'd had the sense to label it the "new Mehari". Frankfurt 2015 was a motor show that will live in the memory - and for all the right reasons.
The Frankfurt motor show 2015 - how it happened
Live blog by Nigel Donnelly
16th Septemeber 2015
2000 - Well that's the end of Autocar's live coverage of the Frankfurt motor show. Thanks for joining us and check back to the site tomorrow for more of the best pictures, news and analysis.
1945hrs - We've also had confirmation that Aston Martin's DB9 replacement will indeed be called DB11. We've heard rumours that the DB11 name had been chosen for weeks now, but Aston finally confirmed the nameplate this evening.
1931hrs - Big news now is the announcement of prices and full specs of the Ford Focus RS. Big news is 345bhp and sub-five 0-60 sprinting. The sub-£30k pricing is pretty eye-catching too.
1938hrs - Well, that's about it from the live blog today. We'll be back in the morning to mop up the rest of the news which emerges on the second press day of the show. There'll be plenty of it too, so do pop by and see us. Night night.
1932hrs - Last big story of the day is the James Bond extravaganza going on near the halls. Pictures of the villain's Jaguar C-X75 and various Land Rovers, including the Range Rover Sport SVR are all being paraded before the media as a nice end to a day at the show.
1846hrs - More solid gold gossip from our very own Kable guy - VW knows it is underestimating the pull of its R division models outside of Germany. A senior VW official admitted to Autocar that there is a push on within Wolfsburg circles to persuade chairman Martin Winterkorn to further ramp up the number of models offered by the company's R division. "It might not be big in Germany. However, the resonance in other key markets is enormous. We need to do more to make sure the R portfolio is extended to other models, particularly the SUVs.
1840hrs - Remember Frankel's story from earlier in the day about the viability of a Bentley Bentayga Speed? Well, that story has gained further credence with the revelation from Greg Kable that Bentley engine bods reckon the W12 engine can be tuned to deliver "...more than 600bhp. A lot more".
1831hrs - The Volkswagen Tiguan remains an ever-present among the most popular Frankfurt stories on site today. Mark Tisshaw has been taking a closer look to see what the fuss is about.
1822hrs - Other news from the day was Mary Barra of GM outlining European plans for the next five years. Apparently there will be 29 new models between Vauxhall and Opel, including SUVs and EVs.
1809hrs - It's not completely quiet though. Editor Jim Holder, ever the professional, still has his notebook out while queueing for the bus bumped into BMW marketing boss Ian Robertson. No big surprises from BMW but according to marketing boss Ian, it had to be that way. "The 7 Series is our icon - nothing could eclipse our icon" he said, before adding mysteriously "besides, it's our 100th year next year so we have to save something special..."
1806hrs - Things are definitely quietening down now as the doors are closed on the show halls, and the journalists are ushered off the premises. So now the Autocar team will settle down to start turning everything they have learned into stories as the evening wears on.
1741hrs - It's been a bit tricky getting into the cabin of the Alfa Romeo Giulia before the show, but Jim Holder did give a brief assessment of the new saloon's very driver-focused cabin. It's good, but it's not quite perfect.
1733hrs - Mercedes-Benz is plotting an all-new electric model with a 250 mile range according to Andrew Frankel. Scant details so far, but what we know is in the story.
1633hrs - The Porsche Mission E concept just gets more and more interesting. Greg Kable has been talking to Porsche and got two very interesting bits of information. First of all, it has 900nm of torque. Which is a lot. 663lb ft to be exact. It also says that it could be beat the claimed 0-62 time of 3.5 seconds.
1605hrs - Sometimes the things we hear at shows just back up things we heard ages ago that we thought had just gone cold. Steve Cropley spoke to Mazda’s president Masamichi Kogai who confirmed that the company still has a dedicated engineering team focused on rotary engine development, and that staff are working “very enthusiastically” towards bringing the technology up to the standards of contemporary piston engines. Matt Prior suspected as much when he wrote this story about the Mazda RX-7 returning in 2020. Looks like he could have been right.
1547hrs - Big news here, but not just about cars. Renault bosses confirm for the first time that they are negotiating with Red Bull F1 to end the engine supply agreement early.
