And that’s just a few of the highlights.
Gateway to Electric Mobility
MINI COOPER ELECTRIC
The fully electric Mini Cooper SE will join gas, diesel and hybrid variants on stage in Frankfurt.
It has a 32.6-kWh battery pack and a single electric motor that produces 181 horsepower and 199 foot-pounds of torque. The front-wheel-drive SE will reportedly accelerate to more than 60 mph in 7.3 seconds and has a top speed limited to 93 mph.
In Europe, the SE will have a range of 146 to 168 miles. U.S. EPA figures have yet to be announced. Not a lot of charging info has been released, either, but Mini says it can be charged at up to 50 kW, allowing for an 80% charge in 35 minutes using a DC fast charger.
Tesla’s Got Competition
Based on initial reports, the first all-electric Porsche production car, the Taycan sports sedan, will undoubtedly give the Tesla S a run for its money, especially in the Silicon Valley automaker’s home state and most significant market, California, no matter how vehemently Elon’s army protests.
Porsche engineers started from scratch with the Taycan. It developed a new skateboard-style platform to house a pair of electric motors—one on each axle to power all four wheels—and battery pack. Together, the motors generate a combined 592 horsepower.
The production Taycan will be able to reach 62 mph in under 3.0 seconds and a 155-mph limited top speed.
Taking the EV Mainstream
VOLKSWAGEN ID.3 ELECTRIC HATCHBACK
The ID.3 hatchback could be the most significant car to get launched next week. It is the first car Volkswagen designed from the ground-up to be electric. About the same size as a VW Golf, the ID.3 will be available with a choice of two electric motors—150 or 204 horsepower—and three battery sizes, giving the car a range of between 205 and 340 miles on a single charge. Only 30,000 will be built, and production is scheduled to start later this year.
LAND ROVER DEFENDER
The all-new Defender will finally roll out of the shadows in Frankfurt. It is expected to feature retro styling and will be offered with a wide range of engine options.
Expect the new Defender to be a lot more sophisticated than the previous model. It’ll come with a comprehensive infotainment system with huge touch screen displays, air suspension and a posh interior. Power will come from four- and six-cylinder engines, and you’ll be able to choose from short (90), longer (110) and extended (130) models. Most importantly, it will be just as capable offroad as the old one.
Initial feedback from those who’ve seen the new model is positive. Some experts are saying Jaguar Land Rover may steal the show as a result.
Station Wagon on Steroids
AUDI RS6 AVANT
The all-new 2020 Audi RS6 Avant is not your parents’ station wagon. It combines jaw-dropping looks with a potent 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 and everyday usability. Cosmetically, the only body panels carried over from the standard A6 are the front doors, roof and trunk. Everything else is an RS-specific design like the chunkier wheel arches, larger air intakes and bigger wheels. Under the hood, the 591-horsepower mild-hybrid can propel the sportwagon from zero to 62mph in 3.6 seconds with a top speed of 155mph, which can be extended to 174mph or 189.5mph with the optional Dynamic and Dynamic Plus packages, respectively.
Safe and Sexy
MERCEDES-BENZ ESF 2019 CONCEPT
Based on the current GLE SUV plug-in hybrid, the ESF 2019 concept comes with an incredible array of experimental safety technology, including Level 4 autonomy capabilities, allowing the car to take charge of driving.
Best of Show
Lamborghini has been working with engineers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology for years to develop supercapacitors for use in supercars. In 2017, the duo even revealed an outrageous-looking fully electric concept car, called the Lamborghini Terzo Millennio, at the school’s EMTech Conference powered by supercapacitors that were integrated into the car’s body panels.
Next week, the Raging Bull is scheduled to roll the covers back on its first road-ready hybrid supercar, the Sián, that uses supercapacitors, not batteries, like the Terzo. In this case, the supercapacitors would deliver a jolt of electricity when needed to boost the vehicle’s performance, not power it entirely.
The so-called “mild’ hybrid will get primary power from the company’s current 6.5-liter V12. When needed, the 34-horsepower electric motor, mounted on the rear axle, will provide a 10% increase in get-up-and-go, according to Lamborghini. The small motor will also smooth out power flow as the car shifts gears, minimizing the jerking sensation felt as it shifts.
Working in tandem, the V12 and electric motor deliver 602kW or 819 horsepower, making the Sián the most powerful Lamborghini ever produced and one of the fastest. The manufacturer says it’ll accelerate from zero to more than 60 miles an hour in under three seconds, with a top speed of more than 217 miles an hour.
While Lamborghini has not yet announced pricing, expect a price tag in the millions. Not that it matters: All 63 of the Siáns scheduled for production are already sold.
Chuck Tannert, Forbes Staff