All of the top manufacturers graded hall by hall.
In many ways this was the grandest of all the stands – arranged over many levels, so that if you were going to take the full tour you'd have use the escalators. It was always the busiest stand of the show, but this could be because it was the first one and had plenty of seats. Mercedes has the most confidence of the German manufacturers – perhaps out of everyone it has squeaked through Dieselgate the easiest.
The AMG Project One hypercar concept was certainly a top destination for many to look at, and looked like a slam dunk for star of the show...until it was revealed. It looked better in the teaser images, and ultimately is a bit of a disappointment to look at. A technical marvel. Likewise, the EQ A concept car is just too dull to be of any interest.
Score: 6/10 – Open goal, missed
Unlike other manufacturer sub-brands, Smart was tucked off out of the way of the rest of the Mercedes stand, and you could easily have missed the cheeky manufacturer if you were avoiding the rain. You wouldn't have missed much mind – there wasn't an awful lot going on at this stand, save for the company's models being displayed in various retina-searing shades. We did like the 'Born to be wired' slogan emblazoned on the wall near the now-ubiquitous collection of electric vehicles.
Score: 5/10 – Not very easy on the eyes
Stand in the middle of Hall 3 and it was almost as if Volkswagen Group cars spread to the horizon in every direction. Funky brand over here, sensible cars over there, a few supercars sprinkled about the place. It was like a carefully done Bake Off recipe. Company troubles aside, there was a lot of excitement around the VW stand – especially from its employees, who are looking much perkier these days with the talk of a bazillion electric models on the way.
Some of the newer metal – T-Roc, ID Crozz concept – was dull-but-important, but the exciting metal was there too. We are very excited about the new Up GTI, the new Polo is great and the XXL Camper concept van was a delight. Not only that, but we had some delicious currywurst on the Volkswagen stand. It was lecker.
Score: 9/10 – forgive and forget, eh?
There might not have been many exciting new things to see (even Spider-Man's had a drive in the new A8), but the Audi zone was beautifully arranged. The cars were colour-coded according to the various ranges – grey for the estates and SUVs, red for performance cars and blue for the eco models.
Score: 7/10 – Vorsprung durch organisation
In the absence of anything particularly interesting on the stand – you could of course argue the Cupra R is significant, but between admiring the copper accents in photos and driving the thing is a vast black hole of dullness – Seat had to make to with trying to ramp up the suspense around what its new SUV is going to be called. Hopefully they won't be trying that one again.
Score: 5/10 – MQB = mostly quite boring
On the positive side, the Skoda stand was lovely and white. On the negative side, that was about as interesting as it got. The only mild point of interest was the Vision E concept car on the company's stand that looked like it could have belonged to any of the other group manufacturers until the last minute. And even that was already shown at the Shanghai motor show.
Score: 4/10 – Not very superb
The posh British car maker's stand looked like those pictures you sometimes see of an old British village that's been built by the Chinese for rich people to live in near Beijing – what the rest of the world thinks a premium UK manufacturer should look like.
The new Continental GT looks even better in the metal than in the pictures, and the chaps from Crewe even had the good sense to park the Bentayga SUV well behind it.
Score: 6/10 – Looking good
This stand consisted of a single Chiron and a video on loop of Juan Pablo Montoya driving it very fast in an almost-straight line. It proved surprisingly popular.
Score: 6/10 – Blink and you'll miss it
This stand consisted of a few new Huracan Performante models and not a lot else. It proved surprisingly popular.
Score: 4/10 – Where's the Urus?
Jaguar Land Rover
With an increasingly blurry line between the two car makers, especially given the proliferation of SUVs on the Jaguar side, it only makes sense to assess them together.
Unlike concepts from other manufacturers, the I-Pace looks like it's basically ready to go. But racing? That must have seemed like a better idea in a board meeting than it will be on television, but what do we know? The E-Pace looks good in real life, and the stirring action film music on the stand was enough to get the blood pumping.
The Land Rover end was a bit disappointing – we wanted a new Defender, we got a Discovery with a few bits stuck on. Still, it was displayed on some water, not many people had water.
Score: 6/10 – The best 4x4 stand by far
This is one of those exclusive stands where most people have to press their faces up against the window, and some get beckoned in to an inner sanctum of the most sumptuous Italian delicacies and delights. We've never been in. From the window, though, the 812 Superfast looks good, the FF looks old and the Portofino looks slightly forgettable. But it's certainly an improvement on the California.
Score: 4/10 – That glass needs a wipe
To be honest, we didn't realise there were new cars on the Maserati stand until we got back to the hotel and saw the press release. This stand is much like the Ferrari one, except you're not even encouraged to look at the cars – they're all partially hidden behind the largest of large pillars.
Score: 3/10 – Don't look, don't touch
This stand was a real embodiment of one of the positive developments of the show – the staff on the Citroen stand were all dressed in delightful red chinos and tennis dresses, but cast your eye to the supplier stand next door and it was filled with stilettoed posing eye candy leaning against all sort of exotic machinery. Casual show stand misogyny has long been a source of shame for the car industry, and it was good to see things start to shift.
The Citroen area was a brightly lit, fun place to walk around and the new Aircross is a fun addition to a range of cars that's looking increasingly good in comparison with staid competitors.
