Event in Munich: the big novelties are sedans. Is the reign of the SUV over? Not so fast…
It is the best-selling vehicle in Europe. And yet, on this opening day of the Munich Motor Show, the Model Y is shunned. On Tesla’s small stand, the star is the Model 3. No surprise, since this is the first public release of the Highland, and this first day of the show is dedicated to the press, eager for novelty. But it is surprising to see nowadays a sedan steal the show from an SUV!
And this is not unique to Munich. For this 2023 edition, the sedan is the star. Several new three-volume station wagons make their debut at the show. At Volkswagen, we discover the ID.7, at BMW the i5. We also thought we would discover the station wagon versions of these models in Munich, but none showed up. At BYD, while the stand is full of adventurers, the flashes crackle in front of the Seal.
Even more strikingly, BMW and Mercedes simultaneously drew a prototype which, for each of the brands, lays the foundations for an ambitious new family of electric models. There is the Vision Neue Klasse for BMW, and the Concept CLA for Mercedes. While the fashion is still for SUVs, the two style studies have sedan silhouettes. However, the concepts are intended to announce the future. Should we understand then that the future is no longer for SUVs?
IAA Munich 2023 – Mercedes CLA Concept: minimum consumption for maximum autonomy
The sedan has the advantage of fuel consumption
Not really, let’s be clear and honest. The fighters are still numerous and unavoidable. And will remain so in the short and medium term. Moreover, with the examples of BMW and Mercedes, in these new families, SUVs are on the program. However, they will arrive after the sedan, which remains surprising.
The reasons may vary. For BMW, it may be a question of launching as a priority an electric equivalent to the famous 3 Series, one of the last mass-market vehicles of the brand which does not exist in electric. The SUV will take over from the iX3, which therefore already exists. For Mercedes, the sedan shape is a big part of a strong argument for the concept, and the production car that will result from it in 2024: Mercedes is simply aiming for the lowest consumption on the market, with 12 kWh per 100 km. And it is necessarily easier to achieve with a slender sedan type coupe than with an SUV.
This is the whole advantage of the sedan. Its more favorable aerodynamics makes it possible to lower consumption and therefore improve autonomy. With a 77 kWh battery, the ID.7 announces 620 km of autonomy. With the same capacity, the ID.4, an SUV, is 526 km. Almost 100 km lost!
IAA Munich 2023 – BMW Concept Vision Neue Klasse: we discovered the future of the electric vehicle
The SUV is not threatened, but it will evolve
Then there is common sense, then there is fashion. And hard to turn your back on the SUV tidal wave. Customers still want adventurers, appreciating their raised driving position and their interior volume. The traditional sedan has gone out of style in Europe and the time for its return to favor has not yet come.
The SUV will still evolve, it is even already starting to do so. On the one hand, coupe-like shapes are multiplying, with for example the Smart #3 or the future trendy Porsche Macan, and then the models are losing centimeters in height. The new generation of the Scénic, 100% electric and looking like an adventurer, announces 1.57 meters, or 8 centimeters less than the old one, while maintaining good roof guard on board. Its designer explained to us that the 1.60 m bar is now a border not to be exceeded to preserve autonomy.
For their part, the sedans will rise a little and thus take on some aspects of the fighter, which is also sometimes an imperative because of the batteries. Opel exhibits in Munich the Experimental concept, which takes the appearance of an enhanced sedan. The after SUV will not be through the end of one genre and the revenge of another, but rather through an evolution of both.