By Seth Culp-Ressler | Features Editor
Automobiles are the lifeblood of the American people. Wide open spaces make way for wide open throttle, after all. To live up to this country’s great car-loving tradition and to get a glimpse of the most recent happenings in the automotive sector, we stopped by to the 2016 Pittsburgh International Auto Show. So, in no particular order (well, other than alphabetical, of course), here are 26 thoughts about this year’s four-wheeled showcase.
Broke? Fear not, opportunities to score a brand new car for free abound in the upper hall. From a 580 horsepower Camaro to minivans to family sedans, all it takes is a lucky draw.
Custom-Fitted Luggage is a telltale sign of an automobile with some serious class. It’s no surprise, then, that the beautiful 1956 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing Coupe on display is sporting two rather lovely suitcases behind the seats. Too bad a 300SL in pristine condition, as this one is, sells for over $1.5 million these days. Maybe that old duffle bag isn’t so bad after all.
Dual Sunroofs are a more modern luxury appointment that can be found in the Jaguar XJL. “L” stands for long wheelbase, and the cavernous backseat does well on the name. Soft leather meets elegant wood, and all for the low, low starting price of 85 grand.
Emissions have been an issue for Volkswagen recently after the company was found to be using software cheats to skirt pollution regulations. With that in mind, how many diesels were to be found on the VW stand? A big fat zero. Not too surprising, all things considered.
Ferrari, the pinnacle of automotive lust, was represented thrice over in the Galleria Exotica section of the lower hall. A vibrant yellow 458 Speciale was flanked by a deep red F12 Berlinetta and a more traditional Ferrari red 458 Spider to create a trio of prancing horses. Combined value? Around $900,000.
Gesture Control is BMW’s new gimmick, err, feature. Now all it takes to control the center screen’s functions is a twist of the hand mid air — no physical touch required. You may look like a dork doing it, but hey, that’s the future!
Hellcat Challenger, a name now synonymous with brute force in automotive form. Dodge’s 707 horsepower insanity of a car is the American dream personified.
Infiniti had a disappointingly small booth. You’d think it would seem to go on forever.
Jeeps are wildly popular as always. This year the stand was crammed full of the things. Crowds swarmed them all day, eager to test out the rugged SUVs. Hopefully they realize these low gas prices aren’t going to last forever.
Kids find the auto show to be pretty fantastic. Who can blame them, look at that bright yellow Mustang!
Lamborghini, the other Italian supercar icon, also saw nice representation in the Galleria Exotica. Multiple generations of their big, scissor-door’d, V12 cars were lined up, stretching from an early Countach through the Diablo, Murciélago and current production Aventador.
Motorcycles and other power toys like quads, snowmobiles and jetskis were on display for those looking for a less-sheltered locomotion experience.
Naps are easy to come by if you tire of walking the show floor. Just grab the backseat of an empty car and rest your feet for a second. If possible, snag something like the new Mercedes Benz S-Class for a quiet, luxurious bit of rest.
Overpriced Alfa Romeo merchandise tried to make up for the fact that they only had two cars to display. Unfortunately, a $200 crystal decanter and a $100 pair of crystal high ball glasses induced nothing but eyerolls from this attendee.
Plastic, plastic and more plastic stretches as far as the eye can see inside the base level Nissan Versa. The only consolation is the price tag of $15,000, one of the lowest of the day. Still, what a depressing, hard, dark place to be.
Quilted Leather found on the racing buckets of the $123,000, 580 horsepower Audi RS7 sedan is a lovely thing to rest your backside on. Yes, yes, this is once more some high dollar luxury car. But it’s so nice.
Remote control racing around an oval track on the lower level was a consistently popular choice for those wanting to drive some cars in addition to seeing them. Just watch out for crashes: it’s like a demolition derby out there.
Stands selling all manner of random things line the lower level. Whether you’re in need of dog training, art, windows, cigars or any other not even remotely automotive-related product, there’s a booth just for you. Why? No idea.
Trucks don’t get much bigger than the brand new Ford F-450. Towering above everything else on the Ford stand, the F-450 supersizes everything. The front Ford badge alone is about four times as big as my iPhone. And, since this is classified as merely a pickup truck, no special license is required to drive it. Terrifying.
Uniqueness was a trait touted by many manufacturers by displaying all kinds of aftermarket accessories you can add to spice up your ride. Roof racks, grilles and wheels all help to make your car truly yours.
Vulcan is the name Aston Martin gave to its newest, 800+ horsepower track-only supercar. One of only 24 in the world was at this year’s show, courtesy of Aston Martin Cleveland. Interested in buying? It’s currently listed at… wait for it… $3.4 million. Oof.
Wind through the hair is what the new Mazda Miata hopes to provide its owners. The plucky little roadster is now in its fourth generation and remains the sportscar staple for enthusiasts the world over.
XC90 is Volvo’s latest and greatest SUV, and it has cemented that the Swedish carmaker knows how to make an interior. Soft touch plastics and gorgeous open-pore wood give the impression of a more upscale experience than the price tag might suggest. Competitors take note.
Yellow is a rare hue to see outside of the row of Skittles colored supercars downstairs and a handful of sports cars upstairs. That’s why the fetching Mystic Yellow Pearl Honda Fit was a nice break of color in a sea of grays, blacks and dull reds.
Zero Emissions is what the Nissan Leaf’s door badge proudly brags about. The Leaf was one of the first in a now rapidly growing sector of affordable electric cars. Amid the expensive luxury machines and outlandish exotics there’s one truth about the current auto industry — electric cars are coming. Hoard your gas-guzzlers while you can, America.