After a lazy August the car industry traditionally gets back to work with bump at the start of September. The Paris and Frankfurt motor shows, two of the biggest on the global calendar, alternate each year; this time it’s the turn of the German city, which will play host to these five fine performance cars.
New Lamborghinis are like a lunar eclipse: they don’t come around very often but when they do, you really should pay attention. The Italian supercar maker is set to show a new model – the Sian – at Frankfurt, but it’s not a replacement for its ageing Aventador halo car. Instead, it’s an ultra-exclusive and horribly expensive limited-run model that hints at the direction Lamborghini is due to take with its series production offerings. That’s significant because while the likes of Ferrari, Porsche and Bentley have already shown their hand with regard to new, cleaner powertrain technologies, Lamborghini has kept its cards closer to its chest.
What we now know is that while the company is committed to its soaring normally-aspirated V10 and V12 engines for the foreseeable, it will also augment those engines with hybrid drive in the name of fuel efficiency. To that end the Sian uses a 6.5-litre V12 with a 48-volt electric motor (producing 34bhp) to give a total output of 808bhp.
Cupra Tavascan concept
When Spanish manufacturer Seat announced some time ago that its Cupra performance sub-division would be repurposed as a standalone brand in its own right, we were told it had car and driving enthusiasts firmly in its sights. The new marque would stand for performance and driver involvement, for design excellence and individuality. A year after Cupra’s emancipation, we’re yet to see much evidence of any of it. Its only showroom model so far is the Ateca SUV, which is certainly brisk enough with 296bhp but can hardly be said to be the last word in handling precision.
In some ways the Tavascan Concept looks like a pretty obvious follow-up. For while it might be Cupra’s first all-electric vehicle it’s still an SUV (or a ‘coupe SUV’ in Seat’s words), which says an awful lot about where the brand is being steered. The concept’s two electric motors produce 302bhp to give a 0-62mph time of 6.5 seconds, but perhaps just as impressive is the claimed 280-mile range from a single charge.
Land Rover Defender
Mini, Mercedes-Benz, Fiat, VW, Alpine and plenty more besides have all successfully launched modern interpretations of much-loved iconic models in recent times. Will Land Rover manage to do the same? It’s hard to think of a more challenging car to resurrect than the Defender, because the world it was originally designed for 71 years ago doesn’t really exist anymore – agriculture and the military have long since moved on – and earlier versions didn’t just become familiar in Britain, but part of the furniture.
Following years of speculation, months of teaser photos and weeks of internet leaks, at Frankfurt we’ll finally get to see what the new Defender looks like. And we’ll know what hardware lurks beneath the skin, too. Will the new model be sympathetic and expertly-judged, or with the new Defender is Land Rover cynically hoping to cash-in?
The onrushing electric future of motoring can look like a scary place to a hopeless car fanatic. Can a car with a couple of motors and a stack of batteries ever be rewarding to drive? Nobody has yet had a proper stab at building an electric sports car but with the Taycan, Porsche is going further into that domain than anybody else has yet ventured. The most potent versions will be searingly accelerative in that discombobulating way of fast electric cars, no question, but if the Taycan looks the part (and it certainly appears to) and if it drives with some panache, the future will seem a whole lot brighter.
What’s more, driver involvement is so much more a part of Porsche’s DNA than any other company that has yet dipped its toes into the EV waters that if it can’t make an electric car engaging to drive, we’re not sure who can.
I was such a huge fan of the previous RS6 Avant that I feel trepidatious about how this new one will turn out. We’ve already seen the finished thing in photographs and on video and we know all the statistics. But I haven’t yet seen one in the flesh. I can’t decide if I like its more extroverted styling or if, as I fear, it does indeed stray too far into flashy territory. The subtle muscularity of the outgoing model was half the reason I adored it so much. The other half was the perfectly-executed way the car drove: comfortable, refined and effortless to drive, but also thunderously fast and deceptively agile. We can be reasonably sure this new version will be plenty quick enough – 592bhp should see to that – but on the way the car looks in the metal and how it drives, there is much to be discovered.
In the market for a used car?
CarGurus makes it easy to find great deals from top-rated dealers. CarGurus compares price, detailed vehicle data and dealer reviews to give each used car a deal rating from great to overpriced, and sorts the best deals first. Find out more and begin your used car search at CarGurus.