2019 Toronto Auto Show Preview
An annual respite from the ravages of winter, the Canadian International AutoShow (CIAS) continues to be a huge draw for motor heads and car buyers of all ages.
Boasting more than 1,000 cars, trucks, SUVs, concepts, exotics, classics, motorcycles and electric/hybrid vehicles, the 650,000-plus square feet of exhibits, displays and attractions at the downtown-situated Metro Toronto Convention Centre’s North and South buildings make the show not only the largest automotive expo in Canada, but also the country’s largest annual consumer show.
It was a record-breaking year in 2018, with nearly 360,000 attending last February — the third consecutive year the show attracted record numbers. AutoShow general manager Jason Campbell is confident this trend will continue.
“CIAS is one of the few major auto shows in the world that features every manufacturer retailing vehicles in that country. We have an audience that continues to grow, an affluent and major automotive marketplace here in Ontario, and many of our manufacturers have taken on more space to show off their inventory.”
This year’s AutoShow will contain some fan favourites, as well as new features that will excite car lovers and casual fans alike: “Our theme this year is ‘The Passion Within Us,’” says Campbell.
Among the new cars and supercars, Art & the Automobile has been a crowd favourite ever since it debuted five years ago. This year, in partnership with Cobble Beach Concours d’Elegance, it returns celebrating the history of the automobile. Supported by Hagerty Insurance, the installation is titled ICONS, and is highlighted by a 1937 Cadillac as featured in the exhibit’s first commemorative poster. Showcased at the end of Castrol Alley in the 700 Level of the South Building, Art & the Automobile will feature 15 rare and classic cars, all beautifully and painstakingly restored and maintained.
For nearly half a century, car enthusiasts have turned to Barrett-Jackson Auctions to get their hands on some of the finest collector cars on the road. The auction house will be showcasing some of the most prized cars in collections from across Canada on the 100 Level across from Auto Exotica — plus some of the most prized muscle cars from the personal collection of Craig Jackson himself. Among them is Jackson’s 1969 AMC Javelin race car, originally driven by Jerry Grant until Roger Penske and his team acquired it for developmental purposes.
The Petersen Automotive Museum of Los Angeles — one of the most respected automotive museums in the world — is bringing a sampling of Southern California’s customized lowriders and hot rods to the 700 Level. An integral part of the SoCal streetscape and made famous by the richly diverse Latino communities in and around LA, the exhibit will feature six vehicles from the Petersen collection.
For the second year in a row, Performance Auto & Sound Magazine will be hosting Custom Car Battlegrounds: AutoShow Edition. A competition for modern muscle car, hot rod and lowrider enthusiasts, it’s open to anyone owning a modified vehicle, or the builders who modify them. Website visitors will play a key role in determining the eight vehicles that will be showcased at the AutoShow in a special, bracket-style online knockout competition.
Another favourite, Auto Exotica, will once again put dream-worthy cars on the show floor, and feature some of the most expensive vehicles from around the world. Making its North American debut and a centrepiece for Auto Exotica will be one of the world’s most powerful hypercars, the Devel Sixteen. The Sixteen comes in three models. A V8 model will be available for an estimated $1.6-million, a mid-level V16 pushing 3,000 horsepower will retail for $1.8-million and the massive V16 with 5,007 hp will go for $2.2-million. The prototype of the production model was first seen in Dubai in 2017 and it has also been showcased in Paris, but never on this side of the Atlantic. Car developer Majid Al Attar will be a featured guest speaker for the Luxury and Supercar Forum at the AutoShow on February 13.
For those more ecologically minded, a wide selection of electric vehicles from auto manufacturers will be on display, and available for test drives in both the North and South Buildings.
There’s much more to scope out, all of which can be checked out on autoshow.ca.
The Canadian International AutoShow runs from February 15th to the 24th. Show times are as follows: Feb. 15, noon to 10 pm; Feb. 16 to 23, 10:30 am to 10 pm; Feb. 24, 10:30 am to 6 pm.
General admission is $25 for adults, $16 for youths, $7 for children ages 6 to 12 (accompanied by an adult), while children five and under are free. A family package (two adults and two children) is $50.
Buying tickets online nets a 10 per cent discount until the show opens on Friday, February 15th, the start of the Family Day long weekend in Ontario.
While a variety of features and classics are a big draw, many people come for the vast array of new cars and concepts, from exotic supercars that they might never see otherwise, to cars making their first appearance on Canadian soil, not to mention almost every make and model currently on sale in our market. Of all the cars debuting in Canada at 2019 CIAS, you should definitely have these on your list.
Ford Shelby GT500
Ford calls the new Shelby GT500 its pinnacle pony car; any possible hyperbole is countered by the car’s 700 horsepower, which makes it the quickest-accelerating and highest-performing street-legal Mustang ever built.
The GT500 starts with a supercharged 5.2-litre aluminum-alloy V8 built by hand. To keep the intake air cooler and deliver a lower centre of gravity, the 2.65L Roots-type supercharger with air-to-liquid intercooler was inverted, allowing it to be tucked neatly in the V8 engine valley. To channel power and torque to the carbon-fibre driveshaft, a Tremec seven-speed dual-clutch transmission was selected, which is capable of shifts in less than 100 milliseconds, faster than any manual gearbox. This dual-clutch transmission is designed for a number of drive modes, including normal, weather, sport, drag and track, and activates features like line-lock and launch control through selectable Track Apps.
