Chris Pfaff’s blog: Highlights of the Toronto Autoshow
While it’s true there’s no such thing as a slow period anymore in the car business, auto show season – and in particular, the Toronto Autoshow in February – does signal the unofficial beginning of the spring selling period. It’s usually at the car show that you’ll first see the season’s newest cars in the flesh.
I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say that we’re truly living in one of the auto industry’s golden ages. There are so many exciting new cars arriving in our Pfaff showrooms starting this spring, and all of the brands we represent had exciting new models on display on their show stands. We also had our own Pfaff display in the show’s Auto Exotica section, with some of the most incredible automobiles to have ever been displayed at the Toronto show.
But let’s start with some of our more mainstream brands first.
Toyota unveiled a number of important new models. There was all-new Prius hybrid, which is more efficient and aerodynamic than ever. It was complemented by 2016 RAV4, with a fresh new exterior style and more equipment, is now available as a fuel-saving hybrid model, as well as the new Tundra TRD Pro Series pickup truck and a totally tricked-out Scion iM.
At Volkswagen, the focus was on the new Golf Sportwagon Alltrack, a high-riding, all-wheel drive version of the Golf Sportwagon that’s perfectly suited for Canadian drivers. We all loved its elevated ride height, tough styling, and its versatility. If a taller, more practical Golf isn’t your style, there’s also the new Golf R, which sits above the GTI and has 300 horsepower, all-wheel drive, and your choice of manual or DSG gearboxes. AJAC just named the Golf R the best new performance car under $50,000, and we’d have a tough time disagreeing with them.
There was lots of great new product on display at BMW, and the focus was on luxury and performance. You’ve already read a lot about the new 7 Series here, but it was great to see it in the flesh again, and I loved seeing how people reacted to its incredible technology, including gesture control. On the performance side of things, there was the outrageous new M4 GTS, which takes the M4 to a whole other level of performance and exclusivity, and the new M2, which takes the M235i and pumps it up with over 360 horsepower, as well as the brakes, wheels, and tires from the M3. At just $61,000, it’s arguably the performance bargain of the year.
Performance was a major focus at Audi as well – in fact, the Audi Sport brand was the centre of their presentation, with an outrageous lime green RS7 sharing space on the stage with the R18 Le Mans car, and the all-new R8 V10 Plus. We can’t wait for the new R8 to arrive in our showrooms later this spring. Also on the Audi stand were the all-new A4, arriving in April, and the Q7, which you can read about elsewhere on this blog.
Porsche had not one, but two, race cars on display, with the Le Mans-winning 919 hybrid parked alongside the new Cayman GT4 Clubsport. The GT4 Clubsport will be joining the Canadian Porsche race series this year as its own class, and we will have a customer-entry Cayman running alongside the two platinum-class 911 GT3s driven by Chris Green and Orey Fidani. On the show floor, we had the chance to drool over the new-generation 911, with its new turbocharged engine and massive touch-screen infotainment system, as well as the Macan GTS.
For high performance, though, the Pfaff booth on the 100 level of the North Building was the destination for any enthusiast in attendance. Not only did we have the best of the current McLaren lineup on display – not one of the 570S, 650S, and 675LT takes any more than 3.5 seconds to reach 100 km/h and not one of them has a top speed of less than 300 km/h – but we also had the show’s most expensive, and exotic, cars on display. A Porsche 911 restored and reimagined by Singer Vehicle Design with a 3.8-litre Cosworth flat-six and carbon-fibre bodywork sat alongside the only Pagani Huayra in Ontario, a $2.2-million rolling sculpture of carbon-fibre, glass, leather, and aluminum.
And then there was the McLaren F1, the car that arguably created the hypercar class in the 1990s – it was the first road car with a carbon-fibre structure, the first to have a central driving position, and much, much more. Thanks to the generosity of our friends at BMW of North America, we were able to display an F1 to the Toronto public for the first time – and not just any F1, but the F1 GTR race car that competed at Le Mans in 1996, the year after the car won the 24-hour race its first time out (another one of its major achievements). It was awesome to see this piece of automotive history alongside the latest McLaren models and see how the brand has evolved in such a short time – and awesome to see the reaction of show-goers to it as well.
If you haven’t yet had a chance to visit the Toronto Autoshow – and especially the Pfaff display – you have until Sunday, February 21 to do so. It won’t be just your first chance to see some of the great cars from the brands that we offer, but it may also be your last chance to see cars like the Huayra, the 911 restored by Singer, and the McLaren F1 in the flesh. Trust me, they’re worth the trip.