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Frankfurt Motor Show 2019: the seven most important and exciting cars coming to showrooms

Fresh versions of iconic models, new family crossovers and a focus on all-electric cars across the price spectrum

This week Germany has been hosting one of the most important events on the motoring calendar – the Frankfurt Motor Show 2019 (also known as the IAA). We’ve rounded up some of the most important and exciting models on show, including new electric city cars from both Honda and Volkswagen, a new Nissan Juke, and even a brand new Land Rover Defender.

Motor show fans will be heartened to hear there was also the expected display of ground-hugging sports cars and radical design studies. These concept cars normally point towards the future of a manufacturer’s design language.

However, we’d argue they struggle to stand out against the fresh and futuristic models you’ll be able to buy very soon.

Take a look below for our highlights of the Frankfurt motor show 2019.


If you’re looking to buy a new car, discover the models that have excelled in our road and lab tests – see our best cars.


Land Rover Defender

Given the death knell has already sounded for conventional combustion cars, you may think it odd there’s a clamour surrounding a new large four-wheel-drive car available solely with petrol and even (sharp inhale) diesel engines.

This is no ordinary off-roader though. 2019 sees the rebirth of one of the most iconic British vehicles ever, the Land Rover Defender.

Since the previous generation was discontinued in 2016, the Solihull marque has taken its time to replace a car that’s become synonymous with not only tricky terrain in the more extreme parts of the world, but also a utilitarian style statement for the school run.

With this in mind, Land Rover has made the new Defender available with a number of options packs, so owners can personalise it to their own needs.

At the top of the tree is the Explorer pack, which sees the Defender fitted with off-road friendly steel wheels, a roof rack, side-mounted storage pod and a raised air-intake for improved wading depth.

Prefer to turn heads, rather than churn mud? Then the Urban pack, with its bright metal exterior trim, will be more to your taste.

At launch, the engine range consists of two diesels and two petrols. All are four-cylinders except for the range-topping 3.0-litre six-cylinder petrol, which develops a sports-car rivalling 400hp.

Initially the Defender will be available in standard ‘110’ guise with the option of six or seven seats. A short-wheelbase ‘90’ version will soon be offered, along with a plug-in hybrid model.

A precise launch date has not been confirmed, but prices for 110 versions will start from £45,240.

Find out which models the new Defender will have to beat in our tests to be crowned the best off-roader available. Head to the best large SUVs.

Honda E

First shown off in prototype form at the Geneva motor show earlier this year, the Honda E is now production ready. And, thankfully, Honda has left the attractive styling nearly untouched.

Two versions will be offered, the standard 132hp E and a more powerful 150hp E ‘Advance’. Claimed range for the regular model is 136 miles, though we’ll put that to the test as soon as we can get this Honda into our labs.

A full charge will take around five hours from a standard domestic 7kW charger. You’ll be able to charge the battery to 80% in under an hour on a higher capacity 50kW charger, such as those found at motorway service stations.

The Honda E will cost from £26,160 (including the Government grant) in the UK when it reaches showrooms early next year. Interested? Order books open in October.

If you can’t wait that long, find the best zero-emissions car available today – see our best electric cars.

Cupra Tavascan

It wouldn’t be a proper motor show without a futuristic concept car. This year it was the turn of Cupra – Seat’s performance sub-brand – to show off its vision of future motoring.

This is actually the second unique Cupra concept model after this year’s Formentor concept. Like that plug-in hybrid model, the Tavascan is a full-size SUV. But has coupe styling to fit with the brand’s performance ethos.

Cupra has yet to confirm whether the Tavascan will be put into production, but it’s expected that the car points the way towards a future all-electric Cupra model.

If it does, expect the styling – including the massive 22-inch wheels and radical interior design – to be toned down before it’s unveiled.

We’ve tested Cupra’s first new car model, the Ateca. Find out how it fared in our tough lab and road tests – see our Cupra Ateca review.

Nissan Juke

Nissan’s ageing Juke crossover is not long for this world, with an all-new replacement being showcased at Frankfurt 2019.

In the nine years that it’s been on sale, the crossover market has grown considerably, and the Juke now struggles to stand out amongst a wealth of credible competition.

Seeking to redress the balance, this new model appears with less controversial styling. It’s still immediately recognisable as a Juke, though, with a squat stance, bulbous bonnet and slash-like daytime running lights.

