C&P has just returned from the Qatar Motor Show, which was a bit of an odd one.
It’s the first time the show has run, circumstances that would usually result in a fairly low key affair until the event builds up popularity over the years. However, the Doha Exhibition Centre played host to several world premieres and a who’s who of automotive royalty from the Volkswagen Audi group. It was rather like hosting a movie night at home and seeing Robert De Niro turn up to screen his new blockbuster.
The cynical may suggest that this was because Qatar Holdings owns 12.3 percent of the VW Group, but regardless, the bigwigs in attendance on the media day included group president Ferdinand Piech, group CEO Martin Winterkorn, Lamborghini CEO Stefan Winkelmann and Porsche’s president and CEO Matthias Mueller. Also on hand were Wolfgang Porsche – grandson on the brand’s founder – and some top motorsport names in the shape of Dakar Rally winners Nasser Al Attiyah and Timo Gottschalk, together with former F1 drivers Jackie Ickx and Hans Hermann.
These big cheeses didn’t come empty handed though. Audi showed off the new A6 (above), fresh from the Detroit Motor Show, as well as the forthcoming A7, while Porsche turned everybody’s heads by flying in the utterly gorgeous new 918 RSR (below). Note to other manufacturers – the best and cheapest way to show off a new car on your stand is to fire the engine up and rev the nuts off it.
Porsche also drew back the covers from the Panamera 4S Middle East Edition (below), which comes with white metallic paint, a red interior and a limited edition plaque inside. Just 66 will be made and they’ll be sold only in this region.
Over at Volkswagen, the 2011 Dakar Rally-winning Touareg was on display, along with a head turning and street legal SUV based on the rally car called the Race Touareg (top). Volkswagen said they could make more if demand is high enough. We hope it is.
We’re less bothered about the Touareg Gold Edition however, which is a Touareg covered in, yes, you guessed it, 24-carat gold. VW also showed off a new eco concept called the XL1, which promises fuel economy of less than one litre per 100km thanks to its electric motor and tiny two-cylinder diesel engine. Although it’s a prototype, VW has suggested that it might make it to production in a few years. Watch this space.
Lastly, Lamborghini, where the new Gallardo Bicolore was uncovered. It’s painted in two colours. Other than that, it’s no different to a regular LP560-4 coupe.
Other noteworthy vehicles on show in Qatar included the latest Bentley Continental GT and a chance to see the Aston Martin city car, the Cygnet.