The 2013 Joburg International Motor Show (JIMS) will be remembered for the launch and introduction of a record number of extraordinary electric and hybrid cars - and a few interesting and rather attractive compact SUV's.
In category for electric vehicles, the delight of the show, BMW's i3, which is said to hit South African shores next year, is a very sexy looking vehicle in true BMW style and quality. There is no doubt that it will bring fierce competition for the likes of Nissan's Leaf, which until very recently, was the pack leader.
Most manufacturers also showed off a number of vehicles boasting unbelievable fuel economy. VW for instance says the new Golf TDI BlueMotion (also expected in SA next year) is one of the most fuel-efficient cars of our time (3,2l/100km). VW's new concept Cross Coupé, the star of the Volkswagen stand, is a plug-in hybrid with a direct-injection turbodiesel and two electric motors, that returns 1.8 litres per 100km in the New European Driving Cycle, equivalent to CO² emissions of just 46 g/km. Being bigger than a Golf7, but smaller than a Tiguan, the Cross Coupé concept will launch VW into the mini-offroad compact SUV market, competing with the likes of Nissan's Juke (even though Juke is not a hybrid or an electric car).
BMW launched its new Concept X4, a more compact version of the X6, with 3-Series running gear to create a sleek four-door SUV (inspired by the desighn of the X6. The X4 is set to debut in production from next year.
As for looks, the Ford Evos Concept stole the show, although it has to be said, this concept car has been around for a while, and is surely nothing new to serious motoring enthusiasts. Shortly on its heels is BMW's i8. The car also breaks new ground because it is a real production car that combines supercar performance with a hybrid drivetrain. This will allow econobox frugality.
Lexus showcased a refreshing revamp (new look) of all its models with distinctive lines and styling cues. The new spindle grille, signature headlamps and taillights in the range make quite a dramatic impact and the launch of the new GS 350 will surely present another option for South African buyers in the luxury car market. However, it was Lexus' LFA supercar that stole the limelight - not just the striking design, but also the fact that only 500 were made (and only three of them made their way to South Africa) will make these power-beasts very desirable.
Mercedes-Benz totally impressed with no less than three spectacular new car launches: The GLA compact SUV, the CLA (a compact version of the CLS four-door coupé), and the all new understated and super-elegant S-class - all three vehicles truely unique in their own way, adding even more variety to the Merc stable.
The S-Class stole Leadership's heart and I simply can't wait to drive the car next week.