MIAS – 2016 Montreal International Auto Show

It’s January. It’s cold. And it’s the perfect time to bask in the glory that is the 2016 Montreal International Auto Show.

Auto shows are always a fancy treat, especially on press days. Press access usually means free parking, free breakfast, free lunch, lots of important people elbow-bumping each other, and, of course, some rather interesting unveilings.

This year’s auto show, running now until January 24th, has a wide variety of interesting surprises; notably the arrival of the Pagani and McLaren brands to the Canadian market. So, while other writers are busy telling you about the lame future of autonomous driving, boring electric car conferences, and Montreal mayor Denis Coderre’s appearance at the show, I figured I’d cut straight to the chase and show you guys what you came here to read about: cars.

Here are the highlights of the 2016 Montreal International Auto Show.

Alfa Romeo

Well, what a pleasant surprise. It turns out that the first carmaker to appear on this alphabetically ordered list happens to be the brand that launched my career as an automotive journalist. Hello ladies, it’s good to be back.

I’m talking about the 4Cs of course.

Just a whole bunch of 4Cs lying around with super hot female super models. Nothing more.

Do you come with the car?

Hey, I recognize this one. You should see my face inside a coupe this Spring so stay tuned.

Aston Martin

The British sports car manufacturer was rather discrete in Montreal this year, displaying a small, but graceful collection of Vanquishs and DB9s, both hardtop and convertible.

The show stopper was of course a black Rapide S, which looked absolutely stunning, but was unfortunately impossible to shoot because of the way it was placed. So I photographed the emblem.

I didn’t know the doors opened this way on a Rapide.

I asked the Aston Martin rep if I could obtain a press car. He said no.

Bentley

Here are a few Continentals and Flying Spurs gracefully parked in a corner.

There was also a plant parked next to the Flying Spur.

BMW

No press conference over at BMW. JUST A FREAKIN M2.

Nothing else to see here people, that’s just a BMW M2, move along.

Also, they had a whole bunch of M cars on display, like this uber-cool orange M3.

This matte black M5.

The letter M all over the place.

And, although not an M car, this seriously bitchin 3-series wagon. Also painted orange.

Here is an interior shot of the i8.

More i8.

I got to find me one of those for a test drive.

Buick

I’m really enjoying what General Motors is doing to the Buick lineup. They’ve really found a way to set them apart from Cadillac as a premium automaker, while retaining that classic American heritage. Check out this Avenir concept.

It’s a sign of great things to come over at Buick and finally, as a gen-y, I actually want one.

Check out those hips bro.

Cadillac

Guess what? Another SUV! Cadillac needed to hop along the compact luxury crossover segment so the unveiling of this:

the all new XT5, just had to happen for Cadillac.

Cadillac say it’s lighter than an Audi Q5 and that it will be powered by a 310-hp, 2.0-litre, turbocharged four cylinder engine.

Chevrolet/GMC

The GM section was one of the largest ones of the show, filling the floor from everything in their lineup from a couple of Z06 Corvettes, such as this yellow coupe.

And this white convertible.

There was also the 2016 Camaro which is very attractive. Can’t wait to get behind the wheel of this one. Don’t worry, it’s on the calendar this summer.

There were also really cool pickup trucks doing things like climbing over the entire show.

And carrying dirt bikes.

Chevrolet also unveiled the all new 2016 Cruze. Here it is with a whole bunch of auto journalists flocked around it.

They also unveiled the all new Spark, which Chevrolet promises will be the most affordable car on the market with a price tag of “under $10,000”.

The Chevrolet rep also rambled on about how much “cool tech” will be offered in the car and that it will be a leader in the cheap small car segment.

Kudos to Chevrolet for selling a cheap car that doesn’t look like a Daewoo from the early 2000s.

FCA

Hellcat. Viper. Hellcat. Jeep. Hellcat. Ram. That’s pretty much what FCA’s show floor was all about. No electric cars. No hybrids. Because, who gives a shit about the environment right?

They did mention the new Chrysler Pacifica hybrid minivan that was showcased in Detroit. It looks promising.

Instead, Montreal’s FCA presentation focused on the unveilling of the 2016 Fiat 124 spider.

It’s essentially a rebadged Mazda MX-5 but with the Fiat 500 Abarth’s 1.4 litre turbocharged engine fitted under its hood.

I’ll get a chance to review one when it comes out sometime this summer. Hopefully, it’ll be as much fun as the MX-5.

Ferrari

Thanks to the Canadian Grand Prix and, um, Gilles Villeneuve, Ferrari and the city of Montreal have always had an intimate relationship. That’s why each year, Ferrari Montreal show up at the auto show with seriously solid displays. This year, they went all out with this: a freakin LaFerrari.

Nuts isn’t it?

There was also this, the brand new, full-fat, turbocharged 488 GTB

Dear mother of…

Here is a close up of the Ferrari logo on an FF, because why not right?

