The Canary Wharf Motor Expo, to give the event its proper title, has been running for some years now, and in its early days it promised much, with a large number of dealers and manufacturers bringing cars to display in an area around Canary Wharf tube station, perfectly positioned not just for the large number of people who work in the vicinity to take a look, but also readily accessible for others, like me, who are not quite so on hand. Sadly, a couple of the areas that were used in the early days have been subjected to building development, so there is less open space than there was, and this has reduced the number of brands who attend a bit. Even so, as the show is free, and as in accordance with the affluence of the local work force, the focus tends to be on higher end models, it is still worth a look, as I found when I selected what appeared like it was going to be the only sunny day during the week long event. As you can see, the sun did not stay shining, and the dealer staff could keep themselves busy wiping cars down, which they were doing, just in time for another downpour!As in previous years, the display areas are dispersed, with some cars inside a couple of the buildings, some are on grass between buildings and in Jubilee Park, and this year the Eco cars display was a few minutes walk away, and easy to miss. A number of cars were available on the street for serious prospects to test out, so there were some interesting sights of exotica parked up waiting for the next demo, and some quite wonderful sounds when they set off. Although most of the cars were brand new, there were also a few older models, most of which were H&H auction bound, to add some more interest.
Let’s get the most dreadful thing of the show out of the way immediately. ABT had three Audis that they had, erm, “improved”, Well, I guess someone must think that the changes they make can be so described, but the word that I would find more accurate to describe what they have to done to this R8 would probably be more like “mutiliated”. Truly horrid!
I’ve spared you the Q5 and the other abomination that they also had on display.ASTON-MARTIN
There were a couple of cars inside the hall, but they were black, in strong sunlight and impossible to photograph, so no pictures of those, but I did find this Rapide on demo duty outside.
The Mono, a car I would see again a couple of days later.
Three cars on show parked out on the grass, although I appear only to have pictures of the Mulsanne, and a few more on the street for demo drives.
H&H had a lovely Series 1 Continental model on show.BMW
Pride of place was accorded to the 6 Series Gran Coupe. I do think this is an elegant car, but it is also fearsomely expensive. With the range starting at £15,000 more than the price of the top of the range A7, this is not really a competitor to the Audi after all.
There was also an F30 3 Series car which was attracting a lot of attention, as was the latest M5. The 1 Series was being almost ignored in comparison, but that’s hardly surprising considering that it was the oldest of the models on show.CHRYSLER
The UK launch of the latest 300C coincided with the show, so this was a good opportunity to examine the latest model. Not completely new, rather a thorough re-working of the old car, it sports a much improved interior which will surely help its cause in Europe.
The little Ypsilon has been on sale for about 6 months but you would probably not know it, as they are not exactly flying out of the showrooms. Both the cars at this event were in a rather novel two tone paint finish.FERRARI
HR Owen had a couple of cars on display inside, which were open so anyone could sit in them, and there were also a number of road registered cars available outside so those prospects who had been screened to appear serious could get behind the wheel,
Also on show were three classics, an F40 a 246 GT Dino and an original 250 Testarossa.JAGUAR
This was the first UK sighting of the new XF Sportbrake, and it looks as good as in reality as it appeared in the launch pictures. The Jaguar sales staff with whom I spoke are really looking forward to its arrival, as they have been losing so many sales by not having an estate car in the range, they said.
Whilst the XF Sportbrake was inside, there were representative examples of the rest of the range parked up outside.H&H Auctions had a rather lovely XK120 on show..JEEP
UK debut for the latest Grand Cherokee SRT, and having now seen it, you would really have to try hard to mistake this version for one of the lesser models in the range.
Highlight for Kia was the new Cee’d which had gone on sale a few days before the start of the show. The outgoing car was generally impressive, and this one looks to move the game on a bit further with a higher quality feel to the interior.
The Aventador which HR Owen had brought along was one of the most popular vehicles at the show, and that’s no surprised. Although a fair few have now been sold in the UK, these cars are not (yet) a common sighting on the road.
Outside, a couple of Gallardos were on demo duty.LAND-ROVER
Land-Rover products were in three places at the event. A pair of Evoques were in the pedestrian area right by the main entrance to the tube station, and were generating a lot of interest as you would expect from this much in demand car.
The whole of Jubilee Park was given over to Land-Rover this year – which was quite appropriate, as following the vast amounts of rain that had fallen in the days leading up to the show, it was rather soft under foot. There were examples of each of the cars in the current range, and a special display comprising a number of interesting or significant vehicles from Land-Rover’s past. The third display was the course set up to show just how the vehicles cope with a number of obstacles of the sort you might encounter off-road.LEXUS
Nearly a year after its global launch, the new GS has just gone on sale in the UK, and there was one such car on show. No-one seemed to notice or be all that interested.
Indeed, that generally applied to the rest of the Lexus display area, which seemed only ever to be populated by their own staff!MASERATI
Maserati had 4 cars inside the hall, and more outside.
A pair of MP4-12C cars were creating lots of interest, especially as the gullwing doors were open and anyone could (try to) get in, which is not something often offered at a show.
Newest model here was the latest A Class. The UK launch is still some months off, so this was a German spec car in left hand drive. The representative with whom I spoke (who turned out to be an Abarth owner!) said that he is going to Germany at the end of the month so we can expect to see first drive reports in the press soon. It is certainly very different from the previous A Class cars. I did hear several people opine that when seen from the back and the side it could be almost anything, and I would have to agree with them.
Several of Mercedes other recent new models were on display, with the new B Class, the ML Class and the AMG C63 version of the C Class Coupe among them, along with the latest SLK. MINI
A full range of MINI were on show, with the latest Coupe and Roadster joined by the more familiar body styles, some of which were in Limited Edition formats. Whether the Olympic trim will appeal to someone in a few years time is perhaps even less likely than it appealing much now!
A classic Mini Cooper was also on show.NISSAN
The story here was very much about the Leaf, with several cars on display, and enthusiastic dealer staff hoping that people would not ask about the range limits in cold weather.
The Ion is a rebadged version of the Mitsubishi iMIIEV, a worthy enough small city car but with an astronomical price tag, which is why you do not see them very often.
Indoor display exhibits included a Ghost and a Phantom Coupe, and there were also a number of models on the test drive circuit.
This “Chinese Eye” Series 3 Mulliner Park Ward Drophead Silver Cloud was very nice indeed.TESLA
Although production of the Roadster has now ceased, these cars still create interest and they featured in the Eco display.
Vauxhall had a number of their Car of the Year winning Amperas in the Eco display area, and they had also brought along a Hydrogen concept vehicle that looked to be based on the previous generation Chevrolet Equinox/Pontiac Torrent.
Sadly, no sign of the acclaimed new V40, so the Volvo display simply contained examples of the current range, all of which are now familiar.
This was an interesting display which kept me entertained for a couple of hours, but it definitely is not substantial enough to justify much of a journey to come and visit, as there are simply not that many cars on show. That’s a shame, as when the event was launched a few years ago, it looked to have the potential to be quite a decent substitute for the London Excel Motor Show and NEC events of yesteryear.