The new 2020 model-year is about to get underway. So is the new auto show season which kicks off next week with the IAA, better known as the Frankfurt Motor Show.
The event, which alternates with Paris every other year, has traditionally been the biggest car show in Europe – both in terms of debuts and in terms of its physical space, with automakers filling nearly a dozen different exhibition halls stretched out over a kilometer, from front to back of the Frankfurt Convention Center.
Like so many other recent auto shows, the 2019 gathering has been downsized, manufacturers ranging from Aston Martin to Ford to Toyota deciding not to participate this time around. That said, there still are some major announcements set to come out of Frankfurt this year. Here’s an alphabetical look at the 16 models likely to garner the most headlines:
Audi RS Q8: While a number of high-line manufacturers are skipping Frankfurt this year, Audi is going all out at the show, with at least eight separate models planned for unveiling. This super-high-performance take on the new Q8 crossover pumps up performance by a significant degree. It will share the 4.0-liter twin-turbo engine used in the Lamborghini Urus, albeit detuned to a still-impressive 600 or so horsepower. Also on the Audi docket, models including the RS4 Avant, the SQ7 and the new RS7.
BMW M Next Vision: “The BMW Vision M Next provides a glimpse into the future of sporty driving,” explains the brand’s design chief, Adrian van Hooydonk. Inspired by the i8 plug-in hybrid sports car, it adopts a more low-slung, wedge-shaped profile, though some of the most dramatic updates can be found inside with such technologies as an Augmented Reality Head-Up Display. Its updated, 592-hp drivetrain can hit 60 in 3.0 seconds. And it offers a choice of manual or autonomous driving modes.
BMW M3 and M8: Like Audi, BMW is staking out a strong presence in Frankfurt, with nine debuts planned. That includes the next-generation M3 which, for many folks, defines the catchphrase, “the ultimate driving machine.” The 2020 sedan features a new Twin Power Turbo inline-six engine producing up to 503 hp in Competition trim. There’ll be similar packages for the M8 coupe and convertible. The base edition of the twin-turbocharged 4.4-liter V8 – borrowed from BMW’s M5 – makes 592 hp, with the Competition edition punching that up to 617 hp and cutting 0 to 60 times to as little as 3.2 seconds.
BMW X6: The original coupe-crossover is back in third-generation trim. It gets a more dynamic and aggressive look with a bold grille that can be ordered with an option that lights it up while driving. The new model is longer and wider, though ever so slightly lower. Inside, it features new digital gauge and infotainment displays. A number of new driver assistance systems are standard, with a more advanced Driving Assistance Professional package available. Two powertrain options include the top-line X6 M50i, at 523 hp. A special Vantablack edition will be offered using the blackest paint ever developed.
Honda E: There aren’t really all that many surprises when it comes to Honda’s new, all-electric city car. As is typical for the Japanese automaker, it gave us a good hint of what was coming with its earlier “concept” versio
n. Described as “perfect for everyday commuting” by Honda, the E gets by with a modest 35.5 kilowatt-hour battery that, at best, manages an estimated 220 km, or 137 miles per charge. But that should fit European lifestyles better than the U.S. where it won’t be offered. Two electric motor options are available, the 152 hp upgrade capable of hitting 100 kmh, or 62 mph, in about 8 seconds.
Hyundai 45 EV: This retro-futuristic battery-electric vehicle draws inspiration from one of the very first cars the Korean company shipped west, the 1970s-era Pony. But the look is more angular – and updated with, among other things, distinctively pixelated rear end lighting. While the Hyundai 45 concept may take inspiration from the past, the company bills it as a “symbolic milestone for Hyundai’s future EV design.” We’ll have to wait until next week to learn more about the prototype’s drivetrain technology.
Hyundai Electric Race Car: The Korean carmaker has been making a big push into motorsports lately and should gain plenty of attention with the little racer it has been teasing in recent weeks. It isn’t revealing much beyond the big rear wing and the Hyundai Motorsport and N logos. One of the key questions is how the racer is powered? Though developed in Germany, there’s some speculation it may benefit from Hyundai’s ties to Croatian battery supercar company Rimac. Also to be announced is what series the new racer will participate in.
