This was the biggest and best Dubai motor show ever, the experts said, for two reasons.
First, because it was better supported by the Big Beasts of the motor industry than ever (Ford’s Stephen Odell and Aston Martin’s Ulrich Bez looked in, among others) and, second, because the organisers see the Qatar show, with which Dubai alternates, as a deadly rival, and want to do it better.
All-new metal is hard to come by at Dubai. This is primarily a selling show, and residents of the UEA like to buy straight off the showroom floor, preferably from the man in charge. The buoyant new car market is up over 20 per cent this year, and although they negotiate hard, car-mad locals are also driven to be first with the latest piece of metal.
Especially when it’s an SUV. Small wonder that Jaguar chose to set the agenda by showing the latest iteration of their C-X17 “sports crossover” — first seen at Frankfurt — and VW also reprised their Cross Blue the medium-big soft-roader due for production by 2016.
Outrageous supercars were everywhere, McLaren scoring an important advantage over Ferrari by showing a production-spec P1, whereas the Maranello team could only field the nice-but-familiar 458 Speciale. Performance headline-grabbers were led by the spectacular Devel Sixteen, alleged to have 5000 horsepower on tap, plus a 348mph top speed and a 0-60mph time well under two seconds. There wasn’t a lot of mechanical detail, or a price, but it still drew the crowds.
Some people, including a Rolls-Royce spokesman, reckoned there was less tasteless “bling” on offer at Dubai this year. But that didn’t stop Rolls from offering a diamond-encrusted car, or sundry other car makers offering gold-plated components and the odd gold-lined engine bay. But there was a definite air of rationality.