Cars you may have missed from the 2019 Frankfurt Motor Show
Another busy year at Frankfurt has seen stars emerge, but as usual there’s far more on show than just the headline grabbers
Anyone following the news from this year’s Frankfurt Motor Show will probably tell you that some world debuts have been simply unmissable: jot down the new, all-electric Volkswagen ID.3, the 750bhp, equally all-electric Porsche Taycan, the finished Honda e and the reborn Land Rover Defender in your copybook if you haven’t already.
But away from the biggest crowd pullers there’s been plenty to see in the more quiet - or at least less frenetic - corners of the show. Production ready cars, forward looking concepts, questionable curios - the sheer scale of the IAA show means it's all here.
Here’s a quick round-up of some of this year’s most interesting under-the-radar new cars.
Alpina B3 Touring
A few short steps away from the fanfare of the huge BMW stand, Alpina’s Frankfurt pitch featured a brand new hot estate - the latest B3 - which lands on roads next summer. Power is provided by a tweaked version of the turbocharged 3.0-litre straight six used in the BMW 340i, now developing 457bhp and 700Nm torque, and sending power to the standard car’s xDrive all-wheel-drive setup via an eight-speed automatic transmission. Elsewhere, the B3 gains a new exhaust system and the electronic limiter has been lifted, with Alpina claiming a 186mph-plus top speed.
Finished with trademark 20-inch multispoke wheels, this is as close as you’ll get to a bona fide M3 Touring, as the next M3, due in saloon form next year with 503bhp, is not going to be offered as an estate. Prices could start from around £60,000.
Audi A1 Citycarver
Audi had plenty of new metal on stand, including a new member of the A1 line-up. Called A1 Citycarver, it’s a rough and tough looking version of the regular A1 supermini, featuring some faux off-road cladding, a new grille, some more rugged-looking bumpers a slightly raised ride height. UK sales will commence later this month, with prices expected to start from £20,000 with a 94bhp 1.0-litre three-cylinder petrol engine the base powertrain.
BMW X6 Vantablack
The new X6 made its full debut at Frankfurt, but BMW brought a one-off version of its largest coupe-SUV along too, in the form of the X6 Vantablack. This show special, tucked away in a secret booth behind the BMW stand only has one key difference over the regular X6 - its paintwork. It’s finished in light-absorbing, non-reflective Vantablack paint developed by UK based start-up Surrey Nanosystems. The tint is so dark most of the X6’s details are totally obscured, leaving only a silhouette, the glasshouse, grilles lights and wheels. The stunt is intended to show off the X6’s new shape - by BMW’s own admission, the paint is highly unsuitable for a car intended to ever hit the road.
Mercedes A 250 e
Mercedes continued its electrification offensive with the reveal of a plug-in hybrid version of the A-Class, which, given the model’s popularity with company car buyers in the UK will raise an interesting proposition when it lands on sale in Britain in October. The A 250 e will be priced from £32,500, using a 1.3-litre four-cylinder petrol engine in conjunction with a 15.6kWh lithium ion battery pack and an electric motor. 215bhp and 450Nm torque is claimed, as is 0-62mph in 6.6 seconds, a top speed of 146mph, 188.3mpg, 33-34g/km CO2 and up to 42 miles running on electric power only.
It’s becoming increasingly difficult for manufacturers to justify small cheap cars these days, hence why most new city cars arriving recently have had two things in common: electric powertrains and premium pretentions. As such, it’s refreshing to see that Hyundai hasn’t totally given up on the A-segment as we’ve come to know it, with the reveal of a brand new, box fresh i10. Expected to start from £11k, this new rival for the VW Group trio of the Skoda Citigo, SEAT Mii and Volkswagen up! has had a hi-tech overhaul, with brand new cabin and driver assistance technology underneath the totally redesigned exterior and interior.
Elsewhere in city car news, the Volkswagen e-up! is back. This new, extended range version of the brand’s most junior electric car will be on the roads in 2020, serving as an entry-point to what will be an ever growing line-up of electric VWs. It’s not a member of the I.D family - those cars will all use the new MEB platform, while this is a development of the regular up! city car. Equipped with a 32.3kWh battery, Volkswagen claims a maximum range of 162 miles on a single charge, while prices should start from around £23,000 before the £3,500 government grant.
The e-up - and the new ID.3 - weren’t the only new electric Volkswagens at the show, however. We’ve had our first glimpse at what comes next, and it’s an electric SUV set to take on the ID.4 name. Disguised and placed in a semi-transparent box in a covert corner of the Volkswagen stand, this production car will be closely informed by the ID. Crozz concept car, and hitting the roads in 2021 underpinned by the same MEB toolkit used on the new ID.3 hatchback. A battery 77kWh in size will unlock a range of well over 300 miles on a single charge.
What is your pick from this year's Frankfurt Motor Show? Let us know in the comment section below...