Melbourne Motor Show wrap-up

The 2011 Australian International Motor Show is in full swing, so here’s our wrap of the best fresh metal that graced the halls of the Melbourne Convention & Exhibition Centre.

In the dream corner were the Lexus LF-A – 10 of which are coming here priced at $700,000 – and the V12-engined Lamborghini Aventador, followed closely by Audi’s lightweight R8 GT (pictured), and the track-focused Maserati MC Stradale and Jaguar XKR-S. Eco-supercar concepts also were found in the electrifying Audi etron and BMW i8.

At the other end of the pricing scale, emerged something of a light-hatch feud – Toyota previewed its all-new Yaris, Holden took the cloak off its fresh Barina, Skoda announced the 1.2-litre turbo Fabia (pictured) will arrive with a sharp $18,990 sticker, Hyundai returned its Accent to market, and Kia’s sharp-looking new Rio will feature 1.6-litre direct injection four-cylinder engine – with 103kW, it’ll be the most powerful in its class.

Step up a rung to the small car segment, and a new Skyactive 2.0-litre and six-speed auto were introduced in a new SP20 variant of the Mazda 3 and Holden showed off its Cruze hatch – in snappy SRi-V guise with new alloys and projector headlights. Hoping to muscle in on those model’s sales success is Ford, with the all-new Focus priced from $21,990 for the 1.6-litre Ambiente, extending to $36K through 2.0-litre petrol and diesel Trend, Sport and Titanium models.

Peugeot revised its 308, and released pricing for its all-new 508 mid-sized sedan – the latter arriving from a competitive $36,990 for the entry-level 1.6-litre turbo-petrol Active and topping out at $52,990 for the flagship 2.2-litre turbo-diesel GT. Arch German rival, the Volkswagen Jetta, was also previewed, but its pricing will be announced closer to the October launch.

Speaking of mid-sizers, the C7-series Audi A6 debuted in $93,300 2.8 FSI, $116,500 3.0 TDI and $121,500 3.0 TFSI guise. It’s without an entry-level diesel for now, something that Jaguar has addressed with its freshly-facelifted XF – a 2.2-litre turbo-diesel/eight-speed auto variant will retail for $78,900 plus on-roads.

There were less new SUVs to be found on stands than most years, with the exception of the VW Touareg (pictured - $62,990 150TDI, $77,990 V6 FSI or TDI, and $82,990 TDI with low-range 4x4) and 1.2-litre turbo Skoda Yeti compact SUV ($28,690 front-drive and $35,690 4x4) models.

Finally, it was a blackout for our big, burly Aussie-built sedans – specifically the black-painted FPV Concept (with tighter, righter suspension mods and 10kW extra) and the, er, white-painted HSV Black Edition (mostly a series of cosmetic upgrades). The more prosaic dedicated-gas Falcon LPI was also on show … but still no sign of Falcon Ecoboost.

For more details on the models featured at this year’s AIMS, see the Wheels August issue, out Wednesday July 20th.

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