IAA is always a giant cornucopia. Here we present seven takeaway points and highlights of some notable production and concept cars, but it’s just a taste; for the full spiel, don’t miss our DVN Report published this week.
At the 69th IAA Frankfurt motor show, held from 12 to 22 September, the VDA (German Association of the Automotive Industry) have given the event a new look and feel. VDA President Bernhard Mattes likens the show’s transformation to that of the auto industry itself: “Automotive companies will meet new digital players. The IAA is becoming more interactive, more connected, and more digital. Trends and topics will be presented and discussed by representatives from many sectors.”
Though a surprising list of marques were absent from the show, IAA still sparkles with interesting cars and technologies.
Seven key takeaways
- IAA is changing from an exhibition to a broader-based, more interactive platform with auto manufacturers, tech companies, suppliers, mobility service providers, and startups.
- Many automakers skipped the event—including Alfa Romeo, Citroën, and DS, Ferrari, Fiat, Infiniti, Jeep, Kia, Lexus, Mazda, Nissan, Toyota(!), and Peugeot.
- Big focus on clean-car technology: clean-running engines, electrics, and hybrids. Most of the promotion and communication is focused on EVs. Automakers are facing tighter emissions regulations in Europe, and will have to pay huge penalties for violating the 95 g/km CO2 limit starting next year.
- German and Chinese automakers are on top of their game. More than half of the enormous show space is dedicated to German companies like the VW Group, Mercedes-Benz, and BMW. These companies also had the biggest presentations of high technology. And a notable 10% of exhibitors are Chinese—mainly with new EVs.
- No communication on lighting. This time around, nobody wants to talk up the technology or performance of their lighting systems! Audi present their matrix lights in a showcase, but other than that, there seems to be no effort to give ADB the marketing and education push it deserves.
- Dot-lighting for concepts; module-lighting for production cars. We’re seeing more and more lighting modules in production cars—not surprising, since modularisation is a cost-effective strategy—but fewer modules in concept cars where modules used to predominate. Now, most concept cars have dotty LED arrays, perhaps as a placeholder to telegraph “Coming soon: this car will have LEDs!”.
- Interior lighting’s day is here as interior lighting innovations are presented mainly in concept cars. Here again, German brands like Mercedes and
BMW are assertively pushing ahead on this front, though they’re certainly not alone.
Highlights and spot checks from DVN’s walk of the show
The reversing lights run inwards in a tapered shape, just like the flat headlights.
Audi supplies the latter in three versions up to Matrix LED technology which intelligently illuminates the road as best suits the driving situation.
All A5s come with LED headlamps as standard equipment. The top-spec system includes matrix LED headlamps and a laser high beam booster, LED rear lights with dynamic turn signals and dynamic light sequencing. The equipment line concept is also new.
BMW Vision I-NEXT
The BMW Vision I-NEXT represents a prototype version of the BMW driving experience of tomorrow. The all-electric BMW Vision iNEXT mainly serves as a showcase for the EASE experience concept, illustrating how autonomous driving is set to transform life on board vehicles.
The I-NEXT and the M-NEXT also show how the DRL will be in the future on the BMW vehicles.
The expressive front-end features intricately-designed, canoe-shaped headlamps that sit high on the wings, while the LED fog lamps are positioned directly below, integrated into the front air curtain inlets that guide airflow across the front wheels to reduce turbulence for improved aerodynamics.
The 45 concept previews Hyundai’s future design plans for electric and autonomous driving. Hyundai design chief SangYup Lee says the 45 refers to the 45-degree angles at the front and rear of the car: “These form a diamond-shaped silhouette that will be instrumental in the future design of Hyundai EVs”.
Land Rover Defender
Land Rover have rebooted the staunch Defender as a far more luxurious, roomier and high-tech vehicle. JLR’s head of vehicle dynamics says the retooled Defender is “still fun” but without the flaws of the ancient model retired in 2016. The maker calls the front of the car “tough but approachable” using geometric forms and the latest headlight technology.
Land Rover design boss Gerry McGovern says “The clean body side contrasts dramatically against the sheer verticality of its front and particularly its rear to create a reassuringly purposeful stance”.
Mercedes Vision EQC concept
Here’s a concept with no fewer than 940 individual LEDs!
Bookmarking the black panel grille are new “Digital Light” headlamps, each featuring two holographic lens modules allowing it to project signals onto the road as part of efforts to improve safety for pedestrians.
A light band made up of 229 individual illuminated three-pointed stars dominates the rear end
A real highlight is the adaptive glare-free IntelliLux LED® matrix light, which Opel are offering for the first time in the small car segment. In addition, there are numerous state-of-the-art assistance systems such as Forward Collision Alert with Automatic Emergency Braking and pedestrian detection as well as radar-based Adaptive Cruise Control.
Porsche have launched their first performance EV, the Taycan, which they think will help win new customers seeking the power of a supercar with a smaller environmental footprint. The headlamps bear a new, wider version of Porsche’s signature four-dot appearance to the DRLs.
Diffused LED ambient lighting greets occupants as they open the doors. Outside, the front and rear lights bear SEAT’s signature triangular light motif.
The Volkswagen ID3 is the first of what is expected to become scores of EVs that will share the German mass-market brand’s global modular electric platform, known as MEB. With exterior dimensions and styling similar to the VW Golf, the ID3 bears its own unique, sleek light styling at front and rear.
Wey is a new brand launched by Chinese automaker Great Wall to offer a line of luxurious and sporty SUVs. Here we see three DRL “teeth” above, with two DRL “walls” below.
The Only Promotion of Lighting Innovations: Audi’s Showcase