Frankfurt Motor Show - our picks from the cars that matter and excite
20 September 2019
The world’s motor shows have always captured the attention of those passionate about car design, performance and technology, from discerning car enthusiasts and owners to specialist car dealers like us here at Leama. In recent years, though, news and announcements from major car manufacturers such as Audi, BMW, Mercedes and VW have become even more fascinating and important in terms of how they will influence society, with plugin and electric vehicles becoming increasingly commonplace and capable, and autonomous or ‘driverless’ cars, vans, buses and trucks not that far off if the hype is to be believed.
We round up the concepts, reveals and other models, technologies and news that especially caught our attention from this year’s Frankfurt Motor Show 2019, which could sadly be the last in the format many have come to know and love. This follows environmental protests surrounding this year’s show, which fail to acknowledge the clear steps the automotive industry is making increasingly quickly towards green and electric motoring and mobility.
Porsche’s all-electric Taycan
Car manufacturers turning their concepts into production models without watering down their radicalness too much always garners more praise and we envisage Porsche’s debut electric sports car, the Taycan, proving extremely popular. It closely resembles the Mission E concept with its Panamera-like rear, while introducing an exciting new design evolution to the front.
The car is finished off exquisitely with subtle EV detailing such as a circuitry pattern incorporated in the glass-effect rear lightbar complete with Porsche lettering, brake callipers in white or yellow, and the welcome inclusion of two charge sockets, one on each side of the front, providing flexibility for Level/Type 2 AC and CSS DC fast-charging in the direction of choice.
Power outputs and 62mph times of 761PS and 2.8 seconds from the Taycan Turbo S and 680PS and 3.2 seconds from the Turbo meet zero emissions, instant torque and rapid acceleration, some of the key benefits of electric cars. Their respective electric ranges are 255 miles and 280 miles, while the Taycan being the first production EV with an 800V system means DC can charge its 93.4kWh battery from flat to 60ish miles in five minutes, or on to 80% charge in around twenty-two minutes.
An electric motor on each axle, a two-speed transmission, 4D Chassis Control, PASM, PDDC Sport, PTV Plus and all-wheel drive contribute towards the Taycan upholding and in fact reportedly excelling in the handling stakes, a trait Porsche is of course renowned for.
The Taycan’s interior is typically Porsche, building on the 992’s ethos of minimalism and modernity, with a large touchscreen, curved digital instrument cluster, secondary touch panel for climate and other functions, and even an optional screen in front of the passenger. ‘Hey Porsche’ voice control and most of the other luxuries today’s car buyers expect will be featured, but Android Auto compatibility sadly won’t be. The Taycan has an 81-litre front boot to complement its 366-litre rear luggage space, and pricing is likely to commence at £115,000. It may be Stuttgart’s first step towards electrification but the Taycan promises to be every bit a Porsche.
New Land Rover Defender
Redesigning and reengineering an icon after over 70 years’ service is no mean feat but we think Land Rover has done an excellent job of styling the new Defender, particularly from the front and side, although the rear is proving divisive. The boxy silhouette has been kept and steel wheels will be offered for base models and the forthcoming Commercial version, which do away with higher trims’ LED signatures, 18-to-22” alloys and either part or full leather upholstery. With four main accessory packs, Adventure, Country, Explorer and Urban, or 170 individual options to choose from, it’s the most customisable Defender yet, including a full-length folding fabric roof.
Inside, a minimalist feel, rubber flooring and durable materials maintain the iconic vehicle’s rugged vibe and the dash-mounted gear shifter enables purchasers and car leasing customers to opt for a storage cubby or jump-seat between the front seats. The new Land Rover Defender showcases JLR’s new infotainment system called Pivi Pro, which replaces InControl Touch Pro and essentially takes Velar-like crisp visuals to the most simplistic level yet in terms of operation. The software will be updated over-the-air and the touchscreen is mounted just above the panel in which the gear shifter is embedded and where the buttons for Terrain Response 2 and the vehicle’s array of cameras nestle amongst the climate control dials. A side-hinged tailgate, externally-mounted spare wheel and Alpine light windows in the roof finish off the package nicely.
