IAA 2017 The Frankfurt Motor Show is Germany’s biannual international motor show. Motoring Research will be bringing you full coverage from the IAA show floors.

Read our full guide to what’s at the 2017 Frankfurt Motor Show, and also follow our social media channels on the day, using the hashtag #IAAMR.

2019 Frankfurt Motor Show ‘a huge fail’ says former car boss

Karl Thomas-Neumann

As a former Volkswagen Group senior executive and boss of Opel, Karl-Thomas Neumann is well placed to pass judgement on the Frankfurt Motor Show. It’s fair to say he’s not a fan of his homeland event.

Neumann has launched a scathing attack, labelling the show “a huge fail” and claiming “it’s just a sad shadow of what it used to be”.

There will not be a Frankfurt Motor Show in 2021, he tweeted, in a damning assessment of one of the largest international car shows in the world. Many major brands are absent this year, including Toyota, Nissan, Volvo, Peugeot, Fiat and Mazda.

The absentees, combined with a “mono dimensional” approach, paints a “sad picture” for Germany’s biennial motor show. It’s a view shared by some other industry experts, including designer Drew Meehan, who claims “the show is so spread out and hard to navigate that it was practically begging to be disrupted by a clever brand, and yet no clever brands seem to have showed up.”

The disruption has come from another source, with Greenpeace using the Frankfurt Motor Show to “send a message to the industry directly”. The carbon footprint of the car industry equalled nine percent of global greenhouse gas emissions in 2018, it says.

Greenpeace has singled out the ‘dirty dozen’ and says thousands of protestors will converge on Frankfurt to demonstrate for a climate-friendly future.

From Germany to LA

Karl Thomas-Neumann Opel

Karl Thomas-Neumann was CEO at Continental for five years before becoming CEO and president of Volkswagen China in 2009. He was CEO of Opel but resigned when the company was acquired by PSA Group in 2017. He lives in Los Angeles and works in the field of electrification and new mobility.

Motoring Research’s Richard Aucock was on the ground at Frankfurt 2019 and says it did indeed feel different. “The show was no smaller – it still covers an enormous footprint, with almost a mile separating Mercedes-Benz at one end and BMW at the other.

“But the sheer number of absentees meant many halls were almost entirely handed over to auto industry suppliers rather than car brands. This made it feel unusual, and certainly resulted in less of a show ‘buzz’. 

“Many brands also took out visibly smaller stands. BMW used to have a hall all to itself; this year, it shared space with Jaguar Land Rover, Opel Vauxhall, Hyundai and Alpina. 

“The thrill of the Land Rover Defender reveal still created excitement, but the rest of the show felt flat. A review and refocus are certainly necessary if it is to survive into 2021.”

Is the former Opel CEO correct in his critical assessment of the Frankfurt Motor Show? Let us know using the comments below.

You can now buy a new Land Rover Defender LEGO kit

Lego Land Rover Defender

Worried about how you’ll find £45,000 for a new Land Rover Defender? Fear not, there is a cheaper way. Meet the Lego Technic Defender.

The new Lego kit was developed in collaboration with Land Rover for immediate release after the car’s debut. Consisting of 2,573 pieces, there’s no pre-ordering and picking this one up from the dealership. You’ve got to build it yourself. 

The model features replica body panels and wheels from the real thing, as well as four-wheel drive and three differentials. The Defender’s independent suspension, which disappointed some hardcore off-road enthusiasts, is also recreated here. There’s even a working winch.

Lego Land Rover Defender

“I’m very excited about this new model – a truly impressive job done by our Lego Group designers,” said Niels Henrik Horsted, marketing director at Lego.

“Together with Land Rover, we’ve blended elements, design and innovative engineering into a set that shows the boundless creativity of Lego play, and that with Lego Technic you can build for real.”

Lego Land Rover Defender

The Lego Defender joins a rapidly growing stable of Lego vehicles, including the Bugatti Chiron, Porsche 911 GT3 RS, McLaren Senna and Porsche 919.

In case you were completely shut away from society yesterday, click here to learn everything you need to know about the new Land Rover Defender. 

Lego Land Rover DefenderThe Above and Beyond collection

If you fancy some Defender merchandise, but Lego is a bit childish for you, there’s also a new clothing collection. It’s a collaboration between Land Rover and Musto, a manufacturer of technical sportswear.

