The Best of Qatar: 2011 Qatar Auto Show
Volkswagens, Porsches and Lamborghinis were the stars of the 2011 Qatar Auto Show.
Compared to the well-known auto shows in places like Detroit, Frankfurt or Geneva, the new one held in Qatar is but a fraction of their size. Nevertheless, you can't deny the enthusiasm reverberating throughout the exhibition center in Doha. For instance, when the cover came off the Porsche 918 RSR, the place stirred, just like Cobo Hall did when that Porsche made its official debut in Detroit.
2011 Volkswagen XL1 Concept
Qatar owns a healthy stake of Volkswagen stock, and the German company used the auto show to present its newest vehicle aimed at the magical 1 liter/100 km (235 mpg) goal. Called the XL1, it is a plug-in hybrid with a 2-cylinder diesel engine, an electric motor, a lithium-ion battery pack and 7-speed DSG transmission. Built for low drag and maximum efficiency, the lightweight XL1 actually beats VW's stated goal, managing to burn only 0.9 liters of fuel for every 100 kilometers it travels. That equates to 261 mpg. Rumors persist that VW will build a small production run of the XL1.
2011 Volkswagen Race Touareg The Dakar Rally Winner
Also on VW's stand was the highly modified Race Touareg driven to victory in this year's Dakar Rally in South America. This marks the third win in a row for a Touareg, which is built to conquer a wide variety of conditions with its high ride height and loads of suspension travel. A rooftop cooling system is fed by a huge vent that feeds, among other things, the 296-bhp twin-turbo 2.5-liter diesel engine.
2011 Dakar Winning Driver Nasser Saleh Al Attiya
Adding to the excitement on the VW stand was a visit by home-grown hero Nasser Saleh Al Attiya, the Quatari driver who won the 2011 Dakar partnered with German Timo Gottschalk. Naturally Al Attiyah is something of a rock star here in Qatar. And, in our brief talk, seems like a nice guy.
Volkswagen Race Touareg Concept
To note its win in the 2011 Dakar Rally, VW created a concept that might see production. Called the Race Touareg, this VW has a body mimics that of the race machine, complete with huge rooftop air intake. The diesel engine is rated at just over 300 bhp, and VW says the Race Touareg Concept hits 100 km/h (62 mph) in less than six seconds. Riding on 18-in. BBS wheels, this very cool super SUV is painted in Magic Morning white. VW says the Race Touareg is "legally approved for use on public roadways." Does that mean U.S. roadways? We hope so.
As you can see by the spare tire arrangement, VW didn't stray far from the Race Touareg when it created the Race Touareg Concept (you wonder what the guy from the AAA might say when he comes to fix a flat!). And inside, the Race Touareg Concept obviously couldn't have the bare bones interior of the pure race machine. Still, VW left the rollcage in — finished in Serpentineo Grey Metallic — but then created a race-like but very ergonomic interior. VW calls it a "stealth look," and the term fits with the rows of very serious-looking switches and knobs. Recaro provided the leather-upholstered seats.
2011 Volkswagen Touareg Gold Edition
If the pseudo race machine Touareg isn't to your liking, consider the Touareg Gold Edition Concept. Doesn't take much of an imagination to see where the name comes from, with much of the car plated in 24-karat gold. This isn't just an exterior dressing up, either; many of the buttons inside are also plated...but thankfully not the Nappa leather seats or Alcantara headliner.
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"This is part of the money problems we face in America is because of cars like these! Why in the world would anyone want to drive one and why is the money being wasted to come out with these types of for "show" vehicles and more cars produce that the normal American citizen can AFFORD to purchase????????"
Jill, I really don't understand why these are part of the money problems we're facing in America. Whoever buys the gold plated Touareg in Qatar or Saudi Arabia will have some personal money problems, I'm sure. I'll tell you why someone would want to drive one of these, well the HOT cars anyway: Having the back of your head pinned to the headrest when you push the accelerator down is a wonderful experience. However, most of us can't afford something like this, but being angry at someone who can, and will is no way to be.
As far as being angry that they're not coming out with vehicles "The normal American citizen can afford," let me remind you: There aren't too many "normal American citizens" who can't afford a VW. A Golf will start at about 15 or $16000. So boo-hoo if the company markets a 24K gold plated vehicle in ANOTHER country. The liberals don't want us drilling here, (let the flaming begin please) so we'll just keep getting them richer in the middle east.
However, the important thing to remember is this: Most of these cars are "Concept" cars. They only showcase the manufacturer's design abilities, promoting confidence in those abilities to attract shareholders AND to serve as a base on which to include specific design elements/ concepts in future production models.
Now, that 2 cylinder TDI hybrid is pretty cool beans, I'm just disappointed to see VW compete against itself. They marketed the Jetta TDI's as being the "anti- hybrid (I for one would rather drive a TDI than a hybrid any day of the week) but now they're joining the ranks. So, are they going to market one car against another one of their own? Just a couple years ago, VW didn't really want to deal with the hybrid market since their clean diesel technology is really brilliant.
Hey hey! You people thinking that Arabs are terrorists just STOP IT! Because Qatar is the most AMAZING country and FYI they actually SUPPORT the americans. And to those of you who think its.."crap" COME SEE IT FOR YOURSELF because im not into cars but ive been there and its amazing, so dont judge anything just yet and ill have you know, its BEYOND radical too ! I think its even better than the one in Detroit
QATAR FTW !
The concept car of VW is promising, and I am asking for some clarification. The concept of four liters to make a gallon, and thus 235 miles per gallon is dizzying indeed. Did I read that correctly? Approximately 60 miles to the liter (100 km) and 240 miles to the gallon?