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.
Both Seat and Skoda concepts looked great. But where Skoda confirmed its MissionL for production, the Seat IBL has no such assurances. Surely, after three excellent concepts, it's time for VW to back Seat and actually put some cars into prod
ction at the under-capacity Martorell?
Performance wise, we were treated to the ultimate Gallardo road car and the new Porsche 911. And, erm, a porcelain trimmed Veyron. The 911 was lined up next to all its illustrious ancestors and its proportions stood out in this company.
Time will tell whether a wider 911 with a longer wheelbase and electric steering is better to drive.
It was also a night of very few surprises from the Group. We had Lamborghini's confirmation of the Sesto Elemento for production, buy little
Surely, on home soil, VW and co isn't going to let Jaguar and Land Rover steal the headlines with the C-X16 and new Defender? We'll bring you their response – if any – tomorrow.