|Review:||FastSaloons.com MPH04 Show Report|
Unlike last year we waited and did not attend the Preview night. It was a fresh Friday morning when we turned up at
Earls Court eagerly awaiting the sequel to MPH03. Last years show had been a real hit with us - it turned things on it's
head regarding what people expected from a Motorshow. It combined non-barriered, non-segregated show cars plus an all action
show. Nothing like it had been before and it really worked. Since then the British Motorshow had taken note and offered similar interactive
attractions and shows. On the whole this had worked - the scale of that event had left us quite frankly knackered! And whilst the action show was
pretty good it was far short of the one at MPH03. The combination of mayhem and Clarkson, Needell and Hamond really had the Birmingham show licked.
So there was a lot to live up to.
Live action show report to follow....
The flagship ALPINA was the companies only car at the show. The 500bhp / 516lb ft 193mph 7-series is seriously exclusive, only 1 UK owner so far. Although
another 3 have been sold pending delivery. The car's 4.4-litre supercharged engine will be also appearing in the new 5-series based B5 and 6-series based B6.
The B5 will be in the UK in pre-production form in March 2005 with sales starting in September.
Parked Next to the ALPINA B7 was the new Mitsubishi Lancer Evo MR FQ-400. The car basically looks like the rest of the range but
is enhanced with carbon fibre additions to the front - extended splitter, rear - exhaust surround and roof splitter (teeth ?).
Jeremy Clarkson mentioned during the live action show that he had recently tested one and was talking to the Mitsubishi representative/designer
about the 4.5k mile service interval. The response was don't worry about the service interval - it will use tyres quicker ! but don't worry about that it
will run out of fuel even quicker. In fact Jeremy reckons it managed 3.2 mpg !!! Given the price tag £57k one does question why ! But you
have to applaud Mitsubishi UK for having the guts to do it.
Another rare car but unlike the ALPINA not intentionally is the Phaeton. The show car was the top of the range 6.0-litre W12. I have
now had the benfit of seeing a few Phaetons, including a couple on the roads, and my initial impression seems to have been born out
namely the car is nothing more than a big Passat. It carries no charisma or menace, even in it's wildest form. The car is very good,
excellent build quality and attention to detail. But the styling - nope a big zero. Further more the whole concept of the big VW is lost on
me VW already has a successful Prestige brand Audi, not to forget it owns Bentley too. So why go to the expense of what is wildly know
as a huge lost-making car. Unpreterbed VW is said to be planning a follow up - personally I belive it when I see it.
Audi 4.0 TDi
The credible VW prestige car, Audi A8, appeared in it's semi-sensible form - diesel (albiet it 4.0-litre). The new looks move the A8 closest to
it's lower bretherin and for me that is not great. But like most Audi's getting up close does improve things. The shape and styling is well-resolved
and very effective.
Mercedes C55 AMG
Mercedes can't really appear at a motorshow without a double digit model. This time it was the runt of the pack displaying the fabled 55 AMG moniker.
The C55 AMG doesn't quite have the same power as the other AMG models but it is certainly an impressive car, especially with it's bonnet open.
Mercedes were also represented by the new SLK in 350 variant. The car looks far better in the flesh, the F1/SLR inspired nose actually works - something
I had doubted from the initial photos released. A SL500 was also present.
The most boring car of the show goes to the Citroen C5, not help by the insipid colour of the show car. Ironically the biggest news about the
new Citroen C5 is the device that recognises you dropping off. Not sure if it works if you are outside the car - expect piles of sleeping people near
the car if it doesn't.
Citroen new C4 also made it's appearance. Citroen are really trying to make these cars cool - the new C4 advert is brilliant. During the live-action show Citroen
sponsored a section which was mainly bike tricks. A red C4 valiantly tried to look exciting but ended up parking during the best bit.
Two Jaguars were at the show a strange blue XJ, strange in that it looked like a matt finish. The actual car looked good despite the colour. The spec level was pretty high with
The second Jaguar was an X-type estate.
The Quattroporte is a very good looking car in my book. I've started seeing more of them on the road including a very nice dark blue one in London which looked the biz.
The show car was in dark grey.
A Coupe was also there.
Rolls Royce Phantom
Unlike the rest of the cars which on the whole were parked in Rows. The Rolls had it's own roped off area. Nothing seems to
come close in terms of sense of occasion. The car looks colossal and exudes cool. The show car was in a burgundy, I have still not
seen a colour that looks wrong on this car.
Subaru Impreza / Legacy
Subaru was one of a few manufacturers with their own stand. On it was the current WRC car; The lastest Impreza Sti type UK and Legacy 3.0R.
In addition they were represented elsewhere by David Hendry Cars who are Subaru (and TVR) dealers. They were at the show with an Impreza and Legacy estate.
They are UK importers of ZeroSports performance parts and styling. Given my new Subaru ownership I was obviously keen on finding out what was available.
Non-Saloon cars to follow.....