The Canadian International AutoShow 2012 – Part 1


The Canadian International AutoShow 2012
Metro Toronto Convention Center
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
February 17-26, 2012

It was the opening day for the Canadian International AutoShow otherwise known as CIAS in the media circle. On hand were over 20 manufacturers displaying their current model line up and as always, new vehicle debuts ranging from all-out concept cars to models soon to be entering showroom floors. As expected, press day (February 16th) had a full line up of press conferences from each auto maker presenting their take on the future of the industry with the common focus once again being fuel efficiency in way of hybrid technology. There were only a handful of brands that cross the ‘green-thumb line’ unveiling powerhouse sports cars which to me, was a refreshing sight.

Scion debuted what is quite possibly the most sought-after vehicle this coming year, the FR-S. Continuing on the heritage of the successful Toyota Corolla GT-S (otherwise known as the AE86) this front-engine, rear-wheel-drive coupe is said to be in showrooms in a couple of months. The vehicle stems from a partnership between Toyota and Subaru which has allowed for three variations of the same vehicle to be created: the FT-86 for Toyota, BRZ for Subaru and the FR-S for Scion.

Mercedes-Benz introduced a completely redesigned SL model. The most notable changes include the front end whereby the sleek dual headlights of the previous generation have been tossed aside for a single larger assembly, a much bolder front fascia, and softened side profile.

The newest kid on the powerhouse block comes from Mercedes-Benz’s AMG division. As always, AMG went off the wall with this C63 Coupe with a widebody conversion, aero upgrades all around (front splitter, hood, and rear diffuser) and a bump in power. This C63 AMG is otherwise known as the Black Series edition and as expected will be of limited production numbers.

Hyundai unveiled the blue2 (squared) concept at an attempt to hint future styling and technology innovations. Furthermore, the Elantra GT will be priced under $20,000 (CAD) and available shortly alongside the Coupe version although pricing is currently not available.

The Hyundai Veloster is no stranger to the market, especially with its quick fanfare this past year amongst tuner-enthusiasts. This time however, the Veloster comes in way of a a Turbo version with more power and sport-tuned refinement. We look forward to getting behind the wheel of one shortly and putting it through its paces to see if the power plant truly is magical.

Mazda showcased their small 2-series race car new to the Canadian Touring Car Championship (CTCC) as part of the new B-Spec class of vehicles. We’re looking forward to seeing these micro machines battle it out amongst the rest of the pack despite the lower horsepower.

The shocker at the Mazda section is this concept car known as the SHINARI. This four-door, four-seater coupe utilizes Mazda’s KODO design language known as “Soul of Motion” in which it expresses a free flowing form similar to one found in nature. Will this be the new face of future Mazdas to come? That remains to be known, but it certainly captured the hearts of every on-looker – media or not. Stay tuned next week for a spotlight on this incredible futuristic machine, a true exclusive!

The Vision Connect Drive concept from BMW had mixed reviews. Once again BMW has gone above and beyond in expressing not only their design philosophy for future generations, but more so with their technology. Looking inside the cabin feels like a vehicle from TRON as all things are digital including the door release system which can be controlled (as it was during the demonstration) through an iPad. Is the world ready for touch-sensitive and APP-related tech goods with our automobiles? Maybe not today, but the future is most certainly near.

The latest super saloon from BMW, the M5 was out in full glory. This new M5 has gone away with the previous gas-guzzling V10 (although it did sound great) in way of a high efficiency twin-turbo V8 putting out 560bhp and 502 ft-lbs of torque. The same 4.4-liter engine can be found in the M-version of the X5 and X6, although it will surely outperform in the M5 body.

After much anticipation, we are proud to announce that Jaguar is back! No, this is not your typical 60-year old driving to the golf course and back home Jaguar, this is a more youthful and raw Jaguar just as its pedigree dictates. Director of Design for Jaguar Ian Callum presented the ultimate concept from the British wild cat, the C-X16 and to no surprise flash bulbs began bursting. No vehicle in the past two decades from Jaguar has gained the admiration of enthusiasts as this. In the words of Adrian Hallmark (Global Brand Director), “The C-X16 is our compelling vision for a 21st century Jaguar sports car. It embodies the established Jaguar strengths of sensual design, animal-like agility and inspirational performance and combines these with attributes that set us on a course to create sustainable sports cars of the future.”

On the opposite side of the Jaguar show floor is their latest super car dressed in a jelly bean blue, the XKR-S. Under the bonnet sites a 5.0-litre, supercharged V8, that outputs 550bhp and 501 ft-lb of torque. 0-62mph launches are achieved in impressive 4.2-seconds and a top speed of 300km/hr (186mph). For an estimated $139,000 this boosted Jaguar could be yours – not bad considering its bite.

Ford showcased their Focus ST although not much information was given. We previously saw this awesome machine at Ford Canada’s ‘Blue Party’ last week. This European turned North American model boasts a turbocharged 2.0-liter EcoBoost 4-cylinder engine that packs a 247hp punch and 250 lb-ft of torque. This spruced up Focus is set to be available late 2012 as a 2013 model and we can’t wait to get behind the wheel.

For the Mustang fans, Ford will be releasing the Shelby GT500 later this year as a 2013 model. Big notable changes are under the hood in way of a bigger V8 (5.8-liters) and matted to an Eaton TVS supercharger for the tune of 650bhp – yes, you read correctly! Although not much is known yet, it is certain that Ford is gunning their pony against the Camaro ZL1 which doesn’t seem to be a challenge now that there’s 100hp thanks to Ford’s SVT team. Recreational burn out sessions anyone?

Ford’s luxury brand Lincoln unveiled the MKZ concept. After speaking to the chief designed named Max, it seems clear that Lincoln is back in the game and hoping to capture a slightly younger demographic with its sleeker-fluid design concept. Although minimal wouldn’t be the word to describe this MKZ concept, it is stylish and does scream for attention while wearing mother of pearl cufflinks, but of course.

Honda unveiled their latest concept creation, the Accord Coupe. Despite never being a fan of the Accord model in any variation, this concept is breath taking. The lines are perfect, the proportions are on point and the luxury exterior styling is far more appealing than that of their luxury sibling brand Acura. Like most concepts, the final production version of the Accord Coupe will differ from this – hopefully not by much.

The pièce de résistance at this years CIAS is the Acura NSX concept. Having been introduced nearly 20-years ago, Honda / Acura is celebrating a mile marker with this latest rendition of the famous mid-engine super car from the Japanese automaker. Powering the NSX will be a high-revving V6 engine matted to a hybrid motor for torque in the low end and power on top. We can’t wait to see what the final version looks like, we just hope it will captivate the hearts of consumers as with the original version developed by now deceased Formula One legend Aryton Senna.

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  1. Wow..!! Excellent coverage GC!

    Now I’m soo excited for sunday when I go to the CIAS.
    Since I’m a small sport-compact car fan I love the Mazda2 and am excited to see them compete in the CTCC.

    But then I’m a die hard honda guy and the NSX is just …… “breath in… breath out…” relax and take a slow deep breath… … I’m speechless. I [heart] the new NSX!