Whilst the annual Brussels Salon that runs in parallel on the calendar with the Detroit Auto Show might not enjoy the international prestige or kudos of the Motor City exhibition, the Belgian event still has plenty of new cars on offer – including each of the ‘expected’ prestige cars brands – all without the need for the unnecessary razzmatazz of the American show.
Granted, this year’s Brussels Salon may not have rivaled Detroit overall for world debuts (though these were lacking in the US as well as Andrew has pointed out), but it still wasn’t short of important new car model launches – seven in all – plus facelifts not seen in Europe before (16 at last count), all based within a quick hop over the Channel for us Brits in a more pleasant and convenient location, and based in a more appealing city.
In no particular order, these first European show sightings in the Belgian capital included the new Aston Martin Vantage and DB11 Volante, as well as the new Mercedes-Benz CLS, new Renault Sport Megane, Honda NSX GT3 racer, the Volvo XC40, BMW X2, VW Tiguan Allspace, Hyundai i30 Fastback, the new Lexus LS 500h, new Subaru Impreza and XV, plus the new Opel/Vauxhall Insignia GSi and Abarth 595 Riva.
A long rollcall of facelifted models making their world debuts in Brussels included the revised 2018 Range Rover and Range Rover Sport, the Mini Hatch and Convertible with their cunning Union Flag-sectioned tail lights, the BMW 2-Series Active, Citroen C4 Cactus, Ford Mustang and EcoSport; the list goes on.
Other interesting newcomers on show, yet to be seen in the UK, include the new Ferrari Portofino, second-generation Bentley Continental GT, Jaguar E-Pace, new Rolls-Royce Phantom, Citroen C3 Airspace, Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross, Dacia Duster II and the enticing Kia Stinger.
A carefully-considered and well-presented hall, dedicated to many of the supercar and prestige marques absent in Detroit, allowed the 540,000+ Brussels Salon attendees to enjoy some mouth-watering displays from Bugatti, Lamborghini, Rolls-Royce, Ferrari, McLaren, Alpine, Porsche, Aston Martin, local Gillet, and many others, with plenty of new concept cars to admire as well.
Audi presented both the latest e-Tron quattro and AI Sportsback concepts, with Renault displaying its automated Symbioz, Skoda showing the Vision E prototype, Jaguar the i-Pace concept, and Mercedes-Benz its long and flamboyant Maybach 6 roadster, first seen at last year’s Pebble Beach concours.
Okay, Brussels may not be Detroit, but it’s a far more convenient, laid-back and affordable motor show to visit for us Brits in need of a vital New Year new car fix. The Belgian event marked its 96th running this year, and we look forward to attending many more…