The lights at the halls of the 66th IAA won’t go off until September 28, giving visitors plenty of time to view the latest offerings of the automotive industry.
During the press days, our team of editors have covered extensively what is arguably the most important (and, without a doubt, the largest) show of the year and its more than 60 premieres.
To paraphrase George Orwell, some of them were more equal than the others, which, for such a huge event, is not such a big surprise anyway. Now that’s all been said, done, written, photographed in every detail and available in video, it is time for an appraisal.
Mercedes unveiled, without a question, the concept car to end all concept cars. The Intelligent Aerodynamic Automobile, or IAA (a wordplay with the show) is a four-door coupe with record breaking aerodynamics (even the wheel rims change their curve!), a plethora of sensors to facilitate autonomous driving and communication with other vehicles and is truly is a tour-de-force by the three pointed star.
Truth be told, it really is a close call between this and the Mission E Concept. The stunning all-electric sports saloon is not just about looks but actually previews Porsche’s upcoming Tesla Model S fighter. Thanks to the novel technology it employs, it’s more than up to the task as far as performance and range are concerned and, although the holographic imaging on the interior is purely sci-fi, it’s pretty easy to imagine it rolling down the streets before, say, 2020.
Nissan’s GripZ, on the other hand, had us scratching our heads. Is it supposed to be a crossover “coupe” with sporting pretentions, like the X4? Nah, it’s too small for that. Could it be that the “Z” family will expand into new categories and the rumored small sports car will actually sit a bit higher than expected? Maybe, but Nissan insists on the “crossover” bit. Is it just a study, then, or – dare we say it? – an OTT concept of the second-gen Juke that will surely be (very much) watered down for production?
At least Mazda was very straightforward about the Koeru, a mid-size crossover with the emphasis based on design and road handling and little off-road pretentions. Judging by the brand’s recent form, we assume it will deliver on its promise.
Concepts are all nice and dandy but it’s the supercars that will probably draw the bigger crowds. They won’t be disappointed, since an open-top with more than 600HP from both Ferrari and Lamborghini, in the form of the 488 Spider and the Huracán Spyder respectively, in the same show does the job nicely.
Bentley chose the IAA for the debut of its first ever SUV. The Bentayga is impressive, not least for the fact that the first year of its production run is already sold out. The price of replacing that the standard Breitling watch in the dash with a tourbillon costing nearly as much as the base car itself is not an issue (after all, such exquisite timepieces can cost much more), either. For all the leather and walnut and knurled/brushed/polished metal it brandishes, though, we have a feeling it may not sit well with Bentley loyalists – but that’s for its execs to short out, of course.
Jaguar’s foray in off-roading is, at least, more cohesively styled. Ian Callum and his team managed to integrate lots of the brand’s trademark design cues in the F-Pace, which looks handsome and manages to hide its girth. The tech borrowed from sister company Land Rover will allow it to veer off the beaten track without hesitation, in the distinct possibility that its driver so wishes.
Getting down on planet Earth, the core brand of the VW Group revealed the new Tiguan. It now falls in line with the new VW design language, it’s bigger, better equipped and all and, most importantly, it rides on the new, modular MQB platform.
The wait for Infiniti’s entry in the premium compact class is finally over. The Q30 made its official debut in Frankfurt and it looks dashing, bringing some concept-car–like flair in the segment. You won’t guess it’s closely related to the Merc A-Class, either, unless you step into the cabin and notice the German-sourced switchgear.
Green car lovers will be excited by the launch of the new Prius. Now in its fourth generation, Toyota’s pioneering hybrid is even more frugal and a bit edgier in its design compared to its predecessor. It won’t win any concours competitions and we’d take those “sporty handling” quotes with a pinch (or three) of salt; at the same time, it’s perfect for its target group and it will continue its sales success, much to Toyota’s joy.
Talking about sales, Opel and Renault premiered their new competitors in what is Europe’s most hotly contested class: the C-segment. Both have high hopes for the Astra and Megane, which they (naturally) claim to be much improved and challenging for the top spot. That they probably won’t get, as unseating the Golf is a very high task. Beating the rest of their rivals is their true objective and that’s what their success or failure will depend on.
Have we missed something important? Oh, yes; the elephant in the room that is the Alfa Romeo Giulia. Well, it was on display alright, looking menacing with its four exhausts, carbon brakes and air intakes and outlets, and in a wide palette of colors, the electric blue one looking quite distinctive.
Nothing wrong with that, only we were expecting more- like a version other than the QV that’s been paraded and advertised possibly more than any other new car this year. At least we got its price, which to most is irrelevant, and its astounding, BMW M3-beating 7:39 Nürburgring lap time. See? Now that’s something to talk about until the lesser versions eventually show up.