For automakers, there’s nothing better than showing up at the debut for one of your automobiles and getting a top notch award for your hard work. Aston Martin, Cadillac, and Ford will vouch for that since their One-77, Ciel Concept, and Focus Plug-In Electric Vehicle were all given best in show awards at the 41st annual South Florida International Auto Show (SFIAS) by the Southern Automotive Media Association (SAMA). SAMA had to choose between many of the participants in Miami, but in the end, these vehicles were chosen because of their styling and marketability.
The Aston Martin One-77 was awarded the “Star of the Show” trophy because the nine-member SAMA judging panel decided it was the single vehicle on display at the show that South Floridians will most want to see. Other vehicles considered for the award were the Audi A7, the Lexus GS sedan, the Mercedes-Benz C-Class, the Toyota Camry, the Range Rover Evoque, and the Hyundai Veloster.
The Cadillac Ciel Concept was given the Best Concept Vehicle in the Show because of its stunning beauty and because SAMA considered it a forerunner of future Cadillac styling. Meanwhile, the Ford Focus Plug-In Electric Vehicle took home the “Best Green Technology Vehicle” in the show because of the fact that it is Ford’s first non-emissions, plug-in electric car to be mass produced and marketed in the United States. Other vehicles considered were the Mitsubishi i-MiEV, the Toyota Prius V, and various manufacturers’ hybrid and clean diesel technology vehicles.
The South Florida International Auto Show (SFIAS) runs until November 6, 2011, so stop by the Miami Beach Convention Center to check out these award-winning models.
While European drivers have been scooting around in the latest generation Volkswagen Golf GTI for a while, we here in the U.S. will have to wait until next year to drive the sleeker sixth generation hot hatch with its slick 17 inch rims and swept back headlamps. The 2010 VW GTI is powered by a 2.0 Liter 16 Valve DOHC TSI gas sipping four banger that makes an even 200 HP and 207 lb-ft of torque that is shifted with a six speed manual transmission. The GTI offers the traditional Rabbit like handling and can accelerate from 0 to 60 MPH in 6.8 seconds and reach an electronically limited 130 MPH top speed all for under $24,000.
The classic English automaker Mini had a plethora of Coopers on display at the 2009 Miami Auto Show, in a setup that resembled a bag of Skittles, there was something to satisfy every new car buyer’s taste. Ranging from a gleaming white Camden model to a black rag top and a British Racing Green John Cooper Works complete with Union Jacks on the mirror covers; there was literally a Mini for every flavor. Mini also showed off a bit of their fun side reminiscing about a lighter side in America’s history filled with beach bums and go go girls with a pair of surfboards on top of a woodie wagon inspired Clubman.
The lightweight English sports car manufacturer Lotus had two very special models on display at the 2009 Miami Auto Show. Sitting front and center is the all new Evora model that combines a carbon fiber closed cockpit two seater configuration with a transversely mounted 3.5 Liter Toyota VVT-i V6 that makes about 270 HP and is more than enough to give the new Lotus plenty of get up and go accelerating from 0 to 60 MPH in under 5 seconds. The other Lotus in the Collection’s booth is of the open air variety, the 60th anniversary Elise model comes complete with a pair of stripes running down the middle that match the color accented interior complete with 60th Anniversary embroidery.
The exotic Italian automaker Maserati was well represented in the Collection’s corner of the 2009 Miami Auto Show. Offering up high performance transportation solutions in both two and four door variants. Starting off with a beautiful white Quattroporte sport sedan powered by a 400 HP V8 that accelerates the luxury sedan from 0 to 60 MPH in just 5.5 seconds. The high end luxury car retailers also had a pair of sporty Gran Turismo coupes flanking the more accommodating Maserati. Not only was there the standard version of the sharp nosed sports car, but also a high performance Gran Turismo S that makes use of a 440 HP 4.7 Liter screaming V8 to go along with the Italian sports car’s sleek body style.
