The Frankfurt motor show began on Tuesday morning.
One of the biggest events in cars of the year, there’s an exciting range of new cars on display for the first time. Notable new cars being seen for the first time include the all-new Land Rover Defender (pictured) and Volkswagen’s very important all-electric model, the ID 3. Here’s a taste of the highlights of all the new cars on display:
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Mercedes-Benz GLE Coupé
Frankfurt saw the all-new GLE get a new coupe variant. Star of the range for the moment will be AMG GLE 53 Coupé (pictured) as a performance-oriented reworking of the new model.
A prelude to the full-blown GLE 63 that’s expected next year, the GLE 53 features a 3.0-litre twin-turbocharged inline six petrol engine with 429bhp and 384lb ft of torque.
Mercedes-Benz GLB AMG
Only recently unveiled, Mercedes has wasted little time to give its funky new GLB compact SUV the AMG treatment. It will be no slouch - the 35 version features the same 302bhp 2.0-litre mild hybrid petrol engine found in the new A35 hot hatch. A 45 version will follow in 2020, offering either 382bhp or 416bhp – again from just a 2.0-litre turbocharged engine.
Smart unveiled its new all electric range of cars at Frankfurt. A range of 100 miles is promised, less than rivals, but Smart is clearly hoping urban owners won’t mind.
The ID3 is surely one of the most important cars to be unveiled at Frankfurt. The car promises a 200+ mile range at an affordable, upmarket Golf price-point. The people’s car has gone electric, and is a central plank in the company’s fightback against Tesla, which has had several years headstart; its new Model 3 is now rolling onto the road in earnest.
The ID3 will become the first production car to use the company’s new MEB platform. VW’s first goal is to sell one million electric cars per year by 2025, deriving economies of scale from the flexible platform and the firm’s bulk purchasing power when it comes to batteries. The target is to build 15 million vehicles – across more than 20 different models – on the first-generation MEB, using eight plants worldwide.
Cupra Tavascan concept
Seat’s performance brand Cupra unveiled this dramatic EV concept at Frankfurt. It’s named after a ski resort near the French border in Catalonia, and is said to marry “the presence of an SUV with the sleekness of a sports coupé.”
Audi RS7 Sportback
Frankfurt saw the A7 get the RS treatment, complete with enlarged honeycomb air intakes at the front, bigger wheels and the trademark oval-tipped twin exhausts at the rear. Sharing its 4.0-litre twin-turbocharged petrol V8 engine with the Porsche Panamera Turbo and Lamborghini Urus SUV, it delivers power of 591bhp.
Lamborghini Siån FKP 37
The new Sian is notable for being the storied Italian brand’s first hybrid-powered car. This limited-edition hypercar based on the existing Aventador will see total combined power of 808bhp. Top speed? Said to be in excess of the conventional Aventador SVJ model’s 217mph.
Its name has recently been changed to pay homage to former Volkswagen chieftain Ferdinand Karl Piëch, who was born in 1937, and died at the end of August, aged 82. He was instrumental in VW’s purchase of Lamborghini in 1998, and VW’s deep pockets helped it rejuvenate its image and sales in the past two decades. Lamborghini CEO Stefano Domenicali said: "Prof. Dr. Piëch was an engineer and an innovator, particularly appreciating the appeal of the iconic Lamborghini V12 powertrain on which today, the Sián FKP 37 combines pioneering hybrid technologies."
Audi's hot new SQ8 made its debut at Frankfurt as the firm's flagship SUV, featuring a 429bhp mild hybrid turbodiesel V8 engine. The 4.0-litre twin-turbo unit offered in the range-topping performance version of the coupe-inspired Q8 large SUV is the most powerful V8 offered by the firm in Europe. It produces 664lb ft of torque and powers the five-seater from 0-62mph in 4.8 seconds, with a limited top speed of 155mph. An even-hotter RSQ8 has been spotted testing and will follow in 2020.
Audi A1 Citycarver
The new Audi A1 Citycarver, a more rugged, off-road-inspired version of the firm's compact supermini, made its public debut in Frankfurt. Based on the standard A1 Sportback, the Citycarver receives an extra 2in of additional ground clearance with the addition of larger wheels and an upgraded suspension. However, it is positioned as a more city-focused ‘urban crossover’ than the brand’s fully-fledged Allroad models.
