The shining stars of the Frankfurt Motor Show

From the reborn Land Rover Defender to a hybrid Lamborghini, here are the hottest models from the floor of Frankfurt.

By Hannah Elliott, September 11 2019
The shining stars of the Frankfurt Motor Show

At the 2019 Frankfurt Motor Show, plenty of manufacturers took the opportunity to flaunt big debuts live, especially on the electric front. Audi, BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Lamborghini, Porsche, Volkswagen and Land Rover packed the best of the bunch.

BMW Concept 4

An enlarged grille, pushed forward as if by the curved front hood and massive wheels, is the most stunning component of the edgy preview of BMW's 4 Series line of cars, including an M3 and M4.

Company executives say the design is inspired by historic models such as the 328 and 3.0 CSi, but have not revealed any performance specs.

Read more: BMW Concept 4 takes centre stage at Frankfurt Motor Show

Porsche Taycan

Porsche unveiled models of its new Taycan electric car at simultaneous global debuts in Canada, China, and Germany earlier this month. The Porsche Taycan looks much like the Mission E Concept that debuted at the 2015 Frankfurt show, minus the suicide doors and futuristic disc wheels, gone mainly due to safety concerns.


It has seating for four and a trunk big enough to hold two large golf bags. Company executives say the range would be 450km.  Two electric motors, one at the front axle and one at the rear axle, allow the Taycan Turbo S to go from zero to 100km/h in 2.6 seconds, while the Taycan Turbo can do it in 3 seconds.

Less powerful - and less expensive – variants of the all-wheel-drive cars will follow later this year. Another derivative, called the Taycan Cross Turismo, will arrive at the end of next year.

BMW iNext concept

BMW unveiled this conceptual SUV last year, but it still finds its way to auto shows such as Frankfurt, serving as an indicator of things to come at the Munich-based brand. A self-driving electric vehicle, the iNext Concept is meant to feel like a comfortable lounge, rather than a car. BMW’s star designer Adrian van Hooydonk designed it "from the inside out," he told Bloomberg at the 2018 debut, with an interior that uses the textiles and textures of the world's leading boutique hotels.

Indeed, the jewel-toned carpeting and wooden console and flooring in the front look faintly like a spa or airport lounge environment from the early, glamorous days of travel; two captain’s chairs in front accompany a long thin bench seat in the back.

Tall side windows and a panoramic rooftop provide enough room for four adults to recline comfortably in the sunlight afforded by the long glass enrobing the vehicle.

BMW Vision M Next Concept

BMW's Vision M NEXT is a concept car meant to take what the i8 sportscar did for the brand and extend it even further into the future. Aside from being powered by an electric motor, we don't know much else about how it might perform.

One thing is does have: a "soundscape," as BMW engineers call it, designed by Hollywood film composer Hans Zimmer and BMW sound designer Renzo Vitale. The sound can be heard on BMW's website - and you can even download it as the ringtone for your cellphone.

Said Zimmer in a statement about the project: "The advent of the virtually silent electric vehicle gives me a minimalist sonic canvas upon which I am trying to create something subtly beautiful – a sonic experience which can convey the sense of confidence, well-being, joy and excitement I relished all those years ago, along with the thrill of owning and driving a technological and scientific miracle."

Volkswagen I.D. Crozz Concept

Volkswagen is calling this its “first electric car for the masses,” which, at a price below US$34,000, certainly puts it more in that range than the Porsche Taycan and Audi e-Tron.

Few details are confirmed about the small, urban vehicle, though it is the latest part of VW’s multibillion-dollar push into electric mobility, and it does include some modern accoutrements, including a 10-inch touchscreen center console, heads-up display, wireless charging, and keyless entry.

The ID.3 will come in three variants, which will have a range roughly from 205 to 340 miles, and will be delivered in mid-2020; none is currently slated to be sold in the U.S.

Lamborghini Sian

Lamborghini's first hybrid is named after the Italian word for “thunderbolt.” The Sian maintains the V12 engine and it adds a 48V electric motor. No other mild-hybrid vehicle has ever had a direct connection between the electric motor and wheels.

All told, it has 720 Nm of torque, a zero-to-100km/h sprint time of 2.8 seconds, and top speed is 350km/h, with all-wheel-drive and a seven-speed transmission. Its lean body was inspired by the edges of the Countach and is made of carbon fiber. Just 63 will be made.

Land Rover Defender

Debuting 70 years after the original, the new Defender looks beefier than its 1940s predecessors and has two variants - one two-door, one four-door – with such upgrades as roof racks and grill protectors galore. It can wade in three feet of water and clear rocks a foot off the ground, and the eight-speed automatic transmission can get to 100km/h mph in 7.7 seconds.

Inside, the Defender offers technologies such as smartphone-based entertainment and enhanced vision, including a 3D surround camera. The Defender Connected Navigation Pro system learns your preferred routes and suggests faster alternatives in the event of delays.

Read more: The first ‘new’ Land Rover Defender in 71 years breaks cover 


The Audi AI:Trail Quattro Concept is the fourth in its series of crazy futuristic concept cars that include the Aicon, PB18, and AI:ME. This four-door electric vehicle packs serious off-road capabilities and combines them with autonomous driving.

Its 22-inch wheels and 33.5-inch off-road tires give it more than a foot of ground clearance and the ability to ford water more than 18 inches deep. Inside, it has a traditional steering wheel and pedals but can also be activated to drive itself at low speeds.

The 429-horsepower-equivalent lithium ion battery will go from 248 to 310 miles on one charge – at least, hypothetically.

Hannah Elliott

Hannah Elliott is the resident motoring writer at Bloomberg.

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