A series of jackets, gloves and other bits of adventure clothing are available, as well as some gadgets. All useful for when you’re off adventuring in your Defender.

The coolest classic and retro cars in Frankfurt

The classics of Frankfurt

When you’ve had your fill of concepts that will never see the light of day, supercars you can’t afford and middling hatchbacks that are as exciting as a wet weekend in Wakefield, there’s always a ready supply of classic cars at an international motor show. Our man Richard Aucock braved a few extra blisters to take some photos of the cars he found on his travels. He wants you to see them, so keep clicking to make sure he returns home a happy man.

Ferrari 365 GTB/4

The classics of Frankfurt

Ferrari isn’t at the 2019 Frankfurt Motor Show, but that doesn’t mean you won’t find one in the German financial capital. You’ll need the pockets of a merchant banker to be able to afford this, though. The beautiful 365 GTB/4 ‘Daytona’ was launched in 1968, followed by the 365 GTS/4 roadster at the 1969 Frankfurt Motor Show.

Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Coupe

The classics of Frankfurt

You’ll pay upwards of £1 million for an immaculate Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Coupe, a car inspired by the motorsport version of 1952. It was one of the world’s first supercars, boasting a top speed of 260km/h (162mph) and innovative, lightweight spaceframe construction. The iconic ‘gullwing’ doors were introduced when it was discovered that conventional doors were incompatible with the extra height of the sills.

Amphicar

The classics of Frankfurt

Potomac Classics is a Dutch firm specialising in the restoration and sales of the Amphicar. With (ambitious) visions of motoring across the North Sea, we had a look on the Potomac website for details of this stunner. It’s listed as ‘op aanvragg’, or ‘on application’, but there is a 1961 Amphicar available for €62,500 (£55,750). Does that float your boat?

BB Auto Porsche 996

The classics of Frankfurt

Rainer Buchmann founded Frankfurt-based BB Auto in 1974, converting a Porsche 911 into a Targa and painting it in the colours of Polaroid. This Porsche 996 is a more modern, but no less striking, interpretation of the 45-year-old classic.

Left or right?

The classics of Frankfurt

You’re heading home from Frankfurt and you have to choose one of these classics. Do you go Italian or German?

BMW 1600 GT

The classics of Frankfurt

Glas is a former German car manufacturer best known for the production of the Goggomobil. The company was purchased by BMW in 1966, with the Glas GT becoming the 1600 GT. The front end was given a subtle refresh to accommodate the BMW ‘twin kidney’ grille. Memo to BMW: this is how grilles should be done.

A classic, updated

The classics of Frankfurt

We expect the electrification of classic cars to become increasingly popular over the coming years, so it’s no surprise to see major manufacturers embracing the idea. Volkswagen has teamed up with eClassics to convert a Beetle to electric power, with the battery, transmission and motor lifted from the e-Up. Other electric classics will follow.

HK Engineering

The classics of Frankfurt

Nothing to see here, just a few million pounds worth of Mercedes-Benz 300 SL goodness in an exhibition hall in Frankfurt. HK Engineering has been restoring 300 SLs since 1984.

BMW Z8

The classics of Frankfurt

Designed to pay homage to the BMW 507, the production-ready Z8 (right) was unveiled in 1999. Built from the ground up using an entirely new platform, it was BMW’s first $100k+ production car and a star of Bond film The World is Not Enough. The Alpina version (left) used a 4.8-litre V8 instead of the stock 5.0-litre V8 from the M5, plus softer suspension and 20-inch alloy wheels.

Bitter CD

The classics of Frankfurt

The Bitter CD began life as an Opel concept at the 1969 Frankfurt Motor Show. It used the running gear from the Opel Diplomat, which meant a 5.4-litre Chevy V8 with heaps of power and bags of torque. When Opel bailed out on a potential production version, it was left to Erich Bitter to take the baton. The result was a smooth running and classy German GT car.

Lamborghinietta

The classics of Frankfurt

You can’t buy a new Lamborghini Sian, because 63 people with incredibly deep pockets got there first. But ask nicely, and we’re sure you could drive home in one of these Lamborghinietta tractors. The hat is included. Probably.

Porsche Targa Moonracer

The classics of Frankfurt

It sounds like the name of a Bond movie, but we reckon spending a few hours behind the wheel of the Porsche Targa Moonracer would be preferable to sitting in front of the television for the umpteenth time.