1536hrs - Renault Nissan Alliance boss Carlos Goshn, who also oversees Lada and Dacia, gave a buoyant overview of global car sales, reports Jim Holder. Europe has pleasantly surprised him with sales up eight percent this year. He sees that stabilising at two per cent next year, which he's happy with as sustainable growth. The US market is going the same way - steady growth, while he says the collapse of sales in China is massively overstated. 'We predict continued growth at five per cent. We all knew double digit percentage growth couldn't carry on, but ultimate five percent growth is both more sustainable and more realistic." It's not all rosy however. He admitted that some markets remain trickier, chiefly Russia, Japan and Argentina.
1525hrs - Andrew Frankel reports - Ferrari chief executive Amedeo Felisa has confirmed there are no plans to build a Ferrari SUV, saying it would not be right for the brand. By contrast, he said the company was actively considering a V6 engine as a way of driving down emissions, cementing Ferrari president Sergio Marchionne’s previously stated view that a new Ferrari Dino was a matter of “when, not if”.
1503hrs - Of all the concepts we've seen at Frankfurt, the Peugeot Fractal is probably the most outlandish. There are plenty of others which are a bit far fetched, but the idea of the Fractal being parked on the forecourt of your local dealer alongside a 108 and Partner van is perhaps the most unlikely. And that is a good barometer. You could just about imagine seeing the Bugatti or the Porsche Mission E parked up in London's West End.
1444hrs - More news you won't find elsewhere, this time from Steve Cropley, who quizzed Mazda on how they go forward. European president Jeff Guyton says the company is committed to further improving Skyactiv. They won't be doing hybrids although Guyton did not rule electric cars. Get the full story here.
1440hrs - In fact, on close inspection the new Astra hatch is also a great looking car. Really handsome.
1436hrs - There is a bit more elbow room around the show halls in Frankfurt now and our snappers are getting pictures of all the new models, without the crowds ruining the view. The all-new Astra Sports Tourer is a very sharp-looking addition to the Vauxhall family. It's being built in the UK too.
1419hrs - Seat bosses say they are yet to decide on whether the Leon SC Cross Sport is going to make production, but the company is watching social media, forums and media outlets to see what response is like to the idea of a three-door SUV-hatch. If they think people like it, they will build it. So get Tweeting if you fancy one.
1408hrs - The DS4 is live. DS says that the C-segment is vital to the success of their fledgling luxury brand and the revamped DS4 is a very important car as a result.
1356hrs - Jim Holder has been impressed by what he has seen from Renault over recent shows, not least today's new Megane. And he thinks it is time to hail the influence of its design chief Laurens van den Acker
1347hrs - More news that has never graced a press release, this time from Andrew Frankel. He's learned from AMG's Tobias Moers that the next Merc E63 is going to be revolutionary. Fast, but revolutionary.
1338hrs - Our snappers are getting around the show and taking their chances to get more pics of the newest cars as the crowds die down. We've got a lot more pictures of the Renault Megane here. It's a far sharper looking car than the one it replaces. Interior looks handsome too
1313hrs - Autocar news guru Tom Webster has ambled over to Ford’s stand. “The majority of the stand is given over to SUVs at the show this year, with the company announcing that it is due to launch five models in the next three years. However there is still space for some motorsport and European marketing boss Roelant de Waard is looking forward to seeing the GT compete at Le Mans in 2016. He won't go so far as to predict a Ford class victory, but does say: "you enter these things to win”, so the GT is certainly not there to make up the numbers.
1305hrs - We brought you the pictures earlier, now we can bring you the full details of next year's Renault Megane which will go on sale priced from around £17,000. It is an absolutely crucial car for the manufacturer, and you can read all about it here.
1248hrs - Richard Bremner has discovered that Bentley has yet to decide on the type of car that its planned fifth model will be, according to senior insiders. Although the EXP 10 Speed 6 coupé concept has been widely reported as forming the basis for the fifth production model, our source says that the company is considering “plenty of options”. The source also points out that the market in which the coupe might compete is “crowded, and includes successful models such as the Porsche 911 and Audi R8” elsewhere in the Volkswagen Group. The company is giving no clue to what the model might be, but the globally growing SUV market is likely to be a stronger draw than the coupe market.
