Frankfurt motor show 2019: Live blog, updates and pictures
Welcome to Autocar’s extended coverage of the Frankfurt motor show, one of Europe’s major motoring events and the place to see an extensive list of new cars make their debut.
Traditionally the world’s largest motor show, Frankfurt sees the automotive industry descend on the city every two years to see new metal for the first time. This year is no exception, with game-changing unveilings from, Volkswagen, Land Rover and more.
Electric cars promise to be big news at this year’s show, with the Volkswagen ID 3 having made its global debut, along with the Honda E, Porsche Taycan, Peugeot e-2008 and more all making an appearance.
That said, there will no doubt still be quite a crowd gathered around conventionally fuelled new cars - especially the reborn Land Rover Defender, which is almost certain to dominate proceedings. We’re on site in Frankfurt to bring you every single reveal, so be sure to follow along with our live blog, and on our Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube channels for up-to-the-minute news and images.
Frankfurt motor show 2019: Live blog
07:15 Tuesday 10th September
First announcement of the morning comes from Hyundai, with the 1970’s-inspired 45 Concept. Expected to eventually enter production, the electric crossover uses strong angles and lots of LEDs to make a visual statement while the interior hints at an autonomous future.
Even before last night’s big ID 3 reveal, it was clear this year’s Frankfurt show was going to heavily feature electrification. With tough new emissions targets about to be introduced, car firms are having to push EVs and alternative powertrains like never before, argues Hilton Holloway.
Environmental protestors have pledged to picket the show for weeks now, and it appears Greenpeace are leading the way this morning at the event entrance in Frankfurt. Further demos have been pledged throughout the day, with more disruptive protesters having hinted at picketing some of the press conferences. Kudos then to VW Group boss Herbert Diess, who went head to head with one of the protest group leaders in a live web debate on the subject, outlining why he believed a world without personal transport was unviable, how cars like the ID3 can be part of the environmental solution.
07:00 Tuesday 10th September
Welcome back to our Frankfurt coverage. The show floor officially opens this morning, and we'll be there to see all the new reveals. Overnight saw Audi announce the redesigned RS7 Sportback, which shares its 4.0-litre turbocharged V8 and 48v mild hybrid powertrain with the RS6 Avant. In the RS7, it results in a 0-62mph time of 3.6 seconds and 189mph top speed if you opt for the derestricted Dynamic Plus pack.
“The beauty and the beast” is how Audi Sport managing director Oliver Hoffmann descries the new RS6 and RS7. Which one’s which, you ask?
Anything and everything appears to be on the cards for Audi Sport as part of its expansion plans - even an RS8. “We have the S8, but there’s no decision yet on an RS8,” said Oliver Hoffmann. Nothing has been ruled out at Audi Sport for now.
21:00 Monday 9th September
With all the covers at VW's Group night now removed and all the cars on display, we're nearing the end of the first day at Frankfurt - but there's plenty more to come. Make sure to set your alarms as tomorrow morning sees new metal from BMW, Audi and Hyundai.
It's Land Rover that's almost certain to steal all the attention, though. It is set to reveal the all-new Defender at 9am BST. We'll have all the details here on the site, and you can watch the livestream right here:
20:30 Monday 9th September
News editor Lawrence Allan says he is "certainly impressed by the cabin tech of the ID 3", but thinks the material quality (traditionally a VW hallmark) doesn't seem up to Golf standards: "There's more hard plastics and plain surfaces than I expected - but maybe that's the price to pay for an EV offering of relative value. Hey, it's worked for Tesla...".
20:15 Monday 9th September
The Volkswagen ID 3 was the big star of the traditional pre-show VW Group Night, but once the new EV had its starring moment, those in attendance got to glimpse some of the other new machines from the group's various brands. They included the new Porsche Taycan, which was revealed last week but is making its public debut in Frankfurt.
Also on display was the new Audi Sport RS7, which hasn't actually been officially revealed yet. So while we can show you a picture, we can't give you full details yet (we suggest you keep an eye on autocar.co.uk for full details soon.
20:00 Monday 9th September
Hybrid and electric car customers typically need more support from retailers before they commit to a purchase, according to Mercedes-Benz’s head of sales and marketing Britta Seeger. “While many are very well informed, we take the time to identify if the car really suits their needs,” she said. “These are big changes, and it is right that customers take their time to be sure before they commit.”
Subtly changing VW's logo will be a "mammoth task" to implement, according to chief marketing officer Jochen Sengpiehl. Every dealer front, every poster and every advert across 171 countries and 10,000 dealers will need to be changed. To keep costs down and ease logistics VW has designed the logo so it can simply be swapped in for the old one in dealerships without them requiring extensive redecoration
19:30 Monday 9th September
The Volkswagen ID 3 is finally here. The first electric car off the MEB bespoke electric architecture - going so far and wide, it will now be used on a European Ford model - has an incredibly important precedent to set. VW is hoping to sell 200,000 ID 3s a year, which is a tall, tall order, when you look at the current EV market. If, and it’s a big if, VW pulls it off, it will well and truly deserve recognition for overturning the world order as we know it.
