By Marc Lachapelle
The 41st edition of the Montreal International Auto Show has an abundance of the newest models on display, as if to defy the current economic doldrums. Here is a quick overview of the new models that were introduced by European manufacturers during the press day on January 15.
2009 Audi Q5 – Audi Q7 TDI – Audi A6
There is lots of broad-shouldered – yet pragmatic – attitude in the Audi camp this year as the brand with the four rings rolls out its all-new Audi Q5 compact luxury crossover and a diesel-powered version of its bigger brother, the mid-size Q7. The Q5 is powered exclusively by a 3.2-litre, 270-horsepower V6 coupled to a 6-speed automatic gearbox and Audi’s signature quattro all-wheel drive system. The diesel engine under the hood of the Q7 TDI is a direct-injection 3.0-litre V6 that produces 221 horsepower at 4,000 rpm but most importantly a ridge-climbing 406 lb-ft of torque at only 2,750 rpm. Sharing the spotlight in the Audi stand is a subtly-redesigned A6 sedan. All three are 2009 models.
2009 BMW 7-Series
It is a rich coincidence that BMW chose Montreal to reveal the all-new version of its flagship since the exterior design of this fifth-generation 7-Series sedan was the work of Karim Antoine Habib, who grew up in this city. Karim’s proposal was chosen among submissions by ten design teams within BMW because it best met the set objectives of being dynamic, elegant and blessed with great “natural presence”. The new ‘7’ is offered as the 750i or the extended-wheelbase 750Li, both powered by BMW’s new, twin-turbocharged, 4.4-litre V8 which develops 400 horsepower and a stout 450 lb-ft of torque from 1,750 to 4,500 rpm. Still no all-wheel drive for the 7-Series but it gets Integral Active Steering, which adds rear-wheel steering to the original system’s bag of variable-ratio tricks, plus active roll stabilization and lots more electronic trickery.
2009 Mini Cooper and Cooper S Convertibles
In the next booth, the Bavarian carmaker’s Mini division introduced the new 2009 Cooper and Cooper S Convertibles. These new models look everything like their predecessors, which is the point with hot models. Last year, Mini Canada sales grew by a remarkable 33 per cent in a difficult market, so you don’t mess with such success. That said, the new convertible Minis get a number of pertinent upgrades such as much lower rear safety hoops that improve rear visibility immensely and concealed rear trunk hinges. In true Mini spirit, they are also equipped with the ‘Always-Open Timer’, a clock that basically shows: “how much time you spend topless” said Mini Canada head Stephen McDonnell In jest, during the presentation.
2010 Jaguar XK and XKR
New versions of two of Jaguar’s stalwart models made their Canadian début in Montreal. The XK and XKR coupe and convertible lines have been extensively refreshed, inside and out, for the 2010 model year. Both cars get new front fascias and subtly redesigned lower rear fascia, topped by new LED rear lights. And inside the cabin, they get the new pop-up JaguarDrive electronic rotary gear selector first introduced last year in the XF sedan. The new XK and XKR also have their own versions of Jaguar’s new, greener and more powerful direct-injection AJ-V8 Gen III engine. The XK get the naturally-aspirated version of the 5.0-litre V8 which produces 385 horsepower and 280 lb-ft of torque. The XKR’s V8 is supercharged and said to deliver 510 horsepower and a hearty 460 lb-ft of torque.
2010 Mercedes-Benz GLK 350 4Matic
The highlight of the Mercedes-Benz stand in Montreal was the all-new 2010 GLK 350 4Matic entry-luxury compact sport-utility. Its styling fuses the sculpted surfaces of recent Mercedes models such as the C-Class sedan that shares its basic platform with the rugged, upright stance of the famed Geländewagen that begat the G-Class vehicles. Powered exclusively by a 268-horsepower, 3.5-litre V6, the GLK 350 runs on standard 19-inch wheels. It benefits from the full range of amenities, passive safety measures and electronic control systems one invariably expects from the dean of automakers, including an electronic stability control system that keeps things in check while taking advantage of the GLK’s 1,588-kg (3,500 lb) towing capacity. Mercedes-Benz Canada spokesperson JoAnne Caza shared the GLK’s base price of $41,800 during this new model’s Canadian launch at the show.
2009 Smart Fortwo Brabus
Turning a few degrees to her right, Ms Caza then introduced the new 2009 Fortwo Brabus models, offered as a coupe or a cabriolet by the Mercedes-own Smart brand. These two microcars are powered by the same 1.0-litre, 70-hp three-cylinder engine but get a full array of tweaks and accessories to enhance both its performance appearance. These range from a sportier exhaust system with dual chrome-plated tail pipes to modified suspension bits and a 10-mm lower ride height. A set of Monoblock VII alloy wheels also created by tuner Brabus and several body and interior accessories complete the package.
2009 Volkswagen Touareg TDI
Volkswagen is expanding its portfolio of diesel-powered models upwards in the range with the introduction of the 2009 Touareg TDI midsize luxury sport-utility. This new version of the Touareg is powered by a 3.0-litre turbodiesel V6 that develops 221 horsepower and 407 lb-ft of torque at a very low 1,750 rpm. Coupled to a 6-speed automatic gearbox, it helps this Touareg sprint from 0 to 100 km/h in less than 9 seconds, with excellent fuel economy ratings of 11.9 L/100 km in the city and 8.0 L/100 km on the highway in normal driving. It also meets the strictest emissions standards thanks to the AdBlue technology that injects a nontoxic, odourless and biodegradable solution to reduce nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions.
2009 Volvo XC60
The sleek and thoroughly elegant Volvo XC60 compact luxury crossover was the star of the Swedish carmaker’s stand at Palais des Congrès. This all-new entry is powered by a transversely-mounted, turbocharged 3.0-litre inline six-cylinder engine that develops 281 horsepower at 5,600 rpm and 295 lb-ft of torque at 1,500 rpm. It is coupled to a 6-speed automatic gearbox and all-wheel drive. The new XC60 is 20 cm shorter than the XC70 and 7 cm lower than its big brother, the XC90. It also pioneers Volvo’s City Safety technology, a system that will apply the brakes if it detects an imminent collision at up to 33 km/h (20 mph) and the driver does not react.
* The Montreal auto show had to be cancelled in 1999 and was held in November only once, in 2002.