Article and photos by Greg Wilson

Before you head down to the Vancouver Auto Show at B.C. Place this week (the show ends Sunday, April 8 at 6 pm) here’s a preview of the most exciting and most interesting vehicles you shouldn’t miss. They aren’t necessarily the latest vehicles to make their appearance on the auto show circuit — they’re just the vehicles that struck a chord in our automotively tuned minds.

Feature: Vancouver International Auto Show car culture auto shows 2012 autoshows
BMW 6 Series Gran Coupe. Click image to enlarge

2013 BMW 6 Series Gran Coupe

Making its first appearance in North America in Vancouver, the all-new BMW 650i Gran Coupe is the first four-door 6 Series sedan, but its sleek profile makes it look more like a two-door coupe. Finished in a unique matte “Frozen Bronze” exterior colour, the Gran Coupe on display has a long, low-slung, sexy appearance. Its wheelbase has been stretched by 114 mm over the coupe and cabriolet models, resulting in more legroom for rear passengers. Canada will receive the top-of-the-line 650i model with the 4.4-litre V8 producing 445 horsepower and eight-speed automatic transmission, enabling the Gran Coupe to zip from 0 to 100 km/h in just 4.6 seconds.

2013 Audi S5 Coupe

The 2013 Audi S5 Coupe makes its Canadian debut in Vancouver: important changes include mildly revised styling and a new 333-hp 3.0-litre supercharged V6 replacing the previous 4.2-litre V8. The S5 is still one of the best-looking coupes on the market even if some of us are sad to see the old V8 go. The styling changes are evolutionary, including new LED headlights and a new grille that follows the theme of the A6 and A7. The 2013 S5 Coupe comes standard with a six-speed manual transmission or optional S-tronic dual-clutch automatic transmission.

Feature: Vancouver International Auto Show car culture auto shows 2012 autoshows
Lamborghini Aventador. Click image to enlarge

2012 Lamborghini Aventador

You probably won’t be putting a down payment on this $409,000 exotic super brute from Lamborghini, but this is probably the best piece of eye candy at the show. Decked out in a stunning Arancio Argos pearlescent orange exterior (a $4,750 option), this 691-hp V12 powered two-seat, mid-engined exotic replaced the Murcielago last year, and is reported to bolt from 0 to 100 km/h in 2.9 seconds and has a top speed of 350 km/h. We can only dream…

2013 Scion FR-S and Subaru BR-Z

Feature: Vancouver International Auto Show car culture auto shows 2012 autoshows
Scion FR-S. Click image to enlarge

A joint development between Subaru and Toyota, these compact, lightweight 2+2 rear-wheel drive sport coupes are designed to be fun-to-drive sports cars at an affordable price. Both feature Subaru’s 200-hp 2.0-litre horizontally opposed four-cylinder engine with a six-speed manual or optional six-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters. With a handling-friendly front-to-rear weight distribution of 53/47, a fully independent suspension, and four disc brakes, the FR-S and BR-Z have all the ingredients for lively handling and performance. The Scion FR-S starts at $25,990 while the Subaru BR-Z’s price hasn’t been announced, but won’t be far off we’re sure.

2012 Volkswagen Golf R

Feature: Vancouver International Auto Show car culture auto shows 2012 autoshows
Volkswagen Golf R. Click image to enlarge

The ultimate Golf GTI, the new Golf R features a more powerful 256-hp version of VW’s famed turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine, a standard six-speed manual transmission and 4Motion all-wheel drive — the DSG dual-clutch automatic gearbox is not available. The R comes fully loaded with navigation, 300-watt stereo, power sunroof, and heated sport seats, but you’ll have to act fast to get one: only 500 Golf R’s were allocated for Canada for 2012 and most of them have already been sold. The price is $39,675.

2012 Mini Roadster

Following the controversially styled Mini Coupe, the new Mini Roadster is a two-seater convertible with a manual soft top, a rear deck lid and a pop-up spoiler that deploys automatically at 80 km/h. With no rear seat, the Roadster’s trunk is larger than in the standard Mini Cooper, and features a lockable pass-through. The Mini Roadster is offered in three models: the 121-hp Cooper, turbocharged 181-hp Cooper S, and the high-performance 208-hp JCW model. Prices have not yet been announced.

2012 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1

This Camaro certainly deserves the moniker, “muscle car”. With menacing looks and a 580-hp supercharged 6.2-litre V8 that develops 556 lb-ft of torque at 4,200 rpm, the Camaro ZL1 is what GM describes as, “the highest-performing Camaro and the most technically advanced car ever developed in its class.” It comes with a new short-throw Tremec TR-6060 six-speed manual transmission and GM’s Magnetic Ride Control with three settings, Tour, Sport and Track. With an MSRP of $58,000, it’s also the most expensive Camaro in the showroom.

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