As the 2018 Canadian International Auto Show (CIAS) rolls through town this week, it offers most people a titillating taste of things that were, things that are and potentially things that will be in the automotive world. Among the things I saw during the media scrum on Thursday, here’s what really resonated with me most.
Land of the rising Red Suns
While there wasn’t much to show for regarding Mazda’s upcoming revolutionary Spark Controlled Compression Ignition (SCCI) technology in its upcoming SkyActivTM engines (see how it works here as explained by the wonderful Engineering Explained), they had a gigantic display of all of its automotive history. Ranging from the delightful late 60s, coupé Cosmo to the ever venerable Miata (I refuse to call it a MX-5). To me, there is a special place in my heart for the timeless shape and proportion of the RX7 in FD3S chassis form. And boy did they have the perfect one on display: bright yellow with next to no added dressup. It literally screams out for Initial D’s Keisuke Takahashi to dress it up and go record smashing all the mountain roads in the anime. The flowing form that envelopes the bubble cockpit is just enough to evoke all things great about the golden age of Japanese sports cars from the 90s. Rotary issues be damned, I want one. Shout out to Liam Hall for actually having one dammit.
With the world’s fastest production car in the house (literally the one that broke the record for 0 to 400 km/h and back to 0 in 36.44s), the Koenigsegg Agera RS, we were also graced with the presence of Christian Von Koenigsegg himself in a pre-show opening interview. In a perfect complement to his humble but enthusiastic demeanor, he was dressed in a simple sport jacket and jeans combo but with shoes worthy of a getaway drive. As the interview progressed from the car’s introduction, it got slightly cringe worthy when Christian was asked whether Koenigsegg had any plans for a Sport Utility Vehicle or why anyone would buy the Agera RS in Toronto where snow and 100 km/h speed limits exist. Unwavering and unhesitatingly, Christian gave an answer that left the enthusiast, engineer and public relations person in me beaming: SUVs have a higher center of gravity and thus not ideal for being the best sports car and thus not a goal worth chasing. Regarding the snow and speed limit issue, he politely reminded that he is from Sweden and that we have great legal ways to enjoy the vehicle, even at low speeds. While he didn’t say it, Ängelholm, where Koenigsegg’s factory is located, gets pretty much the same winter precipitation as Toronto with far less salting. Christian’s handling of this interview alone is enough to sell me on the car – if I were ever able to afford one at it’s $2.5 million Canadian price tag.
USA! USA! USA!
Ford’s produced some of the funnest overall lineups in the past 5 years with the release of the ST trims in the Fiesta and Focus models. Bringing the halo shine to its brand is the renewed Ford GT which was on full display at the show. While nothing more needs to be said about how ridiculously capable this made-in-Canada (by Multimatic) vehicle is, it needs to reiterated at how important this vehicle is worldwide. It shows that the Americans can compete and win against exotics of the world if they really wanted to and could undercut them at the same time. Everything on this car screams of engineering taken to the nth degree: from the air vents to the ducting to the slight gaps in the windows to allow for minimal drag, this car was designed to beat the best and remind the world of the sleeping giant that the Ford really can be.
어디든 가치가 있는 곳으로 가려면 지름길은 없다
Everyone my age or older has harped on the Koreans at one point or another about being producers of rust buckets and econoboxes that really underscored how poor you were to be only able to afford these vehicles. Yet, here you are now. As the subtitle of this section says: there are no shortcuts to any place worth going. That is seed and essence of the young Genesis brand. The Koreans, much like the Japanese before them, have rapidly assimilated lessons from previous forays and have given birth to a brand worthy of the luxury class. Having set foot in North America as a separate entity since 2015 with the flagship, full size, CEO-worthy G90, it has since expanded its lineup to the utterly amazing mid size G80 and now the compact sport sedan G70 powered by an utterly delectable 3.3 liter turbo. The build quality, the power, the smoothness and overall classiness of the brand cannot be understated. The Koreans have hit their mark and they have officially declared themselves in the luxury performance game. Do yourself a favour and please test drive a G70 if you’re looking for a particular German fighter.
Keep on trucking… without a truck
As a bucket list thing of mine, I want to eventually drive across North America and hit up all the famous tracks that we have on this great continent in my Honda S2000. However, after my trip out East to Cabot Trail in 2016, I found that the constant drone of 4000 RPMs on the highway for hours on end can become tiring. So when I stumbled upon the amazingly configurable Mercedes Sprinter 4×4 cargo van at the show, I immediately had a nerdgasm. The thing can come with a queen size bed built into the back. Depending on your engine size, it can tow anywhere between 2,268 kg (5000 lbs) all the way up to 3,402 kg (7,500lbs). And best of all, the fuel economy is rated at a respectable 12.4 L/100km … diesel. At a price tag of somewhere in the high 50k range, this thing is far more useful and liveable than a truck and doubles as mobile bedroom should track funds leave me dry for hotels. This beast can not only house me and haul a trailer with my S2000 on it, it can bring tools, wheels, tires and parts. Imagine driving out to California in this thing and then letting the S2000 loose on roads like Tail of the Dragon, Pacific Coast Highway, Pikes Peak? I LOVE THIS THING AND I WANT ONE NAOW.