1242hrs - Much amusement as to what will come out if the Ferrari press conference this afternoon. With the form facing an imminent IPO, its executives are under strict orders not to discuss anything that could influence future share prices. So talk of new or new tech models is off. In fact, the only allowable lines of questioning appear to be on subjects that are already in the open - which rather defeats the object. CEO Sergio Marchionne has already voted with his feet, opting to stay in the US and sort put labour relations with workers rather than face the world's media at what could turn out to be a massive non-event.
1228hrs - And there it is. The Nissan Gripz concept previews a Nissan 'Z'-inspired crossover car. We've got the full story.
1226hrs - We're at the Nissan press conference. There is something *quite* big under a sheet
1219hrs - Updated story on the Mazda Koeru - apparently bosses told Steve Cropley are weighing up how to fit it into the existing model range - it's not simply a CX-4 but if it gets the green light, the coupe SUV could be with us inside two years.
1209hrs - More on one of the show's genuine stars, the Honda Project 2&4. Mark Tisshaw has planted himself on the Honda stand and refused to move until he could get an answer on whether it will be built. Designer Martin Petersson has made sure it can meet all the relevant safety standards so the question on whether or not you'll be able to buy one rests with the suits. Fingers crossed, eh?
1139hrs - Webster reporting that the new DS4 doesn't look too wildly different, it is a very important car for the newly independent brand. CEO Yves Bonnefont spoke of the relevance of the C-segment and how the DS4 is going to be the company's core model in the future. And there will be six global models due between 2018-2020. Oh and there will be no more China-only cars from Citroen's premium sibling.
1132hrs - Andrew Frankel has strolled over to Toyota’s show stand, where the bold Toyota Mirai fuel cell vehicle is taking pride of place. Yoshikazu Tanaka, chief engineer on the Mirai project, says he hopes the car will “procreate” and in time become a whole family of fuel cell vehicles.
1124hrs - Jim Holder is enjoying a little game of spot the racing driver around the DS and Citroen stands, where the squad's Formula E and WTCC drivers are in attendance, notable for being professionally dressed down and - away from the paddock - largely incognito. Ex F1 turned Formula E racer Jean-Eric Vergne looks a bit bored, like a foreign exchange student trapped in the halls, while rallying hero Sebastien Loeb, complete with euro traveller back pack and rock star hairdo - is being chaperoned despite the baying mob being more entranced by the Mehari concept.
1116hrs - Tom Webster has been talking to Citroen's Linda Jackson. Big things to come over the next two years with three new models - along similar lines to the Cactus, but she was at pains to point out that 'simple does not mean low cost'. No Dacia rival from Citroen any time soon then...
1059hrs - Remember back in the day when manufacturers used to do those special cutaway model cars for the show? Well the new Honda Project 2&4 looks like one of those, but it is complete. Sensational looking thing.
1046hrs - Van den Acker was also drawn on the future of the Megane Scenic. "I feel the new Scenic is due an overhaul - a radical change. Remember Renault invented the segment but then launched evolutions of the theme in the second and third generations of the cars. During that time the segment has come under serious pressure, to the point that we must reinvent the Scenic or let it die"
1039hrs - Jim Holder has been talking to the big wigs on the Renault stand - think he may have stumbled into a great story here - Design chief Laurens van den Acker was asked about Alpine and the answer was intriguing. "Clearly if we are to relaunch the brand it needs more than one car. But first we need to relaunch the brand." We touched upon the idea of an Alpine family of cars before. Looks like this one could run and run...
1025hrs - More from JLR CEO Ralf Speth, who says the new InControl Touch Pro infotainment system has twice the processing power of a Boeing 777 Dreamliner: “We are matching rivals on quality and surpassing them on design and driving dynamics. We're an alternative for a discerning connoisseur who loves driving. We're like a specialist boutique, not a high street shop selling millions. We're not just a car, we're offering a lifestyle, a combination of British design and hi-tech." Butlers, aeroplanes, and "discerning connoisseurs"; this paints a pretty clear picture of the market JLR is aiming its products at
1020hrs - Some interesting lines coming out of the Jaguar Land Rover press conference which has just taken place. CEO Ralf Speth: "JLR is thinking and planning like a global technology company, not just a car company. We will drive change with British innovation. Since the industrial revolution Britain has been innovation led. Brits are pioneering thinkers, and this is at the heart of what we do." On future tech: "Technology in our cars will be like a discrete on board butler. Like all good butlers, it will be indispensable but not intrusive."
