We are spoilt for choice when it comes to motor shows. The big rendezvous playing host to some of motoring’s most successful names and some of the world’s most incredible cars.
Now, here in the UK, one of the best we have to offer is The London Motor Show, one that I was lucky enough to visit this year and would highly recommend you do too. The London based show is a great day out for anyone even mildly interested in cars, as I shall now explain why.
The Quest Into London
Now, most people will know the journey into London can be a tedious one. Upon arrival into your respective London train station (London Victoria in my case) a tube ride shortly follows.
The London Motor Show was held this year in the ExCel Centre London, just over the river from the O2 Arena. Me being the genius I am, noticed that there was a cable car that runs straight from the O2, over the river, and virtually onto the doorstep of the ExCel Centre. After a fair amount of google searches I decided to give it a try. I set off.
I left the house at 10:00am sharp, the simple 45-minute drive to the O2 was mostly uneventful. On arrival, parking is the easiest thing I’ve ever had to do. Choosing between four massive car parks with a population of 20 cars between them.
Now, this is the part where you might expect a parking fee to warrant a loan, but that’s not the case. Parking for the entire day was £12, however if you fancied a bit of shopping in the ICON outlet (the O2’s shopping centre) and spent over £35, then you would get 4 hours free. Not a bad deal.
Anyway, after parking and paying, the Emirates Airline Cable Car was within touching distance. Not the normal hassle of looking at the tube map and trying to figure out where on earth your trying to go. A one-way fare is £2.50 when you possess a ticket to any ExCel event, so paying £5 for a return puts the entire cost of travel (excluding fuel) at around £17, a great price.
Now, the cable car itself. If you’re someone who isn’t the biggest fan of heights, I think it goes without saying you should probably avoid this one. Upon entry you will rise to a height of 295ft, quite literally the same height as the sky-scraping apartment buildings on the river bank.
This trip alone is worth the money, you get some incredible views of London, Canary Wharf and the surrounding areas. Also lasting over 10 minutes, you are up there for a quite a while. After the descent, there was only a 5-minute walk that separated me from the motor show, it really is that simple.
The London Motor Show 2019
Now, the motor show itself. There are two ways you can do it, but I would recommend watching the shows first and doing the rest later. The main hall, where all the stools are, can be really busy if arriving early, so going to watch the entertainment on offer should be at the top of your list. Speaking of entertainment….
To be completely honest, I wasn’t expecting much from the shows. I thought it might be a sort of PR stunt to get some more people along with the exhibition being the main attraction. In fact, I was very wrong, the shows on offer were fantastic.
Firstly, the main spectator attraction of the day. A one-man stunt show performed by none other than stunt man Paul Swift and presented by Wheeler Dealer’s Mike Brewer.
The show opened with what looked like a normal taxi driving as slow as humanly possible, but considering you could see the roll cage through the window, I didn’t suspect it was a normal taxi.
After doing half a lap, the taxi exploded into some turbo fuelled donuts and was quite literally burning rubber for 5 minutes. I had never seen anything like it, it was a proper London taxi on a sugar rush. Later though I found out it was actually a Mitsubishi Evo underneath, with the taxi body being placed on top.
After the psycho taxi had parked up and stopped filling the room with smoke at the hands of Paul Swift, Mike Brewer got out and started to present the show. Many showcases of carefully judged tricks were completed using a modified Ford Focus RS, but the most impressive of all was a drifting parallel park. The two cars chosen as the fools weren’t exactly cheap either. A 50th anniversary Mustang Bullitt and a brand-new Ford Kuga were the two volunteers.
Starting parallel to the parked cars, Swift in the Focus sped closer and closer to the tiny gap, only a foot or two wider than the car itself. Timed to the millisecond, he slammed on the handbrake and glided between the two cars parking in the same level of perfection to pass a driver’s test. The stunt show was eventually topped off by casually doing a lap of the area on two wheels in his Focus RS.
The Wall Of Death was another show on offer, a complete disregard of gravity. This one costing £5 extra to gain access. A crowd would form around the top of the small ring tower, within which men on their motorbikes would ride the sides of the ring, performing stunts as they went.
I also stuck around to see the motor show parade, with the show bringing out around 6 cars to do a few laps around the area and then tell the audience a bit about their cars.
Now, I wouldn’t recommend staying around for this if it wasn’t for a certain car that came out. All other cars were your average super/sport cars, them being the Aventador, F-Type, i8, Noble M600 Spider and the Project 8 Jaguar. However, they then brought out a Bugatti Chiron, I felt so privileged to even be in the same room as one. Previously I had never even seen one before, let alone had one speed past a few feet in front of me. I later heard that in the second running of the parade, the show swapped out the Chiron for a Koenigsegg Agera RS!
Finally, between gaps in the shows, the time was filled by the Caterham Drift taxi. An event where visitors could pay £15 to get a 5-minute experience in the passenger seat of the Caterham as their professional drivers went hurtling around a drift course setup in the show arena.
Now Onto The Main Course
This is where the magic happens, the venue showcasing some of the most tech-filled, exciting, fuel guzzling and power-crazy cars you can think of. But it wasn’t just the cars that excited me, it was the nature of the event.
Because this is clearly a very brand centralised event, where they are trying to advertise and give all the information you may want on their new or already available cars. This meaning 90% of the cars within the hall are all open with the ignition on, so you’re free to get in and have a feel around, playing with all the toys it has to offer.
Starting from the front, I was first met with the Audi stall, showcasing three of their best and brightest, them being the new A1 Sportback, Q8 and E-Tron.