Mercedes-Benz 280 SE 3.5 Cabriolet

The classics of Frankfurt

The Mercedes-Benz W111 enjoyed an impressively long life, debuting in 1959 before bowing out in 1971. Available as a saloon, coupe or convertible, the 280 SE 3.5 Cabriolet arrived late in the production run and was powered by a 3.5-litre V8 engine. This one has been restored and is available for €425,000 (£380,000).

Ferrari Testarossa

The classics of Frankfurt

To many, the Testarossa is the archetypal Ferrari of the 1980s. Launched in 1984, the V12 supercar is as famous for its iconic slatted air intakes as for its role in Miami Vice.

Citroen DS Cabriolet Usine

The classics of Frankfurt

The Citroen DS Cabriolet Usine, or ‘Factory’ Cabriolet, was listed in the Citroen catalogue from 1961, with construction undertaken by coachbuilder Henri Chapron. Production continued until 1971, with sales falling to just 40 units. The best year was 1963, when Citroen sold 241 drop-top DS models.

Got wood?

The classics of Frankfurt

Either Richard has injected too many motor show espressos or this is a wooden Mercedes-Benz SL Roadster. Can anybody smell Mr Sheen?

Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren Stirling Moss

The classics of Frankfurt

The Stirling Moss was the final version of the Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren, built to honour the racing driver’s success at the 1955 Mille Miglia. Just 75 were built, with a UK price tag of £660,000. Given how much you’d pay for one today, that seems like a bargain.

Benetton B194

The classics of Frankfurt

This is the Benetton B194, the car driven by Michael Schumacher during the 1994 F1 season. The German won the World Drivers’ Championship by finishing a single point ahead of Damon Hill.

More pictures:

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Frankfurt goes green: all the new electric cars on show

Electric cars at Frankfurt IAA

With environmental protests and controversy blighting this year’s Frankfurt Motor Show, and the re-brand the event has undergone, the most important cars on display are arguably those with electric power. We round up the EVs you could drive away from Frankfurt with a clean conscience.

Porsche Taycan

Electric cars at Frankfurt IAA

One of two show-stopping EV reveals at Frankfurt, this is Porsche’s hotly-anticipated Taycan sports saloon. Its 800-volt architecture should show the Tesla Model S what repeatable performance looks like.

Volkswagen ID.3

Electric cars at Frankfurt IAA

The other headline-grabbing EV at Frankfurt is the Volkswagen ID.3. Call it reparations for ‘Dieselgate’ if you will, but this car might outsell the Golf one day. The reaction is good thus far.

Volkswagen ID.4

Electric cars at Frankfurt IAA

As VW has been at pains to emphasise, ‘ID’ isn’t just one car – it’s a model range. The ID.4 SUV is coming soon, as teased by this disguised prototype at Frankfurt.

Mini Electric

Electric cars at Frankfurt IAA

The Mini seems like the right car to go electric and, finally, the British marque has obliged. The Mini Electric has a 124-mile minimum range and is available to lease from £299 a month.

Vauxhall Corsa e

Electric cars at Frankfurt IAA

Another electric car for the people is the Vauxhall Corsa e. This small EV is a revolution for the marque, and is twinned with Peugeot’s e208. It’s capable of 200 miles on a full charge

Mercedes-Benz EQV

Electric cars at Frankfurt IAA

Mercedes calls the EQV the world’s first fully-electric MPV. With a range of 252 miles and top speed of 100mph, your many passengers should have no problem getting to their destination.

Honda e

Electric cars at Frankfurt IAA

The Honda e will be one of the most interesting new cars of 2020. A futuristic small EV with retro styling, it also – like the Mini – is available from £300 a month.

Smart EQ

Electric cars at Frankfurt IAA

Smart has updated its EQ models, the ForTwo and ForFour. This comes shortly after an announcement that the marque is going electric-only. A bold move.

Volkswagen e-Up

Electric cars at Frankfurt IAA

All eyes were on the ID.3, but there’s another small electric car from Volkswagen at Frankfurt. This is the updated e-Up, with an impressive 160 miles of range. It can also replenish its battery to 80 percent charge in 60 minutes using a 40kW charger.

