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2019 Frankfurt IAA Motor Show

Despite notable absentees this year's IAA was a show of optimism.

Date Published: 17 Sep 2019
2019 Frankfurt IAA Motor Show

Several major manufacturers were missing from the Paris Auto Salon last year. But as Paris is a much smaller and less important show than Frankfurt, we assumed these parties were prioritising in an age with too many motor shows spread across the globe.

However, when Aston Martin, Bentley, Rolls-Royce and all the French manufacturers were absent from Frankfurt this month it was clear that something is awry.

With the US-China trade war, Brexit, and various other politically driven situations creating uncertainty across the globe it is no wonder that car manufacturers are practising extra fiscal care in the face of falling sales.

The politics of ‘climate change’ have certainly not helped, and the blind rush toward electrification has resulted in the spending of billions of euros on the development and production of cars that manufacturers are not even sure buyers want.

Perhaps the ultimate irony is that the inner cities where zero and low emissions vehicles are most needed are actually the places least able to provide a credible charging infrastructure. Then there is the inconvenient fact that as electric car production increases manufacturers will come up against the issue of a finite supply of some critical minerals and trace elements need to make Lithium Ion batteries.

The stark reality is that the advances in internal combustion engine technology, hydrogen fuel cells, plug-in hybrids and all-electric will see a mix of power sources co-existing for many years to come.

Thus, our choice of the most interesting cars at the Show, which you will be able to buy soon is a mix of high performance combustion engine, hybrid and electric cars.

BMW

BMW pioneered the SUV Coupe genre with their first X6 back in 2008. 11 years down the line the third generation X6 has arrived.

While its flanks are cleaner and now bereft of the teardrop wheel arches the larger front grille and intakes give the new car a more aggressive air.

2019 Frankfurt IAA Motor Show

2019 Frankfurt IAA Motor Show

2019 Frankfurt IAA Motor Show

The larger grille syndrome that made its debut on the latest 7-Series has now trickled down to the next 4-Series, which was shown as a concept car with no visible interior. Looking a lot more muscular than the present model the car has a very purposeful stance, but we are sure that that big grille will really polarise opinions.

2019 Frankfurt IAA Motor Show

2019 Frankfurt IAA Motor Show

The new 1-Series has front-wheel-drive. Shock, horror! But it turns out BMW has sorted the chassis very well and the new M135i is a real driver’s car with more cabin room than the old rear-driven model.

2019 Frankfurt IAA Motor Show

2019 Frankfurt IAA Motor Show

2019 Frankfurt IAA Motor Show


ALPINA

Alpina turned out with a full range of their unique takes on BMW’s finest. The latest B7 in LWB 4WD form was out to prove itself as the ultimate high performance luxury limousine, while at the other end of their range the B3 Touring 4WD made its first public outing.

2019 Frankfurt IAA Motor Show

2019 Frankfurt IAA Motor Show

Breathed on my Alpina’s engineers the twin-turbo 3.0 litre straight six makes 457hp and 700Nm of torque. That is plenty for a 3-Series so the 4WD system and electronic limited slip differential that underpin the cars handling and grip are most welcome.

2019 Frankfurt IAA Motor Show

2019 Frankfurt IAA Motor Show

2019 Frankfurt IAA Motor Show

2019 Frankfurt IAA Motor Show


AUDI

The evergreen RS6 Avant made its appearance in the latest C8 platform. Looking more aggressive than ever with its huge air intakes in front and stylised alloy motifs at the rear it shares its hybrid assisted 600hp 4.0 litre bi-turbo motor with the RS7.

2019 Frankfurt IAA Motor Show

2019 Frankfurt IAA Motor Show

Thanks to its second-generation MLB structure the new RS6 is around 80kg lighter than before, so with its power increase and improved aerodynamics it will be faster than ever. The 0-100km/h sprint takes 3.6 sec and the optional Dynamic Package raises the top speed limiter from 250km/h to 280km/h. And if that is not enough the Dynamic Package Plus opens it out to 306km/h.

BYTON

We were most intrigued by the presence of Chinese carmaker Byton at Frankfurt. Aimed at maximising comfort and refinement rather than high performance the M-Byte is a full-size electric SUV with a claimed range of around 460 km. Byton intend to sell it in the European market in 2020, and in the UK in RHD form in 2021.

2019 Frankfurt IAA Motor Show

2019 Frankfurt IAA Motor Show


LAMBORGHINI SIÁN FKP 37

Bugatti, Ferrari and McLaren were conspicuously absent from Frankfurt so Lamborghini had to hold the fort for the supercar genre. And hold the fort it certainly did, the matt green and carbon fest called the Sián, or Lightning Bolt in local Bolognese dialect, delivering an on-stage presence that rivets eyeballs as only a Lamborghini can.

