As a mark of the importance of the automobile to the Middle East, it’s an impressive show of strength, and the manufacturers know this, too, getting behind the event in a way that might have seemed unthinkable just a few years ago.
This November, it has to be said, will be an astonishingly busy month for car companies. Because, quite apart from the activities in Dubai, it will also see two more international shows: Los Angeles and Tokyo. Naturally, we can’t expect absolutely everyone to turn up here, so what are we gearing ourselves up for? For starters, a show that’s at least 35 per cent larger than the previous one, held in 2011, and some 40 per cent of exhibitors will be there for the first time, with more than 600 cars, motorcycles and other vehicles on display.
While the LA and Tokyo shows will both be rammed with high-tech, low-emission, hybrid and electric cars, here it’s another world entirely. Market analysts are predicting that, by 2015, sales of luxury cars in the Middle East will have doubled from their numbers in 2010, so you can expect their makers to be here in abundance. McLaren will be showcasing its incredible new P1 hybrid hypercar, and the company has already gone on record as saying that this is its most important region worldwide, so don’t be surprised to see the occasional visitor reaching for a chequebook. You can also expect Bugatti, Lamborghini, Porsche, Bentley, Audi (along with some other companies that Volkswagen doesn’t own) to parade their wares, but some more obscure, but no less impressive, displays are also expected to wow the crowds.
Remember W Motors? Touted as the first Arab supercar company, W’s Lykan supercar will be there, and the company is starting to prove its outspoken critics wrong, with a measured and extremely realistic proposition for growth. The limited-edition car was displayed at the Qatar Motor Show at the beginning of the year, but the Dubai unveiling will doubtless stir further interest and, somehow, we think it will be back again in 2015.
A number of global-first unveils are promised, too, which is as good a sign as any that the car companies are treating this event seriously. And BMW will even be taking the wraps off the first 7 Series ever to wear an M Sport badge, in the form of the 760 M V12 Bi-Turbo – a car that’s being built exclusively for our region. We’re not sure how “sporting” it will be, but the statistics look monstrous. Yet that model won’t be centre stage for BMW, because the car that you see pictured here, the new i8 hybrid supercar, will be one of the major stars of the show.
BMW says that it intends to launch the car for sale in the region by next summer, and it should prove a success, on its looks alone. According to the company, its “visionary design, intelligent lightweight construction [carbon] and dynamic performance allows it to accelerate like a sports car and yet consume less fuel than a compact hatch while emitting zero emissions in city driving.” Some 362hp will be on tap from its mid-mounted, turbocharged petrol engine and electric motor, giving a 4.4 second sprint to 100kph but a parsimonious 2.5L/100km fuel economy. It’s an extraordinary machine and could well steal the show, even from the likes of McLaren.
Just make sure that you get your tickets and see the array of automobile eye candy for yourself, because there’s far too much going on to list here. We will, of course, be reporting back from the show, but it’s safe to say that, with the way this event is growing, its place on the international motoring calendar is assured.
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