BMW i Hydrogen Next

Electric cars at Frankfurt IAA

Diverting from battery-electric vehicles at Frankfurt, here’s the BMW i Hydrogen NEXT. Essentially, it’s an X5 powered by a hydrogen fuel cell. No details are available yet, but we do know BMW is working with Toyota on the project.

Byton M-Byte

Electric cars at Frankfurt IAA

Chinese EV startup Byton revealed the production version of its M-Byte electric SUV at Frankfurt. If you don’t remember who Byton is, just think back to that SUV with a 48-inch screen inside. This is a handsome-looking effort.

Aiways U5

Electric cars at Frankfurt IAA

Aiways is another Chinese brand with a new EV. To prove its performance, it completed a road trip from China all the way to Frankfurt. On the way, it passed through 12 countries, including Kazakhstan, Russia, Finland and the Netherlands. It was a world record for a journey by a prototype electric vehicle – a full 9,300 miles.

Opel Elektro GT

Electric cars at Frankfurt IAA

Now we enter the bonus round, of electric cars that were way ahead of their time. Long before the Corsa e came the Opel Elektro GT. This diminutive prototype sports car was the pet project of Georg Von Opel, grandson of the company’s founder. In May 1971, as part of a record attempt, it managed 27 miles on a charge.

Volkswagen Beetle Electric

Electric cars at Frankfurt IAA

This is a very modern classic: an original Beetle fitted with the electric powertrain from a modern e-Up EV. There’s talk of retro-fit kits being made available, and of other Volkswagen Group classics getting the EV treatment.

Frankfurt Off Road Future

Opinion: New Defender is perfect for now, but Audi has seen the future

Frankfurt Off Road FutureAfter months of speculation, leaks and teaser photos, the new 2020 Land Rover Defender is finally here.

And judging by the reaction at the 2019 Frankfurt Motor Show, the second-generation icon is already a major hit. 

However, there’s another vehicle on show in Frankfurt that reveals how off-road driving may look further into the future

Days of future past

Frankfurt Off Road FutureLand Rover has been under immense pressure to deliver with the new Defender. It needed something built on shared components, rather than the labour-intensive bespoke platform of the previous version.

It also needed keep Defender purists happy, if possible. Yet, to make the project commercially viable, the Defender had to appeal to a wide array of customers. 

In a world where buyers clamour for luxury SUVs, building another no-compromise utility vehicle would have been commercial suicide.

Frankfurt Off Road FutureThe result is a new Defender that needs to be all things to all people. The wealth of options available from the off shows that Land Rover wants buyers to customise their cars. A £45,000 starting price is just the beginning… 

Not even the 2020 Defender can escape the lure of chequer plate trim, which covers the surface of countless original versions. Deep down in the options list is a £312 kit that adds the same effect, albeit in plastic, to your new Defender. 

It is a neat reminder that this is a modern reinterpretation of a classic off-roader. While packed with technology, and likely to be deeply impressive in the rough stuff, it is still a traditional 4×4 at heart.  

Where we’re going, we don’t need roads

Frankfurt Off Road FutureIf the new Defender is a modern 4×4 for now, Audi has very different vision of the future

Although very much a concept, the radical AI:Trail Quattro envisages automated driving technology being used in a world without paved roads.

Forest trails and dirt tracks do without the neat painted lines and consistent surfaces that self-driving vehicles rely upon. As such, Audi admits the driver will need to intervene when the going gets tough. 

However, the AI:Trail’s automated systems let the driver know when they are near the limits of the vehicle, and help avoid collisions using ultrasound and radar.

Frankfurt Off Road FutureEach wheel in the AI:Trail is driven by an individual electric motor. This allows up to 737lb ft of torque to be sent to the tyre with most grip, but without the need for transfer cases and differentials. 

The lithium-ion battery pack offers up to 310 miles of range on tarmac, but this halves to around 155 miles in the dirt. Range anxiety could quickly become ‘range fear‘ in the middle of nowhere.

A substantial glass cabin, inspired by the cockpit of a helicopter, is likely to require serious climate control to keep the occupants from cooking, too. 

Flights of fancy

Frankfurt Off Road FutureAudi has even dispensed with traditional headlights for the AI:Trail. Instead, an autonomous collection of five drones fly ahead, illuminating the ground with LED searchlights. 

These dock with the roof rack to recharge automatically, and can even be used to project navigation guidance, or help illuminate a campsite. 

Clearly, unlike the new Defender, the AI:Trail is not something to be bothering your local dealership about. At least not yet.