Here’s another shot of the LaFerrari’s gorgeous rear end with non other than Canadian automotive journalist Jim Leggett checking it out. As you can imagine, it’s very hard to shoot them Ferraris at auto shows, I had to work my way through crowds of photographers to get good shots.

Let me take the time to remind you that the LaFerrari happens to be one of the fastest production cars on the planet right now.

Ford/Lincoln

Ford Focus RS.

Ford Focus RS!

FORD FOCUS RS!!

Someone told me Ford also unveiled the 2017 Escape right next to the FORD FOCUS RS equipped with a 345 horsepower, 2.3-liter, Ecoboost engine AND all-wheel-drive AND A DRIFT MODE BUTTON. The new Escape apparently looks much more upscale than the model it replaces.

There was also this Shelby GT350.

More please.

Ah yaaarrrhh.

Lincoln, on their side, seem to have finally found their mojo because they’ve released this:

The new MKZ.

It looks superb. It will also be powered by a Lincoln-exclusive 400-hp twin-turbo V6 with all-wheel-drive.

Wait until that rear end comes around.

Oh yeah. That’s the stuff.

Honda/Acura

Honda is supposed to bring out a lot of new stuff this year, such as a new Ridgeline pickup truck and all extensions of the 2016 Civic lineup, notably the hatchback version, Si, and Type R models. Of course, none of that was mentioned during their conference. Why Honda? Why are you making us wait so long for cool models?

I need my Type R to hunt down that Focus RS.

That being said, Honda’s press conference centered around the lukewarm Civic coupe everyone has seen online by now. I can safely say it looks much better in the flesh, and miles better than the one it replaces.

Oh, and Acura had a 2017 NSX secretly parked in the back of the room.

Holy.

Shit.

Heavy breathing.

Acura also had a couple of massively tuned sedans. In case you don’t give a damn about the FREAKIN NSX IN THE ROOM.

A fast and furious TLX.

And a race-ready ILX.

VTEC sure seems to have kicked in at Honda for the 2016 model year.

Hyundai/Kia

As you may have read on my blog a few months ago, Hyundai is on a mission to start selling high-end luxury cars with their new Genesis nameplate. It turns out it wasn’t B.S. because they’ve unveiled this concept:

It’s called the Vision G and demonstrates the design language we should expect from Hyundai’s new luxury brand.

I like what I’m seeing.

They also showcased their brand new and boring elegant 2017 Genesis sedan.

And the new Elantra.

Here’s its new high-strength steel chassis.

Moving over to Kia, the Korean automaker took a few minutes to present the updated 2016 Optima, which, well still looks great doesn’t it?

Kia also unveiled their brand new 2017 Sportage, which, thanks to Peter Schreyer’s vision in design, helps Kia to once again set the pace in terms of fresh, bold, and innovative designs for mainstream cars.

Finally, Kias don’t look copied anymore.

The new Sportage will come available with a 241-hp, 2.0 litre, turbocharged four cylinder.

Jaguar/Land Rover

No press conference. Just a modded F-Type coupe.

Here’s the new XF:

And the all new XE, which is a properly attractive and promises to be a refreshing competitor to the BMW 3-series.

It’s great to see Jaguar release attractive and competitive products again.

Lamborghini

A man in a suit that sounded drunk and hadn’t prepared a speech, surrounded by two super hot women dressed in black and two brand new Lambos.

The 2016 Aventador LP-750-4 SV.

And a 2017 Huracan LP-610-4 Spyder.

Here it is again but with a more attractive female presence.

Oh, there was also a properly orange hard top Huracan.

Nothing else to add.

Mazda

Nothing too special over at Mazda. No press conference. Just a couple of MX-5’s rotating on a stage.

That race-ready one looks gnarly as hell.

Mercedes-Benz

The German luxury carmaker had a vast array of attractive models on display this year. Mercedes kiosques are always very glamourous. This year, right smack in the middle of high-end sedans and trucks lies this stunning AMG GT.

Who dared put that stupid hat on such a pretty car?

Mercedes also unveiled a car we’ve been asking for a long time, especially here in Quebec: the C300D (diesel) with 4-matic all-wheel-drive.

Hell, it’s about time.

They also unveiled another SUV, the GLC. Because Mercedes desperately needed more SUVs in its lineup of course.

And a radically-tuned C63 AMG coupe.

Jesus.

I’m sure we’ll hear the sound of those quad exhausts loud and clear during the Montreal Grand Prix this summer.

Nissan/Infiniti

Nissan and Infiniti had quite a lot to talk about this year, such as the 2016 Sentra and Altima sedans, which look, well identical to one another. Here’s the Sentra:

And here’s the Altima:

According to the Nissan rep, this “completes our lineup of dynamic sedans with designs inspired from the Maxima”.

Ok.

