The bi-annual Frankfurt Motor Show (or Internationale Automobil-Ausstellung, if you prefer) is one of the biggest events in the motoring calendar and, not surprisingly, a showcase for German manufacturers. So much so, in fact, that the VW Group organises its own preview night before the doors are officially thrown open.
This year’s show seemed like a landmark, both for the Volkswagen Group and for the future of motoring. Two all-electric vehicles — a mass-market hatchback and a phenomenal supercar — were centre of attention for the assembled motoring press. We’ll take a look at these in Part Two of our report.
But the internal combustion engine isn’t done yet. As if some of the group’s teams were staging their own rebellion, Frankfurt saw the launch of three fossil-fuel powered, fire-breathing monsters. And there were a smattering of other conventionally-powered cars too. Let’s take a look.
Audi RS 6 Avant and RS 7 Sportback
Let’s face it, if you need a car that can (a) take your old chest of drawers to the tip and (b) top 180mph on the Autobahn, your options are limited.
Thank goodness, then, for Audi. At Frankfurt, there were two new models to serve this critical market segment: the almost-identically-mental RS7 Sportsback and RS6 Avant.
Now in its fourth generation, the RS6 has seen a power hike to 591bhp. This is still delivered from a twin-turbo 4.0-litre petrol V8, which it shares with the RS7.
Channelling all this through an 8 speed autobox allows the RS7 to reach 100kmh in a neck-testing 3.6 seconds, and derestricted versions will see north of 185mph. Expect similar performance figures from the RS6. Be sure to strap that chest of drawers down!
Lamborghini Sián FKP 37
Audi RS6 or RS7 too sensible? 591 bhp hardly raises an eyebrow? Then splash your spare £3 million on a Lamborghini Sián FKP 37, the limited edition replacement for the Aventador.
Officially, the Sian is Lamborghini’s first hybrid. But it’s a hybrid in the same way that a single baked bean is a meal. The weedy supercapacitor unit might help with parking and reversing, but on the go it adds just 33 bhp to the petrol engine’s 774 bhp. That ungodly output comes courtesy of a 6.5 litre, V12, naturally aspirated powerplant. The combined 807 bhp catapults the Sián from 0-62mph in 2.8 seconds. Given enough tarmac, you can then charge on to a claimed 217 mph.
Now, if you’re going to spend £3 million on a hypercar, our advice is to get one that looks like it’s going 217 mph when it’s parked. That is, after all, how it’s going to spend 98% of its life. Lambo’s designers must have had the same thought, because the Sian’s styling is gloriously barking mad. It makes almost every other car look like Grandad’s Honda Jazz.
The new Lamborghini Sián may take the crown as the most outrageously-styled vehicle at Frankfurt this year but it’s mainly of note for being the supercar maker’s first hybrid model. While it’s the first Lambo capable of limited zero-emissions travel, the Sián is still a speed machine at heart: it’s claimed the 807bhp it produces (774bhp of which comes from a naturally-aspirated, 6.5-litre V12 petrol engine) is good for a 0-62mph time of 2.8 seconds, and a top speed in excess of 217mph.
Cars for Ordinary Mortals
If you can’t run to £90,000 for the Rs7 Sportback, and you’re not ready for an electric car, don’t despair. VW Group has also updated some conventionally powered models for your driving pleasure.
Audi has a beefier-looking version of the A1 Supermini. The weirdly-named Citycarver has been given an allroad makeover, with the same ruggedly handsome looks seen in its larger brethren. However, although the Citycarver rides two inches higher, has bigger wheels and a more robust suspension, there’s no pretence that it’s a true offroader. But it’s a handsome little beast for all that. Prices should start at around £21,000.
Volkswagen have added a rather smart convertible version of its baby SUV, the T-Roc. The T-Roc Cabriolet will be available with the same two turbo petrol engines enjoyed in the hardtop – a 1 litre three cylinder (113 bhp) and a 1.5 litre four cylinder (148 bhp). The folding soft top will apparently open in about nine seconds. Some might question the need for a convertible SUV, but we say, well, why not?
Prices are yet to be announced, but VW say it will be ‘well under’ £30,000.
Stay tuned for next time when we’ll look at the two most anticipated VW offerings appearing at Frankfurt (and some of the press response). We’re talking, of course, about the groundbreaking Volkwagen ID.3 and the mighty Porsche Taycan.
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