As is the way with almost all new cars, the Juke has grown in every dimension. This should address the poor rear passenger space we found with the current model.

Despite the growth, the new Juke is claimed to be over 20kg lighter. This is thanks to new underpinnings – these are shared with the forthcoming Renault Captur crossover.

While hybrid and potentially full EV versions of the Juke are expected in due course, initially it will be launched with just one engine: a turbocharged 1.0-litre three-cylinder petrol which can currently be found in the brand’s Micra supermini.

It will be available with a choice of six-speed manual and seven-speed twin-clutch automatic transmissions.

The new Juke arrives in the UK in November, with prices starting from just over £17,000.

Prefer the styling of the old Juke? Find out if it’s worth snapping up a new car deal before it disappears from dealers, in our full Nissan Juke review.

Porsche Taycan

Clearly fed up with Tesla taking all the plaudits for performance electric cars, Porsche has unveiled the production version of its first full EV, the Taycan.

This striking four-door coupe aims to be the most thrilling zero-emissions car to drive. Porsche has currently confirmed details of two range-topping models, which in typical Porsche nomenclature, are badged Turbo and Turbo S (despite not actually being fitted with turbochargers…).

They’re priced from £115,858 and £138,826, respectively. A cheaper, less powerful version is expected to be offered in due course.

Early adopters, however, will have at least 673hp on tap from Turbo models, enough to get this large luxury car from 0-62mph in a claimed 3.2 seconds, and on to an electronically limited top speed of 161mph. Turbo S models produce 750hp.

Key to this performance is a 93.4kWh battery pack, which runs at 800 volts – something Porsche claims reduces charging times and ensures repeatable high-speed performance without overheating the motor.

Don’t expect the Taycan to be a bare-bones sports car, either. As we’ve seen from the Porsche Panamera, the brand is able to do luxury well, and should prove more than capable of beating the Tesla Model S for interior quality and refinement.

Rather not wait for the Taycan to arrive this autumn? Find out if Tesla is a worthy alternative, in our expert Tesla Model S review.

VW ID.3

The ID.3 is the first all-electric supermini from VW – a strange thought given its long history offering excellent compact hatchbacks.

It’s due to go head to head with the likes of the Honda E, Vauxhall Corsa E and Mini Electric when it arrives in the UK next summer. The first 30,000 examples, including UK allocation, have already been reserved.

The ID.3 is the first model to use VW’s new MEB platform designed specifically for electric vehicles. It will eventually underpin EV models across the VW Group, including Seat, Skoda and Audi models.

  • The launch ‘1st edition’ model has a 203hp electric motor and a 58kWh battery pack, which VW claims is enough for a range of between 186-261 miles.
  • A lesser-powered 150hp version with a smaller 45kWh battery will later be offered, with a claimed range of 143-205 miles.
  • A long-range version (claimed 242-342 miles) with a 77kWh battery is also expected.

Volkswagen has yet to confirm how much the ID.3 will cost in the UK, though a starting price of around £25,000 is likely. All models will get a 10-inch central touchscreen and a spacious cabin with unusually generous amounts of passenger and boot space, liberated by not having to install a combustion engine.

Not ready to make the leap to EV motoring? Discover the best hatchbacks we’ve tested, across all fuel types, in our guide to the best small cars.

Lamborghini Sian

Having resisted the industry-wide trend for turbocharging and engine downsizing, Italian supercar marque Lamborghini has finally made its first nod towards environmentally conscious motoring with its first hybrid model, the Sian.

In reality, the Sian’s small electric motor won’t make much of a dent in the carbon footprint of its enormous 6.5-litre V12 engine. Instead, it’s being used to make it even faster, with power turned up from the 774hp of Lamborghini’s standard Aventador model, all the way to a heady 810hp.

Claimed performance figures include a 0-62mph sprint time of under 2.8 seconds and a top speed of over 217mph. We’ll have to take their word for it, as the Sian is never going to make an appearance at the Which? Cars test lab.

The car is intended as a tribute to former VW Group chief Ferdinand Piech, who died last month at the age of 82, and who brought Lamborghini under VW ownership in 1998.

A fitting tribute, we’re sure you’ll agree, to the man who also introduced the world to the Bugatti Veyron – formerly the world’s fastest car.

Just 63 Sians are being made and unfortunately they’ve all been sold. Don’t worry if you had your heart set on one – you can find the perfect driver’s car for your needs in our guide to the best sports cars.

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