Motor Trend International Auto Show: Part 2 – Luxury Imports

Finally! Part 2 of The Heap’s 4 part overage of the International Auto Show which was in town at the beginning of December!

Today we’ll be looking at what the Import motor market has to offer for the upcoming production year. Perhaps the most impressive display was by Korean automaker Hyundai, which The Heap touts as the next up and coming power in the imported auto market. They’ve been the talk of the land, with redesigns across the board, leading to sportier, sleeker, dare I say, more desirable designs. They certainly should have an award for most improved, and one for actually listening to customers! The quality of the product has gone way up, while costs stay competitive.

I was disappointed by the showing by Volkswagen. It appeared to me that they almost had no interest in being there, having only a GTI and maybe a Jetta or 2 on hand. I was hoping to catch a glimpse of the new VW Beetle, but alas, it was not to be seen. Even Kia tried to appeal more to the auto show browsers! Those smug Germans!

First up were the JDM (Japanese) luxury imports- Acura, Infiniti, and Lexus. All three had fairly nice displays, but Acura’s was the most impressive, as they had their new touring crossover, the ZDX headlining their area. The other two didn’t really have anything too new, except minor cosmetic improvements to chassis. I found the ZDX to be quite impressive, and very sleek. Many aren’t fans of Acura’s attempt at a trademark grille, but the ZDX wears it perfectly. Sadly, the new TL was there too (thankfully in Pearl White), and looking at it makes it seem more and more like the glorified Honda Accord it is. The TSX is sharp, however, and the new available V6 engine will surely pep it up.

I want to like Infiniti- I really do, but the only thing worth seeing at their display was the G37 convertible. I’ve never been a fan of the G series sedan, though it is technologically sound. And again, their SUVs are marvels, but are overpriced and just don’t get my attention. I think they may have had their M series there, but that has never really appealed to me anyway. Only perhaps the 5.o liter series engines.

Lexus falls right in there with Infniti, though I do have a soft spot for the IS series. The beast of them all was there- the IS F. Looks nice in white, but I would love it in metallic blue! 400 HP in a small body car… it must fly!

BMW has modest improvements to design, which seems to be an annual necessity for them. But the 3 and 5 do keep getting sharper and sharper. If it ain’t broke don’t fix it… unless you can make it better! I sat down in the rear of a fully loaded 7 series and I was blown away at the comfort. It would say it could rival the aesthetics of a Rolls Royce! Wel maybe not, but it was nice enough for me!

I am not too big of a Mercedes-Benz fan, so I didnt spend too much time there. I do like their roadsters and they had a few on hand. But I just do not like their sedans at all. They surely have impressive engines and numbers, but they just don’t do it for me. Sadly, they didn’t have their newest two door roadster, which pays homage to the gull wings of old!

Mini made a surprising showing, and they finally had their 4 door “sedan” on hand to try out! Plenty of room in the back, and now with the 4 door option, it is a whole lot easier to get back there! I am looking forward to this one, and I’m hoping my girlfriend opts for one after she finishes law school – though I wouldn’t mind the Camaro she wants ;

That’s it for the import luxury section. Next we will have just normal imports!

smallheap.jpg image by jmooser

Motor Trend International Auto Show: Part 1 – Exotics

Last weekend, as you may have seen on the twitter feed, I was able to go to the big auto show that was in town at the Tampa Convention Center! As an car lover, I felt this wold be an excellent opportunity to see what the recovering industry had up their sleeves. It was a great time!

Most known automakers were represented and had differing displays from the rather disappointing showing from Volkswagen to the gigantic 60,000 square feet of GM’s show. What I liked best about the show is that it’s basically like going to your local dealer- minus the test drive of course, but also minus the pressuring salesman! I could get in a car, look at the engine, look in the trunk, and ask questions if I wanted to without being bothered. If you’re in the market for a new car and have an auto show coming to town, I highly recommend this way of researching.

I’ll have to divide my coverage of the event into 3 posts, since it will be too big to make it into one. Being able to see exotics and other show cars is always an exciting factor. Sadly (and smartly), you aren’t allowed to sit and much less touch these cars. Upon entering the first floor, you were able to venture into a special section of the show, which had custom dragsters and collectibles.

There were a handful of custom hot rods, made using old school chassis. Look at the engine on this one. the belts were wider than my hand. I cant imagine the amount of HP this baby makes. I should have taken a picture of the tires. Over 12 inches wide, at the least. This one was by far the most impressive.

Up next was an old school Corvette convertible. I’m not exactly sure what year this one was, but I’ll guess and say its a body style from the 60’s. Clean car, and it seemed 100 percent OEM. Has to be worth 100K+.

Speaking of Corvettes, someone had a very sharp C5 and had decided t to give it a Blue Angels theme after the notorious air show planes! The custom lighting was most impressive, not to mention the intricate details that the owner had given the seats and mats.

DuPont Registry had a nice little kiosk set up as well. The yad about 5 different Lamborghinis. This one caught my eye. It’s either a Gallardo or Murcielago spyder. Love the color. If I were to get one of these, you bet it would have a loud color!

Now this one was definitely interesting! Talking with that guy in the picture, we found out that that was basically a Mecedes Benz SUV with the roof chopped off! It’s not a production car, but they do take orders for it, apparently. It was very sharp, but would be tough here in Florida due to it not having a roof! Yes, you read that correctly. It is NOT a convertible! It literally does not have a roof!

And of course, what is a luxury show without a showing from Bentley with its GT coupe,

And Rolls-Royce with it’s new Ghost.

We can dream, right?

We’ll do Part 2 later this week, which will be a look at the imports that were at the show!

smallheap.jpg image by jmooser

Streaming Event Scheduled: USF Car Meet!

The Heap will be live at the last USF Car Club meet for the semester! There should be over 1oo cars present, including an infamous Spyker! I’ll be joining up with some friends beforehand and cruising in to the Collins parking garage if anyone wants to check it out!

Uh. These are expensive...

Meet will start at 9pm! So you can expect live sessions any time in between 9 and 11ish TONIGHT.

It’s a shame that it isn’t in a few weeks because ┬áhave finally bought a set a wheels for my TL! I will be heading over to Orlando in the morning to pick those up, so I will have pics as soon as I get back home! I am very happy that I found them, as they are the particular style I wanted.

You can also expect a post in the next week or so with a general timeline of mods to be done to the car. The TL Project is full steam ahead finally!

smallheap.jpg image by jmooser