In an effort to escape the lake effect blizzards pummeling Northern Indiana, I made a break for the Windy City and there was a car show going on so I figured I’d drop in and see what the deal was.
Sadly, my requests for a press pass were, understandably, denied. As such, I spent my day navigating the crowds like everyone else with the only special treatment being a warm bottle of water in the “Audi Owner’s Lounge.”
I even ate my lunch while sitting on the dirty floor leaning up against a garage door as the only chairs in sight were reserved for people held captive by a DirecTV representative under the impression that it was his God-given right to spread the word of 145 channels for only $19.95 a month to car enthusiasts who couldn’t care less.
So let’s get into the nitty gritty: the cars.
The “Supercar Gallery” this year consisted of essentially the same cars as least year. A Veyron Vitesse, an Aventador, a pair of McLarens, a few Aston Martins. In my opinion, unless you had never seen any of these cars before, this section was not worth the hassle of dealing with the masses of people simultaneously commenting on “how much the blue one costs.”
The only really new thing in this crowd was the new Bentley Bentayga. A stupidly expensive car with a confusing name and equally confusing face.
When I first saw pictures of the new Fiat 124 online I was slightly worried. It looked oddly proportioned, and the face just seemed retro for the sake of being retro. I will say, however, that the pictures really do not do this car justice. In person it’s just as I had hoped it would be, and I hope they sell boatloads of them.
Alfa Romeo is so proud of their new car that they brought five of them. All in different colors. All locked. Damn.
Speaking of locked, this year seemed to have the most locked cars I’ve ever encountered at the Chicago show. Porsche, Jaguar, and Land Rover had all their cars locked unlike previous years, but this is understandable as their cars are more upscale and don’t need to be filled with snot nosed kids pretending to be automotive journalists like myself. What was not understandable is why Kia would have production cars locked. It’s like they start making good cars and suddenly we can’t even sit in an Optima.
Mitsubishi also kept a Mirage GT locked, presumably because they didn’t want people to see just how terrible it still was. They also had an equally locked Lancer Evolution Final Edition. Sadly, one of their representatives confirmed that it is just the end of the Lancer Evo, not the end of Mitsubishi.
This year, Jaguar decided it was Land Rover and made an SUV, and Land Rover decided it was Jaguar and made a convertible.
Scion brought this funky looking concept, but the mood at the Scion display was somber as this is the last year they will be represented. I made sure to snatch up a pair of Scion branded headphones in rememberence of what was once the most enthusiastic and swag-filled display at the show.
In the same area that just a few years ago was crowded with fanatics and journalists trying to catch a glimpse of the C7 Corvette sat two Kia concepts. Nobody seemed to really be bothered by them. I’m sure if they make it to production, they’ll both be very decent cars with unbeatable warranties, but they’re not incredibly interesting. (CORRECTION: The red one is a new production model called the Niro and Chicago was its grand debut. Quite grand if I do say so myself. My opinion is unchanged.)
When I arrived to the Lincoln display to check out the new Continental, I joined by a gentleman who said to his young child: “look at dis shit, it’s classy.”
I couldn’t have said it better myself.
The BMW M2 sat very inconspicuously among the rest of the BMW lineup. Can’t wait to watch this thing get very, very sideways.
Ah the Mercedes-AMG G65. How I loathe thee. Starting at $217,000, it is the perfect car for people who buy things just because they are expensive regardless of the fact that it’s terrible at everything.
I really like the new Camaro, and can’t wait to test drive one when my local dealer gets one. Chevrolet is finally catching up to Ford in regards to fit and finish and interior quality.
Speaking of Ford, the Focus RS was receiving little attention largely because the Ford GT sitting next to it. The GT is still probably one of the best looking and most exciting cars at the show.
Now comes my biggest surprise of the day: The new Genesis. If I came to you five years ago and said that there would soon be a car from Korea that would stand as a genuine threat to some of the most prestigious luxury car brands you would likely say I was crazy. You would say that Kias are just those funky square things that hamsters drive and that Hyundais are just less interesting Kias, but the Genesis seems to shoot that claim down.
Speaking of interesting Kias, I would prefer to never have to see this car again.
This is the only thing of any interest that Nissan brought to the show, and I couldn’t even be bothered to take a proper picture of it.
Toyota also set out to prove that they are hip and fun and cool too by making a DeLorean out of a Mirai. Too bad it just feels like Hillary Clinton trying to appeal to young voters.
The Polaris Slingshot wins the award for the most uncomfortable seat I’ve ever sat on. Seems like it’d be good fun though
First one to guess what car this air vent is fitted to gets a pair of Scion branded earbuds.
So there you have it, the 2016 Chicago Auto Show is complete, and if you would excuse me, I have to eat a chocolate filled deep-fried stick of dough.