Not every motor show is a winner, especially these days when seemingly every major instalment has a number of brands opting not to participate.
This can be true of the Frankfurt event as well, despite the sheer size of it; seriously, you rack up a number of kilometres on your feet trying to see everything.
However this year’s Frankfurt show — officially dubbed the Internationale Automobil-Ausstellung, or IAA — was a belter.
The German and Euro brands as a whole had a lot to show off, but they were arguably upstaged by a British icon.
LAND ROVER DEFENDER
For the first time since the 1948 Amsterdam Motor Show, Land Rover unveiled a completely new version of the iconic Defender.
And you can’t accuse them of playing it safe. While there’s a nod to its predecessor, LR has gone for a bold approach with the styling, making it look almost like a concept.
Its off-road credentials stack up on paper at least: 900kg payload, 300kg static roof load, 3500kg towing capacity, 900mm wading depth.
The larger 110 version will arrive with a five, six or seven-seat layout mid next year and a $70,000 price tag.
The smaller 90 will arrive later in 2020, likely priced in the $55,000-$60,000 range.
BMW 4 CONCEPT
Well, that’s certainly a grille.
BMW hinted at the next-generation 4 Series with the 4 Concept, which shows off a new, vertical take on the trademark kidney grille.
Look closer and you’ll see the grating within the kidneys and air intakes is made up of an array of small number 4s joined together.
Safe to say it’s doubtful that will make it onto the production version.
BMW iHYDROGEN NEXT
BMW had a busy home show. The brand reckons the future will see multiple energy sources sold alongside each other, hence it showed its next generation of hydrogen fuel cell electric drive systems in a current BMW X5.
It admits it won’t be offering fuel cell vehicles until 2025 at the earliest.
MINI COOPER SE
This, however, is a green car already offered by the BMW Group — and it’s confirmed for Australia.
The fully electric Mini Cooper SE hatch will arrive locally in mid-2020, armed with a 135kW electric motor and a range of 230-275km.
Australian pricing and specs are under wraps until closer to its local launch.
MERCEDES-BENZ VISION EQS
This futuristic-looking beauty offers a glimpse of a future electric S-Class.
It’s got Jetsons tech to match its space-age looks. The headlamps each have two holographic lens modules to offer an almost unlimited number of light variations. The brand logo has 229 illuminated, individual stars to make the tri-pointe star shimmer, the digital front grille has 188 LEDs which create a three-dimensional effect.
Inside, the dashboard, centre console and armrests form a single sculpture which “floats” above the interior.
AUDI AI TRAIL QUATTRO
One of the more out-there concepts, the AI TRAIL quattro uses four electric motors to combine electric and autonomous driving with off-roading.
The cabin is essentially wrapped entirely in glass to better take in natural surrounds, which also serves as the vehicle’s entertainment; Audi says there are no big screens on board for streaming TV series or videoconferencing so occupants can enjoy nature.
Audi also had some real-world models at Frankfurt, most importantly the second generation of its RS7 super coupe.
Or, as Audi calls it, a “coupe-like grand tourer”.
It’s armed with a 4.0-litre V8 twin turbo producing 441kW and 800Nm, and is due in Australia in mid-2020.
VW’s first production full-electric vehicle met the public and it’s coming to Australia … eventually.
The ID3 is expected here in around 2022 and VW has certainly painted it as an attractive package, claiming it’s the size of the Golf but has the interior space of a medium car and rapid acceleration.
It has a range of 330-550km depending which of the three batteries is chosen.
We’re not sure why a lot of car companies are making their EV concepts look like they’re straight from the 1970s, but we love it.
Hyundai’s muscular 45EV concept supposedly shows the design approach of its EVs in the future and pays homage to the 1974 Pony Coupe Concept.
It’s pretty cool inside, too. The flat floor, where the batteries sit — nicknamed the skateboard — is covered in carpet and allows for a vast, lounge-like interior space complete with swivel seats to make getting in and out easier.
Speaking of cool, 1970s-inspired EVs, the Honda e also met the public in Frankfurt.
Yes, it had already been revealed, and no, it’s unlikely to ever make it to Australia, at least in this guise.
But any excuse to run a pic of it is good enough for us — just look at that adorable face!