Currently reading: 2023 Munich motor show report and gallery: every car revealed
Europe’s biggest motor show returns with big unveilings from BMW, Mercedes, Renault and more

This is a time of change in the car industry, with the rapid growth of electrification and the rapidly increasing importance of software, connectivity and data prompting fundamental shifts in how we will interact with and use our vehicles. But that doesn’t mean that a bold future can’t come served up with a warming dose of nostalgia.

But the biggest takeaway from the 2023 Munich motor show is how familiar it looks. Most of the major launches from the established manufacturers present might were all thoroughly cutting-edge machines pushing cutting-edge technology – but they also came wrapped up in familiar styling and badges.

The best example was the BMW Neue Klasse concept, which previewed the next generation of the firm’s bespoke electric cars – but used the name given to the Bavarian firm’s line of transformative 1960s models and featured sharp, clean styling reminiscent of the glorious E30-vintage 3 Series.

Given its roots, nostalgia is almost baked into Mini’s DNA, but the brand’s latest generation three-door electric hatch, now carrying the Cooper badge, featured a pared-back design that honed in on classic elements.

With some of the early entries in its ID line-up of bespoke electric cars, Volkswagen seemed to shy away from its heritage, instead embracing a bold new styling. That’s changed under new boss Thomas Schafer: the firm’s big reveal was the ID GTI concept, which design cues that almost served as a GTI greatest hits package. It felt as much of a promise, as a show car: don’t worry, it says, we wouldn’t really be stupid enough to ditch GTI models.

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Having revived the Fiat 500 in a past job, Renault boss Luca de Meo knows the value of a nostalgic nameplate, which explains why the brand’s future line-up will include new EVs sporting the Megane, 5 and 4 denominations. The latest revived nameplate is the Scenic, which was previously a ‘mono box’ MPV but is now something a bit closer to an SUV.

Mercedes-Benz’s big Munich reveal was the Concept CLA, which showcased the first of four compact cars that will sit on a new electric-first platform. The car majored on technology, with some bold efficiency claims that will allow for a range of more than 460 miles – built on plenty of learnings from the EQXX hyper-miler concept.

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While it might not have been as outright nostalgic as some of the other big Munich reveals, it certainly doubled down on its use of the classic Mercedes grille – now reimagined as a light-up panel, and the three-pointed star – including for new daytime running lights at the front and back, which should reach the production version. Mercedes design chief Gorden Wagener reckons they will become the car’s equivalent of exhaust pipes.

The reason for this emphasis on heritage and brand strength was on clear display at the Munich show – whether you attended the ‘summit’ event at the city’s convention centre, or wondered the ‘Open Space’ set-up in the middle of the centre.

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There was a strong presence from ambitious Chinese electric car brands, who are fast expanding into Europe. BYD, Nio, Seres, Xpeng, Avatr and many more either had stands at the show or a conspicuous presence. The quality of the machines they are now producing is impressive, and increasingly on a par with the top companies, and they are matching or leading in terms of technology. What they can’t match, of course, is the rich heritage of the established European brands – and it feels increasingly like those established firms have realised they should draw on that as a real strength.

It’s not just cars and car companies that are changing, of course: motor shows are too. The ‘death of the motor show’ is almost a cliche at this stage, and the Munich show certainly highlighted some of the challenges they faced.

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In fact, virtually every major car was revealed ahead of the show: Mini and BMW staged their own events in Munich on Friday and Saturday, and the Mercedes and Volkswagen were unveiled at pre-show events on Sunday night. Kudos to Renault, then, for actually launching the Scenic on a stand at the show.

As with its first running in 2021, the show was split between the Munich Messe convention centre and that city centre Open Space. This year there felt like a real divide between the two locations: the convention centre hosted the ‘IAA Summit’, while the Open Space was intended for the public. Even the BMW stand there was relatively small, and many brands, including Cupra and Polestar, chose not to have a stand there at all, instead showing their cars purely in the public area.

