Best of the best under one roof
With the 38th Thailand International Motor Expo up and running, Life highlights some of the standout picks available
A total of 32 automobile and 12 motorcycle brands are taking part in this year's Thailand International Motor Expo at Challenger Hall, Muang Thong Thani.
Show organiser Kwanchai Paphatphong said 800,000 visitors are expected to turn up (plus another 20,000 online), with 30,000 orders placed for new automobiles this year. As much as 35 billion baht is expected to be generated during the show, which runs until Dec 12.
Visitors are required to present vaccination records (minimum two shots) or take an ATK test prior to entering the venue.
A large number of new and improved models from all segments are being displayed, including the world premiere of Great Wall Motors' Haval H6 PHEV (Plugin Hybrid Electric Vehicle) while Honda is staging the Asia-Oceania debut of the HR-V Hybrid.
Here are some of our picks from the 2021 Motor Expo:
Audi A3 Sportback 35 TFSI S-line
The fourth-generation A3 Sportback made its European debut earlier this year and is targeted at the younger generation of luxury buyers.
It's powered by a turbocharged 1.4-litre engine capable of developing 150hp and 250Nm. The 8-speed automatic transmission features a new compact shifter, which helps increase space around the centre console. Acceleration from 0-100kph takes 8.4 seconds and the top speed is at 224kph.
The interior features a fully digital instrument cluster, 10.1-inch centre touchscreen and sports seats for the front occupants. The 380-litre luggage compartment expands to 1,200 litres with the rear seat backrest folded.
Price: 2,399,000 baht
BMW iX xDrive50 Sport
This BMW electric car has as much as 523hp and 765Nm from its electric motors, as well as an operating range of 630km (WLTP).
The iX comes with a 111-kWh battery that can be charged from 0 to 80% in 39 minutes. With a DC fast-charger, the range can be increased by up to 100km in 21 minutes.
The interior features modern styling highlighted by the large curved glass display, hexagonal steering wheel and loads of gadgets, including five cameras, five radar sensors and 12 ultrasonic sensors that are used to monitor the vehicle's surroundings.
Price: 5,999,000 baht
Haval Jolion HEV Ultra
The third product from Great Wall Motors this year is shaking up the B-SUV segment with its high equipment level as well as cut-throat pricing.
The Jolion HEV is a hybrid with a 1.5-litre engine and electric motor delivering a combined 190hp and 325Nm. Acceleration from 0-100kph takes 10 seconds which is quick, but the top speed is below 160kph. The average fuel economy is 23.8km/litre.
Nevertheless, there are other things to enjoy in the Jolion HEV, such as the spacious and neat interior, as well as a tonne of intelligent safety features, and even intelligent parking found usually in luxury cars.
Price: 999,000 baht
Honda HR-V e:HEV RS
It's more expensive than the Jolion HEV, but Honda has made sure the new HR-V maintains its leading position in the market with the hybrid-only new model.
While the output from the iMMD hybrid powertrain is just 131hp and 253Nm, the HR-V hybrid can accelerate from 0-100kph in over 10 seconds and reach a top speed of 170kph. The average fuel economy is frugal at 25.6km/litre.
It comes with a high-quality interior, multi-utility rear seats that have three different configurations, Honda Sensing intelligent safety package as well as a power tailgate with a walk-away function.
Price: 1,179,000 baht
Lotus Exige Sport 350
Lotus is about to stop producing cars with internal combustion engines and switch over completely to electric cars for the next generation of products. That makes the last batch of current Lotus sports cars an instant classic.
The Exige Sport 350 comes with a 3.5-litre supercharged V6 engine that pumps out 350hp and 400Nm. Acceleration from 0-100kph takes 3.9 seconds and it can reach a top speed of 273kph.
It features 6-speed close-ration manual gearbox, aluminium-bonded chassis, Bilstein shock absorbers and Eibach springs, plus AP-Racing cross-drilled disc brakes.
Price: 9,290,000 baht
Mercedes-Benz EQS 450+ AMG Premium
The EQS is the first electric vehicle from the Mercedes-EQ brand, and it will be assembled in Thailand starting next year.
The EQS is powered by a single electric motor with a battery capacity of 107.8 kWh, delivering a peak output at 333hp with a maximum torque of 568Nm. Acceleration from 0-100 kph takes 6.2 seconds and it can reach a top speed of 210kph The range is 770km (WLTP). The interior is super-luxurious, featuring Mercedes-Benz's "Sensual Purity" philosophy with the "Progressive Luxury" concept, and there are plenty of high-tech features too. A curved MBUX Hyperscreen, sweeping almost from A-pillar to A-pillar, is made up of three OLED screens -- two 12.3-inch screens and one 17.7-inch screen -- under a cover glass that appear to merge into one.
To be available in 2022.
MG Cyberster concept car
The MG Cyberster is a "gaming style" EV concept inspired by the legendary MGB Roadster of the 60s. Currently, the production model is under development and will reach Thailand in 2023.
The Cyberster concept, first shown at the Shanghai Auto Show earlier this year, features a smart cockpit with intelligent driving systems and active upgrading. It can accelerate from 0-100kph in under three seconds and has a range of 800km thanks to an upgraded "module-less" battery, according to MG.
What's more is that consumers can play a part in the development of this new model through funding as well as become one of the first owners. By placing a reservation deposit of 5,000-10,000 baht, customers are promised discounts of 50,000-100,000 baht once the production model rolls out.
The Peugeot 2008, winner of the Red Dot Design Awards in 2020, is the smallest Peugeot model to be offered in Thailand. It's also one of the most affordable European cars you can find in the market.
The 2008 is powered by a three-cylinder 1.2-litre turbo engine with 129hp driving the front wheels and comes with a six-speed automatic transmission plus European quality suspension running on 17-inch alloy wheels.
Like the larger 3008 and 5008 models, the 2008 also gets full LED headlights and taillights, 3D i-Cockpit interior with a 3D head-up display, compact steering wheel, a 7-inch centre touchscreen, seven piano switches, and Android Auto.
Price: 1,189,000 baht
Porsche Cayenne Turbo GT
Meet Porsche's answer to the Lamborghini Urus. The range-topping Cayenne GT boasts Porsche's most powerful engine to date -- a 4.0-litre bi-turbo V8 pumping out 640hp and 850Nm, mated to a quick-shifting 8-speed Tiptronic gearbox.
Porsche claims a 0-100kph acceleration time of just 3.3 seconds and a top speed of 300kph, which is pretty dramatic for a car this size. The Cayenne Turbo GT also gets an air suspension and ceramic composite brakes, carbon roof and 22-inch alloy wheels with special performance tires. The interior features lots of Alcantara and a steering wheel with yellow centre marking.
Price starts from 19,500,000 baht
Toyota Cross HEV GR Sport
Toyota's GR Sport upgrade has reached the Corolla Cross Hybrid in order to help it compete in the sizzling S-SUV market.
The Cross HEV GR Sport features an upgraded suspension (new shocks and springs), lower strut bar and recalibrated power steering, offering improved ride and handling. It also gets new 18-inch wheels with sporty 225/50 tyres. Meanwhile, the interior features black piano fittings and custom design seats.
Unfortunately, output from the hybrid powertrain, comprising of a 98hp 1.8-litre engine and 118-hp electric motor, has not been increased. The average fuel economy is claimed at 23.3kpl.
Price: 1,249,000 baht