Drool, dream, drive

Sure the theme for the 2009 Canadian International Auto Show is “The New Era” with its blend of environmental responsibility and alternative-fuel technology, but sometimes a little dose of power and style is what you need to get you through the night.

 

Sure the theme for the 2009 Canadian International Auto Show is “The New Era” with its blend of environmental responsibility and alternative-fuel technology, but sometimes a little dose of power and style is what you need to get you through the night.

No problem. The CIAS has that covered in a number of ways. First, there are plenty of new sports and performance vehicles to be seen, including the powerful Hyundai Genesis coupe and the revised Nissan 370Z. For the first time since the ’70s, Detroit’s muscle-car wars are in full force as new versions of the Chevrolet Camaro, Dodge Challenger and Ford Mustang make their appearances.

 

And variants of last year’s participants at the Nürburgring Nordschleife throw-down for the fastest lap time around the 21-km German racetrack — the Chevrolet Corvette ZR-1, Dodge Viper SRT10 ACR and Nissan GT-R — are at their respective show booths as well.

But it’s the more exotic machinery that should get enthusiasts’ heart racing — the CIAS has excellent displays from some of the world’s most prestigious brands. Along with the rest of its four-model lineup, Ferrari is showing its new F430 Scudeira Spider 16M, a track-ready blaze-yellow limited-production convertible. And the sexy sheetmetal sharing space in the Maserati booth in the form of the Quattroporte and Gran Turismo is enough to get cheeks red and palms sweaty.

Britain is well-represented by the Aston Martin DBS — as seen in the last two James Bond movies — and V8 Vantage, while Lotus has a handful of Elise and Exige models on hand so you can wonder how anyone fits inside comfortably. And if you’d rather spend the money on a new car than a second home, Bentley and Rolls-Royce would be more than happy to turn your hundreds of thousands of dollars into customized, bespoke luxury in the form of a Continental or Phantom Drophead coupe.

Like your performance more German? Fear not, as Audi’s phenomenal new V10-powered R8 sits proudly in its display, while in the Mercedes-Benz booth, the SL65 AMG Black Series, McLaren-Mercedes SLR 722 Roadster and Maybach 62 S are three very different ways of spending over half a million dollars.

And we can’t forget Porsche, whose least-expensive Boxster is sportier and more satisfying to drive than vehicles twice or three times its price. The usual range of world-beating 911 and Cayman models can be seen there as well.

So, there’s plenty to drool and dream over at the CIAS, even if many of them won’t quite save the planet.

 
 
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