The London Motor Show is effectively the heir of the British International Motor Show, which ran regularly in London, then Birmingham and then London again from 1903 to 2008, after which the financial crisis put the brakes on it. The new event was 18 months in the making and the plan is to run it annually.
In addition to a new name, the show has a new home at Battersea Evolution, in the middle of London's picturesque Battersea Park. The venue covers 14,000 sq m (151,000 sq ft), which makes it considerably smaller than NEC in Birmingham, or the ExCeL and Olympia venues in London, all of which hosted the British International Motor Show at one point or another. Despite tilting at a more modest event than its peers around the world, this makes for a far less sprawling and impersonal affair.
There are 41 different automotive brands and over 130 vehicles on display at Battersea. Among them is a replica of the Bloodhound SSC that's being readied for a 1,000-mph (1,609-km/h) world land speed record attempt by Andy Green and his team. In addition, there are a number of launches, some UK debuts and a "Stop the Crash" Automated Emergency Braking (AEB) system demonstration. Below are some of the cars that caught our eye.
The most hotly anticipated launch at London was surely the Noble M600 supercar, which heralds a relaunch of the much-admired British marque. The M600 was developed in partnership with Super Veloce Racing over the course of five years. It is hand-crafted, tailored for every customer and goes like the proverbial wind.
Mitsuoka's move into the British market to sell its brand of British-inspired design might understandably raise eyebrows, but there's no doubt its models are eye-catching. The Viewt, Brookland and Roadster all have a quirkiness that is all too often amiss in today's automotive vernacular.
We've already spent time looking at the McLaren 570GT and then looking closer, but we make no excuses for ogling it once again. McLaren is right up there with the best where knocking out schoolboy fantasy supercars is concerned and that is made all the more apparent at the London Motor Show, with its newest model exhibited alongside the 675LT and 650S.
Launched late last year, the Zenos E10R track car followed the E10 and the E10S. The difference between the original E10 and the E10R is stark. The former does 0-60 mph (0-97 km/h) in 4.5 seconds and has a top speed of 135 mph (217 km/h), which is all very respectable. The latter, however, is what we termed "properly quick" in our December coverage, with a 0-60 mph (0-97 km/h) of 3 seconds and a top speed of 155 mph (250 km/h).
When we featured the VŪHL 05 back in 2013, shipping was expected to start early the following year. In fact, the first delivery of the Mexican supercar was made last year. It's a voracious-looking machine with stats to match, kicking out 285 bhp, 420 Nm (310 lb.ft) of torque and a 0-100 km/h (0-62 mph) acceleration time of 3.7 seconds.
Finally, and in some respects most interestingly, is the Riversimple Rasa. Launched earlier this year, it's a hydrogen-powered vehicle with striking curved styling. While you will be able to get your hands on one, you won't be able to buy one, as such. Instead, Riversimple plans to offer it by way of sale-of-service, with customers paying a monthly fee that covers fuel, maintenance, repairs and insurance.
The London Motor Show runs until Sunday May 8. Entry is £15 (US$22) and free to children under 11. The video below provides an introduction to the show and you can view more images of the cars on display in our gallery.
Source: London Motor Show