The IAA Mobility Summit is a conference focused on the latest tech and trends in mobility - from electrified vehicles to e-bikes and everything in between. It was a week where automakers, thought leaders, suppliers and innovative startups gathered to show off their progress and discuss the future of the industry.
Our correspondents roamed the halls, and we've decided to hand out some awards.
This award goes to the cars that seemed to draw the most attention on the show floor. To even catch a glimpse, you’d need to sharpen your elbows and fight the crowds.
The all-electric CLA wasn’t just an unveil, Mercedes gave it the rockstar treatment with concert levels of production. Guests were invited into a two-story cube to admire the car, and the display was over-flowing with people.
Volkswagen’s flagship EV sedan seemed to captivate, it was so busy the first few times we visited we had to take this photo late in the day. That’s quite an accomplishment, considering this car was not one of the flashy reveals of the week. People definitely seem interested, at least here in Europe. VW expects the ID.7 to launch in the US in 2024.
Tesla just announced changes to the Model 3 that include a revised interior, more range, updated styling, a quieter cabin and a more compliant ride. The updates seemed to resonate, as both Model 3s on display were popular destinations.
We admit, we had car posters adorning our bedroom walls when we were kids. Lamborghini Countach, Ferrari Testerossa, these were the poster childs of our day. What’s wall-worthy now? Here are our picks.
The Porsche Mission X sets a new design path for Porsche, unhinged from history and offering something beyond the classic 911 shape. This Mission X looks like a proper race car, not out of place on the starting grid at Le Mans. Porsche says the Mission X is headed to production, but we don’t expect it to be cheap. This car's closest competitors are the Rimac Nevera and Lotus Evija, both of which sell at over $2 million a piece.
OK, this one is just nuts. There’s no way any of this would actually work on the road, right? But that’s not the point, is it. With classic gullwing doors, a space-aged lounge interior and bodywork for windows, this Vision One-Eleven is absolutely retro-future as it nods to the classic Mercedes C-111.
Do you like screens? Because interiors are starting to look a bit like Times Square. We saw screens that flip, screens that hide themselves, and screens with holograms. But some cars offered more, with interiors that looked and felt particularly exquisite. Here are our picks.
Lotus’ big SUV is their first car of this size and shape, but boy did they get the interior right. Offered in a variety of interesting colors with great materials, software, and ambient lighting this hyper-SUV drips sophistication.
A sister brand to the Lotus, the Polestar benefits from similarly excellent materials but takes a more minimal approach. Some interiors just feel “right” and this is one of them. Premium, sophisticated, and high quality. We’d like to spend more time in one of these.
The brand new Mini Cooper unveiled here at IAA Mobility has an innovative and attractive use of materials. Covered in cloth and bathed in ambient lighting, this interior features a bright and sharp circular display that works as well as the best mobile phones. The interface is slick and friendly, and the overall aesthetic is absolutely fun.
A special shoutout to this custom interior in a BMW M4 Touring, produced by a collaboration between Zettl i-tec and Hubauer. Wow!
We give this award to the cars most likely to stand-in for the next Batmobile. It seems Gotham is an aesthetic.
OK I mean come on. It’s called “DarkRebel”. It features bat-like shapes and radiating purple bodywork. You could drop this drop-dead gorgeous concept into any bat film and it would feel right at home. It would look good at any home, to be honest.
It’s a coupe! It’s a sedan! It’s a truck! It's a robot! It's all of the above actually. The rear window reveals a bed in the back, ready to take your surfboards or… crime fighting gear? Anywhere it needs to go, autonomously. Because every good superhero needs a robot car sidekick.
Let’s get back to reality for a minute. We’ve talked about flashy concepts and hyper cars, what about the stuff that we’re actually likely to put in our driveway?
In one of the most profound unveils of the week, BMW showed us a concept car meant to define their design direction on all models moving forward. This is a total brand reinvention, and the car they unveiled may be a strong signal of what the next 3-Series sedan will look like. Our opinion, we think this car looks fantastic. It will no doubt be controversial in its choice to go very digital and reduce analog controls similar to the likes of Tesla, but the shape to use is very BMW in a classic and timeless way. Bravo Bavarian Motor Works.
The VW Golf GTI is a modern icon. Since the 70s, the GTI has been one of the headlining choices for fun-meets-practical at an accessible price. With the announcement of the ID GTI, VW is saying it’s ready to bring its icon into the electric age. To our eye, it looks every bit the worthy successor. The proportions of this car are great - looking both fresh and true to the family lineage. We don’t have an estimate on when we can buy one of these yet, but VW is hinting they will come to North America.
The Polestar 3 will release in 2024, and the model on the show floor looked ready-to-go. This car has a presence to it that oozes high quality. It looks stylish, has a great interior, and seemed right-sized for a lot of people. We think it will be a winner and we’re excited to drive it.
This is an award for the best cars we’re probably not going to get here in North America (but we hope we're wrong).
Too often Europe withholds their best wagons from North America. This all-electric A6 Avant concept looks mean, and ready to haul some serious hienie.
This one is a maybe. Spanish brand Cupra doesn't currently sell cars in North America, but they have their eye on it. Frankly, we have our eye on this gorgeous DarkRebel concept. Cupra, please build this, and please bring it to our shores!
The Microlino is a modern take on the classic BMW Isetta. With a 12.5 kWh battery, this joyful front-doored cutie gets an impressive estimated 142 miles of range. To put that in perspective, the most popular plug-in hybrid in America uses a battery ~50% larger to go just 21 miles. Granted, that's a Jeep Wrangler. Impressive nonetheless!
Cars most likely to be involved in shenanigans of a F&F movie set in the future.
Looks fast, doesn’t it? Turns out those futuristic wheels aren’t for speed - they’re for vacuuming up fine particulate matter from the tires and in the atmosphere. We’re talking fine particles that get stuck in our lungs and end up in our organs. The ZEDU-1 would rather they end up in its filters instead, and that’s pretty cool. You know, because it’s important to protect family.
We have no idea if this thing would be any good at off-roading, but my word we’d love to try. Take one look at this thing and honestly tell us you’re not intrigued to take it out into a big sandy construction lot and just go nuts. This is pure silliness, and we love it.
Look how friendly this thing is. Have you ever wanted to adopt a bus as a pet? Looking a bit like an Airstream character in a Pixar movie, the Holon Mover is an autonomous microbus designed by legendary Italian firm Pininfarina, you know the same one that designed the Ferrari Testarossa.
Your own personal flying machine, this autonomous drone seats one and has an approximate flight time of 30 minutes - good for about 50 km. Can you even imagine? We can’t either. But it’s cool.