America’s favorite sports car was well represented at the 2009 Miami Auto Show, aside from the Stingray concept car, Chevrolet had plenty of Corvettes on display. There were a pair of the new Grand Sport models with their wide body stance, gills in the front fenders and bespoke rolling stock; giving Corvette enthusiasts the opportunity to enjoy the finer points of the lineup at a fraction of the price. The 505 HP Z06 model was also on hand, wearing a new set of ten spoke rims for this year to go along with the 427 cubic inch fuel injected LS7. The only thing better than a 7.0 Liter Corvette C6 with its carbon fiber body work and hyrdro formed chassis according to GM’s design department is even more carbon fiber and an acrylic window in the hood. The window lets onlookers admire the ZR-1’s intercooler that sits on top of the supercharged 6.2 Liter LS9 small block that delivers a maximum output of 620 HP and 595 lb-ft of torque and 200+ MPH.
Resting in the shadows of the award winning Converj concept car, Cadillac was showing off a piece of their production car finest, another award winner, the Cadillac CTS-V. The dark grey super sedan took Top Speed’s car of the year award last year thanks to its practical four door layout and ability to take up to five from 0 to 60 MPH in 3.9 seconds because of the 556 HP 6.2 Liter supercharged V8 sitting under the power bulge in the hood. The mid size sport sedan will be defending the honor of General Motors later on this week at New York state’s Monticello Motor Club as GM’s knight in shining armor because of King Lutz’s challenge.
Hyundai turned a few heads at the Miami Auto Show by displaying the all new Equus luxury limousine on the turntable in the center of their booth. While this was actually a Korean spec Equus, it still managed to impress the judges at the show. The new Hyundai is scheduled to go on sale sometime next year for close to $50,000; and while Hyundai only expects to sell 20,000 units per, after sitting in the passenger’s seat we think they shouldn’t have a problem. The car could get toned down for the U.S. Market, after all Korean’s are crazy for chrome, but we just hope the hood ornament stays. It looks like they cut they head off of one of Rolls Royce’s flying ladies and then streamlined her physique in order for it to guide Korean executives as they recline in comfort in the spacious back seat, catch up on some work with the wood tray table or simply relax by watching the fold out television monitor. The Equus is an elegant vehicle from Hyundai and is the next logical step for a company who has just enjoyed so much success with the current award winning Genesis sedan.
Jaguar showed off their 2010 XJ at the 2009 Miami Auto Show. Although they had already unveiled the new Jag in London with our favorite late night funny man Jay Leno and super model Claudia Schiffer to take wraps off the new cat, the new XJ was just as stunning in South Florida. This particular model was the very first of the special edition XJs built for Neiman Marcus and quite possibly put the car over the top with its wraparound wood interior and cat claw inspired rear tail lamps. The 2010 XJ is the first Jaguar model to be built using Jaguar’s aerospace-inspired aluminum body technology and will be available with a stretched wheelbase option as well as a choice of new ultra-efficient Gen III classification petrol and diesel engines consisting of a 3.0 Liter diesel V6, a 5.0 Liter naturally aspirated V8 as well as the almighty 5.0 Liter supercharged 8 cylinder power plant.
When Ford was faced with the option of producing another tire shredding SVT Lightning or something completely different, they opted for plan b; and we are just glad that they brought it down to Miami. Instead of a supercharged work truck that can blow the doors off of most sports cars in a straight line, the SVT group chose to build an off road version of the F-150 that would be competitive in the Baja 1000 right out of the showroom, and actually ended up earning a spot on the podium. What they came up with is the Ford F-150 SVT Raptor. The new truck combines extreme off road capabilities with an aggressive on road package that should only get better in 2010 when Ford puts the more powerful 6.2 Liter V8 version on sale at the beginning of next year. and we are eagerly awaiting its arrival.
The Japanese automaker Nissan was on hand at the 2009 Miami Auto Show, and although they unveiled the new Rogue Krom crossover, it was a pearl white Nissan GT-R that caught our eyes as the centerpiece of their booth. Although this particular GT-R is nothing more than your run of the mill $80,000 super car killer, the hamburger logo did announce some new specs for the 2011 model that includes the highly anticipated Spec V model that takes Godzilla’s on track antics to new heights, and an even quicker lap time around the Nurburgring.