2019 Frankfurt IAA Motor Show

2019 Frankfurt IAA Motor Show

2019 Frankfurt IAA Motor Show

The FKP 37 suffix was added just before the Show in honour of the late Ferdinand Piëch who brought Lamborghini into the VW fold in 1998, but passed away on August 25th, just two weeks before the Show. FKP stands for Ferdinand Karl Piëch, while 37 refers to his year of birth.

2019 Frankfurt IAA Motor Show

2019 Frankfurt IAA Motor Show

2019 Frankfurt IAA Motor Show

2019 Frankfurt IAA Motor Show

2019 Frankfurt IAA Motor Show

The iconic 6,498cc V12 has been tuned for 785hp and 720Nm of torque. This is then aided and abetted by a 48-volt electric motor attached to the gearbox to further boost acceleration. Super capacitors are used in place of a Lithium Ion battery and Lamborghini says this is a third the weight and three times more powerful. With power boosted to 808hp the first ever Lamborghini hybrid powertrain propels the car to 100km/h in 2.8 sec and on to over 350km/h.

With 63 cars to be made at over three million euros a pop the order books are already closed. Once again Lamborghini has judged its ultra high net worth customers perfectly.


LAND ROVER DEFENDER

One of the most eagerly anticipated cars at the Show was the all-new Land Rover Defender. Unlike the Mercedes G-Class, which is also all new but looks 99% like its predecessor, Land Rover has boldly re-imagined their 71-year-old classic design for the 21st Century.

2019 Frankfurt IAA Motor Show

2019 Frankfurt IAA Motor Show

Available in 90 and 110 two and four-door form as before the new Defender looks crisp and modern inside and out and is built around an aluminium monocoque with all round independent suspension. Land Rover says this is the stiffest structure they have ever made, boasting three times the rigidity of a body-on frame chassis equivalent.
There will even be a commercial van style version of the 90, and we expect to see small companies applying their liveries to the side and rear panels as they did with the original many years ago.

2019 Frankfurt IAA Motor Show

2019 Frankfurt IAA Motor Show

Engines range from a base D200 four-cylinder to a 400hp turbocharged straight six petrol motor with a 48-volt electric supercharger. An eight-speed automatic is the default transmission across the board.

PORSCHE TAYCAN

Two times World Rally Champion, Walter Rohrl has been a Porsche test driver since the mid-1990s, but was not a fan of hybrid powertrains until he drove the 918 Spyder.

When we discussed the Taycan recently he was very excited about its performance, and from that I knew that the Porsche’s first all-electric production car was going to be a winner.

2019 Frankfurt IAA Motor Show

2019 Frankfurt IAA Motor Show

What we did not know until its unveiling at Frankfurt was just how powerful the production Taycan would be. Like the 800-volt electrical system, the two permanent magnet synchronous motors are designed for ultimate efficiency and produce a total of 617hp in the Turbo, with 671hp on overboost along with 850Nm of torque.

The Turbo S model shares the same baseline power output but when you go into overboost the big numbers are 750hp with 1,050Nm of torque. That makes for a 2.8 sec 0-100km/h time, with 200km/h passed in 9.8 sec and an electronically limited top speed of 260km/h.

Using Turbo and Turbo S badges on a car that does not even have a combustion engine may be a bridge too far for enthusiasts but apparently the marketing bods wanted to keep everything familiar to Porsche owners. 

PORSCHE CARRERA

The 992 Carrera S and 4S arrived before last Christmas, and now that the Cabriolet model is also on sale it is time to sweep up entry level customers with the base Carrera models.

2019 Frankfurt IAA Motor Show

Despite a drop of 64hp this still means a healthy 380hp with 450Nm of torque, good enough for a 4.2 sec sprint to 100km/h and 293km/h Vmax. As with the Carrera S models only the PDK is on offer for now, the manual transmission not on the cards till spring next year.


VOLVO POLESTAR 2

One of the understated heroes of the high performance electric car world the five-door Volvo Polestar 2 looks comparatively ordinary for a machine packing 408hp and 660 Nm of torque. 

2019 Frankfurt IAA Motor Show

2019 Frankfurt IAA Motor Show

2019 Frankfurt IAA Motor Show

However, the Polestar 2’s credentials are impeccable with chassis sophistication conferred by the adjustable Öhlins dampers while the brake system comes from Brembo. An electric motor on each axle means 4WD, which is a big help in the 4.9 sec sprint to 100km/h. The claimed maximum range is 500km on a full charge.