19:00 Monday 9th September
The wraps came off Audi's new Q3 Sportback last month, and now Audi Sport's RS-badged reworking is set to break cover at Frankfurt. The Mercedes-AMG GLB 45 rival has been driving around with minimal camouflage ahead of its arrival, and is expected to pack a 2.5-litre five-cylinder engine pumping out around 400bhp.
Audi Sport’s flagship wagon retains its twin-turbo 4.0-litre petrol V8 as it moves into a fourth generation for 2020, with power upgraded to 591bhp to take on the Mercedes-AMG E63 S and BMW M5. Visual differences over the standard A6 include trademark chunkier wheel arches, larger air intakes and bigger wheels.
The new RS7 Sportback will be the hero car for Audi Sport’s range of performance models, sharing a 600bhp-plus V8 with the RS6. As with the outgoing variant, power will be sent to all four wheels by way of an eight-speed automatic gearbox, while an 80kg weight loss should bring subtle performance gains.
Audi will introduce the fourth generation of its popular A3 in 2020 and is expected to show off the Volkswagen Golf rival at Frankfurt. Its launch has been pushed back due to Audi’s struggles with WLTP emissions testing and a heightened focus on EV development, but the company promises the new A3 will be the most advanced car in its segment and set new standards of refinement.
S8, SQ8 and Q7 facelift
We’ll also get our first in-the-metal look at the S8 performance saloon, one of only two models in Audi’s S range to retain a petrol powerplant, as well as the new SQ8 hot SUV and facelifted Q7 seven-seater.
The recently revealed third-generation X6 will make its public debut in Frankfurt before it enters UK showrooms, priced from around £63,000. The coupé-style high-rider’s looks have been brought into line with the brand’s current design language, and a refreshed range of powertrain options is headed up by a 523bhp 4.4-litre petrol V8 yielding a claimed 0-62mph time of 4.3sec and a limited 155mph top speed.
Vision M Next
The Vision M concept is BMW’s idea of what a comeback for the M1 supercar of 1978 might look like. Previewing a production sports car tipped to arrive before 2025, the Vision M packs a 591bhp petrol-electric plug-in hybrid drivetrain that's also destined to appear in more mainstream BMW M performance models further down the line.
Seat’s newly hived-off performance brand Cupra will show off the Tavascan as a concept version of its first EV, which takes the form of a coupé-style SUV based on the Volkswagen Group’s universal MEB architecture. Its rakish roofline, angular front end and distinctive headlight design imply the production model will be a performance-oriented reworking of the Seat el-Born electric hatchback.
The Honda E electric city car was first revealed in 95%-production-ready prototype guise at the Geneva motor show in March, but it's finally ready to emerge in its final form before customer deliveries begin next year. Expect little to change in the way of styling, with more than 6000 UK buyers alone having already expressed interest in buying an E.
Frankfurt will see the unveiling of Hyundai's first all-electric race car, which has been developed in Germany and previewed in a series of videos posted to the firm's Twitter feed.
Details remain scarce, but the new model is likely to be based on the existing i30 N TCR customer racer. Last year, rival firm Cupra revealed early details of the 670bhp Seat Leon-based e-Racer, to enter an upcoming electric touring car race series, which Hyundai is also expected to support.
Electric concept car
Hyundai will also show off its new '45' electric concept which is claimed to "reveal the next stage of its future mobility vision". Details remain scarce, but the firm says the model will preview the design of future electric Hyundais and be equipped with a customisable interior.
Hyundai has reinvented its i10 supermini for 2020 with a dynamic exterior overhaul and upgraded interior technology, and is already calling it the most advanced car in its segment. Rear passengers get extra legroom, while up front there's an 8.0in touchscreen, wireless smartphone charging pad and an optional rear view camera.
i30 N Project C
One new Hyundai bound to attract a crowd is the new i30 N Project C - a limited-run reworking of the i30 N hot hatch featuring race-spec alloy wheels, carbonfibre-reinforced plastic components and a suspension drop. All good news, then, apart from the fact that only 600 are being built, and none are expected to come to the UK.
Lamborghini is readying a replacement for its Aventador flagship for 2020, and has offered a preview of what's to come with the limited-run Siån hypercar. The Aventador SVJ-based machine packs 808bhp from a hybridised version of that model's V12, with power generated by an upgraded supercapacitor unit for zero-emissions parking and reversing manouvers.
Is this the one everybody’s waiting for? The revived Land Rover Defender has made a number of high-profile public appearances since it was first seen in prototype form last year, but Frankfurt will be the first time we'll see it unwrapped. We already know it will arrive in three bodystyles, powered by a range of diesel and petrol engines, but its official unveiling will bring an end to months of industry debate as to whether it will do justice to the original model’s design ethos.
Mercedes previewed the EQV electric people carrier with a concept at Geneva, and the production model will make its public debut at Frankfurt. Based on the conventionally powered V-Class, the EQV offers up to eight seats, a 252-mile range and a top speed of 99mph. Underfloor-mounted batteries allow the same interior flexibility as the V-Class, meaning it can be used as a luxury six-seat VIP shuttle or an eight-seat taxi.
