Adam Workman previews this year’s Dubai International Motor Show, including new cars and powerful local picks
What to expect from this year’s Dubai International Motor Show
Every two years, the cream of the car world decamps to the UAE for the Dubai International Motor Show, which next week reaches its 14th anniversary.
The figures at the Dubai event remain impressive: you can expect to see more than 100 global or regional launches, with 550 vehicles on display from more than 150 major exhibitors from 70-plus countries.
The show will span 85,000 square metres of exhibition space at the World Trade Centre, and during its five-day run, is expected to welcome more than 100,000 visitors.
Among the reveals is a veritable laundry list of interesting metal, with the wraps taken off the latest incarnation of a UAE favourite, the Range Rover Sport, alongside the likes of the eighth-generation Rolls-Royce Phantom.
The Alfa Romeo Stelvio QV gets it first showing anywhere in the world, while Porsche gives a Middle East bow to four newbies, including the revised Cayenne and the 911 Turbo S Exclusive Series.
There will be a special supercars zone, entitled the Boulevard of Dreams, with a regional debut for the Dh10.7 million Vulcano Titanium from Italian brand Icona. As its name hints, it claims to be the world’s first titanium supercar, and the lightweight results allow its 680hp supercharged V8 to fire it from standstill to 100kph in a hyperloop-level 2.8 seconds.
The car is shaped by more than 10,000 hours of manual hammer work, explains Icona’s chairman and chief executive Teresio G Gaudio, and is an example of the company’s “unmatched craftsmanship – where design meets technology – and we are ready to discuss personalised, unique one offs with interested collectors”.
Elsewhere at this rarefied end of the spectrum, UAE-based supercar manufacturer Devel will unveil a production version of the Devel Sixteen, which debuted two shows ago in prototype form and claimed to wield a mind-melting 5,000hp. The local contingent will also include W Motors’ Fenyr SuperSport and UAE-made roadster the Shaali N360.
Ferrari showcases its California replacement the Portofino; Lamborghini will show off its Aventador S Roadster. Kia’s wonderful-looking Stinger grand tourer can be seen in this part of the world for the first time and fans of popular Mercedes-affiliated modification company Brabus can feast their eyes on a display of 10 cars.
The concept-car count is in double figures – and one of the chief exhibitors on that front, Mercedes-Benz, is glowing in its praise for the Dubai show.
“Dubai is a key show for us, providing us with an essential platform to debut our latest models and concepts in the region and connect with buyers from around the world,“ says Lennart Mueller-Teut, the brand’s Middle East head of marketing and communications. “The Middle East region is important for Mercedes-Benz. Our customers in the region belong to a community that seeks innovation yet still values tradition. They comprise tech-savvy early adopters with a love for automotive and particular attention to detail. Our models have achieved immense success across the region.“
A lot has happened in the ever-shifting world of motoring since the Dubai show’s previous extravaganza in 2015, with autonomous driving and electric cars becoming hot topics – indeed, during the intervening two years, many manufacturers have committed to taking their ranges entirely electric.
“The UAE, specifically Dubai, is taking a leading role in innovation and adopting new technologies,” says Riju George, the World Trade Centre’s portfolio director for exhibitions. “This will be reflected in the show, which will feature the latest in in-car technology and next-generation innovations from automated cars, connected and electric cars to zero emissions, with the world’s leading manufacturers keen to show they are leading the way in automotive trends.”
Leading names in the green game are well represented, including Elon Musk's Tesla, and Toyota, which brings its hydrogen-powered Mirai, in addition to its contribution to the slightly less environmentally conscious outdoor zone, with demonstrations of off-road ability from the Japanese carmaker’s entire SUV range.
Aside from cars, there are also plenty of family-friendly attractions, including the simulator-filled Race Room, the Legoland Dubai Driving School for children and an online classic car auction (with some of the lots on display at the motor show).
“We are proud of the fact that the Dubai International Motor Show is more than an automotive trade show,” George says. “It enhances our appeal and our reach. There is a great deal to keep everybody entertained.”
George foresees a bright future for the show, meanwhile – one that he expects to guarantee its status for years to come: “This region has a lasting love affair with cars, and as the Middle East’s premier automotive industry event, the leading exhibitors and our partners identify the Dubai International Motor Show as the perfect platform to showcase their offerings and explore new business avenues. That is reflected in the number of exhibitors committing to this year’s show and the fact that the leading manufacturers are returning is testament to our achievements.”
Dubai International Motor Show runs from December 14 to 18 at the Dubai World Trade Centre. For more information and tickets, which cost from Dh50 for adults and Dh30 for children ages 12 to 18, visit www.dubaimotorshow.com