0948hrs - More from JH at Frankfurt - It may look wacky but in the context of the stubbornly focused motor show halls, the Citroen C4 Cactus M Concept it is a breath of fresh air - bright, breezy and carefree, just like the 2015 spec Citroen manual says it should be. You can take it two ways - Citroen being it's left field best or Citroen losing the plot. As they say themselves, they don't care if that's the case - better to have one in ten people love it than ten of ten think it's average
0939hrs - More from editor Jim Holder who had a quick look at the Peugeot stand. He says the 308GTi stands alone on a vast stage, not unreasonably given you can buy one. "Shame the dramatic Fractal concept is ticked in an alcove to the side. It looks sensational - but of course we've seen a lot of sensational Peugeot concepts in recent years without getting a clear idea of what they mean for the bottom line. Let's hope we can shed some light on it later."
0933hrs - Mackensen also said that Mini are keeping a keen eye on residuals. "We must watch demand vs supply very closely. We are aware that our residual values are a core part of what attracts our customers, but we believe we can grow sales and protect residuals if we manage it carefully. The Mini brand has strength in this area and we are not about to give it away"
0924hrs - Jim Holder has been talking to Sebatian Mackensen - senior VP of Mini who has been discussing the size of Mini models. "I'm not sure who set the traditional size limits for what a Mini should be? Mini doesn't have to mean small in size. We shouldn't limit ourselves on size - although I'd add that I wouldn't expect anything like a large limo from us anytime soon" We're just off to write the 'No Mini limo - yet' story
0913hrs - Back to the notepad of Frankel who, fresh from being chucked off the Alfa stand went to speak to Bentley. He's been finding out about customer reaction to the controversial new Bentayga SUV. He's discovered that Bentley already has deposit-paid orders for the first full year of Bentayga production, meaning most customers ordering today are unlikely to take delivery before 2017. There might be exceptions, however. "I suppose if your name starts with 'The' we might try to squeeze you in..." said a well-placed insider.
0908hrs - Jim Holder has been up close with the all-new Suzuki Baleno - he says it is intetesting in the most functional of ways. "Suzuki's small car craft is very much present and correct, but you can't help feeling it'll appeal to very rational buyers, swayed by its price, efficiency, kit list and price - rather than those who seek to truly love a car"
0849hrs - Top Frankfurt story on Autocar at present? It's the all-new Volkswagen Tiguan - it's tracking ahead of everything else at the moment
0846hrs - The car maker of the future will be more a Connected Mobilty Services Provider says Merc boss Dieter Zetsche. Andrew Frankel has the full story
0843hrs - Richard Bremner has been listening to GM boss Mary Barra lay out her company’s strategy for Europe. By 2022, Opel-Vauxhall is aiming for an 8% share of European sales, with 5% margin. The company is currently number 3 in the European sales chart, with more than 1 million vehicle sales last year. The company is also speeding up its product offensive, with 29 new models in the pipeline between now and 2020.
0837hrs - First details of the all-new Suzuki Baleno - it's an all-new Ford Fiesta rival, there's going to be a hybrid version and the information has leaked out on Dutch website ahead of an embargo - so here's all the info
0814hrs - The all-new Mini Clubman has been unveiled at the BMW Group press conference. It's the biggest Mini ever but that hasn't stopped any other Minis selling. Here's the story so far - and a video too.
0809hrs - Our man Tisshaw was hanging out with the big wheels last night - and asking how big wheels can go, seeing as the Jaguar F-Pace is sporting 22in rims. He asked Ian Callum. And got an answer. Here it is.
0804hrs - More on the Mazda Koeru - said to be a crossover SUV concept and not based on any existing model’s platform but it is CX-5 - sized, with an almost identical length and wheelbase. Could see production by 2017
0758hrs - Even more from at Audi, Frankel spoke to tech boss Ulrich Hackenberg who commented on the future of energy production, based on prospect of a greater take-up of electric and plug-in vehicles. Hackenberg believes that people should be encouraged to “generate their own energy”, partly at home and partly using the recuperation potential of their cars.
