Reunion of GTI, GTR, RS and a i8
Everything from Alfa to Volkswagen under one roof. Special exhibition discounts, very many different cars, some real nice sportsters and a big car pool for testing. That sounds pretty good to me and that is why I did take a closer look for you. Did I make it to a test drive with the Nissan GTR, did I – being 6’5’’ tall – fit in the all new Mazda MX-5 and how is living in the BMW i8? You will find out – right here and right now!
Unfortunately Munich is not the world capitol of great car exhibitions. But there is one little bright spot and that`s the Munich „Autotage“ every spring. The „Autotage“ are a part of the f.re.e. and even if f.re.e. sounds a bit like the evil organization of an old James Bond movie it`s just the travel- and recreation fair. First of all it’s important to understand that the Autotage are a sales fair. That means its not a car makers fair, instead it`s more a car dealer fair. Many of the car dealers of the Munich area exhibit their cars and sell them right away. Every time a car gets sold you can hear a very loud „Congratulations another car is sold. We like to give the new owner a free bottle of champagne.“ throughout the hall. Actually you hear this pretty often, so obviously many cars get sold within a day and so I thought, lets see if I am also ready for something new and of course – a free bottle of champagne.
Accompanied by a workmate we start at Alfa Romeo, where a sporty 4C with the well known 240 hp engine is waiting for us. I didn’t had a chance for a test drive of the car so far and more than that, I did not even saw it from the inside. So, I would like to give that a try and see if I will fit in this tiny, low sports-car. Unfortunately the car is locked like many other of the more expensive rides at the exhibition and neither good words nor money did open the doors. To be honest I did not try it with money, but at least with a lot of good words. Well, I could not afford the 58.000 Euro on the price-tag anyway and so I decide to move on to the next small sports-car.
The all new Mazda MX-5 welcomes me in shiny black. So far, I always liked the design of the car but it was always to small for me and I was not even able to enter one of the old MX-5. But 30.440 Euro for the displayed model with 17 rims, 160hp and nice leather seats sounds promising to me, so again – I give it a try. After performing contortions I finally made it behind the steering wheel of my first MX-5. Miracles happen! The car is really grown up. But than of course, I would still kill all the flies on the Autobahn with my forehead and I had to steer the car with my knees, but we are moving in the right direction. That is the fourth generation of the famous roadster and maybe the seventh generation in the future will be just right for me!
But until than, I move on to the exhibition stand from BMW. One of the highlights is waiting for me and many others here. People are gathering around a BMW i8 and in the opposite to many other top-cars – it`s open. That is probably the right moment to say thank you to the folks of BMW because after paying 8 Euro for parking and 10 Euro for entrance fee, this is exactly what makes such a sales fair worthwhile. So, I stand in line for a while and after some time, when I finally get my shot to enter the spaceship like car, I look into a spaceship like entrance. Very, very close to the ground I see a modern bucket-seat far away hidden behind the very wide sides. My only chance is just dropping down in front of about 3 dozen of people and photographers and hope that everything will work out fine. Well it did not work out fine. A guy my size had obviously the same stupid idea entering the car the same way at the same moment from the passenger seat side. Our heads did bang together in the middle. But we had a good laugh and all was fine. After that, I was sitting in one of those cars which does not explain itself, even to an experienced car tester like me. It blinks, it shines and you ask yourself how great it would be to float over the streets with it. Unfortunately I will never figure it out because of the price-tag which shows a bit more than 140.000 Euro. That is why I decide to take a look at some of the cheaper fun-cars.
Let`s see what we can get here for – let`s say: 25.000-35.000 Euro. Back to the start and back to Alfa Romeo. A Giulietta Quadrifoglio Verde with 240hp, 18 rims, navigation, nice bucket seats, a lot of space and italian flair in series is offered for 31.490 instead of 38.000 Euro. This sounds good, I sit good and because I have driven the car before I can also say, it drives good.