Lamborghini Sian: The Italian automaker has rolled out an assortment of specialty models lately, but the all-new Sian sees it follow the lead of several rivals, including Ferrari, by becoming Lamborghini’s first-ever hybrid. What could win over potential skeptics is the fact that the Sian also will be the company’s most powerful supercar ever, the 48-volt system pairing up with a 6.5-liter V-12 to produce a combined output of 808 horsepower. The mid hybrid system breaks ground by using a lightweight ultra-capacitor, meanwhile, rather than a conventional lithium-ion battery pack. Since the electrical system adds only 75 pounds, the Sian will have a better power-to-weight ratio than the Lamborghini Aventador.
Land Rover Defender: Land Rover fans have been eagerly waiting to get their first glimpse of the all-new Defender, arguably the purest of the off-roaders built by the British marque. We haven’t been able to learn much about the new Land Rover Defender, other than the fact that it will be one of three models Jaguar Land Rover has in the upcoming James Bond adventure. Set to hit showrooms next year, it will become the first Defender to reach the U.S. since 1997.
Mercedes-AMG CLA 45: Daimler’s performance division seems intent on putting its imprimatur on every model Mercedes builds, and we will see four AMG debuts at the Frankfurt Motor Show, including the A45; the CLA 45; the CLA 35 Shooting Brake; and the GLB 35. The CLA 45 could be the real superstar, at least for American buyers, packing a big punch inside the compact, coupe-like sedan. The sportier CLA 45 S will deliver 415 hp from its turbocharged 2.0-liter M139 four-cylinder engine, and hit 60 in under 3.9 seconds.
Mercedes-Benz EQ Concept: Mercedes hopes to electrify the Frankfurt Motor Show with a battery-electric concept vehicle that offers a hint of what it has coming to showrooms early in the new decade. The German automaker isn’t saying much about what’s in store, but word has it what we’ll be seeing is a battery-powered complement to the brand’s current flagship, the S-Class sedan. Expect to see it dubbed the Mercedes EQS. The concepts twin motors will provide an electric all-wheel-drive system, making just over 400 hp, enough to hit 60 in less than 5 seconds.
Mini Cooper SE EV: The British marque was one of the first to test an all-electric concept but it is only now bringing the technology into production. The zero-emissions model will use a single motor on the front axle, rated at 181 horsepower, enough to hit 60 in just over 7 seconds. It will feature a relatively modest, 32.6 kWh battery pack – even smaller than the one in the Honda E – but still should get 167 miles per charge, according to Mini.
Porsche 911 GT3: There are fully 24 different versions of the Porsche 911 available, but none matches the power or respect of the vaunted GT3. The automaker hasn’t said much about the new version which will debut as a 2020 model, though some details have leaked out, starting with the likelihood that it will make at least 520 horsepower from its naturally aspirated engine. Spy shots have shown the GT3 equipped with a big wing and it reportedly also uses active aero on other parts of its body.
Porsche Taycan: While the public will get a first view of the first all-electric Porsche in Frankfurt, the Schwabian automaker unveiled Taycan simultaneously in Canada, Germany and China on Wednesday. Two versions will be offered initially, the Taycan Turbo and the Turbo S. The latter will make 750 hp and enough torque to bury passengers in their seats, with a 2.6-second 0-60 launch and a top speed of 161 mph. With its groundbreaking 800-volt electrical system, meanwhile, Taycan can get an 80% charge in just over 20 minutes. The four-seater will start at $150,000, the Turbo S setting buyers back $180,000.
Volkswagen ID.3: Think of the ID.3 as the all-electric answer to the familiar VW Golf. Offered with a choice of three different battery packs, buyers will see range ratings of anywhere from around 200 to 260 miles per charge, while they’ll be able to recharge to 80% in as little as 30 minutes. The ID.3 will use a single motor on the rear axle making 201 hp. The limited First Edition model, priced around $40,000, has already sold out, according to VW. Due to reach showrooms next spring, the base price of VW’s first long-range battery-electric vehicle will be around $30,000.