The hydrogen fuel cell-powered Toyota Mirai. (Amar D. Gupta | Siliconeer)
Cars! Cars! Cars! The SF Auto Show is the event for auto freaks. About 40 automakers, corporate houses and institutions like PG&E, Academy of Art University, and more, get together to bring about a feast for car lovers every year. Keeping with the tradition, the SF Auto Show had a large offering of vehicles this year as well with electric cars, exotic cars, and a peek at the futuristic hydrogen fuel cell vehicle by Toyota. Vansh and Janam Gupta share their experience.
The last week of November was a car week in the city as the SF Auto Show was held at the Moscone Center in San Francisco from November 22-29. It has been an annual tradition for well over 50 years. This was the 57th Auto Show. The show is hosted by San Francisco Chronicle and presented by Autotrader.com. Many other SF-based companies also sponsored the mega event.
For a mere $10, visitors could experience the latest and greatest vehicles.
This year was the year of alternative fuel cars, be it electric, hybrids, or the latest debutante, hydrogen fuel cell.
Toyota displayed its first ever hydrogen fuel cell vehicle, Mirai, while other carmakers like Nissan, Volkswagen, and BMW showcased their latest electric cars.
Cars currently in the market were nicely displayed. Many of the cars were open to public to feel the joys of owning one.
A little further into the expo, we found exotic cars like the James Bond – Aston Martin DB9. Other exotic makes present were Maserati, Rolls Royce, Ferrari, Lotus, and Lamborghini.
German automakers Audi, Volkswagen, Porsche, and BMW had an impressive display, but Mercedes-Benz decided to show six cars parked in a row connecting the two halls.
I was a bit disappointed by that, to be honest. All of the Japanese automakers had nailed it in displaying their cars, while the American car manufacturers had gone overboard in showcasing their cars.
In my opinion, one of the best cars from Germany was the BMW 4 series. The electronics, comfort, and the looks were just astonishing. From Japan, I loved the Infiniti Q50 Hybrid as a luxury sedan that’s a bit frugal on gas. The dual touch display was spot on. The interior was extremely comfortable and luxurious. The exterior was amazing.
Among the American makes, I loved the Ford Fusion as a practical choice. The exterior looked robust. The interior was even better. Hats off to ford for the dual LCD next-generation smart gauge and dashboard.
Audi with its new R8 V10 Spyder, BMW with its upcoming electric i8, Nissan with its GTR, and Chevy with the mouthwatering red Corvette surprised me. I loved the engine on the Audi R8 V10 Spyder.
Overall, cars available in the market were displayed nicely and were fascinating, but little did I know there was much more to this show then some glitz and glam of the modern world.
The show featured activities for kids. One of them was the racing simulators provided by NCI. Another racing simulator was done by Ford, which looked amazing. As much as I wanted to get on one, it was race against time and I had to give it up for lack of time. Volkswagen had a cool offering setup just for kids. There were paint gun kiosks where kids or for that matter, adults, could actually paint Volkswagen cars using the real spray guns that is used in automotive manufacturing plants.
The show also had exhibits from other associations. The Academy of Art University displayed classic cars. There was a huge collection of classic cars including a 1930 Bugatti, 1940 Ford, and 1950 Buick. The Ferrari Club of Pacific Region had displayed Ferrari favorites like the 2006 F430 Spyder and the 2003 Enzo.
Sonoma Raceway, Blackhawk Museum, Jimmy Vasser Chevrolet, California Automobile Museum, USTCC, and 24 Hour LeMons groups associated to make a phenomenal showcase “Gasoline Alley Race Cars.” Some of the cars featured here were the ’62 Impala and ’84 Chevy S10.
Hot Rods were also featured thanks to Dominator Street Rods. Some vehicles featured were the ’70 Plymouth Barracuda and ’69 Chevrolet Truck.
There was also a hands-on section. People could sign up for test drives. Each day had different offerings. Automakers like Cadillac, Volkswagen, Mazda, BMW and few others had their latest vehicles on hand for test-drive.
Overall, the San Francisco Auto Show is a great event for people who are interested in automobiles. From old to new, from everyday cars to exotic beauties, vehicles are displayed in abundance. The buffet is simply outstanding.