While the Frankfurt Motor Show is no more, Germany retains its role in the hierarchy of automotive events with the debut of the first Munich Motor Show next month — and the event will bring out a broad array of new concept and production models.
While a number of manufacturers won’t be on hand for the debut Munich Motor Show, a preliminary count suggests those marques that will participate plan to reveal about two dozen new vehicles. And the final number could be even higher as some are expected to roll out a few, last-minute surprises.
As one might expect in Europe, there’ll be a big emphasis placed on new green machines, everything from conventional hybrids to pure battery-electric vehicles — as well as at least one new hydrogen model from BMW.
Here’s a look at some of the most significant announcements that will be made at the Munich Show — also known as IAA Mobility 2021 — during its run from Sept. 7-12:
The German luxury brand doesn’t plan to produce any new models that will run solely on gas or diesel by 2026. And while it will soldier on with plug-in hybrids through the end of the decade, its longer-term plan is to shift entirely to battery-electric vehicles. We got a sense of what’s in store this month at the Pebble Beach Concours with the unveiling of the Skysphere, one of three cutting-edge concept models. The Grandsphere is next in the series and shows where Audi hopes to go with an all-electric and fully autonomous SUV. The automaker also has two other models set to make public debuts in Munich: the RS3 hatchback and sedan line taking aim at the likes of the Mercedes-AMG A 45, as well as the all-electric Q4 e-tron. It will slip into a space just below the current, gas-powered Audi Q5.
The Bavarian automaker has had a long-running interest in hydrogen power — though it early on explored the possibility of using the lightweight gas as an alternative to gasoline in its internal combustion engines. BMW abandoned that approach and, like other manufacturers, now sees hydrogen working best in a fuel-cell system. That’s what will power the new BMW iX5. This is not a concept but a production model due out in 2022, albeit at low volumes and targeted for markets where there’s an available hydrogen distribution system. The other green machine is the facelifted BMW iX3 city car. And BMW isn’t ready to give up on gas models. It also plans to show the uplifted X3 and X4 sport-activity vehicles in Munich.
The German luxury brand is also planning a big showing of all-electric models, starting with the debut of the Mercedes-Benz EQE. It will serve as the company’s all-electric E-Class model and share the same Electric Vehicle Architecture, or EVA, as the larger Mercedes EQS flagship. Speaking of the EQS, the German marque will offer the usual family of variants and they will be getting previewed in Munich. They include an even larger and more luxurious EQS-Maybach model, as well as a more powerful EQS-AMG rumored to make 800 horsepower — taking aim at the Tesla Model S Plaid. Like BMW and Audi, Mercedes isn’t ready to go 100% electric but is continuing to tinker with other green drivetrains. That will become apparent with the debut of the new Mercedes-AMG plug-in hybrid. We’ll also see the high-riding Mercedes-Benz C-Class All-Terrain, and the armored S-Class Guard. Is there a surprise in store? Some reports suggest Mercedes could debut the EQG, an all-electric version of the big G-Class SUV.
The sports car company will have a relatively modest presence in Munich — but a significant one, nonetheless. It will reveal a facelifted version of its smaller SUV, the Macan. That will provide insight into the upcoming debut of an all-electric version of the Macan due out in 2023. While they’re expected to have similar exterior designs, the BEV version of the SUV will be based on the new Premium Platform Electric, or PPE, architecture jointly developed by Porsche and Audi. Also on tap: the all-out version of Porsche’s bigger SUV, the Cayenne Turbo GT.
The German giant is planning to invest $86 billion to electrify its line-up and that will be obvious when Munich showgoers see what’s on tap from all of its various marques. As for the VW brand itself, it has a mix of electric and gas offerings to reveal next month. That includes a new electric city car that could be named either the ID.1 or ID.2 if the automaker sticks with its current naming strategy. Then there will be sportier versions of two of its current battery-electric vehicles. The ID.4 GTX is already available in Europe, and while the ID.5 GTX is being described as a “prototype,” a production version of the coupe-like SUV is expected to reach showrooms before year-end. Munich also will bring the public debut of the new Volkswagen Polo and GTI models, the latter unveiled online earlier in August. Completing the list, we’ll get a first public look at the new VW Taigo, a small, coupe-like SUV based on the current T-Cross line.
- Cupra, the all-electric spinoff of Volkswagen’s Spanish brand Seat, will reveal a battery-powered hatchback based on the VW ID.3. It will share the Volkswagen MEB all-electric architecture but put more of an emphasis on performance than the ID.3.
- Dacia will bring out a new 7-seat people-mover.
- Hyundai is making an appearance in Munich and is set to give the European public debut of the all-electric Ioniq 5 — but it could have a surprise in store, as well.
- Renault will weigh in with a small, all-electric SUV dubbed the Megane E-Tech Electric.
Smart is transitioning to an all-electric brand and is teasing plans to reveal a battery-powered micro SUV. It’s believed to be using a drivetrain developed as part of a joint venture between Smart parent Mercedes-Benz and China’s Geely.