The 2019 Frankfurt auto show has its sights set on the future. From production-ready electric cars to concepts that preview future designs, this show provides at least some clues of what’s to come in the auto industry. Keep reading to check out the best cars of the 2019 Frankfurt auto show, according to editors actually on the auto-show floor. Also be sure to click through the Frankfurt auto show photos to see how many you’d consider buying.
Hyundai 45 concept
Hyundai always seemed embarrassed by its past and its start as a mass producer of the Pony in North America. But 45 years after it showed the 1974 Pony concept coupe, it uses the Frankfurt auto show to unveil the 45 concept that pays homage to the Pony while signaling future design.
The modern concept is an electric vehicle with sharply angled lines and a diamond-shaped silhouette. With no B-pillar, the doors slide wide open to reveal a minimalist cabin with lounge chairs that swivel to make it easier to get in and out of the vehicle and converse with others during the trip. There are matrix-like cube headlights. The 45 is said to represent the design direction for future EV models.
Ford Kuga ST-Line Plug-In Hybrid
Porsche isn’t the only automaker to paint its hybrids’ brake calipers. The overall visual package on this 2019 Frankfurt auto show car knocked me out. Basically like a sporty looking Ford Escape Plug-In Hybrid but for Europe, this Kuga ST-Line had a monochrome bright red paint job with a black roof, polished wheels, and the all-important badges. Nicely done.
Honda E production car
Even before Honda lifted the sheets on the new E hatchback, the little electric car’s charm shined right through the white sheet barely disguising its design. We won’t get the E; Americans don’t usually flock to cars that are electric, small, or hatchbacks. But that can’t stop us from appreciating its retro-modern design. Enjoy, rest of the world.
BMW Concept 4
I don’t envy BMW designers. The brand’s well-defined design language established over the last few decades doesn’t give designers much freedom for change as other automakers have. But that’s no excuse for the front end of the new BMW Concept 4, which previews the design of the upcoming 4 Series coupe. Our editors had mixed feelings about the oversized kidney grille. That and the exaggerated rear diffuser are controversial to say the least, but there’s a lot to look forward to, here. On the positive side, the concept pops in red, and color matters. The sides of the coupe have been sculpted out, the door handles lie flush, and the car has a powerful hood and intricate headlights.
The big question is: How much of this design will translate to a future model? Consider BMW 3 Series coupes of decades past; they mostly resembled 3 Series sedans with two fewer doors. But that couldn’t be more different than what this Concept 4 previews. Although the outgoing 4 Series was attractive in a subtle way, I’m intrigued by the level of visual differentiation we may see with the new model. Wishful thinking? It won’t be long before we find out.
1987 Opel Corsa GT
What better way to demonstrate automotive progress than to display a 30-year-old car next to your new ones? As charming as this boxy ’87 Corsa GT is, with its black liftgate, plaid seats, and three-spoke wheels, we’d much rather drive the new Opel for the obvious reasons (safety, power, efficiency, modern features, etc.). The new Opel Corsas close to this older model include a red electric one with a black roof and partially blacked-out C-pillar, and a gas-powered model with an over-the-top visual package including racing stripes, and red trim on the wheels, side mirrors, and grille. But hey, how about that ’87 Corsa GT that Opel spent eight months restoring?
Mercedes-Benz Vision EQS Concept
You gotta like the idea that the biggest global luxury brand is bringing back pinstriping. Well, in some ways. The illuminating (and then disappearing) blue line on the EQS show car has nothing on the beautifully intricate work you’ll see on cars featured with Lowrider, but it’s still charming. It’s also a cool way to break up the car’s two-tone silver and black color scheme. Whether or not you like the simple, melted-car design overall, the lighting on this concept is pretty cool.
Audi AI:Trail concept
We know this is vaporware, but this off-road electric concept from Audi is off-the-charts cool with massive rugged wheels, crazy angled sides, and headlights attached to a drone on top of the vehicle to detach and light the way ahead if needed.
It has a clear frunk, the bottom half of a steering wheel, and a minimalist interior with a place to prop your phone to serve as a nav system. The industrial-weave rear seats are strapped in place but can be removed to serve as hammock chairs once you find trees to strap them to.
It uses four electric motors, each sitting near a wheel, offering a range of 249 miles on-road and 155 miles off-road.
This Chinese startup has a five-passenger SUV that looks conservative from the outside but has a screen that spans the width of the car inside. Running 48 inches wide and 10 inches high, the screen is as tasteful as it is eye-catching.
Plans are to sell the M-Byte in China next year by mid-year and open the order banks at that time for U.S. customers for delivery in mid-2021.
Cost is expected to be about $45,000 for a well-equipped electric vehicle with a choice of batteries to provide a range of about 225 miles or 300 miles.