Strap in, there's a lot to cover from the German auto show.
The Frankfurt Auto Show, also known as Internationale Automobil-Ausstellung (IAA), takes place every other year and is Europe's largest auto show by quite a stretch. We don't just mean largest figuratively, it literally covers a massive area across twelve huge halls. To cover the event, ideally, you need to be fit, own a pair of stout walking boots, and make sure you have plenty of pre-charged batteries for your cameras.
If you've been following the event through the general media, it would be easy to believe it was mainly electric vehicles being displayed. That was far from the case though, so we've got a nice blend of naturally aspirated, hybrid, and fully electric cars to enjoy.
A new Lamborghini is always a crowd-pleaser, but this 1 of only 63 Lamborghini Sian's being made is a show stopper. It looks incredible, and futuristic without being cheesy. Under the hood is the Aventador SVJ's 6.5-liter V12 unit with some extra Lamborghini spice added. Then, because it has to be outrageous, a 48-volt hybrid system has been blended in to add an extra 34 hp. That makes for a heart-racing and combined output of 819 horsepower.
A lot of people were nervous about this one due to the legacy of the original Defender. Land Rover didn't even pretend they were going to build a truck but didn't exactly build an entry-level into the Range Rover models either. Instead, the British automaker built what appears to be a modern version of the original Discovery - a more utilitarian yet comfortable SUV but with serious off-road chops. We'll take ours in short-wheelbase 90 trim with the steel wheels. And in green, please.
Porsche's all-electric sedan ate up headlines leading up to the Frankfurt show and continues to get coverage. To us, it looks like a Panamera done right and, in true Porsche style, the German automaker is dropping the high-performance versions first in the form of the Turbo and Turbo S trims. The important numbers at the top of the range are 750 horsepower, 774 lb-ft of torque, and 0-60 mph in just 2.6 seconds.
There's been a lot of talk about using the term Turbo, but it's worth remembering Turbo has been a Porsche trim level for some time now, and Porsche 911 models without the designation still have turbocharged engines.
Audi's next-generation RS7 is the new poster child for the 4-door coupe. Love or hate the term, this is one beautiful looking sedan. Those elegantly sculptured yet aggressive lines are backed up with a twin-turbo 4.0-liter TFSI V8 with 48-volt mild-hybrid system to make a combined 591 horsepower and 590 lb-ft of torque to go to all four wheels. Adaptive suspension helps balance the ride between handling and comfort and for the more aggressive drivers, options such as RS carbon-ceramic brakes are ready to be checked on the order sheet.
We had to debate this going on the list because of the elephant on the front. Why BMW is trying to insist the gaudy monstrosities the company is slapping on vehicles are anything but pandering to the tasteless crazy money of the Chinese and Middle Eastern markets is beyond us. This month, BMW says the new design is meant to make the car look like it is hovering close to the ground but, well, there's no spinning how awful it looks.
However, the rest of the Concept 4 looks fantastic. It definitely furthers BMW's intention to move the 4 Series away from the 3 Series aesthetically. Lose the grill that looks like a set of a rabbit's front teeth on the front and we'll be fans.
This one is forbidden fruit to us here in the US, but Europeans will have the chance to land one of the 60 Hyundai i30 N Project C specials being built. The hotter hot hatch is lighter, lower, and more aggressive than the already impressive i30 N we first saw in 2017. The use of carbon-fiber-reinforced plastic, integrated rear diffuser, Sabelt competition front bucket seats with CFRP backings, and 19-inch forged OZ racing wheels contribute to the Project C model's 110 pounds of added lightness. Project C still uses the i30 N's turbocharged 2.0-liter engine producing 271 horsepower and 279 lb-ft of torque though.
To help put Dieselgate behind them, VW is planning to reinvent itself through a line of ID-branded EVs. The ID.3 doesn't look like it'll disappoint the small EV crowd, which you can take either which way, with its 260-mile range, slick looks, and compact chassis. However, it won't be coming to the US. VW's first electric car on our shores will be the production version of the ID.Crozz, anticipated to wear the ID.4 moniker when it launches in spring 2020.