0755hrs - Andrew Frankel has already visited the Smart show stand and discovered that the Brabus version of the new Smart will be launched “within the next year”, including ForTwo, ForFour and cabriolet versions. Unlike the previous Smart Brabus, this time “proper hot hatchback” performance is promised.
0747hrs - SHUT THE FRONT DOOR! Mazda's embargo has been broken on the web -so we can now bring you the story of the Mazda Koeru - a coupe SUV concept that looks like it is going to make it to production
0745hrs - All of which brings us to the latest product announcement - this time from BMW
0744hrs - Finally, Mindt added that the e-tron quattro is “built on an SUV platform – the next Q5’s, albeit on a longer wheelbase – and it’s very efficient”. The rings of OLED lights at the corners of the Q6 e-tron quattro will become shorthand to signify a plug-in vehicle in Audi’s range.
0740hrs - The ultra-efficient aerodynamics of the e-tron quattro are the result of an internal Audi design competition, explains Ingolstadt’s exterior designer Andreas Mindt: “We had an internal competition to develop the aerodynamics, with four teams developing quarter scale prototypes in the wind tunnel”.
0737hrs - Hackenberg also explained the driving force behind the creation of the Audi e-tron quattro. “This is the SUV that sales and marketing were asking for. We [the engineering division] wanted a car with low rolling resistance. This concept combines both, together with Audi’s core values: quattro four-wheel drive, air springs, aerodynamics.”
0735hrs - The news keeps coming from VW Group night - Richard Bremner spoke to Audi technical boss Ulrich Hackenberg on the all-electric Q6 e-tron quattro unveiled at the VW group preview night yesterday. “This car is not a dream. It will appear at the end of 2017 or early 2018,” he said. “It will be the Group’s first electric car with a 500km (311 mile) range.”
0732hrs - Positive news from Renault which has really turned around its performance, particularly in the UK. Jim Holder has been asking them what it means for the future and asking just how important the new Megane is to the continued resurgence.
0723hrs - Some disappointing news unearthed by @stvcr - Confirmation that the Chevrolet Bolt electric city car will not be sold in the UK according to senior GM sources. Shame. Looks a very promising thing.
0709hrs - The first new car of the day has arrived - the all-new Renault Megane. Looks great and not a bad idea getting in early ahead of a lot of today's other big annoucements. More Megane details will be coming as the day goes on here, so keep watching.
0704hrs - In other blog news, Julian Rendell puts all the stuff we saw at VW Group night into some perspective - saying that what drove across the stage in Frankfurt amounted to more than five billion pounds worth of investment. No wonder it was such a good show.
0658hrs - First up today, our very own of Captain of the industry, Steve Cropley has written a blog about GM, where Mary Barras explains why the rapid arrival of technologies in cars is such a good thing.
0654hrs - Good morning from Frankfurt. It's the start of the show proper today with the press getting access to the show halls for the first time.
2229hrs - Well, that's it from us tonight. The big media presentations are all finished and the show doors are closed. We'll be back in about eight hours time to see what surprises tomorrow holds in Frankfurt.
2225hrs - And finally, I reckon the Seat Leon SC Cross Sport will be interesting. It looks like it could go into production with very little effort and the idea of SUV crossover hatch based on a three- rather than a five-door car looks an intersting prospect. Who knows, it might be what the market has been missing.
2223hrs - John McIlroy 'The current generation of Mercedes CLS doesn't look as striking as the original. That's a big problem for me. But if the next one has the profile of the Concept IAA, it's going to get my attention. Get on with making it, Merc'
2221hrs - After months of rumours and whispered stories, Darren Moss was pleased to see Porsche finally confirm its intentions to make an electric four-door saloon. The Mission E is just that - it’s a statement and commitment from Porsche on an electric future, and it’s a future which is looking better and better.
2218hrs - Getting quieter here now, but our office based team are picking their favourites from what has been revealed so far. Matt Burt says he was genuinely shocked by how hard-edged the Bugatti Vision concept - most unexpected after the run out Veyron models were so underwhelming.
2209hrs - If you want a better look at the Mercedes Concept IAA, we've been busy adding a load of extra pictures. It gets better looking the more you look at it too. Incredible looking thing.
