It is that time of the year again. The annual international auto show at the San Francisco Moscone Center. My observation will be VERY summarized. No trucks, SUVs, or the likes here. I will be reviewing the “goodies” and “exotics” at the show.
In the past few years, it has been a huge disappointment due to the hard economic times and “boring” styles and models that were out. I think last year was the worst year I’ve ever seen at the SF Auto Show ever since I started going. There were still a few “no shows” that was a huge disappointment. Ferrari did not make their huge appearance like they use to. Mitsubishi was a no show for the second time in 2 years. However this year was a better improvement than last year. A bigger crowd too, but still not as great as it was before.
First booth we checked out was Porsche. First thing that caught my eye was their GT3RS sitting right there on the floor next to the Carrera GT
There was a huge crowd around the GT3RS, I had to snap a pic whenever I could. I remember seeing this lady amazed by the Carbon Fiber rear spoiler. She kept feeling the wing like she didn’t understand it. I guess she was amused by the weaves of the carbon fiber. That or she just wanted to take the car home. =P
The Carrera GT was roped off. Last year it was on the spinning stage in a more exciting color. I wish we can hear the roar of these high revving engines. Still a beautiful piece of machinery.
A shot of the rear and the spoiler
Next to the Porsche’s were the Audi’s. They really didn’t have any new and exciting to show. The S5 and the S4 were on the floor. Styling and performance were not as exciting as their RS series which they didn’t bring to the show. However, they did bring their flagship sports car. I want to buy some strawberries on the side of the road in this car like Tony Stark in Iron Man 2. The Audi R8 Spyder…
We then walked over to the Lexus booth and skipped the GS, LS and IS series for this…
The last time I saw an actual LFA was at the 2009 SEMA show when they first announced the release. We literally spent a good half hour oogling over this car. This car is limited to 500 in the entire world. You have to apply with Lexus to even be considered. Even then with the money, you are still not guaranteed this $300,000 super car. Lexus claims they are not making any money on any of these hand built vehicles. It is made to show off the engineering and performance of a Lexus super car. The technology may trickle down to a mass production sports car, but no actual plans as of yet.
So you ask why is this Lexus over $300,000???!!!
Here’s a few reasons why:
70% of this car is made of Carbon Fiber
Engineering and technology from F1 Race Cars. The engine location, driver position, down to the placement of the lightweight battery and windshield washer resevoir is carefully planned.
The brakes consist of 15 inch carbon ceramic rotors.
The 3 pipe exhaust note is actually tuned by Yamaha to make it unique to this car. Talk about perfection. As you may have seen the Lexus commercial where they claim no CGI or alterations were made to make the glass shatter. This is all real…
The V10 F1 inspired engine is carefully placed within the bay to give the car a perfect weight ratio with the driver inside it. It also sits very low to give it a better center of gravity. Nothing was overlooked on this car. This is almost as perfect as a perfect sports car can be.
You can’t really follow the LFA with anything else. Everything else starts to look bland. We finished off the hall with the Chevy booth. Nothing good there except for the Corevette Z06 and ZR1. I still want one of these and totally do a Japanese makeover to it.
The ZR1 was locked and I couldn’t sit inside it
The funny story with this red Z06 was I got to sit inside it. However, the battery pack died under the car. No biggie right? Wrong. Everything was electronic including the door release. So I got stuck inside this vehicle for a good 10 minutes. My friend had to flag down a Chevy representative to help me out. This was quite funny to me, and discouraged others from getting inside the Corvette. I didn’t want to climb out and risk getting kicked out. I sat there patiently while others were seeing my almost panic face. My friend finally flagged down a representative and she showed me an “emergency” release latch hidden away on the floor of the vehicle. I finally got out and was relieved. If you ever buy a Corvette and get stuck inside because your battery died, make sure you know where the release latch is. All in all…I still want one of these toys.
We skipped across to the other half of the hall. Started with the exotics. No Ferrari, no Maserati. Lotus brought out their Elise and Evora. The Elise did not change much exterior wise since the release in 2004. I remember taking one of these home from work. It was the scariest, yet most fun cars I’ve driven. I would never commute i this thing as nobody can see you coming in this small car. There was also nothing between you and the car in front of you except for the aluminum frame, steering wheel and fiberglass shell.
Next to the Lotus’s were the Lamborghini’s. They brought out their Gallardo Superleggera models. Can you believe the Lexus LFA is over almost $200k more expensive than these?
Behind the Lamborghinis was the Academy of Art College presentation of classic cars.
Then came to my favorite. The Aston Martin.
When I make it, it’ll be the Aston Martin DBS or the Vantage V12. I don’t need a Lamborghini or a Ferrari. I’d roll around in the Aston Martin bumping some James Bond music and always wearing a well fitted suit. Stay classy…
…and the future family car would be the Aston Martin Rapide. 4 Doors, 4 seats. Literally. Check out the rear seats!
We ended the hall with the Honda and Subaru booths. Nothing exciting except the new CR-Z (check out the SEMA 2010 CR-Z display I saw a few weeks back) at Honda, and the new STi Impreza sedan at Subaru.
The CR-Z would be the hybrid I’d pick if I wanted to go green
The STi Impreza sedan looked good, but I still liked the older models better
We finished off the 2 halls and concluded with the “Aftermarket Alley”. This hall consisted of all the aftermarket tuned cars. Not such a huge presence but good and interesting. Since being in the industry, most of these cars I’ve came across and are very familiar with. The 2 Honda cars representing were both from companies I am or was affiliated with.
Leonard’s cleanly built DC2 Integra representing N1 Concepts
Sonny’s Insight by Franklin Auto/Weksos
All in all, it was a decent show. Definitely better than the depressing showcase last year. Hopefully 2011 picks up and we see more exciting cars coming out to show off for the new year!!!