I took the last chance today to visit the IAA (tomorrow the normal public days are beginninng and thats no no pleasure, to crowdy and almost impossible to visit the "hot" stands).
I must say I enjoyed it more than in 2007 and 2005, it was less crowdy than on the trade visitors days last time. And there were more interesting debuts.
I use the show to have a look at rare and/or luxury cars and a few brands I´m interested in as well as visiting staff people I know.
In top down order. You wont want take a seat in a Phantom sweating after a whole day of the show. So RR
and Bentley came first, and both had fantastic new models. Both brands had very friendly and helpful staff who didnt bother to take 20 minutes or more to show me the new Ghost and the Mulsanne and the other models.
The new RR
Ghost is a breathtaking car. Just fantastic inside and out. Noble, inobtrusive, just stunning. Its build-quality is the best I´ve seen ever, in any car. And despite its superior power it has far less emissions than the competitor from Bentley (more than 20%). I give it 5*****+.
The Phantom EWB seems like from another planet. Anybody who hasnt got 25 million or more in his pocket at least looks stupid in it. The rear compartment in the EWB are the most lofty and Royal sqm´s on the show. And inside you dont hear nothing from what is around.
The Mulsanne looks better than on pictures, though not as perfect as the RR
Ghost from certain angles. The showcar was in a very attractive dove blue. But imho the nicest car on the Bentley stand wasnt the Mulsanne, it was the new sports GT
, wonderful in Quarzite grey with oxblood interior. The white GT
Convertible with bicolor interior wasnt my cup of tea on the other hand. Too much Paris Hilton.
Onward to Aston Martin. The new Rapide has just been voted the most beautiful car worldwide. And its damn beautiful. The built quality and leather though is clearly inferior to RR
. I couldnt manage to enter the rear. It was such a pain a woman asked me if she could take a picture of my attempts to get in. well, all is different in the front. Just great.
On to its competitor, the new Panamera from Porsche. Better looking than on pictures, from the outside its still no match with the Rapide. But from the inside it is. The dashboard is wonderful, and the car is spacious and practical.
I didnt get on the Ferrari stand. Too crowded, the waiting line too long. The new Italia is fantastic, an absolute beauty. Thats all I can say here.
Allright, I´m through with the absolute upper class then. Mercedes, the most expensive stand: Interesting the idea of showing original historic cars and modern inspired cars parallel to each other, like the Stirling Moss SL
. The SLS Gullwing great, but somehow not in the league of the cars described before. A bit too big, massive. The new S Hybrid I liked very much, as well as the special edition matte gunsilver CLS. I dont like the new E.
The Maybach? Forget it, if there´s a car that shouts nouveau rich like no other, its the Maybach. Imho that small, half-fake brand is dead.
Down to earth, a bit:
BMW. I dont know, no real stunner there as much as I could see. The new 5-series GT
not bad, but very expensive for an upper middle class business express.
Jaguar. The new XJ
is a huge break with tradition. No wood, no round lamps, sacrilege! But not bad a t all. And very, very big.
The Audi 5 Sportback wonderful in S5
version in bright red, but somewhat boring in standard version in white. White? Too many white cars around anyway, almost everywhere from VW
to Mazda, from Mercedes to Audi, Fiat to Lexus, which isnt good for most models.
The Artega sportscar is nice and indeed has some similarities with the new Ferrari.
Alfa´s though is all red, rosso competizione to be exact, the most stunning colour on the show and on sale from next summer, at a hefty premium of 2500 Euros.
Btw, there were some interesting colours on the show: Besides Alfa I have to mention Audi with a gorgeous ipanema-brown, Mercedes with the gunsilver CLS.
Down to earth, a lot:
Fiat 500 Lounge (Semi-Convertible): a sweet little car for your girlfiend or wife.
Abarth: hot and pretty Fiats presented by absolute beauties.
Polo: from the outside a pretty little Golf, inside just boring.
Opel Astra: pretty outside, best car Opel has ever built in this somewhat boring category.
Ugliest car of the show: the matte black Brabus Mercedes E One-in-ten. A zillion horsepower at the price of 3 S-classes, with the taste of a rich St. Pauli pimp. No, worse!
Stands you can forget imho (no new models, or no nice ones): Ford, Citroen, Hyundai, ...
General observations: The crisis leads to more modest stands. There are no shows (just at VW
I saw one), there are no brochures for everyone anymore above middle-class level. And a few brands didnt show up at all, fortunately mostly low-interest brands like Nissan or Mitsubishi. I didnt see US GM
brands. No Cadillac, no Chevy, no Hummer (Chrysler was there though). And you get to see the wellknown omnipresent Japanese or Chinese engineer with long checklists testing every detail, especially the entertainment systems/on-board computers of new European cars.
There´s one thing no brand saves money on: pretty girls (who often have no clue what car they are presenting).