Motor shows have become virtually extinct, but Munich’s biennial IAA Mobility – also known as Munich Motor Show – has, from 2021 onwards, filled the void left by the defunct Frankfurt Motor Show and still has a place on the automotive calendar.
As per the last edition of the show, the latest instalment of IAA Mobility is again dominated by battery-powered vehicles, which partly explains why it’s dubbed a “mobility” show.
Here are some of the key debutants starring at the event, which runs from Tuesday to Sunday.
The Bavarian car maker looks set to steal the show with its mould-breaking BMW Vision Neue Klasse (New Class), which thankfully dispenses with the gigantic grilles the brand has favoured of late.
The debutant showcases the design language of BMW’s next-gen vehicles, and also features the latest electric power-train innovations, allegedly resulting in 30 per cent more range, 30 per cent faster charging and 25 per cent more efficiency. Distinguished by clean crisp styling, the Neue Klasse is a clear departure from BMW’s recent offerings, which have mostly missed the mark aesthetically.
“With the Neue Klasse, we have embarked on the biggest investment in the company’s history,” says BMW chief technology officer Frank Weber. “We are not just writing the next chapter of BMW; we’re writing a whole new book.”
Chinese brand BYD (Build Your Dreams) is using the IAA to stage the European debut of its Seal EV sedan and Seal U, which is an SUV offshoot of the former. Similar in dimensions to a Toyota Camry, the entry-level Seal EV has a single 204hp electric motor that’s claimed to provide a touring range of up to 550km.
The range-topper has a larger 82.5kW battery and two electric motors that kick out an impressive 530hp and enable a theoretical range of 650km. The Seal U SUV uses essentially the same hardware as the sedan, but clothes it in a jacked-up wagon bodyshell. BYD has been making steady inroads into the UAE market with its electrified offerings, so we may see the two Seal models here in due course.
Not to be outdone by arch-rival BMW, Mercedes-Benz is also wowing showgoers with its futuristic Concept CLA Class, which is a precursor to a next-gen compact sedan that’s packed with the latest EV technology.
Leveraging the know-how from the cutting-edge Vision EQXX, the Concept CLA features an 800-Volt electrical system that provides a max range of more than 750km and enables ultra-fast charging – a 15-minute zap adds 400km of range.
The production version of the CLA will be underpinned by the new Mercedes-Benz Modular Architecture (MMA), and it will feature low-energy LED lighting with animated star pattern, as well as an all-new operating system that uses supercomputing and AI to allegedly deliver new levels of personalisation and automated driving.
MG is going big at the IAA, whipping the covers off the Cyberster, MG4 Electric XPower and Marvel R electric SUV.
The Cyberster harks back to the MG marque’s roadster roots, combining al fresco touring capability with contemporary design language and an EV power train. Similar in size to a Jaguar F-Type, the Cyberster is likely to be offered in a single-motor rear-wheel-drive format, as well as dual-motor AWD.
It’s rumoured the range-topper will kick out 530hp, so it could be rapid enough to frighten the existing sports car elite. Another headliner from MG is the MG4 Electric XPower, a new 435hp flagship for the MG4 range. The MG Marvel R Electric is similarly sporty, as its three electric motors and all-wheel drive should serve up brisk performance.
Purists might not be happy to hear it, but the much-loved GTI badge (currently affixed to the Mk8 Golf) is set to transition to an electrified vehicle that’s being previewed at the IAA Mobility show via the Volkswagen ID GTI Concept.
Based on the ID 2 revealed earlier this year, the next-gen GTI, due on sale in 2027, will bring the curtain down on the petrol-powered lineage that began with the iconic Mk1 Golf GTI born in 1976.
The GTI’s combustion engine might be on the way out, but VW promises the car’s spirit will remain alive as the ID GTI Concept retains a front-wheel-drive format and features a front-axle differential lock – electronically controlled by a Vehicle Dynamics Manager – just like the current-gen GTI.
The letter “I” formerly stood for injection (fuel injection), but VW’s marketing folks say the letter now stands for intelligence, as the electric power-train and sophisticated chassis-control systems are said to deliver better dynamics than ever.