Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Montreal Auto Show 1:1 scale

Here is an eclectic selection of pics from the Montreal Auto Show, on this week. First up: a $233,000 car (plus taxes).

Next, the trunk of a $233,000 car (plus taxes). Do you figure an airline-compliant roll-on bag fits in there?

Looks like Toyota is angling for the George Jetson market with this one. I wonder if it flies.

Nissan offers this new approach to the Sport Urban Vehicle (SUV). C3PO is perched on the roof and scans for traffic jams ahead, the torpedoes serve to clear a way through said traffic jams, and the thrusters get you through before the local constabulary has time to react. I want one.

The VW stand was pretty sparse, almost as if they pulled a bunch of models at the last minute ... oh wait, they did pull a bunch of models at the last minute. My bad.

My fave was the luscious new Volvo V90. Given the poor availability of the weaponry on the Nissan SUV above, I want one of these. I am not sure what people have against a proper luxury wagon, as opposed to a brutal tank-like SUV that you need a ladder, or at least a motorised step plate, to get into. BMW still offers a Touring version of the 3-series, but the 5-series wagon, along with the various Audi (A6, A4) and Mercedes (E and S-class) wagons available in Europe, are all missing in action here, replaced with X5s, ML 350s and Q5s. The Audi A4 Allroad is close but manages to look like a wannabe SUV, and has less room inside than my current V60. Audi once offered the RS6 in wagon form, and Volvo offered a Polestar version of the V60 ... why not an M5, E63 AMG or RS7 wagon? Yee haw! and it will carry groceries too, not to mention fitting in underground parking lots.

I drove 2 hours this morning through freezing rain to get to the show, and I took full advantage of the best new feature since the heated seat: the electrically heated windscreen. This wonderful feature on my V60 kept the freezing slop from freezing on the windshield. What a wonderful invention; this is an absolute must-have in your next car if you live in a Northern climate. And the AWD kept the whole package on the straight and narrow.

The only real flaw I could see in the V90 is the minuscule little doorway for passing skis through the rear seat. Not only is it small, but it is raised off the cargo floor, so your skis will be balancing there, bobbing up and down like a see-saw. I am not sure what they were thinking there; the rear seat in the V60 works much better. Also the venerable turbocharged 2.5 litre 5 cylinder motor, which makes a decent 250 hp and is tough as old boots, has been replaced with a 2.0 litre 4 with both a turbo and a supercharger. I bought my V60 partly on the basis of testimonials from a large number of colleagues who have put over 300,000 km on their 2.5s. Making 316 hp, the numbers for the new engine are good, but reliability will be a question mark at those kinds of specific power levels.

Finally for the techies: Two turbo V6 motors on display, from Cadillac and Infiniti, both featured turbos bolted directly to the cylinder head with no separate exhaust manifold. (The photo shows the Caddy). The ducting from exhaust valves to the turbo flange is all cast in the head. I am guessing this extra complexity keeps heat where it is needed: in the cylinder head (to minimize unburned hydrocarbons and maximise fuel economy) and in the turbo (to maximise pressure drop and thus power). Downside: no sexy bundles of pipes, and presumably the middle cylinder benefits from a shorter path.

So there you have it. Yes, there were oodles of econoboxes, hordes of SUVs and a few muscle cars, but nothing unusual. Except maybe this Audi A1.5, apparently sponsored by a local scrapyard.

1 comment:

  1. V90 Update: I dropped by the dealer because the V60 needed the standard 48,000 km service. The V90 seat back actually folds down quite nicely for skis; I don't have pictures of the car at the Auto Show so I am not sure what I was looking at but clearly the car is better than I thought. The only remaining issue is the motor, which is a clean sheet of paper and puts out 160 hp per litre. This would have been F1 levels of performance back in 1970. Maybe I will let other people melt pistons and blow head gaskets before buying one.