Saturday, March 30, 2013
2013 Vancouver International Auto Show
Even at two years old, Jack is crazy about cars. Favorite toys: cars. Favorite movie: Cars. When he was a baby he could just sit there and watch me play Gran Turismo. When he was one he would watch Top Gear with me. When I wash the car he wants to help. I could not be happier that we get to share this passion as he's growing up. So we finally got the idea to take him to an auto show. Unfortunately, the one in Seattle is not until November, and we had just missed the Tacoma show. The next up within driving range was Vancouver, Canada at the end of March. That would be the one.
It was about a two and half hour drive up, according to Google maps. We took the Chuckanut Drive, a bit of a detour, but a really nice driving road. There were some awesome view points that I'll have to go back for someday. This was our first trip to Canada, so we weren't really sure what to expect. But, everything went smooth, and after about three hours in the Volvo, we were at the Vancouver Convention Center.
We started at the exotics corner were we spotted this beauty, the McLaren MP4-12C. They were roped off so we couldn't get close, which is understandable. It really is a great looking car. Close to these were also a Bentley Flying Spur and Lamborghini Reventon. Unfortunately, the Bentley pic came out blurry and the Lambo was over crowded. So off to Kia.
The only thing to really stand out here was the Kia Optima Hybrid decorated in this vinyl pattern. The rest of the cars were the basic Kia's you see everywhere. But behind their section was Mercedes Benz. Of course there were flocks of people around the C and E Classes, but I knew what I was looking for, and eventually found it.
The MB SLS AMG Convertible. This one had a matte finish and black wheels. Very military. This as well was on a roped off platform. But it was good enough just to be able to stand there and get a good look at it.
Say CHEEEEESSE. Enough gawking, let's move on to Audi. On display were an A4, A6, and A8L in white. No S line models to be found. No R8's either.
They did have the TT-RS present in Mesano Red Pearl which definitely stood out among the others. It was a very aggressive car. Teenage boys were all over this thing, and it was then that Michelle decided that the TT was not actually the car for her.
It seemed Jack was looking for the S models as well. Most of the cars were full of people, some with lines to take a seat behind the wheel. We were finally able to get a seat inside the A4. The materials used made this a really good place to be.
Jack seemed to like it at least. Though, I don't think he would like the lack of leg room once his car seat was in place. Hmmm, more leg room? A8L!
Now this is the leg room that he's come accustomed to. I just hope the new VW Phaeton that's rumored to be hitting the states in 2014 looks something like this. AND that I'm making three times my current salary and can afford the upgrade at that time.
Finally, an S model. The new S7. I have mixed feelings about this car. It looks great from certain angles, but looking at the side profile, it looks kind of like it's dragging it's butt around.
So I did my best to capture only the sexy angles. I can imagine the rear hatch design, which lifts the rear glass as well, would be super functional in the rear world.
Unfortunately, this was another locked car with no public access. Drag, because it looked like a very special kind of place in there.
I saw one of these the other day and was blown away by the aggressiveness of the front end. The new Mazda6.
Good thing about the Mazda section is Jack got plenty of seat time.
From there we went over to Subaru. The BRZ was the main attraction here, which I really don't care much for. The only other thing exciting to me was the STI that was being wiped down by the Subaru reps. It gives me a good feeling every time I see that red intake manifold.
Next to Subaru was Mini, with their new John Cooper Works Paceman. As far as I can tell, this is basically the Countryman in 2-door form with a lower roof line. I like it and will definitely be looking more into it.
Jack and Michelle really liked this one as well. Seems like it would be fun little car to run around in.
We probably spent more time in the Volvo section than any other single area. This is probably because we've had such a good track record with our Volvo's, so they're always in the running when deciding on a next car.
The one we were most impressed with is the XC60 T6. This is basically the new SUV version of our current Volvo. So passenger space is about the same, but with much more cargo room. It would also be much more capable in off-road and heavy snow conditions.
The interior is very common across most Volvo's. There are a lot of style cues still apparent from the 2007 model that we have. I just realized how lopsided this picture makes the dash look due to the wide angle lens.
So who knows, maybe this will be our next car. Look at the guy in the red shirt in the background in full power stance talking to blondie.
Once again, there were no performance/sports models to be found. It seems the S60R is no longer. The new trend from Volvo is to use their T6 model and add the R Design options, which includes special color and interior options, as well as unique wheels and body trims. Power is boosted by about 25hp, but it still lacks that special something that set the R apart from the rest of the line in the past.
