Here’s a list of the show’s snazziest and sleekest as you breeze through the event.
AUDI SPORTBACK CONCEPT
It is easy to get lured by the vintage 225 Front Roadster finished in a shade of ivory. But what should stop you in your tracks is parked in the far corner of the Audi pavilion — the Sportback concept. This is a significant car for Audi, since it speaks the design vocabulary that will be passed on to the new generation of cars from Ingolstadt. This is a five-door coupe design — as unorthodox and ambitious as it can get — but as proven by BMW Gran Turismo, not impossible either. Extensive use of LEDs, like in the new A4, R8 and the A8, and crisp styling that is purposefully understated to go with the tough times… It is all there in the Sportback concept. Feast your eyes on the future of the automobile. MERCEDES-BENZ SLS AMG
This is the successor to the legendary “Gullwing” or the 300 SL. The original is really special — only one exists in India (in the roadster format). If you have come to the 10th Auto Expo and have not seen the new Gullwing, you haven’t seen anything. Though belonging to the “retro” brigade when it comes to design, the SLS was developed completely by AMG (the Mercedes arm that churns out extreme sporting variants). The Gordon Wagener-designed car features doors that open skywards — hence, the Gullwing reference. Power comes from a monstrous V8 that pumps out 563 bhp and a seven-speed, semi-automatic transmission sends it to the rear wheels. It will do a standstill-to-100 kph run in 3.8 seconds flat. Make sure you see the SLS. If you couldn’t, simply lie that you did — because this is the “Car of the show”. BMW X6 M
There are plenty of nice cars at the BMW pavilion — the Z4 Roadster is pure eye-candy, the X1 SUV is spanking new and holds promise, while the GT is path-breaking. But, if you want mouth-watering form and spine-tingling performance in one package, you got to pick the X6 M. The X6 — a coupe SUV that is a trend-setter by design — now gets power from an engine massaged by BMW’s M division. The result is a 555 bhp monster that can embarrass sports cars at the rate of 4.7 seconds to 100 kph! Drool! TATA PRIMA
Tata Motors launched three new models at the Expo and some of them are fundamental by design. But the erstwhile Geneva Show star, the Prima sedan, is our pick for you to see. It shows what is possible when Pininfarina — famed coach-builders and designers of Ferrari — try their hand at developing a Honda City-sized car for Tata Motors. It may or may not reach production ever — but this will remain the most beautiful car to wear a Tata logo in ages. Seeing is believing. VOLKSWAGEN POLO
This is the most significant new production car on show. Volkswagen has invested heavily in India and the Polo is the first money-spinner they are launching from their brand new plant at Chakan, near Pune. Designed under the direction of VW’s famous styling chief Walter D’Silva, the Polo is as contemporary as it gets. It has received rave reviews in Europe since its launch last year and was voted European Car of the Year recently. Don’t miss it, since you may own one or travel in one sooner than later.
According to Ian Callum, the genius design director at Jaguar, the XJ is the utterly compelling image of modern Jaguar. And why not? The sinuous design has been received well across the board and new owners Tata have reason to be proud of the youngest kitten in the family. The five-litre engine develops 385 bhp and the interior is a study in ergonomics and luxury. This is the car that can take on the established German giants with the very British virtues that established the Jaguar brand name in the past. Go take a peep — and, if possible, shake hands with Ian Callum. TOYOTA ETIOS/HONDA NEW SMALL CONCEPT
The Toyota Etios is production-ready, while the Honda small car has some way to go — but both were shown to the world for the first time in India — hence, the significance. When giants like Toyota and Honda decide to design and develop cars primarily for the Indian market, it says only one thing — the Indian automotive market has arrived. Both cars are in the same hall (6) and, hence, they are listed together here. The Etios is shown in both hatchback as well as sedan variants. The sedan will be launched later this year and the hatchback will follow in early-2011. The Honda small car is due in 2011. YAMAHA M1
There are lots of motorcycles at the show but you can’t miss the MotoGP bike with the fluorescent yellow 46 sticker. It’s the Yamaha M1, ridden by none other than nine-time world champion Valentino Rossi himself. He is supposed to visit the show on the 9th — go and take a look and boast to the world that you have seen God. You won’t be far from the truth. SKODA YETI
Simply see it now, because it looks like it will be another year before the small SUV comes to Indian shores. Clever packaging, capable underpinnings and proven powertrain all make the Yeti another value-driven Skoda. CHEVROLET CAMARO
If you’ve got children in the 5-to-17 age bracket at home, get them along and show “The” Transformer of them all. The Chevrolet Camaro will not be sold in India, ever. Reason enough to get an eyeful of the resurrected muscle car that’s the talk of the town… In theatres, as well as on drag strips.