Another new hot Audi was unveiled at Frankfurt – this time the RS6. Available yet again as a wagon only, the new RS6 may be based on the latest A6, but this new hot-rod gets its own body. The only panels carried over from the A6 are the front doors, roof and bootlid. Everything else is an RS-specific design.
The new panels make the performance estate’s body 80mm wider than a standard A6’s, which measures 1886mm, although the track width is unchanged. Power comes from a 4.0-litre twin-turbo TFSI petrol engine, now boosted by a 48V mild-hybrid system, producing 591bhp and 590lb ft available between 2100rpm and 4500rpm.
The Taycan was certainly one of the most anticipated cars at Frankfurt, and wowed the crowds. The new Taycan will go on sale in 2020 and promises electrifying performance despite its heavy batteries boosting weight to 2200kg or so.
The Turbo version should deliver a 0-62mph time of 3.2sec, while the Turbo S dishes out 750bhp and 774lb ft with an overboost function that shortens that sprint to 2.8sec. A range of 240-280 miles is also promised.
Land Rover Defender
The last Defender went out of production in 2016, and this all-new model has big shoes to fill as the workhorse of the Land Rover range. Making a grand entrance at Land Rover’s press conference by traversing down a near 45-degree ramp, the new model seeks to capitalise on the old model’s cult status by reflecting the original’s chunky design. It offers a huge range of body styles and customisation options. It’s available in three-door 90 (4.3m long) and five-door 110 versions (4.7m)(pictured), with a variety of seating configurations, including three up front.
Pricing will be relatively modest at the bottom of the range (around £40,000) but allowing customers to spend well over twice that if they want to. It’ll be built at Jaguar Land Rover’s new plant in Slovakia. A key star of the show.
BMW M Next concept
In looks and ambition, with this new BMW concept we could be looking at the long-awaited follow-up to the fabled M1 sports car of 1978. It previews a new advanced carbonfibre-bodied coupé planned to go on sale early next decade.
The Vision M Next introduces a new 591bhp plug-in petrol-electric drivetrain that is also earmarked to power more conventional, future M models.
Frankfurt saw the unveiling of the third generation of Hyundai’s citycar. It’s slightly wider and slightly lower than the previous model and has a suite of technology and safety upgrades to appeal to younger customers. Hyundai hopes that it will become the class leader in technology for this class of car.
Ford’s new compact crossover features variants of the 1.0-litre EcoBoost engine, starting off with a 123bhp version in Titanium trim and rising to a 153bhp mild-hybrid unit in ST-Line X First Edition trim.
Vauxhall/Opel Grandland X
Frankfurt sees Vauxhall unveiling its first ever production model plug-in hybrid. The Grandland SUV gets a 296bhp petrol-electric powertrain that entails significant benefit-in-kind tax savings for company car drivers.
Everyone loved this new electric car when shown in concept form at the Frankfurt show two years ago. And now Frankfurt 2019 sees it arrive as a four-door production model. It’ll go on sale in 2020 with a range of around 125 miles. In the UK it’ll be priced from £26,150.
Mercedes-Benz EQS concept
Mercedes-Benz will launch a new all-electric luxury saloon in around two years, and it’s previewing the new car with the unveiling of a new 470bhp electric-powered concept at the Frankfurt motor show.
Called the Vision EQS, the new four-door provides a foretaste of what Mercedes-Benz claims will be its most advanced production model yet when it reaches showrooms in 2021. It will be launched as a direct rival to the next-generation pure-electric Jaguar XJ, as well as the Tesla Model S and Audi E-tron GT.
Mini at long last gets an EV-only option, and we’re promised high performance, a range of 120-140 miles, and a highly competitive £24,400 entry price. It will be called the Mini Cooper S E in markets outside the UK, but the brand has chosen to retain the Mini Electric name in Britain to avoid confusion and clearly differentiate it from the standard range.
However, the Cooper S badges will remain (alongside new E badging) to denote the performance level.
BMW 3 Series Touring
Frankfurt saw the arrival of BMW’s all-new 3 Series Touring. The car will go on sale in late September with a range of petrol and diesel engines. For the first time in the Touring shape, there will be a plug-in hybrid model, known as 330e, which will arrive in July 2020.
