We investigate hadron production as well as transverse hadron spectra in nucleus-nucleus collisions from 2 A.GeV to 21.3 A.TeV within two independent transport approaches (UrQMD and HSD) that are based on quark, diquark, string and hadronic degrees of freedom. The comparison to experimental data demonstrates that both approaches agree quite well with each other and with the experimental data on hadron production. The enhancement of pion production in central Au+Au (Pb+Pb) collisions relative to scaled pp collisions (the 'kink') is well described by both approaches without involving any phase transition. However, the maximum in the K+/Pi+ ratio at 20 to 30 A.GeV (the 'horn') is missed by ~ 40%. A comparison to the transverse mass spectra from pp and C+C (or Si+Si) reactions shows the reliability of the transport models for light systems. For central Au+Au (Pb+Pb) collisions at bombarding energies above ~ 5 A.GeV, however, the measured K +/- m-theta-spectra have a larger inverse slope parameter than expected from the calculations. The approximately constant slope of K+/-spectra at SPS (the 'step') is not reproduced either. Thus the pressure generated by hadronic interactions in the transport models above ~ 5 A.GeV is lower than observed in the experimental data. This finding suggests that the additional pressure - as expected from lattice QCD calculations at finite quark chemical potential and temperature - might be generated by strong interactions in the early pre-hadronic/partonic phase of central Au+Au (Pb+Pb) collisions.