What remained was a trade show, with a handful of cars firms sharing space with a significant number of tech firms at the show, from industry giants such as LG and Bosch to computing firms such as Qualcomm and a whole host of firms developing LiDar, radar, battery tech, EV chargers and more. But you couldn’t ignore it was sparse, even with a significant number of e-bike and e-motorbike firms there.

Munich motor show 2023

It made for a slightly flat event, but in many ways it worked: many of the big hitters of the industry were there, and with so many topics they provided plenty of news and notes that will fill the pages of Autocar for weeks to come.

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Meanwhile, in Munich city centre there was a more glitzy consumer edge to proceedings, from Mercedes-Benz’s huge stand built in a courtyard of the historic Residenz to the test track that allowed people to try out new cars. It all seemed inviting and open – and a great way to bring motoring to the people.

It wasn’t a motor show as we know it, then, and clearly it’s a format that’s still being ironed out. Perhaps as with electric cars themselves, motor show bosses will try some new things – before settling on a winning formula that blends the best of the old-school with a new approach.

What's on display at the 2023 Munich motor show?

Audi Q6 E-tron

Audi Q6 E-tron interior

Audi's overhauled electric SUV will set the tone for a wide-reaching rethink of the German firm's interior designs, adopting a 'human-centric' arrangement that majors on digital functionality and ease of use.

Due on sale in February 2024, the new Q6 is the first car to ride on the new PPE EV platform, opening up new packaging possibilities and introducing a new electronic architecture which allows for a near-total rethink of Audi's digital interfaces.

Inside, the redesign includes an 11.9in driver display and 14.5in central infotainment screen housed in a curved wraparound panel on top of the dashboard, as well as an optional augmented reality head-up display. 

Read the full story: 2023 Audi Q6 E-tron to lead brand's interior design rethink


Avatr 11 at Shanghai motor show

New Chinese brand Avatr, a collaboration between car maker Changan and smartphone giant Huawei, is kicking off its European launch at Munich.

It previously showed the electric 11 SUV (above) at the Shanghai motor show, and is now expected to provide further details on the 12 saloon that recently leaked via patent filings in China.

It was revealed that the car will be 5020mm long, 1999mm wide and 1460mm tall (roughly the same size as a Tesla Model S) and be available with two electric powertrains: a single-motor set-up sending 308bhp to the rear wheels, and a four-wheel-drive dual-motor variant with 570bhp. Its batteries have yet to be detailed, but the 11 is available with 90kWh and 116kWh packs capable of recharging at rates of up to 240kW.

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BMW Neue Klasse concept

BMW Vision Neue Klasse concept in white - front three quarters, on stand at Munich motor show

This is the future of BMW. Seriously. Munich's sharp new Vision Neue Klasse concept completely rewrites the rulebook, previewing the totally overhauled styling, radical interior rethink, futuristic (but realistic) infotainment functionality and highly advanced drivetrain tech that will be hallmarks of BMW's next-generation electric cars.

The brand says it does not preview any one production car, but rather an entire range of saloons and SUVs due to start landing in dealerships from 2025 - though it's safe to assume the next-generation 3 Series, set to be the first of these new EVs, will be a particularly close match for the Neue Klasse concept.  

BMW's focus is firmly on the future, but designers acknowledge the continued influence of past successes, including the legendary E30 3 Series, whose angular silhouette heavily inspires this latest concept, and the 2001 E65-generation BMW 7 Series - the first car to use BMW's iDrive infotainment platform, which will enter its ninth generation for the Neue Klasse cars. 

Read the full story: BMW Neue Klasse concept sets tone for brand's EV reinvention​

BMW 5 Series 

BMW 5 Series in grey on display at Munich motor show – front quarter

The highly anticipated eighth-generation model will go on sale in October in 520i guise, featuring the latest update to BMW’s familiar turbocharged 2.0-litre four-pot mild-hybrid petrol engine.