As with the 330e saloon, it will feature a 248bhp powertrain, comprising a 181bhp petrol engine with a 111bhp electric motor, and the ability to run 39 miles on electric-only power.
It hasn’t taken long for Alpina to take the new BMW 3 Series under its wing. Using the M340i as a base, it boosts power from that car’s 3.0-litre turbocharged straight-six from 369bhp up to 462bhp and a maximum torque of 516lb ft from 3000rpm.
BMW Concept 4 Series
BMW is previewing the next 4 Series, showing radically revamped styling for the second-generation version of the two-door coupé, set for launch in late 2020. The new concept car, said to be 85% production ready, shows that BMW is intending to give the Audi A5 Coupé rival a far more different identity from the 3 Series on which it’s derived.
It also previews to an extent the new all-electric i4, due in 2021.
Volkswagen ID 4
The ID 3 may not be heading for America for now, but this car certainly will be. Volkswagen showed this car in heavy camouflage, and its second production model in its new bespoke electric car line-up.
The electric SUV, which is based on the ID Crozz concept, has previously been spied testing and is due to be launched in 2020. We expect a similar single-charge range for the ID 3, from 200 miles up to over 300 miles for the most expensive model.
Hyundai Veloster N ETCR
You’re looking at Hyundai’s first electric race car, the Veloster N ETCR, launched at Frankfurt. It will race in the new Electric Touring Car race series (ETCR), and the fast EV takes inspiration from the firm’s conventionally fuelled i30 N TCR and Veloster N TCR racers.
Power is sent to the rear wheels from a mid-mounted electric motor – a first for Hyundai. Power output is unconfirmed but can be expected to match that of the 670bhp e-Racer unveiled by Cupra last year to compete in the same series.
Forget the old days of Chinese copycat cars. Chinese car makers were at Frankfurt in numbers, and proving they’ll be a force to be reckoned with for today’s mainstream car makers. An example is this new near-production-ready electric SUV, the M-Byte.
It will launch in mid-2020 in China initially, but will arrive in Europe and America in 2021 at a starting price of €45,000 (£40,280). That's slightly more than the expected European price of the new Tesla Model Y. Byton was set up by former BMW executives Carsten Breitfeld and Daniel Kirchert in Nanjing in 2017.
The Captur compact SUV heads into its second generation with sweeping looks and the option of plug-in hybrid power.
Audi AI:Trail concept
Yes, you’re right, you won’t be able to buy a car like this from Audi anytime soon. However, according to the German’s brands design boss Marc Lichte, it sets a new design language for the company’s future SUVs.
The wacky, off-road concept, the fourth and final AI concept, which show Audi’s vision for shared motoring, with subscribers able to choose the car that best suits them at a touch of a button on their smartphone. One fun feature? The car has a drone that can fly ahead and light up the way as desired.
Mercedes A-Class PHEV
At Frankfurt Mercedes-Benz is showing the first hybrid versions of its A-Class and B-Class models as it expands its electrified line-up. Available to order from early October will be the A250e in hatchback and saloon forms and the B250e MPV.
The two new variants are powered by a 1.3-litre four-cylinder petrol engine and an electric motor producing 101bhp. The EQ Power-badged powertrain’s combined output is 215bhp and 332lb ft.
Hongqi S9 concept
Hongqi is part of China’s largest car maker, FAW. You won’t be able to buy this car for a while, but it’s a new all-electric supercar concept and is a major statement of intent to the established players: take us seriously. FAW’s design team is now led by Giles Taylor, who joined the company from Rolls-Royce in 2018.
Hyundai 45 concept
This new electric concept car features styling references to the brand’s first production car - the Mitsubishi-powered Pony hatchback - which launched in 1974. 45 years on, It has a retro-style LED rear light bar that displays a matrix flourish upon start-up.
BMW’s SUV coupe enters its third generation with this new car unveiled at Frankfurt. Power will come from petrol-engined xDrive40i and M50i versions and diesel-powered xDrive30d and M50d models.
Opel/Vauxhall Corsa E
The new Corsa is the first new model to come from Vauxhall since France’s PSA bought it in 2017. Sharing architecture with the new 208, we’re promised 134bhp and a 211 mile range for the EV-only model.