No major international motor show is ever really underway until the Volkswagen Group displays its twice annual offering to Europe's automotive media.

Tonight's event – at VW's home show – saw world debuts for the VW Up, Seat IBL, Skoda MissionL, Audi A2, Porsche 911 and Lamborghini Super Trofeo among others.

Most impressive? It has to be the Up. This is a car with true global appeal – diminutive dimensions, spacious interior, efficient powertrains – and it also has its own styling identity, not something usually associated with new VWs.

The Audi A2 impressed, too. The original A2 was perhaps ahead of its time, but credit to Audi for returning to the concept and evolving it even further. As VW chief Martin Winterkorn said tonight, "We must introduce sustainable products when the time is right." An environment-conscious 2011 seems like the perfect time.