ESF 2019 concept
The ESF concept is the latest in Mercedes’ long line of experimental vehicles built as part of an ongoing investigation into ways of making self-driving vehicles safer. Based on a forthcoming petrol-electric variant of the GLE SUV, the partly autonomous car features a retractable steering wheel and pedal box, revitalising mood lamps, an automatic driver’s seatbelt tensioner and prominent external directional indicators.
Mercedes' GLE flagship SUV is back for 2020 in rakish coupé form, and will take on the BMW X6 and Porsche Cayenne Coupé with tightened handling, improved aerodynamic efficiency and a characteristically tech-heavy interior. There's added practicality over the previous model as well, with a longer wheelbase, larger door openings and a bigger boot among the key improvements. AMG's hot version is at the show as well, featuring a 429bhp hybridised 3.0-litre straight-six.
Taking on Audi's new RS Q3 will be an Affalterbach-fettled version of Mercedes' new GLB compact SUV. In-top spec '45' guise, the hot high-rider will pack 416bhp from the brand's M139 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder unit, and feature the same 'Drift Mode' function as the recently launched A45 S hyper hatch, but it's the slightly less potent GLB 35 that's headed to Frankfurt. The model features the same 302bhp 2.0-litre mild hybrid unit as the A35, alongside a number of performance-inspired styling modifications.
Mini’s first series-production electric model bears a heavy resemblance to the 3dr Cooper upon which it’s based, but it’s the pricing and performance figures that have made the headlines. Prices start from just £24,000 after application of the government grant, although the car can't match the new Peugeot e-208 or Vauxhall Corsa-e for range. It will make its public debut at Frankfurt before production gets underway in November.
Porsche's new Taycan kick-starts a £5.3 billion electrification programme, and will make its public debut at Frankfurt. The Tesla Model S rival promises to rewrite the rules of EV performance with a 911-beating low centre of gravity, 0-62mph time of 3.2 seconds and a range of up to 281 miles.
Renault has given the second generation Captur SUV a dramatic interior revamp in line with the tech-laden new Clio supermini. Like the Clio, exterior styling changes are mainly evolutionary, although Renault describes the new model as “muscular and more expressive” thanks to a redesigned front end and significant increase in size. Frankfurt is also expected to mark the debut of the plug-in E-Tech variant, which is due to go on sale in 2020.
Following the reveal earlier this year of its Minimo and el-Born electric concepts, Seat is brining electrification to the showroom with its first plug-in hybrid. The Taracco PHEV is powered by a 242bhp petrol-electric powertrain, which is good for over 31 miles of electric range and will emit less than 50g/km of CO2.
Kamiq and Scala Monte Carlo
Skoda is not expected to reveal any all-new models at this year's Frankfurt show, but will display a new Monte Carlo trim option for the Scala hatch and Kamiq compact SUV that celebrates the brand's rallying heritage.
As with the smaller Fabia (pictured), which has been available in Monte Carlo guise since 2011, the Kamiq and Scala receive black exterior trim elements and bespoke badging.
Fortwo and Forfour update
Daimler and Geely-owned Smart is getting underway with an all-electric revolution, and will show off updated versions of its Fortwo and Forfour EQ electric city cars at Frankfurt. The facelift brings with it the axing of the petrol-powered Fortwo and Forfour, but styling changes are more an evolution than a revamp.
Niche Combo Life MPV aside, the new Corsa is the first Vauxhall to be developed since the brand came under PSA Group ownership in 2017. The supermini weighs up to 108kg less than its predecessor, and, like the Peugeot 208 with which it shares its platform, can be specced with petrol, diesel or electric powertrains.
Grandland X PHEV
Vauxhall will also show off its first plug-in hybrid - the Grandland X Hybrid4 - at Frankfurt. The compact SUV packs a 196bhp 1.6-litre petrol engine mated to two 108bhp electric motors for a combined output of 296bhp. A 13.2kWh battery gives an electric-only range of 31 miles and can be fully charged in just two hours with a 7.4kW home charger.
One of the most important new cars unwrapped at Frankfurt is the new Volkswagen ID 3 electric hatchback. The brand’s first dedicated EV model is capable of 125kW fast-charging and manages a range of between 205 and 342 miles, depending on battery size. Three variants will be available, with prices for entry-level models starting at £25,000 - only slightly more than the Mini Electric, which can cover significantly fewer miles between charges.
New ID concept
Alongside the production ID 3, Volkswagen is expected to show a new electric car in concept form. Sales boss Jurgen Stackmann said it will give us "an idea of what’s coming next - and that’s clearly compact, because that’s what Volkswagen does", suggesting that the model could preview a previously confirmed value crossover, likely called the ID 2. Early details hint it will sit below the already-previewed Crozz SUV, with prices starting from under £18,000.
The T-Roc Cabriolet sits, essentially, on its own in the convertible compact SUV segment, and strengthens its unique position with a sub-£30k list price. Volkswagen intends for the new model to bring an "extroverted and emotive" element to its line-up, but has no immediate plans for more drop-top models.