The best new cars at the Frankfurt Motor Show

We round up the important new car debuts at Frankfurt 2019, from the Land Rover Defender to the Volkswagen ID.3

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The 2019 Frankfurt Motor Show is underway, giving us the first chance to see some of the new cars you could be driving next year. We’ve elbowed our way to the front of each stand, tripping over travel bags on the way, to bring you the most important reveals and concepts from the 2019 show.

Land Rover Defender

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It feels like we’ve been talking about the new Defender for an eternity, so it’s a relief to see the iconic 4×4 in the metal. Somehow, Land Rover has managed to fuse the classic design of the original with a look that feels right at home in 2020. The new Defender is available in both 90 and 110 variants, while two commercial models join the range next year. Of course, seeing the Defender under the bright lights of Frankfurt is one thing, but what really matters is how the 4×4 behaves when the going gets tough. We look forward to our first drive.

Porsche Taycan

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Like the Defender, the Porsche Taycan has endured a lengthy gestation period, but the debut of this four-door electric sports car is no less significant. It’s the first all-electric Porsche, with the company heralding the ‘start of a new era’. In flagship Turbo S guise, the Taycan develops 761hp and 774lb ft of instant torque, which is enough to propel it to 124mph in just 9.8 seconds. It’s the first production vehicle to feature 800-volt architecture, which means lightning quick charging times, with the right equipment. A hugely important car for Porsche and the entire EV sector.

Ford Puma

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If you fancy a Fiesta-based compact SUV but can’t handle the thought of driving an EcoSport, the new Puma might be the answer. Ford sees it as a sporty alternative to the aesthetically challenged EcoSport and hopes to steal sales from the Volkswagen T-Cross. As such, you can expect a range of personalisation options and a host of neat details. We like the subtle nods to the old Puma coupe, including the headlights and the shape of the side windows. We reckon Ford has a potential best-seller on its hands.

Volkswagen ID.3

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Speaking of best-sellers, Volkswagen wants the ID.3 to become as ubiquitous as the evergreen Golf. It’s off to a flying start, with the company receiving 30,000 reservations, plus 10,000 deposits taken during the first 24 hours of its release. With a range of up to 341 miles, 110kW fast charging, high specification from launch and next-generation styling, this could become one of the country’s most popular electric cars. Launch editions will cost £35,000, but you’ll pay £27,000 for the 205-mile capable car. The ID.3 strikes us as an emphatic way to bury the ghosts of ‘Dieselgate’.

Audi A1 Citycarver

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It’s a compact SUV with an Audi badge, so the A1 Citycarver is likely to be as popular as a pound-a-pint bar during freshers’ week. The name puts us in mind of the City Rover, and Audi has used a similar approach in creating this car with a strange name. Take the A1 supermini, add 4mm of extra ground clearance and a smattering of body armour and – hey presto – you’ve got yourself a Citycarver. Coming to a dropped kerb near you in the autumn.

Lamborghini Sian

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Meet the most powerful road-going Lamborghini ever produced. Thanks to the combination of a 6.5-litre V12 engine and a supercapacitor-powered electric motor, the Sian produces 819hp, which is enough for a top speed of 217mph. Just 63 will be built, honouring the foundation year of Lamborghini, each one individually styled by the owner. Predictably, there are none left, so the price, which is unknown, is almost irrelevant.

Mini Electric

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Mini has received 40,000 registrations of interest for its new electric car, which suggests it might struggle to keep up with demand. Sensibly, it looks just like the regular Mini, albeit with a raised ride height and a few well chosen cosmetic upgrades to showcase your green credentials. The range of up to 144 miles will be a stumbling block for some, but city drivers will love the £24,400 starting price.

Vauxhall Corsa

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As Britain’s second favourite supermini, the launch of the new Vauxhall Corsa is a big deal for the brand. It shares its platform with the Peugeot 208 and, like its French sibling, an electric version will be available. More conventional petrol and diesel powertrains are also offered, with prices starting from £15,550. The first cars arrive in Vauxhall showrooms in January 2020.

BMW 1 Series

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You’d be forgiven for thinking you’re looking at the 2 Series Active Tourer, but this really is the new BMW 1 Series. A shift to front-wheel-drive means more cabin space and a larger boot, while a reduction in weight will improve economy and performance. A flagship M135i xDrive sits at the top of the range, but most UK buyers will opt for the 118d. Prices start from £24,430.

