Motor Show Oman 2016 was the perfect showcase for viewing the vanguard of today’s vehicles. Alvin Thomas joined the buyers and dealers at the OCEC last weekend.
It’s not an everyday sight for everyone but then again, this isn’t an average day for anyone present at the Oman Convention and Exhibition Centre (OCEC).
For many, this is simply an opportunity to experience the newly opened megastructure in Oman; others, however, are here to catch a glimpse of the very best from the world of cars.
Toyota, for instance, is showing off its all-new Corolla, which has gathered quite a crowd around it. But why a crowd has coalesced around the Corolla is what makes this Motor Show Oman 2016 special. With its new sharp design and flowing headlights, the Corolla may be a cut above the rest of its competition in terms of design, but there’s more to it than just that. Toyota, has taken the opportunity to launch its latest incarnation of the Corolla at Oman – something that has rarely, if ever, been done before.
Also stealing the limelight are the TRD variants of the Land Cruiser, Fortuner and the Hilux from the same nameplate. Jacked up on a stilt-like suspension, the trio evokes an excellent response from the many spectators at the event. Many are in a frenzy, clicking selfies alongside the cars.
But, calling out to the crowd from the other side of the showroom are the Germans, with their wide range of stylish Bavarian cars. The star of this section is, without a doubt, the BMW i8 – a hybrid sportscar – with a reputation for taking down other supercars from Europe. The sound of cameras going off fills the entire room once the scissor doors of the BMW i8 are lifted – and why not? It’s gorgeous.
“The i8 is like a car from the future,” says one young enthusiast, Mudhasir. “I like the i8, and I have kept posters of it on my wall in my home. But it is the first time I am getting to see it in real life,” he adds before posing for a selfie with his favourite motor.
But little do the Germans know about what the Americans have in store for them. Behind BMW is the stall that houses the cars from Dodge.
To many, Dodge is a nameplate that invokes muscle car heritage. But waiting to pounce on the i8 is the monstrous Viper. With its 8.4-litre V10 pumping out 640hp, the Viper is quite the show-stopper, with many trying to scurry in and out of the car.
Meanwhile, a huge crowd is seen roaring outside: it’s the Brits with the “Land Rover Experience”. To woo the audience, the team has built a small off-road course at the parking grounds of the OCEC. The aim is to navigate the Land Rover Discovery Sport through everything from traditional boulders to sheer 30 degree drops. There’s no other way to say this: the crowd is thrilled.
Apart from that, there is also a host of other exhibitors who are showing off their souped-up cars and bikes. Everything from an R34 Nissan Skyline GT-R to a Chevrolet Camaro are present. Oman Riders are also showcasing their bikes, which includes various Yamahas, Harley-Davidsons and Hondas.
In total, there are more than 100 cars from various automotive marquees as well as exhibitors who are looking to show off the best of what they have to offer to the many thousands who are walking into the large exhibition hall. Also showcasing cars are brands like Nissan, MG, BAIC, Honda, Hyundai, Lexus, Triumph, Harley-Davidson and even MINI.
“This is the most amazing car show that has ever happened in Oman,” says Kevin James, a spectator.
“I visited the previous car show [in 2014], and comparing the two, I would have to say that everything has been done in a more systematic fashion. I absolutely love the new convention centre and I think it is extremely well designed. In all, three cheers for the team behind the Motor Show Oman,” he adds.