For such a rich and world-famous automotive industry, the absence of a motor show in…
Opponents predict that traditional auto shows won’t be long for this world. With budgets shrinking and more direct ways to target buyers, many automakers are cutting back on once extravagant displays in sprawling convention centers. An exception ? the Internationale Automobil Ausstellung (IAA), better known as the Frankfurt Motor Show, which remains one of the biggest venues in the world to unveil some of the most exciting new vehicles. Here are some of this year’s stars.
The iconic SUV that dates back to 1948 is reborn as a modern, capable 4×4 that can wade through nearly three feet of water, traverse a 42-degree grade, and tow over 8,000 pounds. Several variants will be available on the long and short wheelbase versions of the vehicle: the four-door, three-row Defender 110 and the two-door 90, which will be available later in the year.
The base engine for the US market will be a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine good for 296 hp. The most powerful version is a mild hybrid that combines an inline six-cylinder gasoline engine with a 48-volt electric compressor and a lithium-ion battery that captures and stores energy. Both use an eight-speed automatic transmission with a two-speed transfer case. With a starting price of $49,900 for the four-cylinder model and $62,250 for the mild-hybrid, the 2020 Land Rover Defender significantly undercuts its closest competitor, the Mercedes-Benz G-Wagen.
Lambo’s first hybrid hypercar combines V-12 power with electrics for 819 hp and a low power-to-weight ratio that propels it from zero to 100 km/h in under 2.8 seconds. The Sián’s design combines both the future and the past, with elements that pay homage to the Lamborghini Countach supercar made in the 1970s and 1980s.
Designers describe the car’s long sculpted contours as pure and uncluttered; Lamborghini’s classic “Y” shape can be found in the headlights and in the side air vents of the doors. Other Countach-like details include the roof with its “periscopio” tunnel and the hexagonal shape at the rear, including six hexagonal taillights. Only 63 copies of the Sián will be made, and all of them are reserved. None will be alike, each individually configured by the owner.
Although it was first unveiled at a media event last week, Frankfurt is the first public presentation of Porsche’s groundbreaking new all-electric sedan. Keeping many of the same design cues as the original Mission E concept shown a few years ago, the Taycan – which roughly translates to “the soul of a fiery young horse” – debuts as a Turbo from high level (from $150,900) and Turbo S (from $185,000) variants, with less powerful (and cheaper) models to follow later.
The Turbo S develops 460 kW, or approximately 625 hp, with a power increase of up to 560 kW, or approximately 760 hp. That’s enough to sprint from zero to 60 mph in just 2.6 seconds, an incredible feat considering the car’s weight of over 5,000 pounds. The Taycan Turbo S promises a range of up to 256 miles, while the Turbo can reach nearly 280 miles. Although the technology is not yet widely available in the US, charging the Taycan can be done at 800 volts, which means the battery can be charged to 80% in less than 23 minutes.
Introduced as a future all-electric version of the flagship S-Class sedan, the Mercedes-Benz Vision EQS concept features a radical and clean design based on a “single arc” shape with a 360-degree light strip that runs around the entire the car. The imposing grille is adorned with hundreds of LEDs and the holographic headlights create a captivating 3D effect. Front and rear accent lights are shaped like the Mercedes logo, the three-pointed star. Inside, an expansive dashboard doubles as a projection screen for vehicle information and functions can be controlled by a central tablet or voice command.
The EQS uses intelligent all-wheel drive and is powered by two electric motors that produce a combined torque of 469 hp and 560 lb-ft, with an estimated range of up to 435 miles. Mercedes-Benz design director Gorden Wagener tells us that a production version is coming and will feature many of the design cues shown on the concept car.
Audi RS6 Avant
Wagon enthusiasts rejoice: The high-performance Audi RS6 Avant will arrive in the US next year with a 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 that will produce around 590 hp and 590 lb-ft. of torque (exact specs are TBA). The exterior uses Audi Sport RS-specific parts and features a wider body, a unique honeycomb-shaped grille and large fender flares that hint at the Quattro all-wheel-drive setup below.
An adaptive air suspension is standard and a sports suspension with monotube shock absorbers is optional. The RS6 Avant uses an eight-speed automatic transmission with a launch control feature and torque vectoring by braking for maximum traction and cornering speed. The interior also gets RS-specific design cues, including honeycomb-embossed leather and a sports steering wheel. Telemetry can be displayed via Audi’s “virtual cockpit” interface. Pricing and ordering information will be announced at a later date.