2155hrs - One story that has led the way on Autocar this evening has been the official unveiling of the Jaguar F-Pace. We talked on here earlier about just how Jaguar hoped to grab the headlines at the home show for its fierce German rivals, but it did, and then some with bit of theatre. Stunt driver Terry Grant drove the all-new SUV through a huge loop-the-loop to announce the car's arrival. Our Mark Tisshaw reports on the incredible acrobatic display.
2144hrs - Another car which could easily not have made it onto your radar this evening is the Infiniti Q30. As a brand, Infiniti has had a tough time getting noticed in the UK, but maybe a small plush hatchback is the car to get them onto a lot more people's shortlists. Probably the neatest looking Infiniti yet too. Will wait to see it in the metal before passing judgement on the looks though.
2128hrs - Two observations from the VW event - there was a lot of exciting stuff, so much so that you could be forgiven for forgetting that the Lamborghini Huracan Spyder was unveiled. Looked great but was too far down the pecking order to remember ahead of its equally illustrious cousins. And easy to feel a bit sorry for Skoda. The Superb estate is a great thing, but on a stage filled with Bugattis, Porsches and a Bentley SUV, it had its work cut out tonight. Shame.
2110hrs - In the flurry of annoucements tonight, make sure you don't ignore the Mercedes-Benz Concept IAA - stunning looking thing and some very clever tech under the skin. Make sure you take a look.
2047hrs - If you missed the VW Group night broadcast, scroll down the page now and you can watch it again. We've embedded it.
2037hrs - So what do all the announcements from VW Group night mean? Plainly there is a real desire to make a play for ownership of the electric car market and with tonight's announcements, it is clear the intention is there. John McIlroy explains the significance in this blog.
2012hrs - The Autocar website is very busy at the moment. The Jaguar F-Pace is insanely popular but the Porsche Mission E is not looking too shabby and the Volkswagen Tiguan is dragging people in too.
1959hrs - There's no denying that there are some very eye-catching things here at Group night. But if there is a rival to the Bugatti concept, it's the quite stunning Porsche Mission E saloon. It really looks incredible. Plainly, the chaps at VW Group have decided to take on Tesla in a pretty big way.
1955hrs - Porsche is getting it's moment on the stage now and it is leading with the facelifted 911 - it has the Carrera S coupe and cabriolet on the stage.
1946hrs - The regular Tiguan has been joined on stage by the Tiguan GTE - a hybrid with a 1.4-litre petrol engine and an electric motor, giving a claimed combined range of 576 miles.
1939hrs - It's now Volkswagen's turn to take the stage. First up is the all-new Tiguan. In a market where people can't get enough SUVs and crossovers, this seems set to do very well indeed. Handsome looking, although doesn't take any risks in the styling department.
1934hrs - Despite some incredible stuff coming out of VW Group night, visitors to Autocar.co.uk can't get enough of the Jaguar F-Pace - our story now has a video of one doing a loop-the-loop. That's a pretty cool party trick.
1925hrs - We've had the Audi A4 Avant shown to us at the VW Group night, but we have been holding our collective breaths to get a look at the E-Tron quattro concept - it previews an all-electric rival to the upcoming Tesla X which is being called the Audi Q6. A handsome thing, it has to be said.
1919hrs - The Mercedes-Benz Concept IAA has made it to the stage, showcasing advanced aero tech. We reckon it previews the next generation CLS. Front-end looks great.
1913hrs - Is a Lambo not posh enough for you? Now the Bugatti Vision Gran Turismo is on the stage. Incredible looking thing and hard to imagine any car being more keenly anticipated.
1908hrs - More high-end motors on stage as the new Lamborghini Huracan Spyder is shown to the media. It looks sensational. As you might expect.
1905hrs - The Bentley Bentayga has been shown for the first time at VW Group night - looks good on the stage - can't wait to see it in the metal
1858hrs - We now have full details of the Jaguar F-Pace too - it has been revealed at the official presentation event.
1855hrs - First car to appear at group night is the Seat Leon Cross Sport - A three-door all-wheel drive hatchback
1853hrs - Mercedes boss Dieter Zetsche is talking about the importance of data security and making cars hack-proof in these days of connected cars.
1847hrs - VW night is go too. #busynight
1846hrs - Jaguar has just tweeted that the F-Pace is just minutes away from being revealed. The Mercedes-Benz conference is now under way.