Plug-in 530e and 550e xDrive plug-in hybrids will also arrive in the UK by the second quarter of 2024, with rear-wheel-drive 530e cars producing 299bhp and the four-wheel-drive 550e xDrive producing 489bhp.

Both of the new plug-in hybrid models benefit from a new gearbox-mounted electric motor developing up to 194bhp and up to 332lb ft of torque.

These models represent the final ever combustion-powered 5 Series models, so make sure you give them a visit if you're at the show.

Read the full story: New BMW 520i is last pure-combustion 5 Series

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BMW 7 Series and i7 Protection

BMW 7 Series Protection front quarter with BMW roundel flags and blue lights

The BMW 7 Series has gained a Protection model, which will be available both with a petrol and electric powertrain. It continues BMW's streak of armoured vehicle production, with protective glass, a stronger chassis and bodywork capable of protecting against explosives. 

It's the most recent Protection model to come from the firm since the BMW X5 Protection, first revealed in 2019. 

It features protective glass rated VPAM 10 - the highest level of protection for civilian protection vehicles - and it's VR9-rated, meaning it can hold off ballistic attacks from weapons travelling up to speeds of 820 metres per second. 

It also offers PAS 300 blast resistance, plus a self-sealing fuel tank to prevent loss of fuel. 

Electric i7 cars get 536bhp and 549lb ft of torque from two electric motors, but increased weight raises its 0-62mph sprint from 4.7sec to 9.0sec. Top speed is limited to 99mph. 

The 7 Series Protection, meanwhile, is equipped with a 4.4-litre V8 mild-hybrid petrol engine with 522bhp and 553lb ft. Its 0-62mph sprint increased from 4.2 sec to 6.6sec.

BYD Seal U

BYD Seal U front quarter static, in light silver-blue, at Munich motor show

The BYD Seal U has made its European debut at Munich, with the new electric SUV confirmed for UK sales.

In China, where it is sold as the Song Plus Champion Edition, it is offered with 71kWh and 87kWh batteries, yielding ranges between 323-376 miles (on the Chinese CLTC test cycle).

Charging capabilities are yet to be detailed, but the Seal saloon – based on the same e-Platform 3.0 – can replenish its battery at rates up to 150kW.

Prices for the Tesla Model Y rival are expected to start around the £45,000 mark.

Read the full story: BYD Seal U electric SUV confirmed for UK sales

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Cupra DarkRebel

Cupra DarkRebel

Cupra's concept for a range-topping two-seat electric GT has so far been shown only digitally, but it's entered the physical world on the Spanish brand's stand at Munich.

Its most radical design to date, the DarkRebel could become a production model based on the Volkswagen Group's new PPE platform, but such a car is likely years away – certainly arriving after the Cupra Tavascan (below) and the marque's Volkswagen ID 2 sibling, the Raval.

Read the full story: Cupra Darkrebel electric sports car revealed in full

Cupra Tavascan

Cupra Tavascan Munich

Launched with the tagline “the brand’s dream comes true”, the Tavascan is designed to strengthen Cupra's success after its breakaway from the Seat mothership. It sports a large grille, a distinctive three-triangle light signature, by a raked roofline with a boot-width rear light bar.

Building on Cupra’s sporty credentials, the electric SUV will offer a 335bhp, 501lb ft, dual-motor, four-wheel-drive powertrain offered alongside a 282bhp single-motor system. Power is drawn from the same 82kWh (77kWh usable) battery as in the Volkswagen ID 5, which is good for 341 miles of range in its most economical form.

Read the full story: 2024 Cupra Tavascan revealed with 335bhp and 341-mile range


LG Electronics is showcasing how in-car entertainment is set to change over the coming years, promising to take "Life's Good on the road". The company announced in July that it was transitioning into becoming a 'smart life solution company', with ambitions to become a top-tier supplier for the mobility industry.