The new Defender will initially be sold and leased as a 110 variant with rear doors and up to eight seats if you include the optional jump seat specifiable between the front seats for occasional use, but a short wheelbase 3-door ‘90’ will follow fairly soon after. From launch, its petrol engines comprise the four-cylinder P300 and straight-six P400 which incorporates mild hybrid technology, and diesel comes in the form of the D200 and D240, both good for upto 37.2mpg and 199g/km, with a plug-in hybrid likely badged the P400e coming in 2020.
Built on new D7x chassis architecture, the new Defender promises the most refined on-road comfort yet without losing any of the revered vehicle’s off-road capability, which is now enhanced even further with fully independent and tougher-than-ever suspension, a new wade programme, the ability to configure Terrain Response to suit, and Land Rover’s remarkable ClearSight Ground View technology that gives the impression of seeing through the front bumper and through passengers and objects in the rear to provide unrivalled levels of visibility.
Prices for the new Land Rover Defender commence at around £45,000 for the 110 in entry-level guise and continue on to £60,505 for the HSE and £78,800 for the range-topping ‘X’ version.
Mercedes Vision EQS
While it was unsurprising to discover Frankfurt motor show unveils such as the new Audi RS6 and RS7, the BMW i4 with an even more enormous grille than the new X7 and 8 Series, and even Lamborghini dipping its toe in green waters by basing its new and most powerful hypercar yet, the Sian, with mild-hybrid technology, the majority of these models are evolutions and will remain relatively exclusive.
At the same time, although we appreciate that the arrival of the electric Vauxhall Corsa, VW ID.3 hatchback and Honda e are hugely important steps in electrifying society, we can’t help feel that Mercedes’ latest all-electric concept is worthy of more attention as we can envisage it attracting huge demand from private individuals through to executive travel and chauffeur firms, if it does indeed morph into the next-generation S-Class.
Having already gone electric with the EQC SUV, Mercedes’ Vision EQS concept showcased at the IAA 2019 provides strong hints that the German brand is determined to make luxury motoring as sustainable as it possibly can. Some of the materials comprising its low, sleek silhouette are recycled, while the interior also maximises sustainability with recycled plastic bottles contributing to the microfiber cloth, other recycled ocean waste forming some of the roof lining as part of its yacht inspiration, with maple wood sourced from conservation project forests, and with artificial leather that feels the most opulent and natural yet, just like real Nappa.
The various ‘floating’ elements to the interior are complemented by the main touchscreen in portrait orientation and the front door armrests even get their own touch displays. Ideal for the golf club and executive clients alike, the car’s boot is reported to be impressively large, disguised by its fastback shape.
The EQS’ grille is actually made of hundreds of LEDs shaped as Mercedes’ three-pointed star, echoed at the rear where there are a higher number of red versions – and there’s even a belt of LED star-lights that runs around the entire circumference of the car. The ‘headlights’ are in fact four holographic lenses capable of precise lighting and even able to display static images and holograms.
Perpetuating Mercedes’ hallmarks, power will be combined with serenity like never before in this forthcoming all-electric luxury ‘saloon’, its pair of motors producing 469bhp helping it reach 62mph in 4.5 seconds, while the WLTP electric battery range is being cited as a realistic 435 miles. By the time it becomes a production reality, 350kW DC chargers will be more widespread and should be able to charge the EQS’ battery from flat to 80% in around 20 minutes.
As used Mercedes specialists we know first-hand what is expected from luxury cars like the S-Class saloon and Coupe, which the EQS is likely to replace and will hopefully closely resemble the concept shown off at Frankfurt 2019 in what was, as expected, a year dominated by plug-in and hybrid cars.
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