Frankfurt Motor Show 2019: new Land Rover Defender, Honda e and more

From electric hatchbacks to go-anywhere off-roaders, here are the best car reveals from Germany so far

Frankfurt Motor Show
(Image credit: SeanGallup/GettyImages)

The Frankfurt Motor Show is officially open to the public today, a few days after the world’s carmakers have unveiled their new production cars and concepts at the event.

Many leading brands make major production car announcements at the annual event, held on alternative years to the Paris Motor Show.

This year’s big reveals include a series of new electric cars, with Honda, Porsche and Volkswagen all unveiling production-spec versions of their latest EVs.

Subscribe to The Week

Escape your echo chamber. Get the facts behind the news, plus analysis from multiple perspectives.


Sign up for The Week's Free Newsletters

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

Sign up

For the public, the motoring expo kicks off today and runs for ten days. But most of the major unveilings have already taken place, so here’s our pick of the biggest announcements so far:

Audi RS6 Avant

Audi RS6 Avant

Audi decided to get the jump on its rivals by unveiling its new RS6 Avant weeks in advance of the Frankfurt show.

The performance estate, based on the regular A6, boasts an aggressive new look, complete with a bespoke rear wing and muscular wheel arches. In fact, the only parts carried over from the standard A6 are the roof, rear doors a boot lid, says Auto Express.

Under the bonnet sits a twin-turbo V8 engine producing 592bhp and 590lb-ft of torque, launching the car from 0-62mph in a supercar-rivalling 3.6 seconds, notes Evo. And for those who spec the optional Dynamic Plus pack, Audi will lift the car’s top-speed restriction from 155mph to 190mph.

The RS6 Avant is set to go on sale in early 2020, with UK pricing due to be announced in the coming months.

Audi RS7

Audi unveiled a hard-core RS version of its A6 Avant a couple of weeks before the Frankfurt show, but the German carmaker has another performance car up its sleeve for the motoring expo - the new RS7.

The four-door coupe is a souped-up version of the marque’s A7, but gets a 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 engine that delivers 592bhp and 590lb-ft of torque, says Top Gear.

This motor, coupled with Audi’s signature all-wheel drive system, can fire occupants from zero to 62mph in 3.6 seconds and on to a maximum speed of 190mph, PistonHeads reports.

According to Car magazine, deliveries will get under way in the first few months of 2020, with prices starting at about £90,000.

BMW X6 Vantablack

BMW will be showcasing a one-off version of its new X6 in Frankfurt that the company says is “the world’s blackest black” car.

The German carmaker claims the limited-edition X6 is the first car to be painted in Vantablack, a special colour that absorbs light rather than reflecting it. This makes the vehicle “either seem 2D, or like a hole in the universe in the process”, says Top Gear.

“We’re glad they used it on the new X6 then”, the motoring site quips.

BMW doesn’t plan on releasing the X6 Vantablack as a production model, especially as the paint masks the car’s design.

Honda e

The Honda e, the carmaker’s first attempt at an all-electric city car, makes its debut in production form in Frankfurt.

The stylish city car is powered by a 35.5kWh lithium-ion battery, offering 125 miles of range on a single charge, notes EV news site Electrek. The car is also capable of charging from zero to 80% in about 30 minutes - and buyers can get their hands on their own Honda charging kit so they can top up their EV at home.

Honda will open sales for the EV “early next year”, with prices starting from £26,160, says Auto Express. That figure takes into account the £3,500 Government grant given to buyers of zero-emission cars.

Lamborghini Sian

Lamborghini unveiled its new, limited-edition Sian supercar a week ahead of its public debut at the Frankfurt show.

Based on the Italian marque’s Aventador supercar, the Sian is inspired by last year’s all-electric Terzo Millennio concept in both design and performance. The car’s Y-shaped LED headlights and angular panels hark back to the radical concept, as do the vast air vents that sit behind the doors.

Behind the driver’s head sits the same 6.5-litre naturally-aspirated V12 engine as the Aventador, albeit with an electric twist. Lamborghini has equipped the car with a 48-volt “e-motor” that adds an extra 33bhp to the car’s power output, says Top Gear.

That means that the Sian is not only the company’s first electrified model, it’s also the most powerful production car it has ever made, the motoring site notes. The Sian’s electrified V12 delivers 807bhp to all-four wheels, launching it from 0-62mph in “under 2.8 seconds”.

Only 63 examples will be made - and Lamborghini has sold every single one of them.

Land Rover Defender

The long-awaited Land Rover Defender has finally been unveiled, marking the return of the British marque’s iconic off-roader after a three-year hiatus.