Frankfurt Off Road FutureThe new Defender looks set to be a major hit for Land Rover, even with its hefty price tag. It should be capable enough to keep the traditional fans happy, yet still appeal to urban warriors. 

However, there is the question of whether Land Rover could, and should, be looking further into the future. Vehicles like the AI:Trail, while fanciful in some ways, show that Audi is considering how off-roading could work in a world of electrification and autonomous tech.

Land Rover has the Defender for the current age sorted. But what will the Defender for the next generation look like?

12 talking points from the Frankfurt Motor Show

The #FrankfurtMotorShow – or Internationale Automobil-Ausstellung (IAA), to give it its less hashtag-friendly name – is underway. Here are a dozen things you may have missed from day one of the 2019 show.

Land Rover launches something new

Land Rover launched something new today. You may have heard a few whispers. If not, this ought to serve as a summary:

Defender. Looks like a Skoda Yeti. Iconic. How much? Steelies for the win. Built in Slovakia. #WANT. Bloody Brexit. #NewDefender. Shut up and take my money. Just another #ChelseaTractor. Land Rover #Surrender. Such a beautiful car. Not a proper Land Rover. Anybody want to buy a kidney?

BMW gets a grilling

Speaking of kidneys. BMW reckons the MASSIVE grille on the Concept 4 is ‘confident and classy’. According to Auto Express, the concept is ‘85 percent representative of how the production-ready 4 Series will look’. Which is a neat coincidence, given the fact the concept is 85 PERCENT GRILLE.

Hyundai concept has a comfortable carpet

There are many reasons to love Hyundai 45 EV Concept, not least because it’s partly inspired by the Hyundai Pony of the 1970s. But the winning attribute of this cutting edge vision of the future of mobility is, and we quote, its ‘comfortable carpet’. In an age of electrification, autonomy and car-to-car communication, it’s good to know that manufacturers haven’t forgotten the importance of a good shag pile.

Did somebody mention the Hyundai Pony?

We’ve seen many illustrious classics referenced in press material over the years, but Hyundai’s decision to pay homage to the Pony was an unexpected treat. This also means there’s a little bit of the Morris Marina at the 2019 Frankfurt Motor Show. The legacy of British Leyland lives on.

Opel breaks the golden rule of motor shows

There’s a golden rule of motor shows: never feature a retro or classic car on a stand devoted to new cars. This 1987 Corsa GT has been upstaging the new Corsa all day, hugging the limelight and taking valuable social media buzz away from the latest model.

It’s a good day to be a signwriter

Signwriters and printers across the world will be heading out for a deluxe steak meal tonight following the news that Volkswagen has changed its logo. Dealer signage, point of sale, letterheads, business cards, advertisements, invoices, receipts, literature, etc, etc – if it’s got a Volkswagen logo on it, it’ll need to be changed. Kerching.

Sounds like the name of a Bond villain

This is the new Audi Citycarver, which is essentially a Rover CityRover for a new generation. It’s also the name of the media mogul turned Bond villain, Elliot Carver. Like Audi, Carver had his eyes on world domination. He was hell-bent on making news, while Audi is focused on filling niches.

Don’t have nightmares

We’re not entirely sure if these giant hands are a new safety device or are designed to give children nightmares. Either way, they’re a creepy way to unveil a new car. Still, it makes a change for Audi drivers to see something horrible lurking in their rear-view mirror…

Honda in low price shocker

A £30,000 entry price was predicted for the Honda e electric car. So the fact that the standard model will cost ‘just’ £26,160 or £299 a month is an unexpected treat. Unfortunately, the low cost version won’t be available to order until early 2020, so you’ll have to plump for the £28,660 Honda e Advance if you want to be an early adopter.

You’ll never talk alone

Here’s Jurgen Klopp and Opel CEO Michael Lohscheller looking not at all awkward on the Opel stand. “At the end of the day, it’s a show of two halves, and I’m delighted to be…. WOAH, look at that magnificent 1987 Corsa over there,” said Klopp. Probably.

From scrappage to showstopper

The Hyundai i10 has come a long way since the days of the scrappage scheme and headline-grabbing low prices. The latest i10 looks desirable and stylish, while the specs and warranty should be enough to ruffle a few feathers in boardrooms across Germany.

