Last night I went on up to the 2008 Perth Motor Show to have a look at the current, and possibly future, offerings from a good portion of manufacturers. A couple of notable absences of official stands in BMW and Mercedes Benz, but they were represented outside in the foyer. Seems odd, that in a state where there are a shitload of cashed up folk, and more moving here, that the two main prestige brands don't officially show their wares at the only real car show we have.
Now onto the cars:
I was looking forward to seeing this little car, as it has received tons of praise from Europe. I wasn't disappointed, the retro-modern look works really well and the quality seems quite high too. I am sure these will be a good seller when they finally go on sale in a few months time. Can't wait to see, and drive, the Abarth version.
Alfa Romeo Brera
I had heard a fair bit about this car, Top Gear's James May was enamoured with it and lots of other folk have raved how good they look, and I would have to say this is one of the best looking cars I have ever seen. Sure, it may be an Alfa and spend a fair bit of time in the shop, but it is god-damn near perfect in its execution. And then I saw this...
Alfa Romeo Spider
The old Spider was a bit of an odd design and very much a product of Alfa during hard times. But now that Alfa has regained some marketshare and profitability, they are starting to take chances with their design and this new Spider is a winner. The great proportions of the Brera, but without a roof. It doesn't need to be fast or a good handler, it has pose appeal by the bucketload. And it will be priced high enough that hairdresser's won't be able to afford it.
Proton Satria RRR
Proton seem to be moving ahead quite slowly but their feature car was a big let down. A company that has Lotus as one of its subsidiaries is still putting out a car based on old Mitsubishi Mirage. The Satria looks about 15 years old and the addition of stickers (some in reverse), wheels and exhaust does not make it a performance car. Proton, get your Malaysian minds back to the drawing board and make an Turbo AWD Gen 2. You might actually rate a real mention then.
Currently the most affordable ute on the market in Australia. The car isn't the focus here though, it is the free ATV they are giving away with every Jumbuck sold. Have a good look at the pic of the ATV and tell me how the hell you remove the ATV from the tray without taking the barwork off or deflating the tyres...
I think this car would be one of the reasons why I decided to go to the motor show. And I think it was the same for many other attendees at the motor show. I have seen, read and watched so much media about this car and I really wanted to see it in the flesh. Some people reckon it is ugly, I don't. Ugly is where a designer tries to make something look good and fails miserably, the GT-R is a case where the designer had a function to perform and designed it to meet that function, and they succeeded. Stunning car. I just want to drive one...
Skoda Genuine Accessories
Not a car really, but from a car manufacturer. The Skoda bikes (road and mtb) that they had strapped to an Octavia were really impressive. Carbon fibre with Shimano XT gear, they were nice. Didn't see a price tag though.
Volkswagen Passat R36 Estate
The Passat is a nice car, pretty much a cut price Audi, but throw in a big V6 and the quattro system and you have a winner. Pity about the stupid stickers on the side though. This car should be a sleeper and with a 0-100 time of only 5.8 seconds, you can scare some bogans whenever you feel like it without worrying about a cop pulling you over whenever you are out for a drive.
The new FG Falcon is a very anticipated car, if it fails then the future of the Falcon, and manufacturing in Australia, is not going to be good. But I think they are on a winner here. The mods they have made from the BF Falcon have been executed quite well, especially the rear door openings (as shown above), you can actually get into the back seat without banging your head now. The G6E, in particular, is one very nice looking car, it certainly carries the new Ford design language that can be seen on the new Mondeo very well. I'll let you play spot the difference with the Mondeo :)
Honda Civic Hybrid
The Civic Hybrid has not been doing well in competition with the Toyota Prius and from the car that Honda had on hand, I think they believe it is due to the Civic Hybrid not looking different enough to the normal Civic range. Their solution, let's paint the thing to make it stand out as a green car. Excuse me Honda, pardon me for saying, but it still looks boring.
Subaru Impreza WRX STi
I'm sure you have all seen the latest STi and it does look good. Much better than the plain Jane WRX. Amazing what a set of pumped guards, suspension and bumpers can do. But the tail lights still look really shithouse. C'mon Subaru, we all know you can do better. These lights look like something you might find at Super Cheap Auto with a made in China badge attached to it.
It has taken a few years but it seems that Audi is starting to find its feet with the whole front end as a grille design theme they have been going for. The new A4 is starting to look good. The previous model is really woeful. There are better executions of this theme and that can be found on the...
Now this is a good looking car. I really don't know why Audi didn't put this car at the front of their display, instead they hid it behind an A4 and Q7. This car is stunning, the proportions are just right and the engine is proudly on display under the rear window. The LED running lights look really cool too.
What the hell were the stupid French bastards thinking? Last year I had a whinge about the trend of creating oversized head lights, now Peugeot in an effort to be different has decided to make their tail lights as big as possible. Damn, they look bad.
Can you hear the crickets? Kia didn't really choose their position or the cars they had on display very well. It was the only stand where there was not one person looking at the cars. Easy night for the sales reps.
Mitsubishi Ralliart Lancer
The new Lancer looks pretty good, but as a competitor for the WRX, I dunno if Mitsubishi has the goods. Sure it may have a detuned Evo motor and a cool suspension and AWD package, it is still a Mitsubishi and carries all the quality issues they have. The Impreza may look bland, but the WRX would be a better buy.
Mitsubishi Panther Series
Mitsubishi had five cars done up in their Panther Edition getup as the centrepiece to their stand. All black with grey decals and big chrome rims. No other mods done, but oddly enough they seemed to be getting a lot of attention. I don't get it.
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X
The latest in the long line of Evo Lancers. Looks good but looks cheap. Prolly goes like hell too. I won't judge until I drive one.
Holden Commodore Sportswagon
I have never been a big fan of the VE Commodore, it just seemed like it was trying to be something bogans aspire to. But what the Holden folks have done by putting a glasshouse on the back of the sedan is pretty damn cool. Definitely given the car a more Euro Estate look, rather than the kid hauler the the Falcon wagon is. The amount of space it gives is huge (not as big as the old one) and the excellent hinge setup requires minimal space at the rear to open. NB: Have a close look at the fit and finish in the interior.
Holden Coupe 60
As a celebration of the 60th anniversary of Holden (and to try and take attention away from the FG Falcon), the bods at Holden have rolled out a really cool looking Commodore Coupe (don't call it a Monaro). Based on the new Camaro platform, it wouldn't be too hard for Holden to produce this. But the official stance is that this will never reach production, all effort is going to the Camaro at present. My bet is that because the Camaro has taken so long to reach the market, the Camaro will fail and this Coupe will be produced to try and recover the money dropped into the development of the Zeta platform.
A weird hybrid between a Lotus Seven and a motorbike, this thing is pretty cool. I dunno what it feel like to ride this, especially when attacking a nice set of twisty curves, but you have to give points for the effort.
KTM 1190 RC8
This KTMs new bike, a very nice looking bike, and their aim is to compete at the top in the World Superbike Championship. 1190 cc and only a twin cylinder, this thing is bound to sound great (not nearly as good as a Ducati though) :)