There was also this:

They call it the Rogue Warrior, and it’s everything a family man could ever dream of. It was built by the same Quebec-based company that builds the Micra race cars for the Canada-only Nissan Micra cup. It’s essentially a jacked up Nissan Rogue whose wheels have been substituted for tracks. It should be a hit with the kids.

There’s a GT-R secretly parked behind a Titan pickup truck.

And a 370Z Nismo.

Nissan also took a few minutes to showcase the Micra cup car for the 2016 Micra cup season.

Moving towards Infiniti, the luxury carmaker revealed two new crossovers, because the automotive market desperately needs more crossovers doesn’t it? First off was the completely redesigned 7-passenger QX60 which will also be available as a hybrid. Apparently.

More interesting, was the QX30, a compact luxury crossover built on an entirely new platform to compete against the current wave of Audi Q3s, Lexus NXs, and Mercedes-Benz GLAs.

The QX30 is an attractive looking thing that will be powered by a brand new turbocharged engine and what Infiniti call “engaging driving dynamics”.

I guess I’m going to have to discover that for myself when I get my hands on one.

Pagani

Pagani Automobili is now available to the Canadian market thanks to PFAFF Auto. PFAFF is also responsible for the arrival of a new McLaren dealership to Montreal. As a matter of fact two 570S’ were on display, but unfortunately due to a cramped display area and masses of people, I couldn’t get a clear shot. You’ll have to head over to the show to check them out for yourself.

As for Pagani, what better car to say hi than the Huayra. My god this is stunning in the flesh. The attention to detail is simply mind blowing.

Check out the that AMG-built V12.

Here is the Huarya again opened up like a transformer.

What a car!

Porsche

Holy crap they had a freakin orange 911 GT3 RS. Just look at the damn thing.

Good god.

Porsche also unveiled the all new Macan GTS, which I must confess, is one heck of an attractive SUV.

According to the Porsche rep, it can reach a top speed of “well over 260 km/h”.

The Porsche booth, as elegant as always, also showcased this, the 919 Hybrid Le Mans prototype.

Not sure if I’ll get to drive this one anytime soon.

Subaru

Subaru unveiled their Impreza 5-door concept in Montreal. The 5-door Impreza was a sales hit in Quebec and Impreza enthusiasts have been yearning for its return ever since Subaru pulled the plug on it back in 2012.

The concept sure looks the part, which is traditional of Subaru concepts. Let’s just hope they don’t once more screw this one up and make it look like another Corolla WRX.

As for the rest of the Subaru booth, it boasted it’s traditional displays of the Boxer engine technology and symmetrical all-wheel-drive. The floor was also garnished with a WRX STI.

A BRZ, which, according to Subaru, has exceeded sales targets this year.

And a rather cool XV Crosstrek with a bike and a restaurant on its roof.

Well played Subaru.

Tesla Motors

They were there. Unlike last year where they were nowhere to be found. Good news! There’s now a Tesla dealership in the Laval area and supercharger stations in Drummondville and Quebec city. That means you can now drive your Model S from Montreal to the capital without running out of juice. Now that’s progress.

Toyota/Scion/Lexus

Booooooring. Even the guy talking was boring.

Here’s a new, uglier, more fuel efficient Prius.

Booooooring.

Thankfully, the Lexus booth was much more entertaining thanks to the unveiling of this, the all new GS-F.

Oh my. I like it.

There’s also this kickass RC-F.

Here it is parked next to other attractive Lexus sedans.

It’s a good thing I have a good relationship with the people at Lexus. 2016 looks promising so far.

Volkswagen/Audi

Audi had two unveillings this year, the all new A4, which looks like every other A4 before it.

Still, I’m sure it’ll put a smile on my face like the last Audi I drove.

And this:

It’s the S8 Plus, which not only looks properly authoritative and glamorous, but also happens to develop 605 horsepower.

As for Volkswagen, their press conference was very, very awkward. It sounded something like this: “we’re sorry, there was some turbulence towards the end of 2015, but we still managed to sell a lot of cars. We’re sorry, we’re sorry, and we’re working on things to fix the turbulence.”

“turbulence”.

Here’s an ugly Beetle Denim convertible.

And a kickass all-wheel-drive Golf Sportwagen Alltrack!

I WANT THAT CAR!

I guess that’s a good way to shift our attention away from dieselgate.

Performance Zone

This year, the Montreal auto show exhibits its traditional Performance Zone, which has on display a wide variety of tuning and hot-rod projects. This year, the zone has expanded to two large rooms with some rather impressive projects such as this:

And this:

As for the rest, you’ll just have to head over to discover them for yourself. So there you have it folks. That was the 2016 Montreal International Auto Show in a nutshell. Go check it out, it’s open every day until 9:30 p.m., it only costs $16.00 to get in, and is easily accessible from the Place d’armes metro station. Enjoy!


Clavey’s Corner is located in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. Prices and trim levels discussed in this article reflect the Canadian car market.

Photos by the author.

Contact the author: williamclavey@gmail.com

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