Plastic fantastic

The Mercedes-Benz EQS is a vision of a future S-Class flagship we can all get behind. There are many features that won’t make production, but we’re rather taken by the choice of material for the roof liner. The textile was created by using a quantity of recycled ocean waste plastic, which strikes us as a jolly good idea. Nice work, Mercedes.

The best new cars at the Frankfurt Motor Show

All the cars at Frankfurt IAA

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

All the cars at Frankfurt IAA

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

All the cars at Frankfurt IAA

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

All the cars at Frankfurt IAA

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

All the cars at Frankfurt IAA

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

All the cars at Frankfurt IAA

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

All the cars at Frankfurt IAA

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

All the cars at Frankfurt IAA

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

All the cars at Frankfurt IAA

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

All the cars at Frankfurt IAA

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

All the cars at Frankfurt IAA

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

All the cars at Frankfurt IAA

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

All the cars at Frankfurt IAA

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

All the cars at Frankfurt IAA

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

All the cars at Frankfurt IAA

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

All the cars at Frankfurt IAA

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.

BMW X6

All the cars at Frankfurt IAA

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

All the cars at Frankfurt IAA

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

All the cars at Frankfurt IAA

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.

Mercedes-Benz Vision EQS Concept previews electric S-Class

Mercedes Vision EQS

Mercedes-Benz has revealed the Vision EQS Concept at the 2019 Frankfurt Motor Show, offering hints of what a future S-Class EV might look like.

It could preview the marque’s next flagship, which may use the same ‘EQ’ nomenclature.

Mercedes says ‘the study provides an outlook on a new dimension in sustainable luxury’.

Vision EQS: packaging the future

Mercedes Vision EQS

The packaging advantages of electric powertrains mean stylists aren’t slaves to the styling tropes of fossil-fuelled cars. There’s no need for a long, tall bonnet, or a cramped cabin filled with transmission tunnel. Bigger wheels can fill the haunches, too, giving a saloon the stance of a supercar.

The EQS seems to combine the very best of current luxury saloons with these new freedoms. Its bonnet is shorter, while the cabin canopy stretches across more of the car’s length.

Mercedes calls this the ‘One Bow’ proportion. and it makes the EQS look very sleek and slippery. The two-tone paint, with a darker upper element, blends well with the glasshouse, too. 

Inside the Vision EQS 

Mercedes Vision EQS

The cabin of the Vision EQS is inspired by luxury yachts. Indeed, the dash appears to have borrowed its design from the deck of a Riva speedboat. The plush cream material is actually made from recycled ocean plastics, and is entirely sustainable.

If the dash is the deck of a speedboat, the upward-swooping floating infotainment screen is the diving board. It’s a very slick look, and brings us to the tech elements of the cabin. The Vision EQS features the latest development of the Advanced MBUX media system.

Mercedes Vision EQS

Gone is the horizontal slab with dual screens and inch-wide bezels of the S-Class. This central screen really is all screen, while driving data is integrated into the dashboard in front of the steering wheel.

Speaking of that wheel, it’s probably the part least likely to make its way onto the next S-Class. 

Mercedes Vision EQS – the numbers

Mercedes Vision EQS

Given it’s a concept, the figures supplied should be taken with a pinch of salt. Still, the Vision EQS is apparently capable of a WLTP-certified 435 miles on a full charge. And it can be recharged to 80 percent capacity in ‘considerably less than 20 minutes’, if charging at 350kW. 

Approximate power is 450hp, while torque is around 550lb ft. Zero to 62mph should take less than 4.5 seconds, while top speed is over 120mph.

Counting down to 2039

Mercedes Vision EQS

Mercedes wants to have a CO2-neutral new car fleet in 20 years. Even now, the ‘Mercedes Me’ charge facility will direct you to charge points that use sustainable energy.

Overall, the Vision EQS is intended to show that eco-conscious cars can still be entirely in keeping with the luxurious reputation of the three-pointed star.

For now, we’ll be glad if the next S-Class borrows some of that Vision EQS style.

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BMW Concept 4 Frankfurt 2019

Looks that grille: divisive BMW concept previews next 4 Series

BMW Concept 4 Frankfurt 2019BMW has revealed a startling new concept car at the 2019 Frankfurr Motor Show. The Concept 4 is a less-than-subtle hint about how the next 4 Series will look.

Although only a show car, the Concept 4 is said to be an accurate representation of the finished 2020 4 Series. 