A little less power with a little less weight for a little less money awaits me at Abarth. A 595C Turismo in scorpione black, with super sexy red leather seats, 160hp, 17 rims, navigation and the interscope hifi system is offered for 25.900 Euro. Did I mention that I already fell in love with those little scorpion cars years ago? If I would only be 10 centimeters shorter, I would have already bought one or two.
So I sit there for a while and dream about italian mountain roads before my dreams change and I see hippies and flowers in my hear. That brings me to the Beetle „Lounge“ with 150hp and the famous DSG. A lot of space, a sliding roof, the cool R-design package with a perfect color combination for only 30.790 Euro. Here you get a great lifestyle car for all year round. Not sporty enough? Luckily we are offering coilover kits and sport springs for the beetle here at ap for quiet some time now.
Not yet convinced? I got one more for you. How about luxury from Lexus? You can get the CT200h for only 30.790 instead of 35.650 Euro right here at the exhibition stand. Well, I have to admit I do not particularly like the grey color of the car but still, you get a very modern premium hybrid car with the sport-design- and the comfort-plus-package as well as a navigation- and an upscale hifi System.
But what if you want to spend some more money and get some more power? Well, let`s see! There is a GTi with 272hp, fully equipped with navigation, 19 rims, LED headlights and everything you may think of for as less as 37.925 Euro. And just in case you are a lover of the german cars from Wolfsburg, I am not talking about what you may think. I am talking about a Peugeot 308 GTi.
The GTI at the Volkswagen exhibition stand comes with 230hp for 45.749 Euro. It`s also fully loaded and it`s a legend of it`s own.
A white Skoda Octavia 2,0 TSI RS shooting brake comes with some goodies from ABT tuning and that means 290hp, big wheels and a lot of sportiness. Normally it sells for 47.000 Euro, here you can get it for 39.900.
Sounds good to me but back to Lexus. The RC 200 Coupe is a really good looking and very well designed premium sports-car. Perfect from the outside, nicely done on the inside, fully packed with premium goodies, a 245hp engine and with a price-tag of 57.770 Euro. To much for me, so I rather take a look at the Ford exhibition. The guys from cologne are telling us on regular basis in there new television spots that they are one step further. Well, we will see.
And I have to admit, probably they are right because they have at least 2 great fun and sports-cars for under 50.000 Euro on sale. The first is the new Mustang convertible. The yellow car comes with the 4 cylinder eco-boost engine which delivers 317hp to the street. The second is the brand-new Ford Focus RS with 4-wheel-drive, launch-control, 350hp and 266km/h high speed. This could be one of the best stock compact sports-cars ever. I am really looking forward to test drive it. But one thing is for sure, you did not find that much emotion and sportsmanship at a german Ford dealer for a very long time.
Was that it? No! I found some more good stuff for you. Audi displays it`s e-gas project. Mitsubishi offers a Lancer with the 117hp MIVEC engine in white with fine black 18 rims for as less as 13.990 Euro. It reminds me a bit at my Evo X and I have to say it`s really sad, that Mitsubishi is not building any of those sports-cars anymore. I am desperately waiting for a new Evo, a new Eclipse and a 3000GT. Until than, I have to go to Nissan and right there it is, my personal dream car for quiet some years, the Nissan GTR Black Edition with 550hp. Because Racecar! Unfortunately the GTR is also locked. And while I am still staring at the GTR my fellow workmate is more interested in the every day cars and he takes a look at the new X-Trail. A friendly and good looking hostess offers us a test drive with the RV and explains us with a smile: „You can test drive almost every car here at the exhibition.“ While we are making our way out to the parking lot I answer: „I assume you mean every car except the GTR“. Unfortunately I was right and so we are heading for a ride in the X-Trail instead of getting chills and thrills in the GTR.
At least, the possibility to test drive dozens of cars right here is a very nice supplement offering of the exhibition. All in all I have to say we had a couple of nice hours there. We did not buy a car but we learned some, saw some and laughed some. So, it`s all good.
Text: Andreas Leffler
Pictures: Andreas Leffler