1844hrs - Mercedes-Benz media event is also about to kick off. The hold music is very similar to the VW Group one.
1841hrs - Not much happening at Group night event just yet. Just a bit of whale music and people getting to their seats.
1834hrs - The VW Group night event is just getting under way - there will still be some surprises, we're sure, despite Herr Winterkorn's speech being released ahead of time. You can follow the event on a live stream if you scroll down this story. We're tweeting live updates too - head there to find the latest from us
1821hrs - There is genuine interest in just how Jaguar hopes to get noticed when it announces its first ever SUV, the F-Pace, later on this evening. Launching a BMW, Audi and Mercedes-rivalling SUV in Frankfurt is a definite declaration of intent. Editor Jim Holder pondered the strategy in his blog.
1815hrs - The Mission E had been widely tipped to make its public debut at this evening’s VW Group night, traditionally held the evening before major motor shows. However, the firm has released group CEO Martin Winterkorn's speech ahead of the event - and it reveals not only that the car will be there, but also its name.
1811hrs - Here's what we think the Porsche Mission E concept is - an all-electric executive car with a range of 300+ miles
1805hrs - It's a big one... Details of the Bugatti Vision Gran Turismo concept have been trailed ahead of a full reveal during the show - previews what we will see in the Veyron's long awaited replacement in 2017
1749hrs - VW has already issued Martin Winterkorn’s speech ahead of the famed ‘Group Night’ at Frankfurt. He focuses on electrification, and reveals that the group will launch 20 more electric cars and plug-in hybrids by 2020. Intriguingly, and ahead of the actual event, he mentions the Audi e-tron quattro concept (which we knew about) and something called the Porsche Mission E concept. Stay tuned here to find out the details on that one as and when they become available this evening.
1743hrs - Is this the car that will give Infiniti more visibility in the UK? The all-new Q30 is premium VW Golf and Audi A3 rival due to arrive in January 2016
1741hrs - Perhaps not quite as exciting, but you'll see a lot more of them about, the all-new Volkswagen Tiguan has been shown ahead of a full reveal later on
1737hrs - We've already had some advance information about the Lamborghini Huracan Spyder which goes on sale next Spring
1734hrs Our team at the show is pretty big, comprising journalists and photographers from Autocar and our sister publication What Car?. They're sending the essential news from the show floor, wi-fi and 3G permitting.
1732hrs Right then, here we go. It's time for Autocar's live coverage of IAA 2015. During the next couple of days, we'll serve up words and pictures on all the car unveilings at Frankfurt, as well as news direct from our team on the show floor. Being up close with some indiscrete executives from the biggest car makers in the world means there is always a chance of some off-diary gossip too.
The Frankfurt motor show takes place from 17th to 27th September 2015. Autocar will be there to bring you the latest news, pictures and industry gossip from one of the most important events of the year.
With new model launches confirmed from the likes of Audi, BMW, Ferrari, Jaguar, Infiniti, Mercedes-Benz and Porsche, the Frankfurt show is already shaping up to be full of exciting new metal. Take a look at the key cars coming to Frankfurt in our guide below.
Frankfurt motor show 2015 - the key cars
Alfa Romeo Giulia - Alfa's crucial BMW 3 Series rival was unveiled in Milan last month. It is powered by a Ferrari-developed V6 engine in its sportiest form.
Alpina D3 Biturbo - Following the release of BMW's facelifted 3 Series, Alpina has updated its D3 offerings to match.
Audi e-tron quattro concept - All-electric SUV concept previews Audi's upcoming Q6, which is due to launch in 2018.
Audi A4 - The fifth-generation A4 goes on sale in the UK this November, with new engines and evolutionary styling.
Bentley Bentayga - Bentley's first ever SUV model will cost from £160,200 when it goes on sale early next year.
BMW 7 Series - BMW's range-topper will go on sale in October and features a heavily reworked and lightweight chassis. A plug-in hybrid variant is scheduled for 2016.
BMW X1 - Second-generation compact SUV will be offered in both front and four-wheel drive forms for the first time. It goes on sale in the UK this autumn.
BMW hybrids - New hybrid variants of the 2 Series, 3 Series and 7 Series will reach the UK early next year.
Borgward SUV - The first model from reborn Borgward will be an SUV, which will go on sale next year.