Intended to combine futuristic technology with traditional BMW design, there is likely to be one major talking point in Frankfurt

Expect to be grilled

BMW Concept 4 Frankfurt 2019Although we have seen the giant BMW kidney grille applied to SUVs and saloons, this is the first time it has made an appearance on a coupe. 

The gaping mouth of the Concept 4 is unashamedly vast. BMW says the vertical grille is inspired by the classic 328 sports car, or the 3.0 CS coupe from the 1970s. 

In creating the grille, BMW has incorporated special horizontal trim details. The grates inside it, and the air intakes, are formed from an array of tiny ‘number 4’ structures. 

BMW Concept 4 Frankfurt 2019According to Domagoj Dukec, head of BMW design, the kidney grille has “always been a signature feature of BMW cars. The BMW Concept 4 presents a confident and classy take on this iconic feature. At the same time, the BMW Concept 4 offers a look ahead to the expressive face of the 4 Series range.”

Just as dramatic are the LED headlights which, unusually, feature no cover over the lighting elements. This makes them more prominent, although don’t expect the production version to follow suit. 

The shape of the kidney grille also feeds into the heavily sculpted bonnet, flowing into the flanks of the Concept 4.

“Perfect proportions, clear precise design”

BMW Concept 4 Frankfurt 2019Viewed from the side, the Concept 4 demonstrates classic BMW coupe proportions. A long nose extends into a sweeping roofline, ending at a truncated tail. 

Adrian van Hooydonk, senior vice president of BMW design, said: “Concept 4 embodies the aesthetic essence of the BMW brand. It combines perfect proportions with a clear and precise design”. 

The fancy Forbidden Red paintwork is used to highlight styling features, while the 21-inch alloy wheels feature an intricate internal pattern. Other highlights include the side mirrors, which seem to emerge from the aluminium window surround and feature tiny BMW logos.

BMW Concept 4 Frankfurt 2019The rear looks similar to the recent flagship 8 Series coupe. BMW has used LED taillights to create its L-shape ‘light signature’, with the actual pattern said to resemble a heartbeat.

Intended solely to show off exterior styling, BMW has not released details of interior or engine options for the next 4 Series. However, we can expect to see the same range of petrol, diesel and plug-in hybrid powertrains as the current 3 Series saloon. 

BMW will launch the production 4 Series in the middle of 2020.

New Land Rover Defender revealed: the headline facts

New 2020 Land Rover Defender

This is the first-ever all-new version of the original Land Rover, first launched back in 1948. We have waited years for it, and the Frankfurt Motor Show marks its international debut. Land Rover describes it as an icon reinvented for the 21st century. Here are the crucial facts you need to know.

Launched as a 110

New 2020 Land Rover Defender

There will be an entire family of new Defenders, but it debuts in a five-door 110 guise. The short-wheelbase 90 will follow a little later, with two commercial Defender vans due in 2020.

Instantly recognisable

New 2020 Land Rover Defender

It looks, well, like a Land Rover Defender. It has short overhangs, an upright stance, a side-hinged tailgate, an externally-mounted spare wheel and even Alpine light windows in the roof.

Satin finish

New 2020 Land Rover Defender

A key option from launch is Satin Protective Film. This is a ‘sustainable, solvent-free and completely recyclable wrap’ that guards against both off-road and on-road scrapes. It’s a factory-fit option for those choosing Indus Silver, Gondwana Stone and Panega Green paint colours.

Packed with accessories

New 2020 Land Rover Defender

No Land Rover has ever had such a wide range of accessories as the new Defender. These include a rooftop tent, inflatable waterproof awnings, a remote control electric winch – plus more commonplace add-ons such as tow bars and roof racks.

Diesel is still here

New 2020 Land Rover Defender

With two commercial versions set to come, the new Defender still has the potential to work for a living. Engine options reflect this, including two four-cylinder diesels, offered in 200hp and 240hp outputs. A four-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine with 300hp, plus a range-topping 3.0-litre inline-six with an impressive 400hp complete the launch range.

Electrified performance

New 2020 Land Rover Defender

The name might be old, but the drivetrain technology underneath the new Defender is totally modern. On the 3.0-litre petrol engine there is even a mild-hybrid system, which includes an electric eSupercharger. This uses power stored in a lithium-ion battery pack to reduce the level of turbo lag below 2,000 rpm. A full plug-in hybrid will join the range next year.