The GT500 boasts revised suspension geometry, a new electronic power steering unit and lighter-weight coil springs front and rear. Next-generation active MagneRide suspension is built-in, along with the latest in advanced drive mode technologies from Ford Performance.
Following a short absence, BMW, with help from Toyota, is bringing back the two-seat roadster with the introduction of the fourth-generation Z4. The Z4 sDrive30i Roadster arrives in March, with the Z4 M40i following later in 2019. The all-new roadster features two new TwinPower turbocharged engines and brand-new front and rear suspensions.
The soft-top Z4 boasts a low-slung and sporty appearance. Its proportions have grown in every area over its predecessor — 85 mm longer, 75 mm wider and 13 mm taller — though with a 26-mm shorter wheelbase. Complementing the new chassis, the Z4 sDrive30i arrives powered by a 255-horsepower, turbo 2.0-litre four-cylinder. Not enough? The Z4 M40i comes with a turbo 3.0L inline six that pumps out 382 hp, plus 369 lb.-ft. of torque from 1,600 rpm. Both models come with a standard eight-speed Steptronic Sport transmission with shift paddles on the steering wheel. Also be on the lookout for the Z4’s developmental sibling, the Toyota Supra.
“Legalized for road use, but not sanitized to suit it.” So says McLaren, the British Formula One-racing automaker, of its hand-assembled, million-dollar Senna, the most extreme — not to mention engaging and responsive — road car it has ever produced. Backing up the claim is a 789-horsepower, mid-mounted, twin-turbocharged 4.0-litre V8, shoved into a two-seat sports car body that, thanks to every body panel made from carbon-fibre, plus multiple other weight-saving technologies, weighs just 1,198 kilograms. Thus, the supercar has a weight-to-power ratio of 1.5 kg to every horsepower, which is why it can accelerate to 100 kilometres an hour in mere 2.8 seconds, zero to 200 in 6.8 seconds.
The Senna introduces a new generation of groundbreaking front and rear active aerodynamics, raising downforce and aero control to unprecedented levels in order to ensure the car’s performance potential. Every element of the body design, from the front splitter to the double diffuser at the rear, has been developed to optimize downforce and aerodynamic balance.
Wild concept cars and wicked racers are as much a part of the Canadian International Auto Show as new car previews, and an argument can be made that many of the paying public turn those turnstiles in search of these sexy four-wheelers rather than their next new vehicle.
And increasingly, the concept and race cars displayed at the world’s top auto shows plug into the growing electrification trend. This year’s CIAS is no exception, with two race-ready single-seater EVs and a handful of charged-up concepts on the convention centre’s floors.
Genesis Essentia Concept
Envisioning an all-electric Grand Tourer, this inspired design takes into two of the leading-edge considerations in future car design: light and connectivity. The former streams into the Essentia thanks to an almost entire glass enclosed cockpit, while the latter is found in the integrated onboard software linking human occupants to the machine. The 3D printed interior material is also very forward thinking too.
Infiniti QX Inspiration Concept
Hot off ‘Best Concept Vehicle’ honours at last month’s North American International Auto Show in Detroit, the QX Inspiration makes its Canadian debut in Toronto. According to Infiniti’s head of design Karim Habib—a Canadian incidentally—this concept is the culmination of three decades of design and technological knowledge. “I’m so proud of the design team that found a way to fuse mid-century modern design with Japanese minimalism,” he said of the high-performance all-electric concept car.
Lexus LF-1 Limitless Concept
Of all the EV concepts at the show, this luxury crossover looks ready for production. Borrowing many of the styling cues from previous Lexus concept vehicles—notably the LC Convertible and the LF-FC—the LF-1 Limitless adds new wrinkles to the Lexus design language, particularly with the panoramic glass roof flowing into the split rear spoiler and the cabin’s fibre-optic lighting.
Nissan Leaf Nismo RC
Borrowing drivetrain and battery technology from the new Nissan Leaf road car, this slippery, zero-emission all-wheel-drive racecar is powered by two electric motors located at opposite ends of the chassis. This is a second-generation Leaf Nismo RC, and its 322-horsepower/472 lbs.-ft of torque more than double those of the 2011 iteration. The car made its world debut at CES last month and Toronto is the first auto show it will be shown at.
Volkswagen I.D. R
Volkswagen’s first-ever attempt at an electric racecar has proven to be no novice effort. Entered in last year’s Pikes Peak hill climb event, it not only beat the existing record for an EV — it became the first car to ever cover the 20-km course in under eight minutes, thus shattering the EV record by a full minute and setting a new time for all vehicles to shoot for. It’s 680-horsepower output comes from two electric motors, and with a weight under 1,100 kg it’s no surprise it goes from zero to 97 km/h in 2.25 seconds.
Toyota F-C R Concept
Okay, so its uninspired name and stodgy looks can’t compete with the sexy concepts on this list, but the hydrogen-powered F-C R — for ‘Fine-Comfort Ride’ — envisions the practical sedan of the future in a very, well, practical manner. With its wheels pushed to the very corners of its body, cabin space is maximized, and seats can be arranged in a number of configurations depending on how many occupants are onboard.