Singapore Motorshow: Motor companies unveil record number of new cars with show-business glitz

Citroen's C3 Aircross
Citroen's C3 AircrossST PHOTO: ARIFFIN JAMAR
Audi's A8
Audi's A8ST PHOTO: ARIFFIN JAMAR
Hyundai's Ioniq Electric
Hyundai's Ioniq ElectricST PHOTO: ARIFFIN JAMAR
BMW's latest X3
BMW's latest X3ST PHOTO: ARIFFIN JAMAR
Mitsubishi's Eclipse Cross
Mitsubishi's Eclipse CrossST PHOTO: ARIFFIN JAMAR
Porsche's Panamera Sport Turismo
Porsche's Panamera Sport TurismoST PHOTO: ARIFFIN JAMAR

They say there is no business like show business and that certainly applies to car companies and their latest models.

At the Singapore Motorshow 2018, which is on till Sunday at the Suntec Convention & Exhibition Centre, exhibitors are employing plenty of song and dance.

From a sensual ballet number to hip-hop routines to an a cappella repertoire, they add glamour to a model which you might otherwise miss in an exhibition of more than 170 cars. Here are some of the cars on show.


Citroen

The new C3 Aircross is easily the most funky subcompact crossover around. In fact, the colour scheme of the show car might give Mini mini palpitations. The car's cockpit is also pretty snazzy. See if the cabin space is adequate for you.


Maxus

The G10 MPV is the first full-size seven-seater from the Middle Kingdom. Looking to give the Toyota Alphards of this world a run for their money, the massive Maxus boasts a wide aisle, auto sliding doors, full-size seats for every occupant and a 2-litre turbo engine beefy enough to haul the fully ladened beast along.


Nissan

The second-generation Leaf electric car is way cooler than the first - both inside and out. Even if it is not yet available for sale here, it is worth a closer look. Nissan Motor would not say when the car will be at Tan Chong Motor's showroom (the first-generation model was never put on sale here), but indications are that it will be early next year.


Peugeot

The 5008 was previously positioned as an MPV. But since SUVs are more in vogue now, the new model is now referred to as a seven-seat SUV. Built on an extended platform of the award-winning 3008, the 5008 looks and feels more premium than its predecessor. Check out if its third row has enough space for your little ones.


Audi


Audi's A8. ST PHOTO: ARIFFIN JAMAR

The Volkswagen Group-owned Ingolstadt manufacturer's star attraction is the new A8 flagship - an enthusiast magnet unto itself.

Looking more elegant and statuesque than before, the limousine has a suite of new tricks up its sleeves. If regulators approve, it will be the first car to offer level 3 autonomy, which allows the driver to take his eyes off the road and his hands off the steering wheel under certain conditions.

Of course, you cannot try this out at the show, but Audi's impressive pavilion offers you a glimpse of its AI possibilities with a video exhibition.


Seat

The latest Ibiza hatch and its Arona crossover twin get a flamenco introduction. Built on a new Volkswagen platform and boasting many of the bells and whistles (some optional) found in a VW, the two cars target those who want German-built quality with Spanish pizzazz.


Toyota

The C-HR crossover is not exactly new (thousands of parallel imports are already on the road), but Borneo Motors' 1.2-litre turbo version makes it more interesting.

What's more interesting is the Prius Plus - a seven-seat version of the world's best-selling hybrid. Find out if this fuel-sipping multi-seater is adequate for your extended family.


Volkswagen

The Beetle Cabriolet gets an airing at VW's stand, along with the Arteon fastback. You can't miss the stand either - it is the one with the girl in a suspended "bubble" bobbing here and there.


Volvo

The Swedish marque enters the compact SUV segment with the new XC40. Boasting the same sexy styling and solid build as the award-winning XC60, the XC40 has one attribute which will make it a hit - lots of interior storage spaces. The door side pockets, for instance, are wide enough for a full-size tablet (and more).


Hyundai


Hyundai's Ioniq Electric. ST PHOTO: ARIFFIN JAMAR

The Korean brand has the most number of new cars to show off - the Ioniq Electric, Kona compact crossover and i30 hatch.

Clearly, the Ioniq Electric will steal the show. Touted as the first affordable family-size electric car in town, it is a must-see if you are tired of lofty pump prices. Hyundai is also displaying a novel mobile charger - a service vehicle to rescue battery-powered Hyundais which have run flat. But with a range of 280km, that is unlikely to happen here, where the average daily mileage is less than 50km.

The Kona is powered by a turbocharged 1-litre paired with a manual gearbox. But a dual-clutch version is on the way. Try this car out for size if you are looking for something below $90,000.

The i30 looks sportier than its predecessor. If you think VW's 1-litre Golf is too anaemic for you, check out this 1.6-litre, six-speed auto five-door.


BMW


BMW's latest X3. ST PHOTO: ARIFFIN JAMAR

The latest X3 is worth a closer look. Bigger and looking more like its X5 brother, the mid-sized SUV comes with many premium amenities first seen in the recently launched 5-series. These include a gesture control infotainment system, wireless cellphone charging and BMW's smart key. Its main attraction is, of course, the additional space inside.


Mitsubishi


Mitsubishi's Eclipse Cross. ST PHOTO: ARIFFIN JAMAR

The Eclipse Cross is a made-in-Japan mid-size crossover sitting between the brand's big Outlander and small ASX. The car runs on a 1.5-litre turbo paired with a continuously variable transmission with eight manual "gears". It is currently a two-wheel-drive, but an electronic all-wheel-drive variant will arrive in the second quarter.


Porsche


Porsche's Panamera Sport Turismo. ST PHOTO: ARIFFIN JAMAR

The Panamera Sport Turismo is an estate version of the Panamera saloon. You can have a luxurious four-seat variant or a five-seater. Boot space is definitely bigger than the saloon's, but see if it will do for your golf bags.

• The show is on the third and fourth levels of the Suntec Convention and Exhibition Centre. Tickets are $6, but children below 120cm enter free.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 13, 2018, with the headline 'Song and dance'. Print Edition | Subscribe