Magna is one of the car industry's biggest suppliers, offering contract manufacturing, powertrains, seating systems and much more besides. This year, it's detailing an integrated system for electrification, active safety systems and enhanced connectivity. It'll also reveal a new software package with predictive functions for energy management, independent of the powertrain. Given Magna's influence over the industry, it's a safe bet that at least one system it shows at Munich will make it into your next car, so it's well worth paying attention.

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Mercedes-Benz CLA concept

Mercedes-Benz CLA Concept at Munich motor show, with crowd gathered, front quarter

The concept CLA Class has been unveiled just over a year before a lightly altered production version of the all-new saloon is planned to head into UK showrooms as a hi-tech replacement for today's Mercedes CLA.

It draws on learnings from the futuristic Vision EQXX concept revealed last year, which was capable of driving the 747 miles between Stuttgart and Goodwod on a single charge. According to Mercedes, it specifically informed the "ultra-efficient" powertrain in the CLA concept, which touts a range of 466 miles alongside a 536bhp AMG variant planned in the years to come.

It brings a fresh new look for Mercedes, with round LED headlights inspired by the brand's three-pointed-star logo, a progression of the teardrop profile initially presented on the EQS and EQE saloons, and the latest-generation MBUX Hyperscreen.

Read the full story: Mercedes CLA concept previews 466-mile EV saloon for 2025

Mercedes E-Class All Terrain

Mercedes e class all terrain front three quarter static 0

The latest in a series of jacked up, off road-ready Mercedes estates builds on the latest E-Class with more rugged exterior styling, additional ride height, unique interior elements and a revised range of drivetrains, including a new petrol-electric plug-in hybrid system that is claimed to provide it with an electric range of up to 63 miles on the WLTP test cycle.

At 4950mm in length, 1904mm in width and 1497mm in height, the new car is 17mm longer and 33mm wider [but no taller] than its predecessor, which was produced between 2017 and 2023.

Its arrival date for the UK is yet to be confirmed, but left-hand-drive cars are due in Europe early next year.

Read the full story: New Mercedes E-Class All Terrain: off-road estate gets 62-mile PHEV

Mini Cooper Electric

Yellow 2024 Mini Cooper Electric at Munich Motor show – front quarter

Mini has unveiled its next-generation electric hatch and, unlike the outgoing model, it’s now based on a bespoke EV platform. Two specifications will be available, with the entry point being the Cooper E.

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Priced from £30,000, it features a 181bhp motor on the front axle and a 40.7kWh battery, giving it a range of 190 miles. The £34,500 Cooper SE takes it up a notch with a 215bhp motor – enough for a 0-62mph sprint time of 6.7sec – and a 54.2kWh battery, giving a range of 250 miles.

Both cars will offer various Mini Experience modes that bring their own displays and powertrain characteristics, including a new Go-Kart Mode.

Read the full story: Electric Mini Cooper reborn with radical interior and 250-mile range

Mini Countryman

Green 2024 Mini Countryman at Munich motor show – front quarter

Joining the Cooper is the new Mini Countryman, which has grown to take on the likes of the Audi Q3. Twinned with the BMW iX1, it’s available with petrol, plug-in hybrid and battery-electric powertrains. 

The range is initially topped by the Electric SE All4 with 309bhp. A sporting John Cooper Works (JCW) model will also be available, which gets 296bhp and 295lb ft of torque for a 0-62mph time of 5.4sec. 

Prices start at £28,500 for the petrol-engined Countryman C, rising to £33,900 for the S, £39,900 for the JCW and £41,500 for the Electric E and culminating at £46,600 for the Electric SE. UK deliveries will start next February.

Read the full story: Mini Countryman grows and gains electric option for 2024

Porsche Cayenne Turbo E-Hybrid

Porsche cayenne 2023 01 cornering front

This plug-in hybrid Cayenne is set to be the most powerful non-fully electric Porsche on sale, with a staggering 729bhp and 700lb ft of torque from a twin-turbocharged 4.0-litre V8 petrol engine, mated to a powerful electric motor. 