Bugatti Vision Gran Turismo - Scale model shows off Bugatti's virtual racer, but also previews its new design language.
Citroen C4 Cactus M - Mehari-inspired concept car will previews a convertible version of the C4 Cactus.
Ferrari 488 GTS - Open-top Ferrari gets 660bhp from its twin-turbocharged V8 engine, and will go on sale next spring for around £200,000.
Fiat 500 - Prices for the updated 500 supermini start at £10,890 - the car will go on sale in the UK this September.
Honda Civic Tourer Active Life - Designed to show the practicalities of Honda's Civic estate, this concept includes bespoke features for cyclists.
Honda Project 2&4 - Radical track car concept gets its power from a MotoGP motorcycle engine developing more than 212bhp.
Hyundai i20 Active - Beefed-up version of Hyundai's i20 supermini is raised up by 20mm and will arrive next year.
Infiniti Q30 - Infiniti's Volkswagen Golf rival was first revealed in concept form in Frankfurt in 2013. It will go on sale at the end of this year.
Jaguar F-Pace - We've caught glimpses of Jaguar's SUV in its role as Team Sky's support car, but Frankfurt will mark its official public debut.
Kia Cee'd facelift - Set to go on sale in the UK this October, Kia's facelifted hatchback features a more economical range of engines.
Kia Sportage - Next-generation Sportage is moving upmarket in a bid to take on Nissan's Qashqai. It features styling inspired by the KX3 concept car.
Lamborghini Huracán Spider - Lamborghini has confirmed its open-top version of the Huracan will make its debut in Frankfurt.
Mazda Koeru - Mazda's five-door SUV concept is thought to preview a seven-seat version of the CX-5.
Mini Clubman - Mini's family-size model has grown again. It goes on sale later this year for a starting price of £19,995.
Mercedes-Benz C-Class Coupé - Mercedes has already confirmed that its three-door variant of the latest C-Class will make its debut in Frankfurt before going on sale at the end of the year.
Mercedes-Benz GLC - The successor to the GLK SUV, Mercedes' GLC will do battle with the Audi Q5 and BMW X3 when it goes on sale this autumn.
Mercedes-Benz S-Class Cabriolet - Four-seat luxury convertible will go on sale in the UK early next year, costing upwards of £100,000.
Nissan Zed concept - Nissan will preview its new Zed car with a crossover concept, which is due to be on sale by 2017.
Peugeot 308 R Hybrid - With PSA boss Carlos Tavares spotted testing the 493bhp hybrid, it's likely that a production variant of the 308 R Hybrid concept is coming.
Porsche 911 facelift - Porsche's facelifted sports car gets turbocharged engines for the first time, as well as interior upgrades.
Renault Mégane - Renault's crucial mass-market hatchback will go on sale early next year, and gets styling inspiration from the larger Espace and Talisman.
Rolls-Royce Dawn - Open-top variant of the Wraith Coupé will go on sale in the first quarter of 2016.
Seat Leon Cupra 290 - Seat's flagship Cupra gets a power boost to 286bhp.
Smart Fortwo Cabriolet - Due to launch in the third quarter of this year, Smart's new open-top Fortwo comes with a folding fabric roof.
SsangYong Tivoli seven-seat - Larger version of SsangYong's Tivoli SUV will be previewed by a concept, dubbed XLV-Air.
Suzuki Baleno - The production version of Suzuki's iK-2 concept car takes the shape of a B-segment hatchback.
Toyota Prius - The fourth generation of Toyota's hybrid gets Mirai-inspired styling, and will go on sale early next year.
Vauxhall Astra - Vauxhall's new Astra will go on sale soon after its Frankfurt debut, with prices starting from £15,295.
Vauxhall Astra Sports Tourer - Estate version of the new Astra is due to go on sale in October, priced from around £17,000.
Volkswagen Tiguan concept - VW's second-generation Tiguan SUV will be previewed by a thinly disguised concept car in Frankfurt.
Volkswagen Golf GTI Clubsport - Following the concept shown earlier this year, Volskwagen says it will be putting the 261bhp Clubsport into production.
Stay tuned to this page as we'll be updating this preview with news of further cars at the show. And stay tuned to Autocar for all the latest Frankfurt motor show news.
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