My visit to the 2011 Canadian International Auto Show

Today is Monday, the 21st of 2011 and it’s Family day. It’s also Ontario’s awesome ‘made-up’ Holiday. However, no one here has an issue with that – Holidays are always welcomed, and it’s usually on holidays that things can be done. Things like visiting the 2011 Canadian Auto Show at the Toronto Metro Convention center. It’s like a perfect sequence of events. So I decided to capitalize on the holiday and headed downtown with a friend. The last time I visited the Auto Show was back in 2006. Every year since then, something or the other stopped me from attending the Auto Show, and this year I decided to make sure I make a visit. After spending nearly thirty minutes to find a parking lot NOT full we parked, and sped-walked as fast we could to the convention center. To ensure that our memories from the trip lasted more than a few hours in our brains, we even brought along a DSLR to take pictures. Purchased the tickets ($20 this year), and walked in withholding our excitement. After browsing a few Korean and reliable Japanese brands (debatable, I know) we realized how small the Auto Show had really become. It’s like all the brands were forced to showcase their ‘best-sellers’ and not really their prototypes or concepts like I remembered from 2006 (pre-recession it seems). We then moved to see a few other North American brands and then moved to the German ones. Audi shocked everyone by placing the Audi R8 hardtop and the Spyder on the floor, not on the podium and open for everyone to sit, abuse and admire like an owner of the super-car. It killed me a bit too, to see it literally getting it’s door slammed by complete morons at the Auto Show as well. I’m pretty sure Audi was the ONLY car manufacturer brave enough to open up it’s $150K+ car to everyone, as I don’t recall any other manufacturer doing the same. I was however surprised to see Lexus showcase their Halo super-car the Lexus LFA. [singlepic id=2 w=480 h=320 float=center]

It’s an engineering marvel, and I’d STRONGLY recommend watching the Top Gear review for it. In the Nissan section however, the Black Edition 2012 GTR was placed in a corner, easily forgettable – and I really wondered why the hell would Nissan place it’s masterpiece in a corner not clearly visible, I mean, it’s the Godzilla of the automotive world, and my friend with me, a 2010 GTR owner was shocked to see the same! Now, if you folks know me – you know I’m a gamer and a car nut, and by definition it means I’ve played the Need for Speed series and Gran Turismo 5. I was expecting to see some of the rare exotics and hyper cars as well at this Auto Show.

Guess what? My hopes were crushed when I realized that NONE of the hyper cars made by Pagani, Koenigsegg, Noble, Ariel, Lamborghini, McLaren, Bugatti etc. were present.

I essentially saw two new exotics to North America by Ferrari (599 and the 458), two by Lamborghini (Gallardo, and Murciélago), Maserati’s Quattroporte, The Rolls Royce Ghost, Bentley Continental GT and Aston Martin Rapide. I also saw Canada’s first super car, made by HTT called the Plethore LC 750. This car has some impressive stats, but has no lap times around the Nürburgring, so I’m going to have my reservations till I see some real numbers, and a review on Top Gear for it. The fact that I was able to list all the cars in this paragraph alone tells you how much of a let down this Auto Show was. Where was the Porsche 918 Spyder? Zonda Clinque? Veyron 16.4? I can go on and on, but basically – the exotic and hyper cars that SHOULD be present at an Auto Show, were NOT.

The real kicker is – all these cars ALWAYS make appearances in L.A., Geneva and Tokyo Auto Shows, but never make it all the way here.

All in all, the show was NOT worth the $20 for looking at mostly domestic cars.  I can see these cars on the streets and around my neighborhood for FREE. Every car in that show is present on the Canadian Streets except for the Audi A7 (beautiful piece of engineering might I add). 

But we also had a chance to visit the Mercedes-Benz owners lounge because my friend had his car keys with him, however the lounge could fit barely 10 people in there – Mercedes, you clearly know you’ve got a huge number of owners yet you didn’t plan this accordingly? The snacks and the drinks however were awesome.

Fun fact: If you plan to attend the show, grab your or your friends Mercedes and BMW keys since only those two have decent owner lounges, and the free drinks will save you from the daylight robbery at the show, $4 for a bottle of water!

So, if you plan to attend the auto show, I suggest you just walk around downtown, or drive by Mississauga road. You’ll see the exact same selection of super/exotic cars in the show and will have saved the $20. It seems like the recession is still showing it’s effects on these manufacturers, and I’m still hoping the future Auto Show’s will have a solid showcase of hyper cars, and more concept and prototypes on the show.

Thanks for stopping by!