With the Frankfurt Motor Show just days away, we’ve taken a look at the most important new cars set to cause a stir in Germany. Among the wealth of reveals and debuts, these are the cars that matter.
Electric power takes a starring role in many of the expected new machines, while the rise of the SUV certainly isn’t over yet. Here’s what’s in store…
The first all-electric Porsche has undergone extensive testing. Recently, it covered 2,100 miles in 24 hours at the Nardo high-speed track. The four-door prototype has also set a lap record around the fearsome Nurburgring circuit.
The launch of the Taycan, which is capable of covering 300 miles on a single charge, will take place a few days before Frankfurt on 4 September. However, with more than 20,000 customers already expressing an interest, it will be a major attraction at the show.
Volkswagen ID 3
Electric vehicles will play a large role at the 2019 Frankfurt Motor Show more generally. Volkswagen’s ID 3 is the first car to be launched on its bespoke electric ‘MEB’ platform. The brand hopes it will follow the Beetle and Golf in capturing mainstream sales.
Similar to Tesla, a range of battery sizes will be offered, allowing customers to tailor the ID 3 to their needs. Initial pre-order interest in the ID 3 actually broke Volkswagen’s website, with unprecedented demand for the £34,000 1st Edition model.
Land Rover Defender
Ignore the leaked images, Lego models and disguised prototypes testing in the desert. On Tuesday 10 September 2019 we will finally see the finished article. Providing the show floor doesn’t collapse under the weight of expectation, that is.
Land Rover knows it has to win over the purists, and prove the new Defender can live up to the legendary original. To that end, one is being driven from the Charyn Canyon in Kazakhstan all the way to Frankfurt.
The original Audi A3, launched in 1996, was one of the first premium hatchbacks. Fast-forward 23 years, and Ingolstadt is adding the finishing touches to its fourth-generation car.
Expect styling changes to be evolutionary, with elements borrowed from the smaller A1. Audi’s Virtual Cockpit system, as seen in the latest Q3 SUV, will also make an appearance. Engine choices will include mild-hybrid technology, whilst a full plug-in hybrid follows later.
Cupra EV concept
Another Volkswagen Group brand means another all-electric new car. Seat’s sporty offshoot Cupra is promising a battery-powered concept with ‘confident exterior design’ and a ‘sculpted yet versatile interior’.
So far, Cupra has only teased us with this exterior image, showing a four-door crossover. Although this is Cupra’s first all-electric road car, it previously produced a battery-powered e-Racer touring car with 500kW of power.
Mercedes-Benz ESF 2019 Concept
Based on the current GLE SUV plug-in hybrid, what will impress about the ESF 2019 concept is an incredible array of experimental safety technology. Level 4 autonomy capabilities are also included, allowing the car to take charge of driving.
Most noticeable are the lights and exterior displays, used to indicate what the car is doing when acting autonomously. This includes a front LED screen that shows pedestrians if the car is slowing down at a crossing. Inside, there’s a range of safety features, including a special carbon fibre baby seat.
Lamborghini hybrid hypercar
Only a cryptic social media message has hinted at the future for Lamborghini. Other than the words ‘something new is on the way’, the Italian company is keeping quiet about what it plans for Frankfurt.
However, all rumours point towards a hybrid version of the Aventador supercar. Not even the iconic V12-powered machine can escape the move to hybridisation, it seems. If it’s anything like the Terzo Millennio concept shown in 2018, though, fans should be excited about this secret project.
Two years after the Urban EV Concept wowed crowds in Frankfurt, the finished production Honda E makes its debut. Journalists have already tried the prototype version, with our Richard Aucock suitably impressed by the battery-powered supermini.
In fact, the only remaining changes to the prototype are said to be interior trim tweaks and a working infotainment system. We’ll also get details of the battery range, which Honda has previously stated will be more than 125 miles.
Vauxhall Corsa-e Rally
Vauxhall has already released details of the battery-powered version of the new Corsa supermini. However, the company also wants to prove that electric propulsion can be exciting. On show in Frankfurt will be the first all-electric rally car offered for customer motorsport.
The 130hp Corsa-e Rally will compete in its own ADAC Opel e-Rally Cup in Germany. Priced at around €50,000 (£46,000), normal commuters might prefer the regular road-going Corsa-e, which costs a more palatable £26,490.
New 2020 Audi RS6 Avant
Does anyone need an estate car with 600hp and 800lb ft of torque, capable of 0-62mph in 3.5 seconds? Possibly not, but Audi’s latest addition to its hot wagon line-up is something to be celebrated. Dramatic bodywork, 21-inch wheels and giant oval tailpipes will give it serious Autobahn presence.
The 4.0-litre turbocharged V8 has mild-hybrid technology, allowing the RS6 to coast for up to 40 seconds with the engine turned off. There is an impressive 1,680 litres of luggage space with the rear seats folded down, too.
BMW 3 Series Touring
Slightly less dramatic than the Audi, the new 3 Series Touring continues the tradition of BMW’s compact estate series. While many of the details were revealed earlier this year, Frankfurt will mark the first major show debut for 3 Series wagon.
More than 1.7 million examples of the 3 Series Touring have been produced since 1987, and the new model is likely to be very popular. Its redesigned boot is bigger than its predecessor, and the new Touring benefits from the range of technology upgrades seen on the saloon.
Alpina will also reveal a tuned version of the new 3 Series Touring, with the potential for 400hp.
If you were concerned that the existing BMW X6 coupe SUV doesn’t look aggressive enough, worry not. Set to debut in Frankfurt, the third-generation X6 is larger in every direction, including the size of its front grille.
