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Driving Forces

Highlights from the Canadian International AutoShow.

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Every year, without fail, the Canadian International AutoShow presents a great collection of ultra-desirable cars and this year was perhaps one of the best in recent memory. While the 2014 edition may not have had any global debuts to brag about—a setback, to be sure, for an event with “international” in the title—there were nevertheless some 30 Canadian debuts to consider.

Among these were a number of interesting production cars arriving in dealerships this year, including the handsome Acura TLX, raucous Audi S3, and eye-catching Volvo S60 Polestar. In terms of concept cars, the BMW Active Tourer, Infiniti Q30 and Jaguar C-X17 proved that crossovers can be as stylish as sport sedans.

The latest and greatest to appear in Toronto also included a small gathering of high-powered hybrids, each one capable of usurping the Toyota Prius as the poster child for this category of vehicle.

The 2015 BMW i8 is a wildly futuristic sports car and, after years of teasing the general public with prototypes, it’s finally ready to hit the road—in Toronto, the final production version of the car was on display. The i8 features a turbocharged 3-cylinder gas engine at the rear wheels and a 98-kilowatt electric motor at the front, creating a true all-wheel drive powertrain. These power sources are linked together in a hybrid system that’s expected to deliver eye-opening performance: a 0-100 kilometres-an-hour time of about 4.5 seconds and fuel consumption of close to 2.5 litres per 100 kilometres.

The Lexus LF-LC is, simply, a stunning car and it’s fantastic news that the carmaker has decided to put it into production. It was also shown at the 2013 Tokyo Motor Show, leaving attendees slack-jawed in amazement at its fantastic curves and ruby red paint scheme. In Toronto, the wraps were pulled off a deep blue version and it looked equally amazing. While details about the car’s hybrid powertrain have yet to be confirmed, it should offer an inspired blend of performance and eco-friendliness.

In terms of sheer pace, the McLaren P1 is the hybrid to watch out for. The small British manufacturer is going to head-to-head-to-head with a pair of supercar powerhouses, Porsche (and their 918) and Ferrari (and the forthcoming LaFerrari), with their quickest car yet. The hybrid powertrain of the P1 develops an estimated 903 horsepower and incorporates systems derived directly from the McLaren Formula One race program.

Finally, one of the more interesting cars on display was neither an all-new production vehicle nor a concept—it was a current-generation Lamborghini Gallardo transformed into what was billed as “the world’s fastest work of art.” Created by world-renowned Canadian artist Lisabel, the work was initiated using composite materials, then recast in 3M vinyl and used to envelope the entire car. The Gallardo is a stunning car and various owners around the world have created some very striking custom versions, but this particular one is breathtakingly beautiful and completely original.

Read more automotive.

More from contributor Mark Hacking.


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February 27, 2014