Widely regarded as one of the worst-kept secrets in the motoring industry - following a litany of spy shots, leaks and official teaser images - the new Defender blends the rugged go-anywhere off-road abilities of the original model with a premium edge.

The reborn 4x4 may have been a long time in the making, but would-be buyers won’t have to wait much longer. Five-door models, badged the Defender 110, will be delivered to customers in early 2020 and carry a price tag of £45,240, Autocar reports.

A short-wheelbase, three-door 90 variant priced at around £40,000 will hit the market “shortly afterwards”, while a long-wheelbase 130 model is being prepped for a launch in 2022, the magazine says.

Mercedes-Benz Vision EQS concept

Mercedes-Benz VISION EQS, IAA 2019, der VISION EQS zeigteinen Ausblick auf ein Konzept eines vollelektrischen Fahrzeugs der Luxusklasse. // Mercedes-Benz VISION EQS, IAA 2019, the VISION EQS

Mercedes-Benz VISION EQS, IAA 2019
(Image credit: press photo, do not use for advertising purposes)

Mercedes-Benz previewed a new entry in its all-electric EQ series in Germany, with its new Vision EQS concept hinting at a future EV version of the company’s luxurious S-Class saloon.

The EQS will be the company’s “most advanced production model” to date when it launches in 2021, where it will do battle with the Tesla Model S and the upcoming Jaguar XJ electric, says Autocar.

It’s powered by two electric motors, one on each axle, which have a combined power output of 470bhp and 560lb-ft of torque, the motoring magazine says. Mercedes predicts a battery range of around 435 miles, which is 158 miles more than the firm’s EQC crossover can manage.

There’s no word on pricing just yet. Given that the firm’s current combustion-engined S-Class carries a price tag of £76,540, expect the EQS to cost close to - if not exceed - the £100,000 mark.

Mini Electric

Mini Electric

(Image credit: Mini)

It’s been ten years in the making, but the Mini Electric was finally unveiled in July, ahead of its public debut at the German event next month.

Based on the standard three-door Cooper S hatchback, the Mini Electric features the same synchronous electric motor system as the BMW i3 and matches the city car’s 181bhp power output and 199lb-ft of torque, says Evo.

Connected to the motor system is a 32.6kWh battery pack that delivers about 124 miles of range under the real-world WLTP (Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicle Test Procedure) measuring system.

Prices start at £24,400, with deliveries set to kick off in March 2020.

Porsche Taycan

Porsche Taycan

(Image credit: Porsche)

The wait for Porsche’s first all-electric production car is finally over, as the Taycan has been unveiled online ahead of its worldwide debut at the motoring expo.

The Taycan is based on an all-new production platform that’s specifically designed for an electric powertrain, says Car magazine. It means that, no matter how strong the customer demand is, the Taycan will not be available with the combustion engine.

Not that many buyers will want one with a convetional motor, though, as the Taycan looks set to become one of Porsche’s fastest models. The range-topping Turbo S model produces up to 750bhp in its most potent driving mode, which is capable of launching occupants form 0-62mph in a mere 2.8 seconds, says Auto Express.

While regular Turbo models are a little slower off the line at 3.2 seconds, they offer the best battery range: 281 miles compared to the 261 miles on the Turbo S, notes WhatCar?.

Orders are open now, with Turbo models starting at £115,858 and range-topping Turbo S cars coming in at £138,826. The first customers to place their orders can get behind the wheel of the new EV early next year.

Volkswagen ID.3

Volkswagen’s new ID.3 is the German carmaker’s first stab at an electric mass-production car - and arguably its most important new model since the original Golf’s arrival in 1974.

The ID.3 also bears a strong resemblance to the carmaker’s popular hatchback. According to Auto Express, the EV is only 3mm longer and 19mm wider than the Golf. However, the wheelbase is 145mm longer than that of the combustion-engined hatchback, meaning there should be even more legroom inside.

Entry level models can run for between 143 and 205 miles on a single charge, while top-spec models offer a battery range of around 242 and 342 miles.

Pre-orders are open now, with prices expected to start at around £26,000.

New Volkswagen badge

Alongside the launch of its ID.3 EV, Volkswagen unveiled a new logo in Frankfurt that aims to “draw a line under the fallout from the Dieselgate scandal”, says Autocar. The logo will first appear on the company’s new electric car, symbolising its move away from controversial diesel-engined motors and towards a cleaner EV future.

The “two-dimensional design” has been styled to “work better on digital platforms” and also offer more flexibility with its product range, reports the magazine, which adds that the logo will be painted red on the firm’s performance-focused GTI models.

Continue reading for free

We hope you're enjoying The Week's refreshingly open-minded journalism.

Subscribed to The Week? Register your account with the same email as your subscription.