A 25.9kWh battery, positioned under the boot, offers electric-only range of around 51 miles, while Porsche also claims a 0-62mph sprint as quick as 3.6sec on range-topping models.

We're expecting the Cayenne Turbo E-Hybrid to make a full public debut at the Munich motor show, where the Lamborghini Urus rival will also show off its updated interior. 

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It gains track-oriented gadgets, microfibre headlining and steering wheel, a drive mode selector switch and sports seats. 

Read the full story: Porsche Cayenne Turbo E-Hybrid is firm's most powerful ICE car

Renault Rafale

Renault Rafale

Renault has shown off its long-awaited D-segment flagship, the Rafale. The powerful hybrid coupé-SUV is promised to be “a vehicle born and bred for driving pleasure."

The new flagship, which sits on the CMF-CD platform, will appear first as a 197bhp front-wheel-drive hybrid, but a 295bhp four-wheel-drive version is also scheduled.

The Rafale launch is the latest move in the comprehensive Renaulution model-renewal plan laid out by group boss Luca de Meo after he arrived three years ago. 

Read the full story: New 2023 Renault Rafale launched as flagship coupé-SUV

Renault Scenic E-Tech Electric

2024 Renault Scenic unveiling at Munich motor show. A crowd looks at a grey car.

The new Renault Scenic E-Tech Electric has been unveiled as a “new form of family vehicle”, according to its creators, mixing SUV design elements with interior roominess comparable to its MPV predecessor.

The celebrated family hauler will return as an electric SUV to rival the Tesla Model Y, bringing a futuristic angular design and a focus on sustainability.

Due to go on sale in the UK early next year, the Scenic will sit above the Megane in Renault’s line-up of bespoke electric cars. It will be offered with two battery sizes, with standard cars getting a 167bhp motor paired to a net 60kWh battery, giving a 0-62mph time of 9.3secs and a claimed range of more than 261 miles.

Inside, there's a 12.3in digital driver display and a 12.0in portrait-oriented central touchscreen, which runs Renault’s Google-based OpenR Link infotainment system.

Read the full story: New 2024 Renault Scenic reinvented as electric crossover

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Smart #3

Smart #3 front on display at the 2023 Shanghai motor show

Smart has confirmed its largest model yet will make a public debut at Munich before it's expected to go on sale in Europe in early 2024.

Styled with a strong focus on aerodynamics, its design is influenced in part by the Mercedes-Benz EQ range, with a smooth front fascia, slim headlights with a "shark nose" familiar from the smaller #1.

Technical specifications for the #3 will arrive later, but information leaked earlier this year revealed that it's 4400mm long, 1800mm wide and 1600mm tall with a wheelbase of 2785mm – a similar size to the Volkswagen ID 5.

Read the full story: Smart #3: firm’s largest model yet rivals Volkswagen ID 5

Tesla Model 3

Tesla Model 3 in Navy on display at Munich motor show – front static

The facelifted Tesla Model 3 has made its debut on the US-based firm's stand at the Munich motor show.

The updated saloon, previously known by its 'Project Highland' codename, brings a heavily revised front end that's said to reduce drag, improving range and refinement at high speeds. 

Autocar understands the new car will be £1000-£2000 more expensive than the existing Model 3, meaning the line-up is likely to open at around £44,000 and cap out at around £60,000.

It's expected that the closely related Tesla Model Y will follow suit with a similar package of upgrades, but Tesla has given no indication of when this will be. 

Read the full story and first drive review: New Tesla Model 3 brings restyle, improved cabin, more range

Vauxhall Experimental

Opel Experimental concept on display at the entrance of the 2023 Munich motor show – front quarter static

This radical new concept is our first look at what the company's design chief calls "Vauxhall 2.0", previewing how the brand will evolve as it approaches all-out electrification in 2028.

An Astra-sized coupé-SUV, it places an emphasis on aerodynamic developments capable of boosting future models' range between charges, as well as sustainable materials and futuristic interior technologies.

