The 94th Vancouver International Auto Show, held at the Vancouver Convention Centre, doesn’t disappoint. The show features a selection of cars never before seen in Western Canada, including the North American debut of an exotic sports car from a certain British manufacturer with deep roots in Formula One: the McLaren 650S.
Not every nameplate had something new to unveil on opening day, but Jaguar Land Rover stunned audiences early on in the auto show season with the introduction of the Range Rover Autobiography Black, and has brought the vehicle to wow viewers in Vancouver too. The company calls this the “pinnacle of the line-up”, and rightly so, as it features high-grade perforated Semi Aniline leather seats, a leather headliner, a 1700-watt Meridian sound system, a 510-horsepower 5.0-litre supercharged V8 engine, and an optional cooler compartment in the front console.
Next door, BMW’s booth relives the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia, adorned with pictures of athletes posing with medals—a reference to the company’s involvement as an ongoing sponsor for the Canadian Olympic Team. Even gold medalist and BMW owner Kaillie Humphries made a surprise appearance. Sports aside, taking centre stage is the fully electric 170-horsepower BMW i3 hatchback, and the Batmobile-esque 362-horsepower BMW i8 hybrid sports coupe that has a top speed of 250 kilometres per hour and an amazing fuel consumption rating of just 2.5 litres per 100 kilometres.
Another German brand has a trio of redesigned vehicles to show off. Audi Canada president Wolfgang Hoffman stated at a presentation on press day, “Last year when I introduced the RS7 I said that this would be the car I would be driving for the rest of my life … So then I had to correct myself… now my choice would be the Audi S8.” The full-size luxury performance sedan now sports Matrix LED headlights that have 50 ultra-bright diodes in each lamp, continuously shifting light to provide maximum coverage while avoiding blinding oncoming drivers.
In other Audi news, the A3 has been transformed to a more conventional sedan shape for 2015, and Audi introduced the new Q3 compact SUV to compete in the popular crossover market. “Audi stands for sophistication, progressiveness, and for sportiness,” Hoffman says. “I think with this lineup we have proven one more time that we are sticking true to our claim: ‘Vorsprung durch Technik’, [meaning] advancement through technology. Audi cars are at the top of the range; we will fulfill our claim of producing only the very best cars.”
Also entering the crossover fray is the brand new 2015 Lincoln MKC, the marque’s first such offering. Available this summer, it resembles a more upscale Ford Escape with all-wheel drive, adaptive suspension, and the choice of a 2.0-litre or 2.3-litre turbocharged EcoBoost engine making 240 horsepower per 270 lb-ft of torque and 285 horsepower per 305 lb-ft, respectively.
Tucked in the corner of the massive convention hall, behind a velvet rope, is the exotic vehicle showcase. Sports cars such as the 2014 Maserati Quattroporte, Bentley Continental GT convertible, Lamborghini Aventador LP700-4, and Ferrari California are some of the showstoppers on display. Guests will also find a 2015 Aston Martin V12 Vantage S here—the brand’s fastest acceleration production car to date (with the exception of the limited-edition, and sold-out, One-77 hypercar)—boasting a massive 6.0-litre V12 engine borrowed from the manufacturer’s flagship Vanquish that will propel drivers from 0 to 100 kilometres per hour in a mere 3.9 seconds.
Pfaff Automotive Partners, which handles McLaren in Canada, unveiled the 650S supercar for the first time in North America this past Tuesday. Slotted in the lineup between the range-topping P1 hybrid and the slightly more practical MP4-12C, the 650S fuses the two together into a 641-horsepower beast backed by a twin turbo V8. Borrowing styling cues from the P1, the front bumper has an integrated splitter, providing much-needed downforce. Door blades help smooth out airflow for improved aerodynamics. The 650S is available in both coupe and spider form with a retractable hard top—and for those so inclined, Pfaff is now taking orders.
Photos: Benjamin Yong.