Saturday, January 2, 2010
Surprisingly, the bankrupt General Motors daughter was quite strongly represented at the Taipei Car Show.
Totally absent were: the rest of the GM House of Horrors including Opel, all Italian car brands you can think of, Renault and Citroen from France.
Present: China's Chery whose cars I had never seen before, Taiwan's new Luxgen brand with the minibus and the even newer SUV, South Korea's Hyundai with a car that looked like a cheap Chinese Mercedes S-class ripoff, and of course all the big Japanese and German guys. Europe's car of the year, the tiny Volkswagen Polo, had just one modest yellow version present. Still, a well-spent morning at the Taipei Car Show. But next time, include the Italians.
The Cayenne was the first sign that something was happening in Porscheland, an SUV or a Porsche on stilts.
The next find: a Porsche for people who want to sit in the back of a car. The Panamera. With a car like a Porsche, you probably want to sit behind the wheel.
Let's hope the merger with Volkswagen only gives them good ideas, not Baby Porsches.
I'm not one for concept cars but here is one I've been hearing a lot about for a long time: the Mercedes F700, no doubt a model for any future S-class or for the successor to the Maybach superMerc.
It looks a bit Alien and Predator at the front with the heavy grille and the Man with the Iron Mask type headlights, but it's still a car worth mentioning. Even if I had the money, I wouldn't be buying it though. If I had the money, I'd probably be looking at one of their convertibles which were not at the show, such as the CLK and SLK.
The brand new Jaguar XJ to me was the revelation of the Taipei Car Show. It was also my biggest headache.
Because of all the sharp spotlights positioned around the car, I had an extremely tough time trying to take a picture that made the car look less than a reflection of those lights. By the time I got more or less successful, the show had started and this Coco Lee lookalike was positioned next to the car.
Talking about the car, I hadn't even seen a picture of it before I visited the show this morning, so expecting to see the XF coupes, I was totally blown away by this saloon. Heavy, I heard a woman behind me say. Not half as heavy looking as the Mercedes S-class or the BMW 7-series, I thought. Congratulations, Tata and the Jaguar designers. You have a winner.
The pictures are nothing special, but the cars are great. This one is the new Bentley Continental Super Sports. Apart from its high price and high speed, it's also known for being environmentally friendly: its fuel is any mixture of gasoline and ethanol. You decide how much of which fuel you put in the tank, though I'd be hard-pressed to know where in Taiwan you could find ethanol. Anyway, a great car, one I would want to see James Bond drive in one of his next movies. Note also the Aston Martins in the background.