Renault Captur

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The Renault Captur is the most popular car in its class in Europe, so the launch of a new version is a big deal for the French brand. In common with the all-new Clio, the styling is evolutionary rather than revolutionary, with Renault focusing on the interior space, cabin quality, technology and efficiency. A plug-in version will be available next year.

Mercedes-Benz EQV

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The Mercedes-Benz EQV is billed as the world’s first fully-electric MPV and it’s coming to an airport run near you soon. A 100mph top speed should mean that you’ll never miss your flight (on German autobahns, obviously), while a range of 252 miles should ensure you’re not held up by emergency charging. The 90kWh battery is replenished via an on-board water-cooled charger.

Hyundai i10

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The new Hyundai i10 is a world away from the budget-led, scrappage-friendly city car of the past. Designed, developed and built in Europe, the new i10 is 20mm lower and 20mm wider than before and available as a four- or five-seater. Two petrol engines are offered at launch: a 1.0-litre three-cylinder unit and a 1.2-litre four-cylinder version. Prices haven’t been announced, but the i10 will come with a five-year unlimited mileage warranty.

Audi RS6 Avant

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The Audi RS6 Avant is here to give the performance SUV a bloody nose. It’s not as subtle as RS6 Avants of old, but this super-wagon packs 600hp and 800lb ft of torque, which is enough for it to hit 62mph in just 3.5 seconds. Mild hybrid tech is a nod to efficiency, but oval tailpipes the size of the Mersey Tunnel and giant 21-inch wheels will be of greater interest to the RS6 buyer.

Honda e

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Our man Richard Aucock has driven a prototype Honda e and was suitably impressed with what he found. The car on show in Frankfurt is a full production version, complete with subtle changes to the interior trim and a working infotainment system. Would you choose this or the Mini Electric? Honda prices start from £26,160 or £299 a month – might this sway things in Honda’s favour?

Hyundai Veloster N ETCR

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This is Hyundai Motorsport’s first electric race car. It’s called the Veloster N ETCR and it has been designed and built in Germany to compete in the proposed Electric Touring Car Championship (ETCR). Hyundai hasn’t released any performance figures, but we know that it’s rear-wheel drive and the motor is mid-mounted for optimum weight distribution. The first ETCR race is expected in 2021.


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This is the new BMW X6, which is longer and wider than its predecessor but 6mm lower. Surprisingly, it looks rather different to the X5 SUV, with a new grille and headlights. It’s also the first production BMW to feature illuminated kidney grilles, but you can bank on these coming to an aftermarket accessories catalogue soon. We’re sure they’d look superb on a 2008 Vauxhall Corsa…

Smart EQ models

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Smart is the first company to switch from combustion engines to electric powertrains across the board. Now, it has given its EQ range a cosmetic overhaul, including optional full LED headlights and different grilles. There’s also a redesigned centre console and new infotainment system. Earlier this year, Daimler and Geely announced plans to develop a new range of Smart electric cars in China.

Vauxhall Astra

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Don’t be fooled by the styling, because this is the new Vauxhall Astra. In reality, it’s more of a mid-life refresh, but the subtle cosmetic makeover masks a comprehensive overhaul beneath the skin. There’s new suspension, improved aerodynamics, more efficient engines and a tweaked interior. Trim lines are now simpler and prices start from £18,885.

Audi AI:Trail Quattro

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If the Land Rover Defender pays homage to the past, the Audi AI:Trail Quattro is a vision of the future. It’s equipped with four electric motors, systems for assisted and automated driving, plus permanent all-wheel drive. It has a massive 350mm of ground clearance, can ford water more than half a metre deep and is fitted with 22-inch wheels wrapped in 850mm tyres. Still want that Defender?

BMW 8 Series Gran Coupe

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BMW has added an extra 201mm to the wheelbase of the two-door 8 Series Coupe to create the four-door Gran Coupe. BMW says this space has been used to enable the two passengers in the rear to enjoy a ‘genuine sports car feel’, but there is also a third seat in the back for short journeys. At £69,340, the entry-level Gran Coupe comes in around £2,500 cheaper than the ‘basic’ Coupe.

Mercedes-AMG GLB 35 4Matic

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Mercedes-AMG has wasted little time in building a hot version of the GLB compact SUV. The GLB 35 4Matic features a 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine producing 306hp, with power sent to all four wheels via an eight-speed dual-clutch transmission. Wheel sizes range from 19 to 21 inches, with the hot GLB featuring ‘race start’ as standard. A 0-62mph time of 5.2 seconds should keep a few hot hatches on their toes.

