Oh­what ashow

It’s our turn to cap­ture the imag­i­na­tion of the mo­tor­ing world, writes Paul Gover

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Australian International Motor Show -

THE great­est show on wheels re­turns to Aus­tralia’s mo­town next month. Mel­bourne is host­ing the born-again Aus­tralian In­ter­na­tional Mo­tor Show (AIMS) for the first time with the prom­ise of nearly 50 new and up­dated mod­els, as well as 10 hi-tech con­cept cars.

The event, which starts on July 1, marks a mas­sive change in the his­tory of Aus­tralian mo­tor­ing, with a new date and a new ap­proach to the coun­try’s big­gest and bright­est new­car show­case.

The event is now a joint ven­ture be­tween the Vic­to­rian Au­to­mo­bile Cham­ber of Com­merce and the Fed­eral Cham­ber of Au­to­mo­tive In­dus­tries, and ends the in­ter­state ri­valry that saw the Mel­bourne and Syd­ney shows com­pet­ing for at­ten­tion each year.

The first amal­ga­mated show was run in NSW last year and now it’s Vic­to­ria’s turn.

The plan is to al­ter­nate the host city and help build an event with an Asia-Pa­cific ap­peal that will turn the global mo­tor­ing spot­light on Aus­tralia.

The Mel­bourne Ex­hi­bi­tion Cen­tre will host big and small brands, affordable and outrageous cars, with the world’s head­line mak­ers vy­ing for brag­ging rights.

BMWis ship­ping its Vi­sion ED con­cept car to Aus­tralia for the show, and it will be up against the fu­tur­is­tic Mazda Shi­nari, which points to the next gen­er­a­tion of pro­duc­tion cars from the Ja­panese maker.

On the pro­duc­tion-car front, Lam­borgh­ini has the first Aus­tralia ap­pear­ance of its new head­liner, the Aven­ta­dor LP700-4. Its 6.5-litre V12 en­gine makes 515kW of power and 690Nm of torque, able to blast it to 100km/h in less than three sec­onds.

Among the other con­cept cars are a plug-in elec­tric Audi eTron, Hyundai’s HMD-6, the good-look­ing new Subaru XV and the Lexus LF-Gh — com­plete with a Darth Vaderin­spired nose— which will ar­rive to pre­view the lux­ury brand’s up­com­ing mid-sized GS.

Car com­pa­nies es­ti­mate the cost of splash­ing at the show in the $1 mil­lion-plus range, an in­vest­ment that’s ob­vi­ous to show or­gan­iser Russ Tyrie. Hav­ing only one ma­jor mo­tor show in the coun­try each year means man­u­fac­tur­ers are more will­ing to sink re­sources into mak­ing an im­pact, Mr Tyrie says.

If they want to make an im­pact with the gen­eral pub­lic, they only have one chance to do it, which is great news for our vis­i­tors.

The chance to see hy­per-cars such as the new Lam­borgh­ini for the very first time, or a con­cept car like Mazda’s Shi­nari, is al­ways a draw­card for mo­tor shows.

But, away from the dream ma­chines, there will be plenty of chance for back-to-back com­par­isons of the lat­est pro­duc­tion cars.

Kia will have its new Rio, Land Rover will show its baby Range Rover Evoque, Mercedes-Benz has its lat­est hi-tech green en­gines, and other brands with some­thing to trum­pet in­clude Audi, Ford, Holden, Hyundai, Jaguar, Lexus, Maserati, Mazda, Mit­subishi, Nis­san, Peu­geot, Skoda, Subaru, Suzuki, Toy­ota, Volk­swa­gen and Volvo.

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