Edmonton Motorshow: A taste for luxury

Albertans love their pickup trucks, but they also have considerable fondness for luxury cars.

While $70,000 pickup trucks are not unheard of, some Edmontonians are spending that much and more on their cars.

The demand shows up in the growing number of high-end dealerships.

Little more than a decade ago, the Lexus and Infiniti stores were part of Toyota and Nissan dealerships. Now, they’re both standalone businesses and a second Lexus dealership has opened.
The same is true of BMW where Bavaria BMW moved to new, larger premises and a second dealership opened across town and has since expanded. With two stores, sales more than doubled. The two Mercedes-Benz dealerships have moved into new, larger buildings.

All those expansions are signs of a growing market for luxury vehicles. The Motorshow gives buyers the opportunity to check out what’s available without spending hours driving from dealership to dealership in Edmonton.

Some makers of high-end cars also have less expensive vehicles in their lineup, giving buyers a chance to get into a particular brand before moving up.

The Acura RLX eAWD is a full-size luxury sedan with all-wheel-drive. The car comes with a variety of safety features such as assists to help you stay in your lane or warn you about your blind spot. Acura is also bringing a prototype of the TLX performance luxury sedan to the Motorshow.

“The Acura TLX is a precursor of some amazing things we have in store for our Acura sedan customers,” said Mike Accavitti, senior vice-president of American Honda.

The TLX will offer “innovative technologies” that will deliver “a more intuitive, connected and personal driving experience,” Accavitti said.

Lexus and Infiniti will counter with some interesting cars at their displays, including the Lexus LFA V10-engined supercar. The combination of power and light weight, thanks to a carbon-fibre body, produced scintillating performance.

Infiniti will exhibit the Q50 sports sedan.

While Audi will display its whole range of luxury cars and SUVs, the A3 entry-level sedan, available at dealerships this month, will be the newest vehicle in its display. The A3 family will eventually include a cabriolet, a clean diesel, the high-performance S3 and a Sportback gas-electric hybrid

“The Audi A3 represents a new opportunity for Audi Canada,” said Wolfgang Hoffmann, Audi Canada president. “It will allow us to expand our offerings to Canadians and showcase lightweight material, technology and sporty characteristics to a whole new segment.”

The emphasis is on performance at the BMW exhibit with M3, M4 and M235i. The letter M indicates that a particular car is the performance version of the different BMW models.

The M235i offers a solid mix of handling and performance.

If there’s one marque that best combines performance, good looks and luxury, it’s Jaguar. This year, the new F-Type Coupe will continue that tradition. Prices start in the low $70,000 range.

While most luxury carmakers have a long history, a pair of Korean companies are looking for an opportunity to sell upscale cars. Both Hyundai and Kia have luxury car entries with the Hyundai Genesis and Kia K900. Time will tell how the marketplace reacts to these vehicles.

But domestic manufacturers will exhibit some enticing vehicles as well with the Cadillac Escalade, 2015 Cadillac CTS and Lincoln MKC crossover.

Motorshow manager Bob Vilas said of the new Escalade: “Our two Cadillac dealers will do very well with that.”

In addition to luxury cars, there will be a few exotics such as the Ferrari California, Lamborghini Huracan and a new Maserati sedan.

The California is a hardtop convertible powered by a 4.3 litre V8 engine. It’s a grand touring sports car with 2+2 seating.

The Huracan, named for a Spanish fighting bull, replaces Lamborghini’s sales leader, the Gallardo. The car is powered by a 5.2-litre V10 engine producing 602 horsepower.

About Driving