There are many motor shows around the world that give automotive fanatics a glimpse at what the future holds, and the London Motorexpo is one of them. Although not as prestigious as the motor shows in Geneva, Detroit or Tokyo, the London Motorexpo has one big advantage – It’s free and easily accessible. In a way this makes it ‘the people’s motor show’, and a number of car makers choose this event to reveal their latest designs and gauge public opinion.
Among the exhibitors are BMW, Chrysler, Kia, Jeep, Jaguar and Mercedes. There are still a few exotic marques though in order to add prestige to the event. The new Ferrari FF and Lamborghini Aventador are displayed proudly as event eye candy for everyone to see.
The show is taking place in London’s Canary Wharf business district, in the heart of the city and will be there until Sunday the 17th of June, so there’s still time to get down there and have a look at all the cars on display. It’s not a small affair either, as there are over 250 cars on display that you can look at, sit in, and get all the relevant marketing materials needed for a purchase or lease agreement.
In a first for a UK audience, Mercedes revealed its new A-class to pleasing approval. It’s expected to go on sale next January and will compete directly with the new Audi A3 which is due to go on sale this year, and the new generation of BMW 1-series. Prices are expected to start from £24,000, but surprisingly the entry level models will use engines from Renault. A range of diesel and petrol offerings are available as you would expect from Mercedes and a ‘hot’ model could be in the pipeline if they deem it to be a success. You have to remember that nowadays a car manufacturer will practically make anything that there’s a demand for so keep an eye out.
Although Motorexpo’s first day in London was rainy and dull, the new BMW 6-series Gran Coupe put smiles on faces as one of the more premium cars on display. Prices are to start from just over £61,000 for the entry level 316hp 640i incarnation. A powerful £70,000 beast will be for sale too, using a 4.4-litre V8 that achieves a 0-62mph time of just 4.6 seconds which isn’t bad for a fairly large car. Do we still want these sorts of cars though? Brands like VW and Mercedes are downsizing their engines and using super/turbo chargers in order to gain that extra power. This benefits the fuel economy and selling price of the car, so when will other manufacturers catch up and stop making gas guzzling V8+ engines that struggle to get more than 15mpg on a good day?
Chrysler chose Motorexpo for their new 300C launch, and this was an important unveiling for the brand and perfectly suited to the Canary Wharf workers in London who would be a great target market for the model, offering top end BMW 5-series comfort for prices around £35,000. Jeep was showing off their new rare flagship model in the form of the Grand Cherokee SRT8 which is limited to just 30 models and is the most powerful car Jeep has ever made.
As well as new creations, some brands chose to bring cars that had previously been exhibited at the Geneva Motor Show, like Jaguar who brought along their XF Sportbrake which hits UK showrooms in Autumn priced from around £35,000. Engines include 2.2-litre and 3.0-litre diesel options, and a powerful 5.0-litre petrol V8 which further hints of a potential XFR addition to the range at a later date. These sorts of cars are becoming somewhat pointless in this day and age though, as rising fuel costs mean a short 20 minute drive to work could cost nearly £10 in fuel which isn’t something even a wealthy motorist wants to live with.
If you visit, be sure to check out the ‘Driveme’ attraction where you can set your own time around a virtual Paul Ricard race circuit. 42,500 people are expected to attend over the week, so get down before Sunday if you fancy a free day out. For glimpses of other cars that are due out in the coming year you’ll have to wait until the summer, where the motor show season kicks off once again. This show however continues to outline the un-environmentally friendly nature of vehicles, as powerful cars are still a highlight on the bill. The distinct lack of future cars utilising alternative or green technologies is worrying, and hopefully soon the manufacturers will catch up to the reality that these powerful 4x4s and business cruisers don’t reflect the values of modern society.