Defender for the world

New 2020 Land Rover Defender

Land Rover will sell the new Defender in 128 countries across the world, making it a truly global new car. It is to be built alongside the Discovery at the firm’s Slovakian factory in Nitra.

Defender for a New Age

New 2020 Land Rover Defender

Land Rover design boss Gerry McGovern says the new Defender is respectful of its past, but not harnessed by it. “This is a Defender for a New Age. Its unique personality is accentuated by its distinctive silhouette and optimum proportions, which make it both highly desirable and seriously capable.”

Structure exposed

New 2020 Land Rover Defender

Inside, the Defender intentionally has a stripped-back feel, with Land Rover exposing structural elements normally hidden behind trim. The emphasis, it says, is on simplicity and practicality.

Lots of seats

New 2020 Land Rover Defender

Mounting the gear lever on the dashboard has cleared space for an optional front-centre ‘jump seat’. With three-abreast seating, the Defender offers five, six or 5+2 seating. The 90 will have this jump seat option as well, to ‘accommodate six occupants in a vehicle the length of a compact family hatchback’.

Rubber floor

New 2020 Land Rover Defender

Like the original Land Rover, you’ll theoretically be able to hose out your new Defender (if you’re brave), thanks to rubberised flooring. It’s just one of many practicality-focused details of the new Land Rover.

95 percent new

New 2020 Land Rover Defender

The Land Rover Defender is based on an aluminium monocoque architecture called D7x. The ‘x’ stands for extreme. It is 95 percent new compared with the Land Rover Discovery, and is the firm’s stiffest-ever body structure. Remarkably, it is three times stiffer than a traditional body-on-frame design.

Testing, testing

New 2020 Land Rover Defender

Apparently, more than 62,000 individual tests have been conducted on the new Defender ahead of sign-off. Land Rover is particularly proud of its Extreme Event Test, which repeats immense, sustained impacts ‘above and beyond the normal standard for SUV and passenger cars’.

Wading ability

New 2020 Land Rover Defender

Land Rover has endless figures explaining how good the Defender is off-road. We particularly like the fact it can wade through 900mm of water (that’s over 35 inches). It can also tell you if it’s safe to drive into such daunting depths thanks to a new Wade setting in the Terrain Response 2 system.

The best 4x4xfar

New 2020 Land Rover Defender

The new Defender ‘redefines breadth of capability, raising the threshold for both off-road ruggedness and on-road comfort,’ says Land Rover. ‘It can negotiate crowded city streets as effortlessly as climbing mountains, crossing deserts and withstanding freezing temperatures.’

System updates from the cloud

New 2020 Land Rover Defender

With a vast array of electronic components controlling the new Defender, Land Rover has included the potential for over-the-air software updates. The 14 onboard control modules can be improved without the need to visit a dealership. Land Rover even suggests that a satellite phone connection could be used in remote areas to receive data for updates.

Keep everything charged up

New 2020 Land Rover Defender

Proving that the Defender has certainly evolved with the times, a total of five 12-volt charging sockets can be found throughout the interior. Potentially perfect for powering camping and lifestyle accessories. In addition, up to five USB charging ports are also included, dependent on seating capacity. It might make you think twice about hosing out that rubber floor, though,

Even the key is ready for activities

New 2020 Land Rover Defender

Land Rover will offer the second-generation of the Activity Key for the new Defender as an option. This allows the driver to lock and open the Defender using a device similar to a smart watch. Being shock-proof and water resistant lets owners engage in a range of lifestyle activities without the need to carry around a traditional key fob.

Ready to order right now

New 2020 Land Rover Defender

If you are excited by the new 2020 Defender, Land Rover is already accepting orders for the 110 version right now. There is also an online configurator ready to help you plan your dream 4×4. The short-wheelbase 90 will be available to order from the middle of 2020, whilst the release of the commercial variants will be detailed nearer the time.

Land Rover Defender UK prices

New 2020 Land Rover Defender

The Defender 110 costs from £45,240 for the D200 diesel, up to £78,800 for the range-topping P400 petrol. Defender 90 and Commercial prices will be announced nearer their respective launch dates, but expect to pay from £40,000 for the 90 and £35,000 (plus VAT) for the van.

2020 Land Rover Defender: in pictures

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