Now that there is no major UK auto show, it falls to those who want to see a wide range of new cars all in one place to resort to one of the many local events. The MotorExpo at Canary Wharf has been running for some years now, and it would seem that the concept of displaying a range of largely premium cars in an area where the target buyers work has now been extended to an ever growing number of cities around the world. On a sunny morning, I managed to escape the office for a couple of hours and make the short tube journey down to Canary Wharf to see what was on offer in the 2011 UK event, and here is what I found.Greeting those who came out of the station were a couple of stars from the forthcoming Cars2 movie.
As in previous years, cars are displayed in a mixture of indoor and outdoor locations near to Canary Wharf station and Jubilee Park. Some manufacturers have demonstration models which prospects can take on a short test drive. This year there was an unsurprising focus on electric cars, with an array of demo cars lined up at charging points, some of which looked like they had been newly installed for the event. Land-Rover even managed to find the space to create a short test course where they can show the off-roading capabilities of their vehicles. AC SCHNITZER
What can I say? Not nice things about the changes made to these cars, so I will let the pictures do the talking.
This is the first time since 2007 that Audi has been at this event, and they had a prominent indoor stand, with four of their latest models joined by the crowd-pulling R8 Spider.
Four cars on show here, with the new Continental GT joined by the ISR version of the GTC, a Supersport and a Flying Spur.
PR brickbat of the event has to go to BMW. Two cars were on show outside, and then in a special marquee, visitors were enticed to come and see the new 6 Series Coupe. I entered, and raised my camera at the car, at which point I was yelled at by the 2 stand staff who told me in no uncertain terms that BMW had expressly forbidden anyone to take a picture of the car that they wanted us all to see. I questionned this, and was told that it is because the car is not on sale. I did point out that the car had already featured, in undisguised form, in all the motoring magazines, and postulated that BMW would have supplied copious photos to illustrate these articles, but the stand staff were insistent that this was still “a secret car” and therefore must remain unphotographed. Bizarre! Needless to say, I made a hasty exit, making the point that if BMW wanted to play games like that, it was unlikely to do them too many favours. Outside, there was a new 6 Series Cabrio, and it was perfectly OK to look at that and to take its picture, which I did, as well as these few shots of the M3 GTS.
Big showing for Jaguar, with the facelifted XF models joined by the XKR-S and the current XJ.
A separate display promised much and delivered less. Billed as the History of Jaguar, I was expecting to find an array of Jaguar models from the 80 year history of the company, but what I actually found were a series of cars, all of which were for sale, most of which were recent models, predominantly XJs.This Daimler van did catch my eye, though, as something rather different and unexpected.LAND-ROVER
No question, the new Evoque was the star of this show. There were a couple of models – one 3 door and one 5 door – in the concourse at the top of the main exit from Canary Wharf station and another pairing in Jubilee Park along with the rest of the range. There were crowds around the cars at all times, and it is not hard to see why. I predict that this car will be a huge success, and would thoroughly approve of that. The interior is particularly nicely done.
Representatives from the rest of the range were also on displayLEXUS
Highlight of this display was the LF-A.
No-one seemed terribly interested in anything else, even the now rather scorned IS-F.LOTUS
Four cars were on show in one corner of the hall, but were hard to get to and harder still to photograph. An Evora was parked up outside.
Several of the display cars were making their UK debut, with two of them, the C Class Coupe and new SLK only just poised to go on sale.
Needless to say., the SLS AMG was still a crowd puller, especially when the engine was fired up.Although the main display was outdoors, there were further cars inside, with both a replica of the 1886 Benz and another SLS AMG to see.MINI
No sign of the latest addition to the range, the Coupe, but there were examples of the four currently on sale models.
As part of the theme around electric propulsion, there were several examples of the iMiEV, as well as one of the Citroen clones, the C-Zero.
These looked the same cars as were on display at the recent La Vie en Bleu event.
Much was being made of the new Leaf, unsurprisingly. The stand staff were realistic enough to understand that the limited range does mean that this car is still not for everyone.
I sat in the 370Z and thought that it preserved the good points of the 350Z with a much higher quality interior finish. I still struggle to like the exterior styling though. PROTEUS
This is a modern recreation of the iconic C Type Jaguar. Very nicely done indeed, this would be a lovely vehicle to have at one’s disposal.
SAAB’s financial difficulties would appear still to be far from over, but it was good to see that this did not preclude a presence here and the showing of two forthcoming models. The 9.5 Estate is orderable from next week and is expected to go on sale in September. The 9.4X is currently expected in January 2012. The stand staff did concede that the absence of a diesel version seems like a major aberration, but otherwise the car looks well finished, and to my eyes at least is far more attractive than the rather gawky and brash Cadillac SRX with which it shares its underpinnings.
Skoda had a display area in Jubilee Park, and thanks to the downpours of the previous day all the cars were on very boggy ground indeed. This would seem to be the only one I photographed
As part of the electric car theme, a number of Teslas (Teslae?) were at the event.
The Ampera was the key attraction here, with cars available for a test drive. Had I had a little more time, I would certainly have taken them up on this offer.
Nothing on this stand was brand new, but this was a chance to see the recently launched V60 in R-Design format along with some more familiar models.
And Finally….. Thought that Hummer was dead? How about this then? An electric version, better-sized for European streets!Although this was a diverting event for a couple of hours, I would feel very disappointed if I had made a special journey from much further away than 5 tube stops to this event. Despite what the blurb in the Show Guide proclaimed, there were less manufacturers represented than in 2010, which was a further reduction from 2008.