It makes me think of Audi's S-line option, which would turn a basic A4 into an S4 look-alike, but without the more powerful engine that made the S4 what it is. This to me is just an S60 T6 with a bit of makeup and a Red Bull. Sadly, not very impressive.
But this was. The BMW M6 Gran Coupe. This is the one car that caught me completely off guard. It's just such a sexy beast. Of course it was all locked up, but it didn't matter. It easily made it into my top 3 list for the show.
Serious business there.
I finally pried myself away from the M6 to find this open hood. The 2014 335i M-sport. Jack was really drawn to the roundel, and I wonder if he remembers it from my old E39.
I am in love with this headlight design. I can't wait to start seeing more of these on the road.
I spotted these on the back of the new 7 series. This of course was another locked car, but despite this, BMW had the most there to excite me. These tail lights are very impressive. They look like molten lava tubes.
From Honda. Aaaaand moving on.
Jack found the Jaguar (Jagwar) section. This XJL was super sexy, especially in this color. I have no idea what it is (correction: Caviar Metallic), as I can't find it as an option on the Jaguar web site, but it looked great. But, nothing compared to what I saw next.
I give you, the F-type. I've been watching prototypes and renderings of this car for years now. An ode to the classic E-type, nothing in the show held a candle up to this, not for me anyways. The lines on this car are just perfect.
Everything was done right to bring up to date the E-type charm from the 60's.
There really is just something special about this car. A lot of companies are doing the whole retro-throwback thing these days, but none pull it off quite like this, in my opinion. This car is just absolutely stunning. For the last few years, if someone asked me what my dream car was, I honestly could not answer them. Sure, there were lots of cars that I'd love to have, but there was never just one that stood out from the crowd. But I think now, I've found my answer. Realizing I was now standing in a puddle of my own drool and on the brink of a gentlemans crisis, I decided we should keep moving.
For American manufacturers, we didn't find much to get excited about. Of course Chevy had their Corvettes and Camaros with throngs of the "manliest" of men surrounding them. Ford was the same with the Mustang. And that's all expected. Cadillac kind of disappointed me though by not having the CTS-V Wagon. I know, I'm a sick man for having such a fetish for station wagons. But I think that caddy is one of the best looking wagons ever, and I was somewhat looking forward to getting a closer look. Oh well. At least Jack found something he liked with these tail pipes.
Volkswagen I think had one of the best showpieces with this classic Beetle. Jack really liked this as well, I think because he realized it was the same car as the model we built. It was a very clean showing. The strange thing was that the new Beetle's were on the opposite side of the area though. I would have really liked to see the two side by side, and I think it would have had a very positive effect on the audience to be able to compare the two.
On our way to the new beetle was this sleek looking euro cruiser. The 2014 CC R-line. To me, the CC is the best looking VW currently sold in the states. For the current generation, most of the line-up has a very similar grill and headlight design. This is the one that stands out, the milk mans baby. The unfortunate fact about the R-line is that it's not available in AWD, and it's actually not the quickest of the model. What you'd want is the VR6 4Motion Excec. Which is really a shame because the aero package on the R-line is not optional on the VR6. What happened?
Finally we get to the new Beetle. Here on display is the Fender edition. I like that it's a turbo model that comes with the 70's wheels, which is not an option in the online configurator. But I don't like that it's branded after a guitar. I like Fender's and I get that it's an era identification thing, but they don't really have anything to do with the car. Although, the Stratocaster finish on the dash is something nice to look at.
I think Jack felt some familiarity with this car, since it's currently what I'm driving as a loaner while the Phaeton's with the dealer.
We eventually moved on and left the show, as we'd seen all that we could. We left slightly disappointed, and undazzled. In the car shows we'd been to in the past, there was always a good showing of the ultra cars. The unsensible and vulgar. Where were they? There was no Ferrari, no Porsche or Maseratti. The few exotics that were there ended up shoved in a corner by themselves. And all the other guys left most of their big dogs at home. There was a clear focus on the green cars of today. The V10 supercars were replaced with hybrids. I guess if you're a sensible person who's coming to the show to possibly find your next car, then this is okay. But what about those that want a chance to see the cars we might never own, but would still like to dream about?
In the end, we all had a great time in Vancouver. And I realize that this is the current trend in the automotive world. We're going green. It's just a matter of time before the big auto companies find a way to make those cars just as exciting as the petrol breathing beasts of the not so distant past. We'll just wait for that day and hope they don't let us down.