Tokyo Motor Show 2017 - The German Connection

Following the display of the Japanese giants that may seem uninspiring to many automotive fans the question on everyone's mind is: "was Tokyo Motor Show 2017 worth its hype?" Does the event have a future or should it suffer the same destiny as the Japanese budget performance car sector?

Most of us go to car shows to see something special, something rare and spectacular.  Concepts, high tech or gimmicks don't even come close to the wow factor of seeing a creation that has only two things on its creators' minds: break the laws of physics, and be as entertaining as possible while at it.

With American, Italian, and British players deciding to sit this year's Tokyo Motor Show out, much like they were doing for the past 8 years, the task of bringing a degree of excitement into the mundane halls of Tokyo Big Sight Exhibition Center fell onto the laps of German representatives.

Yes, there were French cars there too, but with all currently produced French cars looking alike, and with source of design being the VW Golf, it's hard to get excited about anything coming from the land that once gave us Clio V6 and Alpine.

While being pretty good in delivering cutting edge performance with significant degree of fun, Germans are the responsible bunch and value all the self driving, EV segment as much as the Japanese,

Falling into completely price bracket in Asia, all Germans manufactures understand that they need to position themselves not only as pinnacle of technological evolution, but also be appealing and desirable to potential owners.  Emotional link between man and machine is an absolute must!

While putting accent on Luxury, functionality, and efficiency BMW's participation in this year's Motor Show was a real challange

First, it started as internal battle of making the right decision regarding participation in this year's show.  Yes, BMW were considering abandoning the show, but Japanese market proved to be more important than pure sales numbers.  After sacrificing the Mini and about 2/3 of their usual floor space, BMW still made it with total of 12 cars, a handful of bikes and whole lot of much desired wow-factor.

While deciding not to make any global unveilings it was the first time to for Asia to receive the new M5,

8 Series Concept

Z4 Concept

and the 6 Series Gran Turismo.

As expected, The M5 was my favorite as it delivers luxury, performance, and practicality better than any of its rivals (even though AMG E63 might be a tough battle to win).

F10 M5 is a tough car to improve, and with removal of the awesome DCT transmission, BMW engineers didn't do the F90 any favors.  However, selectable all wheel drive system, gorgeous design, and a 600HP Twin Turbocharged V8 should keep potential customers interested.

The New BMW 8-Series is probably the most anticipated Bavarian machine in this lineup.  Luxury Coupe market oozes innovation in design and technology and BMW is no stranger to both.  While the outgoing 6-series was a strong performer, perhaps it was not luxurious enough to give S Class coupe the run for its money.  BMW decision makers are confident that the new 8 Series and consequently M8 will live up to the expectations.

Yes, the 8 series is fantastic looking car, but I couldn't keep my eyes off the gorgeous Z4 Prototype!

I mean just look at it!

There car represents a whole new deisgn language for BMW, but at the same time it is instantly recognizable.  Highlighted by sharp lines and simple flowing design the car was probably the prettiest machine in entire Tokyo Motor Show.

The 6 Series Grand Turismo is an interesting machine prioritizing practicality withouth sacrificing any of the BMW driving dynamics.  The original 5 series GT was just clumsy looking and undesirable, so BMW went back to drawing board and delivered what can only be described as proportionally perfect utilitarian machine.

Personally, I was drooling all over the M4 CS.

Largely because of the color, but also because perhaps this is exactly how I envisioun modding an M4 if I had one

Carbon lip, 20 inch BBS wheels, Performance exhaust, suspension  Everything I'd imagined apart  from taking it towards the path of bat-shit crazy GTS version.

Overall BMW booth did impress, but perhaps they could have created a more significant impact

if they weren't positioned next to Mercedes Benz Group enormous booth.

Undeniably current market leader in performance luxury Mercedes Benz Group has brought the big guns to Tokyo Motor Show 2017.

The angry looking E63 S was just across the hall staring down the M5 ready to take its luxury performance crown, and with 603 horse power it very well could.  Hopefully I will get to drive both and tell the world what I think of this.

To me this looked like new A Class, but for now it's known to the world as the concept EQA, 100% self driving and powered by electric motor with 400km range.  If this won't put pressure on Tesla, I don't know what will.

This is what will put pressure on the likes of Bugatti and LaFerrari.  Think of it as Bruce Lee picking a fight in Gold's Gym.  A Formula 1 for the road? This has never been done before.  I will leave this here just to sink in, but will return with special feature of this car in the next update.

To be honest, I wasn't expect much from Volkswagen AG, but this electric version of Type 2 bus is the best thing that VW has come up in the long time.  Regardless of anyone's tastes this is a funky looking vehicle and there should definitely a place for this thing in market

Another interesting creation was the Arteon, which is a sort of luxury version of the famous CC.  While the design is striking and unique, the car could benefit from additional engine choices.  Even at 280 HP, a four cylinder turbo engine is just not enough to satisfy potential luxury car buyers.

The R8 is usually the first car I go and see when I enter Tokyo Motor Show.  For past 10 years, since very first one was presented 10 years ago, they parade a new version of the spectacular sports car.  Today it was the R8 V10 Spyder Plus.

The switch from naturally aspirated V8 to Turbo V6 seems to hurt Audi more than they have expected.  Despite its flaws the original RS5 was indeed something special.  The replacement version may be a better overall car, but it seems to be lost in its own meritocracy.  While exceeding its predecessor in every aspect of performance it has lost its crazy factor and for many this alone makes it not worthy of the RS badge.

Here is what Audi thinks what their cash cow is going to be: a BMW X6 with Audi Logo.  It seems that a 10 year old bold move by the Bavarian manufacturer has finally caught on.

By the end of my Tokyo Motor Show exploration, I was getting  a little bit desperate.  Just like in 2015, however I was saved by Porsche, which presented a number of cars, which were exactly what I came to see.

No gimmicks, no AI, no distractions.  Porsche is one of few remaining manufacturers that envisions success in giving their customers what they really want:  a truly rewarding driving experience.

This is why this GT3 is the car of the show to me.  While not the only car with powerful NA engine (respect to Lexus for sticking with 5.0 V8), it is probably the most analogue car here and yet somehow it manages to pass the test of time much better than anything digital we tend to see these days.  While most of the concepts and production cars seen in this show will be forgotten, this is exactly what future classic will look like.

While 911 GT3 may be the car of the show, this one is by far most desired.  Being a family man, I am painfully familiar with constraints of ordinary sedans and coupes.  While my M3 is a keeper despite its dimensional challenges, should I had to replace it with a more utilitarian option, I simply could not sacrifice driving pleasure and procure an SUV or God forbid one of those people carriers.  While sports wagons don't look sporty enough, shooting brakes such as the CLS and now Panamera Sports Turismo are what family cars are all about.  Thank you Porsche for keeping so many petrol head fathers within the limits of their sanity. The world is now a better place, because of you Porsche!

There is probably a lot more I want to talk about, but I simply ran out of cars.  This concludes our coverage of Tokyo Motor Show 2017.  Please check back soon for AMG Project One special and more on Japanese car Culture, only on Motorflair.

PHOTO GALLERY













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