MIAS 2014: The Main Show Floor, Part Two

In part one of our MIAS 2014 coverage, we went through the opulent minimalism of Rolls-Royce’s exhibit, the extravagant fiesta that is the Ford area, and the surprisingly simple Tire Guard. Now we’ll go through the two other big exhibitors at the show.

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Last year, Subaru brought the transparent roller that showcased the BRZ’s drivetrain. This year they brought a pearl white BRZ fitted with STI kit.

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While the kit is subtle enough, I don’t think this is reason to not have the kit in body colour. Flat black parts on a shiny pearl white car are just wrong.

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These 18-inch wheels though, are very pretty. Since I think the stock wheel design is a bit too gimmicky with its black painted spokes, this more honest design is a big improvement for me, as well as better fitting the car’s character. I think these would look great on a WR Blue BRZ, don’t you?

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Last year they had a manual BRZ on display. This year they chose to display an automatic. The car comes with paddle shifters, and reportedly retains most of the fun, but I just can’t see getting the maximum amount of enjoyment out of this car without the third pedal. Different strokes for different folks, I guess.

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However, the big news at the Subaru stand was the 2015 Impreza WRX STI. Yes, we all know that we’re not even halfway done with 2014 yet; vehicle model years are just an arbitrary assignment, so do as the Beatles do and let it be.

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If you’ve not seen the 2014 WRX STI Concept yet, see our take here. I’m pleased to say that the production model is mostly as pretty as the concept, save for the details that just wouldn’t be feasible for production.

Red shifter = business.

Red shifter = business.

They brought a manual STI to the show, and the shifter’s throws  are surprisingly short. This looks to be the same shifter from the BRZ, right down to the release for the reverse lockout.

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Drives modes on an STI! And an adjustable centre differential! By the way, that carbon fibre trim doesn’t look fake and adds an appreciable reminder of what you’re sitting in.

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As if the huge wing constantly looming in your rear view mirror doesn’t do the job well enough. The diffuser from the concept makes an appearance here, but in much-subdued manner. With production of the Evo X ending with no confirmed successor , the STI will have the 4WD rally-bred cross-country B-road destroyer all to itself. What this does to the technical development of the Impreza remains to be seen.

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On the other plinth stood the non-STI WRX, accompanied by this very pretty lady in white.

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Something about this shade of red just doesn’t sit well with me. Perhaps it’s because of the black wheels, or perhaps the shade is just a touch too light. A darker red would probably do better, but the black wheels might have to go.

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Subaru’s light signature is created by this U-shaped acrylic light tube, pionerred by the BRZ. Also, what is up with that fake vent? Either smooth that over, or punch a hole behind it.

Other cars in the Subaru space were the Legacy and Forester. While test drives were offered, only Foresters and XVs were available because the test drive area was a gravel clearing. On that note, the XV – a jacked-up version of the Impreza – was conspicuously absent.

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While Volkswagen brought out their full line of vehicles for the show, the highlight was the official return of the Beetle to the Philippines. While it is entirely possible you’ve seen some of the old “New” Beetles (the one they made from 1997 to 2011), this is the first time the new Beetle (coded “A5” and no longer having “New” in its name) will be offered in he country through dealers.

(Notably, the introduction of the A5 Beetle coincides with the end of another VW icon: the Kombi/Microbus. We pour out a quart of 5W-40 for this motoring icon, but apparently she feels fine.)

MIAS 39

There were two Beetles on the stand: one in silver/grey blah, and the other in this delightful scheme, harkening back to the 1973 Beetle GSR. While VW does have an actual GSR package for the A5 Beetle with different graphics, that package only comes with the 2.0 gas engine, so we’re not sure if that package will be available here. We decided to photograph the yellow one.

MIAS 40

Here’s another throwback. The 1997 Beetle came with a small flower vase, sort of a nod to the original Beetle’s reputation as a hippie car. I’m not quite sure how easily this can be detached, as some drivers may not like the idea of a flower on the dash. I, however, would gladly drive along with some lavender. Say goodbye to those little pine trees!

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The glove box is another beautifully-executed throwback. You open it with the little silver tab, pushing the indented half in and then pulling the panel up with the other now-exposed half. It’s quite small inside, but there is a second, much-larger glove box to throw all your stuff in.

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While the 1997 Beetle tried to trade on sheer cuteness with its triple-bubble design, the A5 Beetle’s profile, with its sloping roof and boot, is much closer to the original Beetle, creating a sportier overall look. While I think they should have extended the glass backwards and made the C-pillar thinner, this is fine by me.

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Along with the Beetle, there was also the Polo, Jetta, Touran, Tiguan and Touareg, listed in order of ascending size. The famed Golf will supposedly be introduced next year, and there is no news for the Amarok compact pick-up. Only turbodiesel engines will be offered in the Philippines on everything except the Beetle, saying much about how confident VW are in their TDI engines. Though I’m confident the performance will be more than enough, whether the enthusiast market will warm up to an all-diesel lineup remains to be seen.

I’m also a little disappointed that VW have dropped the bonkers V10 TDI from the Touareg lineup. A car company like VW should always have something a little crazy in its lineup.

Next we’ll take a look at the smaller exhibitors at the show, and then we’ll move on to the other show floors.

-Words by Kristoff, pictures by Eugene

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