VW ID.3

Thanks to a very strong family resemblance the ID.3 might well be mistaken for a next generation Golf by someone not acquainted with its electric cousin, but the lack of a front grille is the big giveaway.

2019 Frankfurt IAA Motor Show

While the Golf E is adapted from the Golf the ID.3, which goes on sale shortly is built on VW’s all-new MEB modular electric vehicle platform. The electric motor drives the rear wheels and the battery packs sit flat under the floor in the centre making for a low centre of gravity.

2019 Frankfurt IAA Motor Show

2019 Frankfurt IAA Motor Show

2019 Frankfurt IAA Motor Show

2019 Frankfurt IAA Motor Show

2019 Frankfurt IAA Motor Show

2019 Frankfurt IAA Motor Show

2019 Frankfurt IAA Motor Show

Thanks to a wheelbase 130mm longer than that of the current Golf the ID.3’s cabin room is almost at Passat levels while the large boot features a removable floor panel to further increase luggage capacity.

The pre-production models we examined on the VW stand were very well put together with high quality cabin trim and doors that closed with the traditional VW ‘thunk’.

Thanks to the short nose and steeply raked windscreen the view from the front seats is different from the Golf. While it helps aerodynamics (Cd 0.267) the steep windscreen was necessary to facilitate a long enough dashboard top to house the head-up display.

2019 Frankfurt IAA Motor Show

2019 Frankfurt IAA Motor Show

2019 Frankfurt IAA Motor Show

2019 Frankfurt IAA Motor Show

2019 Frankfurt IAA Motor Show

VW told us that the 150kW (200hp) electric motor will be accompanied by a choice of three battery (45, 58 and 77kWh) options the largest of which offers up to 550km range.

Volkswagen is German for ‘People’s Car’. When it goes on sale next spring the ID.3 could well be as much of a game changer in its segment as the Golf and the Beetle were in their time. The ID.3 heralds the third age of Volkswagen.

AFTERMARKET

AC SCHNITZER

Every year the VDAT (German Tuners Association) choose a members car to be dressed in police livery and tour shows and events to deliver the ‘Tune It Safe’ message. This year it is the turn of the AC Schnitzer BMW i8.

2019 Frankfurt IAA Motor Show

Initiated over a decade ago the Tune It Safe campaign is aimed at raising awareness amongst car enthusiasts of just how dangerous copy parts, especially alloy wheels from dubious sources can be.

bb

In the heady 1980s four names were famous for outlandish conversions in Germany - bb, Gemballa, Koenig Specials and Styling Garage. Chris Hahn revived Styling Garage last year, and now it is the turn of Rainer Buchmann to bring back the bb company that he closed in 1986.

2019 Frankfurt IAA Motor Show

2019 Frankfurt IAA Motor Show

This client’s 930 Turbo Targa was created as a new interpretation of a bb car from the 1980s, but carries a lot of 21st Century ideas inside. In contrast the 928 Convertible that bb made in the ‘80s is a simple restoration.

STARTECH

Startech is the Brabus sub-brand that looks after Bentley and Jaguar Land Rover products.

2019 Frankfurt IAA Motor Show

2019 Frankfurt IAA Motor Show

They brought just one car to Frankfurt but it was the best one possible – their take on the new Bentley GTC with their styling additions, alloy wheels and bespoke interior trim options.

MOTORWORLD

The Motorworld exhibition in Hall 4 was quite breathtaking for fans of classic cars. Outside they pressed this beautifully restored Cal-look VW van into service as a media shuttle between halls.

2019 Frankfurt IAA Motor Show

The sight of this psychedelic van complete with surfboards doing the rounds brought a smile to many faces during the two press days.

TRASCO

Trasco is an old name in the vehicle armouring trade, and while they are arguably most famous for adding ballistic protection to Mercedes-Benz cars they also have a good reputation for protecting the occupants of Volvo cars against bullets.

2019 Frankfurt IAA Motor Show

2019 Frankfurt IAA Motor Show

2019 Frankfurt IAA Motor Show

While it looks fairly standard at a glance this Volvo XC90 is armoured to NATO Level 6/7, or VPAM 8, which means it can resist 7.62mm rounds as fired by the AK47.

Thanks to steel armouring and ultra thick glass the doors weight around 100kg each and require brute strength to open and close. The suspension and brakes are seriously uprated to handle the extra two tons plus imposed on top of the base vehicle weight. The tyres are heavy duty Dunlop SP Sport Maxx GT Runflats.

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