Score: 7/10 – No French cheese
New Kona SUV and i30 N hot hatch aside, there wasn't too much happening on the Hyundai stand – but the South Korean manufacturer was keen to play up its recent motorsport fun. There was a delightfully battered WRC number on the stall complete with gaffer tape repairs and rally stage gunk that contrasted beautifully with the constantly polished display cars.
Score: 6/10 – Korea progression
Despite being Korean stablemates, Kia was keen to put a bit of distance between it and Hyundai, nestling away in the corner of Hall 8. The stand was bedecked with vibrant red, the company's new Proceed concept on a perpetual launch loop, the stage going dark and the lights blazing on to reveal a surprisingly good looking car.
Less exciting was the Stinger, Kia's new sporting tourer thing. It's a big car for them, but we're just convinced that a budget A7 is what the world needs. We'd love to be proved wrong, though.
Score: 7/10 – Red or dead
This stand served to demonstrate why it's better for a Lexus to be next to another car rather than another Lexus – the cars are bold and stylish next to civilians, but slightly intense and crazy when they're lined up in a row. The new LC remains a delightful beast to behold, and a freshened-up CT was also on hand.
Score: 7/10 – Style and substance
The world's number three car maker cracked out its giant spaceship for another Frankfurt motor show – it's a giant white thing with six-foot red letters. It's like pulling out the family Christmas tree.
The big Land Cruiser reveal was more of a facelift than a fully new model, but it's an impressive beast nonetheless. Our fingers were crossed for a sneak peak of the new Supra, but maybe that's being saved for the Tokyo show in October.
Score: 5/10 – Poker face
The Dacia stand was a vibrant and punch affair – small, but arranged over various levels. It's a brand riding high on the confidence of strong sales.
The new Duster was the main draw on the Dacia stand, and from first glance it's more of the same from the budget SUV. But that's done OK so far...
Score: 7/10 – Driving outside the box
Here was another manufacturer recycling its stand from the last Frankfurt motor show (see also: Toyota) – we're not knocking this frugal approach, but Renault's weird coloured-hanging-balls-floating-up-and-down motif is a little odd.
Fortunately the cars below the floating balls were much more inspiring – the new Megane RS is a joy to behold, and we're very much looking forward to driving it.
Score: 6/10 – Papa? Nicole!
This Japanese manufacturer continues to disappoint – the new Impreza looks like a dodgy clone of the Vauxhall Astra, nothing like the glory days of WRC craziness.
Subaru is a brand that's constantly in tension – its hooligan versus sensible side. What's it really for?
Score: 3/10 – Scooby Dooby Who?
Known on the continent as Opel, this outfit definitely wins the prize for the biggest effort made. The front end of the stand had been built to look like the facade of a trendy city street, with the new Insignia and Grandland X models revolving in front of them.
But really, weren't they trying a bit too hard? There was a climbing wall on the stand, for crying out loud. Everywhere you look on modern motor show stands there are crazy lifestyle touches – everyone seems to be building cars for people who surf and climb. We're just not sure we've ever actually met them...
Score: 5/10 – Opel fruits
This Chinese manufacturer is just getting off the ground in Europe with its new SUVs. Without a good close-up look, the cars seem well resolved and of reasonable quality.
Score: 7/10 – Chery good effort
The glossy black floor on the Ford stand looked like something out of one of Donald Trump's bathrooms. The pictures of giant faces on the wall were slightly disconcerting too.
There was a curious lack of cars around – other than the Mustang refresh and the Ecosport facelift, but really they're both niche cars. We've already driven the Fiesta and we liked it a lot, but nothing to surprise and delight the crowds here.
Score: 6/10 – Fiesta resistance
This stand was a little muted and circumspect, but nicely put together. The Japanese firm had all of its cars in a beautiful shade of red.
Score: 7/10 – Zoom Zoom
Don't forget your sunglasses on this stand – man, was it bright over there. We loved the Swift Sport, a quiet contender for one of the show's stars, and hopefully the herald of a return to a simpler, lighter and more fun time.
Score: 8/10 – Just add lightness
The Honda stand was beautiful in its corporate simplicity – and the Urban Concept EV was the star of the whole Frankfurt show. It does say something when Honda's got the NSX tucked off to one side.
The Japanese manufacturer seems to go in fits and starts when it comes to design and distinctiveness, and it looks like we're approaching a golden time for Honda. The CR-V was a new addition at the show, and will even come with a hybrid option – looks like Honda is dipping its toe back in the electrification water.
Score: 9/10 – A bright near-future
The Motor1 UK office is somewhat divided about the new Rexton, but we can all agree that the new car is a step up from the previous-generation version. There was something optimistic about the Ssangyong stand at this year's show – the Tivoli and Rexton point to a half-decent future for the Korean manufacturer.
Score: 7/10 – Korea move
This stand was one of the biggest at the show, but certainly one of the worst laid out. It was confusing trying to find even some of the Munich-based company's show premieres, and while the Z4 concept car looks great in the metal, the other concept efforts from BMW lack conviction. The X3 ploughs familiar ground, and should be a successful car.
Overall, the theme of the show for BMW was 'bigger than all the other stands', and the sprawling state of the display showed a range that's starting to get out of control.
Score: 7/10 – The ultimate display of machines
The plucky British brand is all set to release a new EV in the next couple of years, and there was a concept on the stand to preview it. Less convincing was the John Cooper Works concept that looked like a normal Mini with extra bits stuck on. Otherwise, there was nothing more to see on the Mini stand.
Score: 6/10 – A Mini adventure