While Australia may no longer have a major motor show they remain popular in Europe. This week Munich, Germany is the stage for the world's biggest car makers to show off the latest and greatest creations.
Naturally it's the locals who are taking the lead, with BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Volkswagen showing off crucial new concepts. But there are a few other brands who left an impression.
Here are our five favourites from this year's show.
BMW Vision Neue Klasse
The most important new model in Munich was undoubtedly the Bavarian brand's new concept. As the name implies, the Neue Klasse concept previews a new era for the brand – new styling, new technology and new powertrains.
And when we say ‘new era for the brand' we mean it, because while this electric sedan concept clearly points to the next-generation 3-Series, the new electric motors and batteries and the exterior and interior design will spread across the BMW range in the next decade.
Mercedes-Benz Concept CLA Class
This show star previews the new design style for the upcoming new-generation Mercedes CLA and A-Class models. The key element is the switch to electrification, with Mercedes-Benz chairman, Ola Källenius detailing the company's vision.
“The Concept CLA Class is the forerunner for an entirely new all-electric segment of entry-level vehicles at Mercedes-Benz,” he said. “The range will comprise a total of four new models – a four-door coupé, a shooting brake and two stunning SUVs – each with significantly elevated product substance.”
Built on the new Mercedes-Benz Modular Architecture (MMA) this next-gen family of small EVs will have a range of more than 750km thanks to its new 800-volt electrical system.
Volkswagen ID. GTI
Volkswagen claims credit for inventing the ‘hot hatch' with the original Golf GTI (although the Mini Cooper may argue that fact) and now the brand is reinventing it for the electric age. The ID. GTI Concept pays homage to that first hot hatch, with 20-inch alloy wheels reportedly inspired by the original steel GTI rims, but it also gets pumped out guards and a more dynamic aerodynamic kit.
It also does another job, previewing the upcoming Polo-sized ID.2 electric hatch VW is expected to reveal shortly. It's part of an expanding range of ID. models the company is offering, the first of which – the ID.3 and ID.4 – are reportedly due in Australia in the near-future.
Speaking of the Mini, the BMW-owned brand used Munich as the launch pad for its latest Cooper hatch and Countryman SUV. Both models, which push the definition of ‘mini' with their growing size, will be available with the choice of an internal combustion engine and an electric powertrain.
But there will be some major difference between those two models (aside from the obvious), with the petrol-powered Cooper using an updated version of its
BMW-designed platform, while the electric model will sit on underpinnings developed in collaboration with China's GWM.
The electric Mini Cooper E gets a 135kW/290Nm motor and has a claimed driving range of 402km. While the electric Countryman will have a 150kW/250Nm motor with a range of 462km.
And in a further demonstration of globalisation of the car the electric Cooper will be built in China and the Countryman will be manufactured in Germany.
Sweden and supercars don't go together typically, but Polestar is trying to change that. The Swedish-Chinese brand, the Volvo spin-off that sits underneath the umbrella of Geely Group, unveiled the striking Synergy concept car in Munich.
The racy-looking supercar concept is actually the result of a design contest Polestar ran in conjunction with toy maker, Mattel. It means the Synergy will go into mass production, but only as a 1:64 scale Hot Wheels toy, not a full-size car. But Polestar did build the 1:1 model for the Munich show and a subsequent world tour to bring attention to the fledgling brand.
The winning designers were French-based pair, Devashish Deshmukh and Swapnil Desai, who created the exterior, while China-based Yingxiang Li was responsible for the interior.