Mercedes-AMG returns fire against BMW's new X6 with its also new GLE 53 Coupe. Power comes from a 3.0-liter turbocharged inline-six paired to a mild-hybrid system for a grand total of 429 horsepower and 384 lb-ft of torque. For some buyers, the GLE 53 is the ideal balance between the base GLE and the top-of-the-line AMG 63 trim. Step inside and you'll find the German automaker's excellent MBUX infotainment system and a high-quality fit and finish throughout. Pricing? Not exactly cheap but considering the amount of power and luxury, the estimated $73,000 starting price is reasonable.
What's better than a base model Porsche 911 for tooling around every day? If you live somewhere that features adverse weather through the year, the answer is a base model Carerra with all-wheel drive and the front differential upgraded with liquid-cooled technology from the Carrera 4S. The new 992 Carrera 4 also comes in cabriolet form for those living in places with wild swings in weather, or for those that just want as much traction off the line as possible with the top down.
We found out Audi's fast wagon is coming to the US a while back, but it makes its official debut in Frankfurt. The RS6 Avant will be special order only for a special car that looks like it has the power and handling to hang with any sports car, but can also pack the whole family up for a weekend away. It's gorgeous, it's fast, and seeing it in the sheet metal has just made us even more excited to drive it.
Leading up to the Frankfurt auto show, Mercedes teased us with a cloth-covered car and a name, and we assumed the S meant the company was going to show us its idea of an electric S-Class. The company didn't disappoint, and the Vision EQS concept looks as slick and luxurious as a future S-Class should. We don't expect the actual production model to look like this, but there's plenty of room for some of the aspects and design cues. And that two-tone paint. We can live without the blue lighting though, that's very 2012 and we get it; it's an electric car.
A pint-sized SUV with 3-row seating is not something you would expect the tuning arm of a major automaker to pay attention to beyond a sigh and a shake of the head before moving on to something else. That's not the AMG way, and just because it doesn't make a lot of sense doesn't mean it shouldn't be done. The AMG tuned 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder produces 306 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque and propels it from 0-62 mph in just 5.2 seconds. That's just half a second slower than its sedan siblings, and we cannot wait to drive one.
Seat is a subsidiary brand of Volkswagen, and Cupra is the Spanish carmaker's new performance sub-brand. The Tavascan is on-brand for the Spanish automaker when it comes to adding some orange color to spice things up. Except the Tavascan doesn't need spicing up in the looks department. It's based on the same MEB architecture as the new Volkswagen ID.3, so not only are we seeing a startling looking SUV but also getting a glimpse of how adaptable VW's new platform is.
We feel a bit ungrateful complaining that the Alpina version of the long-roof version of BMW's latest 3 Series isn't coming to America, but we're going to anyway. The reason we're complaining is that it has the full Alpina treatment, including a tune to give it 462 horsepower with 516 lb-ft of torque on the engine. If that's not tantalizing enough, Alpina has added Eibach springs and adaptive dampers, then fitted 395-mm brake discs at the front and 345-mm discs at the back to slow it down. Also, those Alpina wheels...
If Honda made a tiny electric MK1 Golf, it would look exactly like this. It's flat out adorable, even though flat out it will only get to 62 mph in around 8 seconds. That's not the point though, it's a rear-wheel-drive electric city car with fun dynamics that can charge to 80 percent capacity in 30 minutes and a single full charge will take it 136 miles. We're sold and can't wait to see what EV has planned for the US.
There's one simple reason we are excited about electric race cars - they're relatively quiet. Yes, we like the noise of a racetrack, but we've been losing racetracks and electric car racing is an opportunity for racing to get back to the grassroots with more venues being able to open. And, with cars like the Veloster N ETCR we know it can still be exciting. It's mid-motored, rear-wheel-drive, and gets Hyundai into the Electric Touring Car Racing series. They even have a chance of winning the series first time out as the only other company so far to sign is Seat.
While it still doesn't have as much room as the X5, the new 2020 X6 does have more than the outgoing model. It's the styling everyone wants to talk about though, and it was BMW that gave us the coupe SUV. We still wonder why, and the styling is polarizing. BMW seems to have learned though and the new one is a shade less in your face. It's here because it's the best implementation of the new huge kidney grill so far. Somehow, it's less absurd and more angry on the X6. The larger 4.4-liter twin-turbo V8 producing 523 horsepower engine is angrier as well, but for full obnoxiousness, we'll wait for the full-blooded M version.