RENAULT MEGANE RS: The £30k-ish hot hatch market has surely never been more competitive – or interesting. Just weeks after being blown away by the new Honda Civic Type R, we’ve got the Renault Mégane RS to contemplate. Its power output is dwarfed by that of rivals, but four-wheel steer and the golden glow of the previous-generation car promise hitherto unseen levels of ride and handling delicacy. Whatever autonomy and electrification brings, we can always rock in our chairs and say we lived through a golden era for the hot hatch – Jim Holder, editorial director
Autocar staffers pick their standout machines from the vast halls of the Frankfurt show
As ever, this year’s Frankfurt motor show featured a feast of shiny new metal, ranging from city runarounds to crazy concept cars, with a host of limited-run specials and outlandish hypercars thrown in for good measure.
Autocar’s team racked up the miles trawling the vast halls of the Messe Frankfurt to check out all the new machines, which you can read about in our live blog or by looking at our Frankfurt motor show news feed.
While working through the coverage, we asked our reporters in Frankfurt and those co-ordinating our coverage back at Autocar Towers in Twickenham to pick out their show stars.
Let us know what your show stars were in the comments below.
Jim Holder – Renault Megane RS
The £30k-ish hot hatch market has surely never been more competitive – or interesting. Just weeks after being blown away by the new Honda Civic Type R, we’ve got the Renault Mégane RS to contemplate. Its power output is dwarfed by that of rivals, but four-wheel steer and the golden glow of the previous-generation car promise hitherto unseen levels of ride and handling delicacy. Whatever autonomy and electrification brings, we can always rock in our chairs and say we lived through a golden era for the hot hatch.
Steve Cropley – Ford Mustang
For me, the 2018 Ford Mustang V8 with its more aggressive nose, LED lights, upgraded interior, 10% power boost and wider, wilder selection of colours provided a welcome refuge from all the worthy electrification going on at Frankfurt. Cars like this used to be the norm, and now they’re the unusual ones. As someone who was practically born in the shadow of a Ford V8 badge (my grandad was a Ford dealer), the sight of that big, muscular yellow coupé revolving on its turntable was akin to coming home.
Julian Rendell – Porsche Cayenne Turbo
Taking a ‘family guy’ stance to my selection, the new Porsche Cayenne Turbo consolidates its appeal with a new, more mature styling, low-slung stance, sports car performance and family hauler practicality. Sehr gut!
Matt Prior – Kia Proceed
What a handsome-looking estate car. No one buys three-door hatches anyway, but they are starting to buy fancy-dan coupé-like estates, like the Mercedes CLA. So Kia showing this indicates that it knows which way the wind is blowing. If it drops the three-door Cee’d with the next generation, this could be a nice extra bodystyle.
Sam Sheehan – Jaguar I-Pace racer
I sometimes think I’m the only person in the world who enjoys watching Formula E racing. The cars aren’t fast, but the racing is intense and I like how close you can get to the action as a spectator. Good news is the newly announced Jaguar eTrophy, and its field of 20 I-Pace racers could turn the wick up further. I’m hoping for BTCC-like bumper banging and post-race punch-ups. Not sure if it’ll be universally loved, but it gets my thumbs-up.
Mark Tisshaw – Suzuki Swift Sport
The new Swift has disappointed me with its loss of charm and character over the old one. The new Swift Sport, and its sub-1000kg weight, torquey new engine, beefier looks and promise of sharper handling honed on northern England roads, goes some way to redressing that. Don’t let us down again, Suzuki.
Rachel Burgess – Honda Urban EV
There are no powertrain details, range or price indication for the upcoming electric city car, which will make production in 2019. But nonetheless, most of my peers agreed: this was one of the best-styled cars at Frankfurt. With looks reminiscent of the VW Golf Mk1 but with a modern edge, we can but hope this doesn’t lose all its charm by the time it appears on our roads.
Andrew Frankel – Mercedes-AMG Project One
Gets my vote because it proves that when Mercedes said it was going to put an F1 engine in a road car, it wasn’t joking. The heads, pistons, valves, crank, cams, split turbo, MGU-K and MGU-H energy recovery systems are all the same as on Lewis’s F1 car. Yet it will sit in a Dubai traffic jam. In August. Bravo.
Jimi Beckwith – Mini Electric concept
The Mini Electric has the potential to transform this British stalwart into Mini 3.0; where 1.0 was the iconic original, and 2.0 was the hugely successful BMW reboot. Think about it; all the handling fizz, kitsch, charming and charismatic looks and dinky (ish) size, combined with the packaging advantages of the electric powertrain. Could this be a return the original Mini’s ideologies, lost in the BMW throwback’s retro flab? I certainly think so.
Sam Jenkins – Audi R8 RWS
Audi has finally parted with four-wheel drive in the R8, albeit for a limited-run car. A mid-engined, rear-wheel-drive, naturally aspirated V10 monster is a pleasure to see among the vast amounts of electrification. Nice move, Audi.
Tom Evans – Audi Aicon
A car that moves the luxury car game on. Fully autonomous, inside it takes advantage of not having user controls to repackage the car as a modern, moving luxury living room. Outside, compared with the deeply conservative exterior of the new Audi A8, it is …read more