Audi RS7 Sportback

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Audi has added a mild hybrid system to its already potent 4.0-litre V8 engine to give the new RS7 Sportback serious performance car credentials. Figures of 600hp and 590lb ft of torque are big league stuff and will ensure the four-door super-saloon hits 62mph in just 3.6 seconds. Opt for the Dynamic Plus Package and the RS7 will top 190mph. A future twin-test against the BMW M8 Gran Coupe should be interesting.

BMW X6 Vantablack

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This BMW X6 is finished in ‘the world’s blackest black’. The one-off vehicle is coated in a Vantablack paint finish that absorbs up to 99.965 percent of light, completely eliminating reflections. The result is surreal, bordering on eerie. Vantablack was developed for aerospace, but this is the first time Surrey NanoSystems, the company behind the innovation, has allowed a car manufacturer to use the paint.

Hyundai 45 EV Concept

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Remember the Hyundai Pony? The 45 EV Concept pays homage to Hyundai’s first independent vehicle and hints at the ‘self-driving vehicles of tomorrow’. The company says it previews the design direction of future EV models and the potential for a ‘consumer lifestyle brand for the future of mobility’. Highlights include an interior inspired by furniture designs, swivel seats and a ‘comfortable carpet’. Because everyone loves a comfortable carpet.

Mercedes-Benz Vision EQS

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The press material for the Mercedes-Benz Vision EQS contains an awful lot of waffle, but cutting to the chase, this all-electric vehicle previews a future S-Class flagship. Mercedes says it will deliver up to 700km (435 miles) of range and the level of autonomy can be extended up to fully-automated driving.

BMW Concept 4

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“The kidney grille has always been a signature feature of BMW cars,” said Domagoj Dukec, head of BMW Design. “The BMW Concept 4 presents a confident and classy take on this iconic feature,” he continued. Confident? Perhaps. Classy? We’ll get back to you on that. Still, nice side profile.

Volkswagen e-Up

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While the all-new electric cars might grab the headlines in Frankfurt, news of an updated Volkswagen e-Up will be of interest to many buyers. The range is, er… up, from 99 to 162 miles, with up to 80 percent charge available in just 60 minutes via a 40kW DC charger. The revised e-Up will be built alongside the Skoda Citigo-e iV and Seat Mii Electric.

Cupra Tavascan

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Cupra – the performance offshoot of Seat – reckons the electric coupe SUV market will grow by 15 percent a year. So although the Tavascan is a concept, it provides hints about the next bespoke model to follow the Formentor, which is scheduled to arrive next year. Highlights include 22-inch wheels, a total output of 306hp, four-wheel-drive and a range of up to 280 miles.

Audi A5

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With the A4 updated, it was only a matter of time before the Audi A5 received a mid-life makeover. On show in Sportback, Coupe and Cabriolet variants, the A5 gets a new front end, a touchscreen infotainment system, mild hybrid technology and a revised 12.3-inch Virtual Cockpit. The new A5 will be available to order later this year, with first deliveries expected in the spring.

BMW i Hydrogen Next

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You’d be forgiven for thinking the future is electric, but BMW is not prepared to put all its alternative fuel eggs in one bag for life. The i Hydrogen Next fuel cell development vehicle is based on the X5 and works on “the assumption that, in future, various alternative types of drive system will exist alongside one another”. Don’t bank on a hydrogen BMW arriving before 2025, mind.

Ford Kuga PHEV

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Ford is predicting a ‘tipping point of electrified versus conventional petrol and diesel powertrains by the end of 2022, when more than 50 percent of Ford passenger vehicles will be electrified.’ The Kuga Plug-in Hybrid is the company’s ‘most electrified vehicle’ and the first to offer mild-hybrid, ‘self-charging’ full-hybrid and plug-in hybrid powertrains.

Seat Tarraco PHEV

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The seven-seat Tarraco is Seat’s third SUV and a rival to the Skoda Kodiaq and Volkswagen Tiguan Allspace. This new plug-in hybrid variant pairs a 1.4-litre petrol engine with an electric motor to deliver 245hp and CO2 emissions ‘below 50g/km’. There’s no word on price, but the PHEV variant will be available to order in 2020. Seat has also unveiled a new FR trim level, complete with FR-specific 19-inch alloy wheels, a new Fura Grey colour, wider wheelarches and a rear spoiler.

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Gavin Braithwaite-Smith
Writer with a penchant for #FrenchTat. Also doing a passable impression of Cousin Eddie in an Italian-German beige motorhome.


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