Automotive shows are like festivals. They give car buffs a reason to rejoice at the sight of their elusive dream, stay awestruck in the face of a futuristic vision, or simply do some window-shopping across brands in a small fraction of the time that would otherwise take quite long. It is also, in some ways, like premier fashion shows that often showcase the designer’s skill to stun, rather than actually suggest what one could wear to the next kitty party. Motor shows are made rich by the last kind, and despite being smaller in scale, considering how grand an affair it has always been, there is still enough of those showstoppers and trendsetters at the 15th edition of the Dubai International Motor Show (DIMS). The show concludes today.
Electrics: Slowly but surely
The UAE, like India, is among the regions aiming to see emphatic electric changes in the automotive map of the next decade. Unsurprisingly, signs of these are obvious in the DIMS 2019. Mercedes-Benz has chosen the platform to reveal their first ever purely electric model to the region, which is destined to reach the Indian shores too in July 2020. The Mitsubishi stall has introduced their first Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV) among SUVs, while Chevrolet proudly features the Bolt EV yet again, this time with an improved driving range of 565 km, 45 km more than what Chevrolet so far claimed. It is indeed refreshing to see that improvements and introductions are happening side by side in an industry that is still struggling to extend a warm and reassuring handshake with its enthusiasts in emerging economies. On the stellar side of the spectrum, the Dubai show has unveiled the production version of Aspark Owl, the fastest all-electric hypercar, while another celebrated presence is that of the Jaguar I-Pace, which was named ‘Green Car of The Year’ and ‘World Car of the Year’. With a 0 to 100 kmph time of 4.8 sec and a claimed 470 km range, Jaguar I-Pace makes electric cars a very attractive proposition. It is the first car to win three World Car Awards in the same year.
Dubai being one of the top 5 trending supercar destinations (according to an Instagram-based study) it isn’t surprising to see expansive real estate at the motor show dedicated to supercars. The supercar alley and classic car nostalgia are just two of the places where icons from different eras are being celebrated at the show. The brand stalls also offer their share of supercar thrills with the likes of the newly launched F8 Tributo, the new heir to Ferrari’s V8 legacy, and the brand new Corvette in its brand new mid-engined format. Not surprisingly, this supercar capital is where the Vette is first being made available outside of its parent market. Loved no less than any supercar, the Land Rover Defender — ‘the last automotive icon’ as they call it — is certainly a highlight of the show, since it just made its comeback in September.
First all-electric SUV
Standing aloof in the Mercedes stall is the new EQC, the first of their 10 all-electric models scheduled to arrive within a span of three to four years. The EQC is a midsize SUV with a range of almost 470 km according to Mercedes-Benz and can reach 80 per cent charge in just 40 minutes.
Daimler believes the future is electric and intelligent and that is exactly what the new Mercedes-Benz “EQ” product brand stands for. So, the new EQC can intelligently make use of its available charge by preconditioning the car for the road ahead, using the data from the navigation, depending on what’s coming up — a hill or a highway.
The EQC has a 0-100 kmph time of 5.1 seconds and a top speed locked at 180 kmph instead of the familiar 250 kmph. After all, at the heart of EV driving is conservation.
First-ever Plug-in Hybrid Crossover
Where electric meets fossil fuels, Mitsubishi has just introduced the Outlander PHEV, the region’s first Plug-In Hybrid SUV. This is also the first hybrid model Mitsubishi has set apart for the Indian market.
Driven by a 2.4L 4-cylinder engine and a 300 V lithium ion battery, the vehicle has an output of 224 hp. It can charge its battery even as it is driven, apart from being able to charge up to 80 per cent in just 25 minutes.
BMW 8 Series
If a car born in a partnership between the earth and the sky could be called a ‘hybrid’, the BMW Individual M850i xDrive Coupe Night Sky is one. Truly out of this world, it features controls made from meteoritic material and extra-terrestrial surface patterns.
It even reflects on its central console, the way constellations looked when spectacular meteoric showers illuminated the night sky at the beginning of this year.
Aspark Owl— fastest hypercar ever
Titan, the happy giant robot, is going bonkers in the stand where Aspark is unveiling Owl, the fastest all-electric hypercar. The figures revealed can send anyone bonkers — 0 to 60 mph (96kmph) in 1.69 seconds with a top speed of 400 kmph. The robot adds that the car could go faster but it is locked at this figure for safety reasons! Well, we believe you Titan. A car that has more than its weight in horsepower can do awesome things. The Owl weighs close to 1900 kg and generates nearly 2012 hp from its electric motors. If you think all this is good for just a lightning quick sprint, the EV range of the Aspark Owl is an inspiring 450 km! Set for handover in next April, only 50 units of this exclusive car will be made. Announced in Frankfurt in 2017, this is the first public appearance of the production model. Amid the madness, I had only one question for Masanori Yashida, CEO of Aspark – “Why owl?” While supercars is usually just plain quiet, this car is so fast, it squeaks like an owl, or so it seems. Or may be it is the active rear wing that, when deployed, makes the speeding car look like a bird of prey. So the Owl it is.
Well, the name had to be equally whacky!
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