Lately, all the talk has been about Detroit, and for good reason; America knows how to put on a good show. But there’s been another event a little closer to home that has certainly merited praise. The fact that it is only in its third year and has already made the usual suspects sit up and take notice thanks to a stellar cast of production-ready cars, concepts and outdoor demonstrations of motocross and drifting, tells you all you need to know about the significance of the Qatar motor show.
The first expo back in 2011 saw roughly 90,000 fans walk through the doors of the Doha Exhibition Centre. That number increased to 120,000 the following year, but this time more than 150,000 attendees made sure it was a rip-roaring success.
Petrolheads were keen to catch a glimpse of the assortment of hot metal, which included three global launches and 26 new cars over the five-day extravaganza. Almost all of the major carmakers were there, including Audi, Ford, Chevrolet, Maserati and Mercedes. However, there was a newcomer in the mix that nobody dared miss — the Arab world’s very own, very first and very expensive supercar — the Lykan Hypersport 2013.
Built by W Motors, the staggering-looking Lykan comes with an equally staggering price tag of $3.4 million (Dh12.5million) — about twice as much as a Bugatti Veyron. What do you get for your money? Well, there’s the exclusivity factor as just seven units, each with its own 24/7 concierge service, will be built. Yes, you read that right.
Then there’s the fact that it gets diamond-coated LED headlights, gold-stitched leather seats and a 3D holographic display on the instrument panel. Still can’t justify the cost? Perhaps a special-edition Cyrus Klepcys watch worth more than $200,000 (Dh734,000) — which comes with the mid-engined supercar — will help?
Thankfully the claimed performance matches the extravagance. The 750bhp flat-six, twin-turbocharged Lykan develops 1,000Nm of torque and does 0-100kph in 2.8 seconds. Top speed is touted at an impressive 390kph. But what amazes us most is the strength of the glue that keeps those headlight diamonds in place!
The Porsche stand was busier than Shaikh Zayed Road on a Thursday night, with no less than three regional premieres to wow the crowd. First up was the Cayenne Turbo S, boasting a twin-turbocharged 550bhp 4.8-litre V8. Sharing the limelight with the big Porka was the new Cayman, available with a 275bhp 2.7-litre flat-six and a very healthy 321bhp 3.4-litre flat-six in S trim.
Elsewhere, there was the all-paw 911 Carrera 4, with a 350bhp 3.4-litre flat-six powering all four wheels and the tarted-up Platinum Edition Panamera, which — at least to our eyes — despite the visual enhancements, looked as dreary as ever. Other important reveals included the insane Brabus G800 — a Mercedes-Benz G65 AMG tuned up to deliver 800 horsepower. While over in another corner of the imposing centre was a one-off Bugatti Veyron 16.4 Grand Sport Vitesse.
This, the fastest convertible in the world, paid homage to the marque’s history with a special French racing blue-and-white paint scheme inspired by the 1927 Bugatti Type 37A. Predictably, and in true Middle East motor show tradition, the 1,200bhp road missile was snapped up immediately by an anonymous buyer for about Dh11.5 million.
Completing the line-up of high-powered stars was the Lamborghini Aventador LP 700-4 Roadster. It houses a massive 6.5-litre V12 producing 700bhp, which propels the drop-top from 0-100kph in 2.9 seconds — you’d probably require some of that glue from the Lykan to help keep your toupee down!
The Qatar motor show left its mark with a glittering event. Though Chicago is up next and then it’ll be time for Geneva, talk has already started about what 2014 will bring in Doha.