Motorexpo London – cars take over Canary Wharf
Canary Wharf is the home of London’s fast-paced banking sector, where employees work hard and play hard, which is why it makes an ideal location for a motor show. Motorexpo, the UK’s free motor show, is held in and around Canary Wharf featuring a whole range of motoring brands to excite the passionate car-fanatics as well as acting as the ideal opportunity to market high-end products to the right sort of clientele. The eclectic mix of cars on exhibition vary between prestige classics, budget hatchbacks, electric vehicles to ultra-rare supercars. Motorexpo’s popularity has grown year upon year, reflected by manufacturers choosing it to showcase their new vehicles to the UK public for the first time; this year’s show premièred the Mercedes-Benz A Class, the BMW 6-Series Gran Coupe, the Kia Cee’d, the Chrysler 300C and the Jaguar XF Sportbrake. Many of the manufacturers participated in Motorexpo’s “DriveME” test drive scheme, allowing potential customers to sample the cars on show around the City’s streets. Ensuring the local traffic congestion was filled with some automotive exotica from the likes of Ferrari, Lamborghini and Bentley but not forgetting the eco-friendly Vauxhall Amperas, Tesla Roadsters and Nissan Leafs.
For the car connoisseurs, H&H Classics put on a display of their private sale collection with some of the rarest and best cars and automobilia on the planet. The star of the collection was the Lamborghini Reventón, one of only 20 examples in the world which were all sold before the car was launched at the 2007 Frankfurt motor show. The Reventón is up for sale at a staggering £1,000,000! The Lamborghini’s looks are inspired by an F-22 fighter jet, and with the 650 bhp V12 engine it’ll take you to near fighter jet speeds on the road, 0-62 mph takes just 3.4 seconds. With the striking military-like matt grey paintwork the car was like nothing else in the Supercars and Superclassics exhibition, it drew in the businessmen like moths to a flame. We wonder if any of them were prepared to part with all that money to use it for the daily commute into the City?
The 1963 Jaguar E-Type Lightweight No.14 was also for sale, built using the last remaining parts of the 12 Lightweight E-Type racing specials. This example has been restored to the original condition and “Works” specification, being close to it is like being transported back in time to an era when Jaguars were conquering the racing world, and although this is ideally for the ultimate E-Type collector or museum, there’s a temptation to take it to La Sarthe and give it a good old thrash!
Land Rover Experience
A journey through the Jubilee Park showed some historic military and expedition Land Rover Defenders parked up on the lawns alongside some of their Land Rover and Range Rover modern-day equivalents. Parking their vehicles on the grass isn’t enough for Land Rover however, the best way of showing all the technology and engineering that makes Land Rover world leaders in 4×4 vehicles is to give fans and customers a working demonstration. We rode shotgun in a Discovery around the Land Rover Experience obstacle course, which featured some extreme humps and bumps for the Discovery and Range Rover to tackle. The cars were all fitted with standard tyres to demonstrate that in all weather conditions and terrains, the low-range gearing and 4×4 system is well prepared and suitable for the toughest of challenges. The extra safety features on the Land Rover Discovery were also put to good use with kerbside, front and rear cameras all displayed on the centre console screen to alert the driver of any hazards that may not be easily seen in such a large car.
Jaguar XF Sportbrake’s UK debut
Inside the lobby of Canary Wharf tower was Jaguar’s latest model , the XF Sportbrake, the estate variant of Jaguar’s saloon car was launched at this year’s Geneva motor show. The show car from Geneva is a fully working production model which has been taken exclusively to Motorexpo for the UK preview. The car itself promises the same luxury and build quality as the standard XF, and will also continue to provide Jaguar’s excellent 2.2 diesel and 3.0 litre petrol engines found in the XF saloon. The bigger boot means the car is good for 550 litres to fill with whatever you choose – whether it be Champagne boxes, luggage or golf clubs. With the rear seats folded down the Sportbrake can hold up to an impressive 1,675 litres. Jaguar will be filling their dealerships with the Sportbrake in early autumn which is set to be a big seller for the brand, who have been absent from the estate car market since the X-Type finished production.
The new Mercedes-Benz A-Class
Mercedes’ new compact car won’t be in showrooms until next year but the final design of this model has been shown to Motorexpo visitors to heighten their interests in the new car. It features a class leading multimedia system with internet connectivity, a radar-based collision avoidance system, LED daytime running lights and environmentally-friendly engines for the first time for Mercedes with just 98 g of CO2 per km.
Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8
Tucked away on the lawn of Canada Square Park was Jeep’s new Q-car, the Grand Cherokee SRT8 – from a distance it may appear to be the family school-run SUV, but on close inspection the sharp spoked alloys and bulky brembo brakes hinted that this car is something special. Under the hood lies a HEMI V8 engine with 461 bhp which gives the car a top speed of 160 mph and a 0-60 time of 4.9 seconds. The American muscle power with family practicality costs from £58,995 on the road.
Chrysler’s luxury saloon has been completely revamped with sleek new styling upgrades to put Chrysler back in the premium car market game. The car features luxury Nappa leather, adaptive cruise control, multimedia and smartphone connectivity and a dual-pane panoramic sunroof. The 300C’s led lights and stately chromework on the grille give it a menacing but esteemed impression to the passing pedestrians. The 300C’s 3.0 litre V6 turbodiesel engine produces an acceptable 236 bhp, not the most powerful in its class compared to the German rivals but it certainly beats its rivals for price; starting at £35,995, offering high-end luxury European barge quality at a fraction of the price.
The best of the rest
The Ferrari FF was attracting a fair amount of attention, Ferrari’s shooting brake design is certainly edgy but it has allowed Ferrari to create a practical model to seat 4 people comfortably along with a sensible boot. The dealer representative told me its the best Ferrari he’s driven, and would take one over the 458 Italia due to the amazing performance from Ferrari’s four-wheel drive system and the sheer noise of that V12 engine under the bonnet.
The Vauxhall Ampera is the UK’s version of the Chevrolet Volt, the series hybrid runs a petrol engine to remove the range anxiety faced by standard electric cars giving a total range of 360 miles. The 4-seater hybrid features an impressive 8 year warranty on the battery and was recently voted European Car of the Year 2012. The base model of the Ampera starts at £29,995 inclusive of the government’s £5,000 plug-in vehicle subsidy.
Bentley’s new 4.0 litre V8 unit has naturally found its way into the drop-top Continental. The Continetal GTC V8 is good for 180 mph whilst surprisingly achieving remarkable fuel efficiency – with a tank of petrol capable of over 500 miles. The engine’s efficiency is due to the variable displacement and innovative engine management systems capable of switching between eight and four cylinders when sensing light throttle loads. The clever unit means you’ll get all of the grunt of a V8 when powering down the motorway but remaining efficient when cruising through the city.
This year’s Motorexpo has been the biggest yet, for more images of the exciting cars on show be sure to check out our facebook gallery. We’d thoroughly recommend a visit if you can make it along to Canary Wharf before the show closes on the 17th June, admission is free. Information from the show’s organisers can be found at motorexpo.com.