The biennial Delhi Auto Expo Motor Show is India’s biggest automotive event. I have fond memories of attending it as a child but as an adult, it’s been more of a bore. But that is simply a reflection of the times. The 2020 edition has been my worst one yet. As expected, it was a showcase of various versions of SUVs, none I ever hope to drive.
Last time, in 2018, I attended the Auto Expo on a weekend with bulky DSLR in hand and Go-Pro strapped to my forehead. It was crowded but the showcase was interesting enough, especially with some of my favourites in attendance (BMW M5, AMG GT R, Honda Civic, Kia Stinger). The one before that had other cool cars too! Coming back to the present, with the added dislike for driving in India, the Auto Expo Motor Show 2020 lineup was hard to care for. It was missing many big names from its roster including BMW, Nissan, Audi and so on. Instead, it marks a debut appearance from various Chinese carmakers like MG and Great Wall Motors.
As someone who passionately dislikes SUVs and can see why so many Indians love them, I felt a bit nauseous as I took a round of the expo. However, there was a couple of cool cars that gave me much needed relief. The few displays that did catch my interest were:
Hyundai i30 Fastback N & RM19 Prototype
The i30N is the hot hatch I’d love to buy. As a Hyundai fanboy, it’s hard not to love the first N product from the Korean brand. Its got the classic hot hatch recipe – FWD, great driving dynamics, urban usability, over 200bhp from a 2.0-litre turbo-petrol and a manual gearbox. So, Hyundai brought the Fastback for the Indian showcase which gets an elongated rear end for extra boot space. Still, it was great to see it in the brand’s Performance Blue paint option.
Alongside it, was the RM19 racing prototype which serves as a development platform for future N products. RM stands for Racing Midship and it has a 2.0-litre turbo unit from a touring racecar that makes close to 385bhp. The engine is mid-mounted and sends power to the rear wheels via a 6-speed sequential shifter. Hyundai is also working on an all-electric racing hatch for an EV Touring Car Racing championship in the near future.
Hyundai Le Fil Rouge Concept
First showcased at the 2018 Geneva motor show, the Le Fil Rouge Concept is said to mark a new beginning for Hyundai’s design direction. It’s got the shape of a coupe-notchback with a long bonnet like an Aston Martin Rapide but with nicer curves. The Le Fil Rouge was arguably the prettiest car at the 2020 Auto Expo.
Renault R.S. 2027 Vision Concept
The only Renault that caught my interest at this year’s showcase was the 2027 Vision. It is what Renault envisions the future of F1 could be in 10 years time (it was debuted in 2017). I did talk more about it back then but it was something else to see it in person. Now, I haven’t seen an F1 car up close for some time now, but this concept seemed more compact like it shrunk around the driver’s cockpit. It is quite a beautiful design with its simplified aerodynamic setup and mostly transparent cockpit. Unfortunately, its active lighting systems were not in use when I saw it.
Mercedes-Benz AMG GT63 4-Door Coupe
Mercedes was the only luxury brand at this year’s expo and its highlight showcase is the fastest four-door they make. It is an extremely capable performance machine powered by a 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 making 630bhp and 900Nm. It was on display in the stunning Designo Brilliant Blue Magno exterior paint option while on 20-inch multi-spoke alloy wheels. The AMG GT 4-door looks more luxurious than it looks which is why I don’t fancy it the way I would an E63 AMG.
Skoda Octavia RS245
The current-gen Skoda Octavia is going to get discontinued in India by April 2020 and so they’re giving all the enthusiasts a nice goodbye present. It’s the most powerful version of that Octavia – the RS245 which does make 245PS of power. It’s FWD and has a limited-slip differential for better grip around corners. The Octavia RS is the most affordable super-saloon option while still being a really good family car. It’s also one of the coolest cars I’ve ever driven so I’ll always have a soft spot for one of these. In case you’re wondering, the RS245 is limited to 200 units in India and it’ll cost you around Rs 40 lakh. That’s a lot more expensive than the previous RS version but the extra cost is also because of the added import costs.