It even comes with an option to have its kidney grille illuminated: helpful to warn-off smaller cars on the road. BMW will also display its incredible ‘Vantablack’ version of the X6, described as the ‘blackest black’ ever made. Its space-age nanotechnology absorbs almost all external light, making objects appear two-dimensional.
Volkswagen T-Roc Cabriolet
With the demise of the Range Rover Evoque Convertible, the new Volkswagen T-Roc Cabriolet is your default choice if you desire a drop-top SUV. Apparently, this is the first cabriolet offered in the crossover class.
The automatic roof can be retracted in just nine seconds, and operates at speeds of up to 19mph. A reinforced windscreen frame and a pop-up rear roll bar ensure the T-Roc cabrio is as rigid as the regular version.
Mercedes-AMG GLB 35 4Matic
Like the sound of the new Mercedes-AMG A35 hatchback, but wish it was a compact SUV? Say hello to the new GLB 35 4Matic. GLB production only began in July, but there has been no delay in making a hot version.
Its 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine produces 302hp. This is sent to all four wheels via an eight-speed dual-clutch transmission, allowing the GLB 35 to hit 62mph in 5.2 seconds.
Mercedes-AMG GLE 53 4Matic Coupe
Hold the phone, there is another new performance Mercedes-AMG SUV making its way to Frankfurt. Alongside the launch of the second-generation GLE Coupe, a hot AMG 53 version will also be on show.
Mercedes promises a greater emphasis on coupe-like styling, along with improved aerodynamics and updated infotainment. The GLE 53 is powered by a turbocharged six-cylinder engine, generating 435hp. Hybrid technology offers an extra 22hp boost when needed.
Hyundai i30N Project C
Hyundai is rightly proud of the success of the i30N hot hatch. Now it has created a limited-edition version, which removes weight to offer more performance. Carbon fibre is used for the body panels, motorsport-derived alloy wheels are added, and the suspension is lowered.
The bad news? Hyundai will not produce any of the 600 units in right-hand drive, denying it to UK buyers. Sorry.
Hyundai ‘45’ EV concept
Along with the i30N Project C, Hyundai will also display a new electric concept at the Frankfurt show. The ‘45’ fully-electric car is said to show the direction for battery-powered Hyundais in the future, and is inspired by the brand’s first car from 1970.
A new electric Hyundai racing car will also be unveiled, although details are limited so far.
Vauxhall Grandland X Hybrid4
Already available to order for UK buyers, the plug-in hybrid version of the Grandland X SUV makes its public debut at Frankfurt. Priced from £35,590, Vauxhall hopes to lure in a new audience to plug-in hybrid technology.
The combination of two electric motors and a 1.6-litre turbocharged petrol engine results in a combined output of 300hp. Acceleration from 0-62mph takes just seven seconds, but the Hybrid4 can still achieve a potential 176.5mpg. It can also travel up to 32 miles in all-electric mode.
Seat Tarraco FR PHEV
One of the competitors for the Grandland X Hybrid4 will be the newly announced Seat Tarraco FR PHEV. Combining a 1.4-litre turbocharged petrol engine with an 85kW electric motor, Seat aims to offer a sporty driving experience.
Like the Vauxhall, an all-electric range of around 32 miles is available. CO2 emissions are said to be below 50g/km on the WLTP test cycle. FR trim also brings new 19-inch alloy wheels, wider bodywork and sports seats.
Skoda Kamiq Monte Carlo
The Kamiq SUV might be one of the newest additions to the Skoda range, but the Czech brand is already offering up sporty trim levels. Monte Carlo branding was seen previously on the Fabia, and pays tribute to the company’s historic success on the Monte Carlo Rally.
Special badges will mark out the Kamiq Monte Carlo, along with black trim for the grille and roof rails. Skoda has also confirmed that the new Scala hatchback will receive the Monte Carlo treatment, with both on show in Frankfurt.
Touted as the first fully-electric MPV, the production-ready EQV will be on show in Frankfurt. A choice of wheelbases will be offered, and a top speed of up to 100mph is promised.
The headline-grabbing figure is a range of up to 252 miles when fully charged. The 90kWh battery is replenished via an on-board water-cooled charger. Positioned below the floor, the battery pack is also said to have no impact on interior space.
Along with electric cars and hot hatches, Hyundai will also use Frankfurt to reveal its latest version of the i10 supermini. This sketch shows a more aggressive and angular design, with a wide front grille and triangular air intakes.
Hyundai also promises the new i10 will offer features such as wireless smartphone charging, a rear-view camera and a range of active safety tech. This will include Driver Attention Warning and Lane Keep Assist as standard.
BMW M8 coupe and convertible
BMW has gone all-out for the 2019 Frankfurt Motor Show, filling its stand with a wealth of new models. These include the Competition versions of the M8 coupe and convertible. A 625hp output means a 189mph top speed (with the correct options package).
A production version of the four-door M8 Gran Coupe is also expected to take centre stage in Frankfurt.
Since launch in 2013, Renault has sold 1.2 million examples of the Captur compact SUV. As the most popular car in its class in Europe, Renault has taken its time developing an all-new version.
Styling is evolutionary, but more space can be found inside, along with an optional digital dashboard. Significantly, a plug-in hybrid version will be on sale from 2020.
BMW 1 Series
First revealed in May this year, Frankfurt marks the first proper motor show outing for the third-generation BMW 1 Series. Switching to front-wheel drive may have upset some commentators, but is apparently what customers requested.
The result is greater interior space, with more technology included. Buyers can also specify options such as a head-up display and panoramic sunroof. A 306hp M135i xDrive model acts as the range-topping hot hatch.