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‘The Munich Motor Show gave us a look at how models are evolving for the electric age’

Deputy editor John McIlroy takes a look at some of the biggest reveals from the 2023 Munich Motor Show

Opinion - BMW Vision Neue Klasse

Every motor show is different, but occasionally one comes along that feels like a watershed moment for the industry. Sometimes this isn’t a good thing at all – last autumn’s Paris exposition, for example, had the whiff of ‘last-chance saloon’ about it. But as many brands gathered this week in Munich, there’s was a sense that we’re getting a proper look at how some of our best-loved models are going to evolve for the electric age.

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On the one hand there’s VW, which has taken its baby ID. 2all concept and funked it up into a next-gen GTI, showing how design and, we hope, some trick front-differential tech could make it a genuinely fun small EV.

Then there’s MINI, which appears to have made its Cooper hatch cuter than ever, while giving it a more premium-looking cabin, more neatly integrated tech (love that circular screen) and, as far as compact EVs go, pricing that should make it competitive.

Yet from within the same basic stable, BMW’s Neue Klasse (above) shows a more radical approach, with a funky-looking saloon that’s a world away from the current 3 Series – yet likely to form the indirect replacement for it in only a couple of years’ time. Little wonder the brand’s design team reckon they’ve skipped a whole generation in moving ‘the BMW saloon’ forwards.

The same could be said for Renault, which has ripped up the traditional silhouette of the Scenic to create a vehicle that aims to deliver the same proposition of space and practicality as before, but with zero emissions and a different profile.

Amid all of this, it’s probably no coincidence that Tesla has chosen this moment to add its facelifted Model 3 to the mix. There’s no major revolution here – just a nip and a tuck on styling, a bit more range and what look like well judged cabin upgrades. If you want proof of how much of a march this disruptor stole over the traditional brands, this gentle evolution is all you need.

What was your favourite car from the 2023 Munich Motor Show? Let us know in the comments section...

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Editor-at-large

John started journalism reporting on motorsport – specifically rallying, which he had followed avidly since he was a boy. After a stint as editor of weekly motorsport bible Autosport, he moved across to testing road cars. He’s now been reviewing cars and writing news stories about them for almost 20 years.

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