Frankfurt 2015 looks like being the motor show of the premium SUV. Such is the continuing rise of the Chelsea tractor/4×4/Sports Utility Vehicle/whatever you want to call it, that the luxury brands have had to ditch any residual sniffiness and get involved.
Take a seat and let us guide you through the veritable SUV smorgasbord (and the rest of the metal menu) that has been unleashed to the press in Germany today:
Audi e-tron quattro concept
We start off green, with Audi’s all-electric offering that showcases what the Q6, due for launch in 2018, might look like.
Possibly the biggest star of the show. We’ve been tantalised with spy shots and teasers for what seems like ages; finally we get to stroke the colossus that is the £130,000 SUV. The Chinese and American markets will be thrilled and, despite cynicism in certain British quarters, believe us when we say the order books will be chokka on British shores too. This model will take Bentley into the super-luxury off-roading class and is a great reminder of the adaptability, craftsmanship and longevity inherent in Britain’s premium automotive marques. A hybrid powertrain will sit alongside V8 and V12 petrol units.
Joins the SUV fray with a revamp for its smallest member, the X1. Larger and more rugged with new petrol engines, but, most significantly, you can order it now with either front or four-wheel. Available in the autumn.
Up there alongside the Bentayga in terms of chatter generated. The public might already have seen it supporting the Team Sky cycling team, but Frankfurt marks its official launch. This is a car for the mid-sized premium SUV market, where rivals include the Porsche machine and Audi Q5. A tough pool to swim in, but if anyone can match its competitors for style and quality, it’s Jag.
Another mid-sized SUV offering, this is a sharp restyling for a car that has sold a staggering 93,000 units in Europe to date and accounts for 27.5 per cent of all Kia sales. Just in time for Kia’s 25th anniversary next year.
Finally Mazda fills the space beyond the CX-5. The car at Frankfurt is in concept form, but expect a production seven-seater to rise from this moulding.
Last but very much not least, a concept model previewing the next-generation Tiguan is expected on the Volkswagen stand. Watch this space.
The best of the rest
Not in the market for an SUV? While the rest of the world is apparently on a different wavelength, we quite understand, so here’s Road and Racing’s pick of the rest at Frankfurt.
Mercedes S-class Cabriolet
This wonder from Mercedes should encapsulate enough premium quality to rival the Rolls-Royce Dawn, which is on its way. It will be debuting alongside the C-class Coupe and AMG versions of both, for those who like their luxe a little quicker. At the other end of the size and power scale for convertibles, the Smart Fortwo Cabriolet makes its debut. There are also motor show unveilings of the GLC, a BMW X3 and Audi Q5 competitor (European reports suggest a very accomplished drive) and revised A-class. Show time!
Alfa Romeo Giulia
Launched at the renovated Alfa museum in Arese in the summer, the Giulia heralds a picking up of the pace at Alfa as it looks forward to launching a raft of new models over the next couple of years. We cannot wait; rarely has an automotive brand carried so much goodwill. The Giulia is a BMW 3-Series rival with rear-wheel drive and, in Quadrifoglio form, a V6 from Ferrari developing 510hp.
Citroen Cactus M
The M of this concept stands for Mehari, and the whole vehicles is focused on the leisure side of driving, which the original Mehari beach buggy encapsulated in the Seventies and Eighties. The vehicle points towards a convertible version of the incredible C4 Cactus, which has won as many plaudits as sales for its daring design and practicality.
Ferrari 488 Spider
Convertible with 660bhp. 0-62mph in three seconds flat. By Ferrari. Its most powerful mid rear-engined car to feature a retractable hard top, in fact. Turbo V8. What else do you need us to say? Oh. Well, £200,000, if you really have to ask.
Not strictly a debut as the 445bhp sports car, the fastest car Lotus has made, was officially launched at the Goodwood Festival of Speed this year, but we’ll let Frankfurt have their moment…
The new Megane has been unveiled at Frankfurt (alongside the recently launched Kadjar and phenomenally good-looking Espace, which is saying something for an MPV…). This is an important model for Renault, with a history of strong sales in the UK and a foothold in one of the healthiest sectors: the family hatch, which also includes the Ford Focus, Seat Leon and VW Golf. It will also be up against…
…This. The new Astra, built at Ellesmere port, goes on sale straight after Frankfurt. A sharper design, more tech, a new 1.4-litre direct-injection turbo engine and more safety stuff will join the hearts and minds campaign, where the Astra is at the top of the tree alongside Ford’s Focus in British sales. Will this new model help narrow the gap with Ford? We love a little competition, especially when it’s between two automotive giants.