Story & photos by Randy S. Peregrino
INDEED, this year’s Manila International Auto Show (MIAS) lived up to its theme of “Beyond Performance”. More than the usual sporty concepts, the event showcased myriads of vehicle segmentations that cater to today’s customers’ needs.
But, of course, the spectacle of exciting vehicles was still there, and presented in a way to exceed the previous year’s outcome. For one, the public finally got a close encounter to one of the iconic performance-variant cars. Also, more exotics finally made their way to the main hall, along with other fresh offerings from the participating automotive manufacturers.
The ‘Type R’ everybody been waiting for
Perhaps, one of the most anticipated presenters was Honda Cars Philippines Inc. (HCPI). Finally, after a long absence in MIAS, it staged a huge comeback with what it considered to be the crowd-drawing showcase. HCPI outgoing President Toshio Kuwahara surely made a grand exit after he presented the spectacle. “We [Honda] believe that one’s driving experience does not simply differs from others. Some look for sporty performance, while others look for comfort and advance safety features. In the end, what matters is the experience of driving, which gives a sense of joy and excitement to our customers,” he said.
When it was finally time to reveal the manufacturer’s stellar piece, everyone was left in awe when the latest-edition Honda Civic Type R five-door hatchback was unveiled. Now on its fifth generation, this highest-performance version also employed a forced induction system for the first time. The 2.0-liter turbocharged mill is now capable of generating 316 hp at 6,500 rpm and a staggering 400 N-m of maximum torque between 2,500 and 4,500 rpm. With the mated six-speed manual gearbox, everything else translates to pure joy in driving. Other models on display were the All-New Civic RS Turbo Modulo Sport Concept in two-toned rallye red color, BR-V 1.5 V Navi Modulo Complete Accessories, new HR-V 1.8 EL MUGEN and the new City 1.5 VX Navi MIAS Edition (with only eight units made available).
More exotics from Motul Philippines
This year Autoplus Sportzentrum, the local distributor of Motul performance motor oils in the country, again fulfilled its long-standing tradition of showcasing exotic sports cars. Only this time, there were more, and even made it inside the main hall. “It’s a very good venue for our product, since showgoers who attend are mostly serious enthusiasts. We’ve been supporting the show [MIAS] for 11 years,” Autoplus Sportzentrum President and founder Carlos Gono said. “Motul always showcases loyal clients who believe in performance and protection. That is why they only specify Motul for their collection,” he added. Several of the company’s loyal clients were generous enough to lend their prized possessions for the public to appreciate. The following exotics exhibited were: one of 799 Ferrari Berlinetta F12 TDF, one of 500 Ford Mustang Shelby GT 350R, one of 100 Aston Martin GT12, one of 25 Mercedes-Benz CLK DTM Cabriolet, one of 12 Ferrari Novitec Rosso F12 and one of five McLaren Prototype 433 675SLT. Aside from pleasing the crowd, the company also introduced its “Drive Right” campaign intended to promote road safety and discipline, which is timely in today’s daily traffic grind.
The Benz alphabet
Just right in front of the main hall entrance, an array of stunning Mercedes-Benz vehicles served like a welcome parade for the mob. People were enticed with the way the myriad of stellar autos was put on show. And just like last year, they didn’t need to have a program presentation, as the collection of superb Benzes on display was enough to create a scene. Taking the center stage this time was the fresh edition of the AMG GT two-door fast back. Powered by a 4.0-liter twin-turbocharged V8 petrol engine, it dishes out a powerful 469 hp at 6,000 rpm and a massive 630 N-m of maximum torque between 1,700 to 5,000 rpm. Completing the Benz’s lineup of vehicles were the five-door hatch A and B Class 200 AMG line, C Class 180 Avantgarde sedan, E Class 200 Avantgarde sedan, V 220 CDI Avantgarde Long passenger van and the GLC 250 4M AMG Line sport-utility vehicle (SUV).
Promising new players
Joining MIAS for the first time is a new Chinese automotive manufacturer Haval. Known to be affiliated with another Chinese brand Great Wall, it has launched the new H9 luxury midsized 4×4 SUV. At a glance, it would remind you of the Land Cruiser Prado variant. The exterior form is also imposing, along with the finest materials utilized in the interior plus advanced features—enough to establish its premium built. Under the hood is a potent 2.0-liter, double-VVT, turbocharged, Euro5-compliant petrol engine. It delivers 216 hp at 5500 rpm, and an impressive 324 N-m of maximum torque between 2,000 to 4,000 rpm, which is mated to a six-speed automatic gearbox. Priced at P3 million, the Haval H9 is dubbed as your everyday luxury SUV.
On the other hand, the Indian multinational automobile manufacturer Mahindra took the show at the exterior grounds. Served as the main attraction is its tough-looking Enforcer Elite 4×4 utility offroad vehicle. Designed to take on the punishing terrains and applications, it’s powered by a 2.5-liter, NEF TCi turbo-diesel motor dishing out 100 hp at 3800 rpm and 240 N-m of maximum torque at 1800 rpm through the coupled five-speed manual transmission. As for Tata Motors Philippines, they also had their own share of exhibition. Leading the fleet was the Manza compact sedan as the centerpiece. Its diesel-powered sibling Indigo was also on the side while the Super Ace mini-truck platform was also there highlighting the 14-seater passenger and cargo van configurations.
Meanwhile, the opening day was capped off with the Automobile Association Philippines (AAP) 22nd Annual Motorsport Awards. The AAP 2016 Driver of the Year awardees were Medario Emilio Rivera (Slalom), Jerry Choi (Karting), Jonathan Tiu (Drag), Patrichk de la Rosa (Circuit), Noel Bartolome Jr. (4×4 Off-Road Pro) and Bomvet Santos (4×4 Off-Road Production). Also, special awards were given to Allan Eric Uy as the Vios Cup Over-all Champion, Eduardo Suiza III as FORS Over-all Champion and Alvin Ube for Marshal of the Year.