All three where exquisite inside as you would expect, made with the typical German standards. The one that blew my mind the most however, was the E-Tron. I didn’t know what to think when I sat inside, it is one of those cars I could look at for hours but could never own, there is so much tech inside that my eyes would never be on the road.
The camera replacement for the wing mirrors had to be the strangest quirk within that car, I’ve never seen anything like it. We are all used to looking out of the window straight into the mirror, in the E-Tron you can’t do that, the screens are on the inside of the car, all feeling very alien. After testing the responsiveness of the camera, I couldn’t find any reason as to why they wouldn’t work well and therefore discarded my doubts.
One of the few companies in the world who could fit every car they have ever made into their stall; Tesla had their normal star-studded line-up on show. The Model X stood tall and proud, showing off its large doors and litres of interior space. Having been around for almost 3 years, it hasn’t lost its wow factor. The newly UK available Model 3 was also on display along with the fantastic Model S, one of my personal favourite cars.
It’s not often Noble are on the tip of the tongue in a motorist’s conversation, but this time they are. That’s because Noble managed to get their absolutely gorgeous M500 supercar out of the cave its been hiding in. The M500 was exactly the same as the one unveiled last year in Goodwood, the same beautiful yellow and jet-black rims. Featuring a reliable Ford 3.5L twin turbo engine with a DSG gearbox, also with a power to weight ratio of 542bhp per tonne, this will be blisteringly quick.
The prestige car dealership made an appearance at the motor show, bringing some of the best cars at the show with them. Firstly, a Lamborghini Huracan Performante Spider, over £200,000 of Italian flair, for which they strangely decided to place floodlights around pointing at your face making it hard to see. Secondly was the Bentley Continental GT Convertible, a perfectly balanced blend of sophistication, power and comfort.
The Third car on the H.R Owen stall was an Aston Martin Vantage Coupe, sitting just across from the fourth and final car, the Ferrari Portofino. Both machines as elegant as the Queens bedroom, with the brute power of most supercars.
Stratstone Jaguar Land Rover
Jaguars Project 8 Super saloon was looking as good as ever, this one I’ve had the pleasure standing next too while it goes into hyperspace, it is ridiculously quick and makes one of the best noises of any car in existence.
The Land Rover section of the stall had multiple cars on show, but the best of all was the Range Rover Sport SVA. I can see how some might describe it as a pointless big brute SUV, but you can’t ignore the effect it has on you, and I say this every time, but there’s something about the big powerful luxury SUV that really grabs that inner 9-year-old.
Off their rocker Liberty Walk made an appearance at the Motor Show. Showcasing to visitors three of their most insane creations. For those who don’t know, Liberty Walk is an aftermarket body kit creator, customers will bring them their supercars, and Liberty Walk will turn up the crazy. Firstly, a BMW I8, one of the sanest creations I have seen from them, but still in no way normal.
Secondly, a Nissan GTR. Low enough to only inhabit a pencils width, massive rear and front arch extensions with some now vents at the front, a new front/rear splitter and one of the biggest spoilers I have ever seen.
The Third and final car was a Lamborghini Aventador. Once again with a spoiler to end all spoilers, the Aventador also featured some front/rear arch modifications and extensions to the front/rear splitter.
A supercar themed Wonka’s Chocolate Factory, I was blown away by the roughly £12,000,000 combined worth paddock. Here stood some of the most accomplished, iconic and psychopathic super/hyper cars ever to exist.
Starting from the entrance, there stood the one and only Bugatti Chiron, around £3,000,000 worth of car. The famous bodywork struck the heart of onlookers with a feeling of awe. To the right of the Chiron was a rather vibrant £1,980,000 McLaren P1 GTR. McLaren being my favourite car company of all time, seeing this monster of a vehicle in person really hit home.
Behind the P1 GTR was arguably the most beautiful car in the entire show. The Aston Martin Vanquish Zagato Shooting Brake! A 6.0 litre V12 is attached to the Shooting Brake, 1 of only 99 in the entire world, now worth just under £1,000,000. A privilege to see one in the carbon fibre. Also on show was the less impressive base variant of the Aston Martin Zagato’s, simply called the Vanquish Zagato.
Over on the opposite side of the paddock resided even more incredible cars. First up was the Bugatti Veyron Super Sport, a £1,600,000 lump of Bugatti, famously capable of some monstrous speeds.
Next to the second Bugatti of the paddock was the Ferrari Enzo. This £2,700,000 Enzo was a hidden gem in amongst the modern heavyweights. Not losing any of its heavy hitting aura over the years, it really was something to behold.
To complete the triple threat was the Koenigsegg Agera RS, the official fastest road going car in the world, with a record of 211.87mph. Compared to other modern Hyper/Super cars, the bodywork is very simple, there are no huge vents or intakes running along the car and the shape itself is rather rounded. However, they are definitely doing something right to hit such a high speed.
The London Motor Show 2019 Verdict
Overall then, after a rather long write up, I can fully and confidently conclude that this is a fantastic day out. Catered to quite literally all ages, from families with young children up to the elderly in Zimmer frames. Whether you are thinking of going as a serious figure within the industry, or a fun day out, the Motor Show is catered for you.
There are lots to see and lots to do, multiple video game and arcade related stalls to keep the young ones (and adults) entertained, and the real things for everyone else. As for food, it is a little pricey, so I would recommend bringing your own or stopping at a Tesco on the way in to get yourself a meal deal. With adult tickets sitting at £20 and cheaper offers available for children, and by travelling smart it is a combination that can make a great value day out.