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However, it isn't being shown as a Vauxhall at Munich because the UK is the only market to receive Vauxhall-branded cars. Instead, it wears the lightning-bolt logo and the wordmark of sibling Opel.

Read the full story: Radical EV sports coupé shows future of Vauxhall

Volkswagen ID GTI

Volkswagen ID GTI concept on display at Munich motor show – grey, front quarter static

We'd like to give you a warm welcome to the future of Volkswagen GTI, and it starts right here, right now. 

The ID GTI will be the electric successor to the Volkswagen Golf GTI, both in spirit and styling. A headliner at this year's show, the compact front-wheel-drive hot hatch is earmarked to head Volkswagen’s new entry-level electric car line-up with a front-mounted electric motor, specially tuned sport suspension, traditional GTI design elements and a price tag expected to start at around €30,000 (£26,000).

VW CEO Thomas Schäfer said the production version of the ID GTI would be revealed in 2026 and be on sale in early 2027. 

Read the full story: Volkswagen ID GTI is affordable EV hot hatch for 2026

Volkswagen ID 7 GTX

Volkswagen ID 7 GTX teaser image showing headlight, rear light and side mirror

Volkswagen’s answer to the Tesla Model 3 Performance will be unveiled at Munich, introducing a new dual-motor, four-wheel-drive powertrain.

Autocar understands this will pair the base model’s 282bhp and 402lb ft rear motor with the front-mounted unit from the ID 4 GTX, giving a combined output of around 390bhp.

This should substantially reduce the ID 7’s 0-62mph time of around 6.0sec in Pro S guise, although it’s unlikely to match the Model 3 Performance’s 3.3sec.

The upgrade is, however, expected to bring a slight reduction to the ID 7’s 435-mile range (in 86kWh specification), to around 400 miles.

Visually, the GTX will be distinguished by gloss black accents (including the roof), tinted windows and red-contrasting trim elements – in similar fashion to the GTI line of combustion-engined VWs.

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It’s expected to be priced at a significant premium compared with the regular ID 7, for which pricing is set to start around £50,000. For reference, the ID 4 GTX costs £14,020 more than the entry-level ID 4 Pure.

Read the full story: Volkswagen ID 7 GTX to be revealed in September

Volkswagen Passat Estate 

2024 Volkswagen Passat front

This new large estate will be the only Passat variant after Volkswagen axed the saloon early last year.

Sitting atop the MQB Evo platform, it's expected to feature a host of cleaner electrified engines, a larger boot and interior tech upgrades – much of which was developed by Skoda for the closely related new Superb.

Elsewhere inside, it will reportedly adopt VW's latest infotainment system, with a fully digital instrument cluster measuring 10.25in, along with a 12.9in central touchscreen.

Read the full story: New Volkswagen Passat brings more space and 62 miles of EV range

James Attwood

James Attwood, digital editor
Title: Acting magazine editor

James is Autocar's acting magazine editor. Having served in that role since June 2023, he is in charge of the day-to-day running of the world's oldest car magazine, and regularly interviews some of the biggest names in the industry to secure news and features, such as his world exclusive look into production of Volkswagen currywurst. Really.

Before first joining Autocar in 2017, James spent more than a decade in motorsport journalist, working on Autosport,, F1 Racing and Motorsport News, covering everything from club rallying to top-level international events. He also spent 18 months running Move Electric, Haymarket's e-mobility title, where he developed knowledge of the e-bike and e-scooter markets. 

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Add a comment…
autoindustryinsider 5 September 2023

Holy crap. That Mini Countryman looks absolutely awful.

ianp55 1 August 2023

Really nothing to get excited about is there,the days of releasing new models at motor shows seems to be over

Pietro Cavolonero 25 July 2023


Over priced scalectrix for the more well heeled

Where is the car for the common man (or woman)? China will flood the void in the region below £30K.

Why does the bottom spec Vauxhall Corsa Electric cost £33,730? 

Small family car, my arse lol