Canary Wharf Show – June 2008

The concept of the Canary Wharf Motor Show is excellent – namely, displaying a range of cars in the public spaces around the high-rise buildings where some of the better paid workers of the UK are to be found, and providing free access to everyone. Indeed, I said as much last year, and was somewhat surprised to find that the sound bite that was recorded to use for publicity for a similar show in New York made it as the lead-in comment on the video clip on the web-site. So, on a sunny Tuesday afternoon, I headed down to see what Canary Wharf 2008 could offer. I have to admit to being rather disappointed, as there was far less to see this year than there was in 2007. However, it was definitely worth the journey, 5 stops on the Jubilee Line from Waterloo, as there were a number of UK debuts, and by going mid-afternoon, there was hardly anyone else around. First sight, on emerging from the tube, was this:

Land-Rover had a couple of static display vehicles, and also one of their “let’s impress the punters with some improbable angles” courses for demo runs
Volvo had one of the few true debuts: the XC60. This car had really drawn the crowds at Geneva, so it was good to get the chance to see it devoid of throngs of people. The girls on the “stand” were gushing in their praise as to its beauty. I leave you to decide whether it is that good looking or not. I did learn that it will be launched in the UK in October/November, at prices starting from about £24,500.
The more familiar C30 and C70 models were also on show.
Next stop was Mercedes. The looks of the facelifted SL are slowly growing on me, though I do not think it an improvement on the previous model.
There was also a new CLC. This car has been heavily criticised by the press for being a top and tail-ed version of the old C Class Sport Coupe, so I suspect it might be a tad disappointing to drive. It certainly looked quite smart.
Representative models from the rest of the range were also on display, including the now familiar “S” Class.
Jaguar had a range of cars on show, including 2 examples of the new XF. These were both diesels, and the stand representatives had them idling to show how quiet the cars are. They compensated for this with periodic revving of the XK alongside, which sounded really rather good.
Indicative, perhaps, of the sort of potential show-attendee, the middle of the display area contained a different form of transport.
Three Morgan cars were on show, including the rather nice Aeromax:
Porsche had an indoor display of cars, and also this RS60 Special Edition of the Boxster:
Big showing from BMW, unsurprisingly. Three examples of the X6 were shown:
There was a 135i Coupe, too.
The M3 Convertible was attracting the crowds, hence there are no pictures. Four Minis on show, representing the different models in the range:
Aston-Martin were represented both indoors and outdoors:
A couple of the display stands were from Car Clubs, trying to sell memberships, and the opportunity to rent an exotic. Unlike the dotty Lucinda on “The Apprentice”, I assume that the sales staff who were promoting this car actually knew that it was a Zonda.
The exhibition continued indoors, on the ground floor of one of the buildings. A number of cars modified (that is not the word that they used, but it amounts to what they had done) by Kahn were on show:
This was the more-tasteful of the 2 Range-Rovers on show………. “more” is a relative term!
Beira is a new name for the show, with this sports car offering.
Another show debut was the new CTS Cadillac. Desperate stand staff were getting very wound up about the fact that the drivers door on this car would not close properly. Not the best indication of quality for a new car that looks largely like the old model, and one which hardly flew out of the showroom in the UK!
GM also had a couple of Corvettes, a Hummer and an Escalade to show off:

VW’s extensive display included the elusive Passat R36. Finally shown in right hand drive, and allegedly on sale, even though it has eluded the world’s motoring press, still. One or two details abou this car did not convince – the huge beige moulding around the rear-view mirror, for example, and it remains to be seen whether badge-conscious Britain will go for it. I quite liked it
Unlike last year, no 8C on show here, but there were 3 Alfa Romeos, including the new Brera S.
So, definitely an enjoyable couple of hours browsing. Not, probably, worth a special trip to London, but if you are in the area, do stop by.
2009-12-31 20:18:32

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