San Diego Auto Show 2012

Words Tim Wong

The San Diego Auto Show is back again this year with some new cars. Just this Thanksgiving, I was over at my relatives house with my cousins and we were looking through some older pictures from the San Diego Auto from the early 1990s. Obviously, these were some old school analog pictures, but this was when the Acura NSX, Mazda RX-7 FD, and some other great cars of that era were out in the showroom. This reminded how much the San Diego Auto Show has lost it’s once greatness. Just a few years ago, they used to have a massive exhibition of the latest cars and a second floor with a great display aftermarket and collector’s cars. I still go to the show every year to support the local show, but I find myself more and more disappointed every year as the show continues to shrink down. I don’t expect it to be like the Los Angeles Auto Show, but I can’t help, but wish they brought back some of the splendor it used to have.


The Audi A7. Matt and I really like this car. The redesigning of all the Audi cars have already impressed me because they look very futuristic and high tech while the older ones looked…well old. I do feel the line has loss the power and performance the old ones had, but the latest trend among manufacturers is to size down engines for a more eco-friendly and MPG-friendly line of cars. Mercedes is dropping the V12s and BMW is replacing the M3’s V8 with a twin turbo inline 6.


The A7 isn’t incredibly impressive power-wise since it has the same power as the A6 with a 3.0L supercharged TFSI V6 developing 310bhp. It looks quite aggressive even compared to the rest of the Audi line up. The fancy rear spoiler is high tech looking too. The car is set to compete against the Mercedes CLS, but the CLS has also been redesigned and both cars look incredibly good and classy. If I weren’t a Mercedes fan, I’d probably have a hard time deciding between the two.



Scion IQ with some 5Axis wheels. It looks pretty decent, but I don’t think I could stand having one of these. It is like a Smart FourTwo. I like small hot hatches like the Fiat 500 Abarth, but these are just too small and not clever at all. The lack of power is to be expected, but I don’t really see the benefit of owning one of these.


Mercedes SLS roadster on display. I preferred the original 300SL gullwing and I prefer SLS AMG gullwing now. It was what the car is known for. I’m not saying the roadster version isn’t any good because the SLS AMG is a brilliant car, but I feel the soft top does make it look a bit cheap.






One of the things I really liked about the show this year was the “Movie” cars on display. I think it is pretty cool to see cars from movies rolling on the road.


Delorean from Back to the Future



K.I.T.T. from Knight Rider


James Bond’s BMW 750iL (actually a re-badged 740iL) from Tomorrow Never Dies



Herbie from….you know…Herbie.


Trans Am from Smokey and the Bandit


Gran Torino from Starsky and Hutch


The Mystery Machine from Scooby Doo

Now these are couple of cars I was not expecting to see…well anywhere. They are from a pretty recent movie called “In Time” and I instantly recognized them because I have seen the movie several times (most recently the night before the auto show). If you haven’t seen it, I highly recommend it because there are plenty of old classic cars in it. It’s a modern adaption of Bonnie and Clyde.






Some classic Jaguars from the San Diego Jaguar Club.





Jaguar XK SS


This Aston Martin Vantage may seem familiar because of Top Gear UK featured James May driving an Aston Martin Vantage N24 with the same racing livery.



Another interesting display were the several cars designed for handicapped drivers. This Datsun 510 was the Coronado Speed Festival.



A couple open wheel race cars were also on display.



That’s it from the auto show. As usual, there will be more pictures on the Facebook page. Look forward to our New Year’s Eve fun tomorrow!


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