As part of the Monterey Car Week festivities one of the highlights of the jammed packed series of events is The Quail: A Motorsports Gathering. Held at the Quail Lodge nestled in the foothills by the sea, The Quail attracts the attention of all noted car collectors and aficionados, but more importantly draws in auto manufacturers aiming to make bold statements.
Held prior to the main event of the 2015 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, The Quail is a premium event that offers an earlier look at many of the vehicles displayed. While a certain contingent of the new production and concept vehicles might pop up at earlier private events, The Quail gathers them all together for a showcase that rivals many International auto show debuts. While many manufacturers might take the opportunity to reveal a vehicle that has debuted elsewhere, both Mercedes-Benz and BMW squared off with very impressive concepts that had everyone talking.
Mercedes-Benz had an outstanding offering last year in the Gran Turismo Vision Concept that appeared to be a unrealistic dream of ever seeing production. However this year, Mercedes-Benz brought out the Mercedes-AMG GT3 Concept, a race car that will have a street derivative. The low-slung race car features all kinds of distinct aerodynamics along with a vertical slat grille that will see its way into production cars.
Not to be outdone, BMW brought out a striking concept of its own: the 3.0CSL Hommage R. The coupe concept slathered in BMW Motorsports colors is a tribute to the successful BMW 3.0CSL race car of the 1970s. The concept also speaks to BMW’s current design direction with the i8, and future direction echoed by the Vision Future Luxury concept from last year. The ultra-wide concept had some notable features including laser headlights, a dramatic OLED taillight design, lightweight carbon fiber seats and striking M-color seatbelts. We were also thrilled to see the commanding heads-up display on the dashboard that featured performance data and track maps on a surface that appeared like regular dash material. It was also interesting to note, the 3.0CSL Hommage R was a running and driving concept powered by a production V8.
Bentley stirred things up with its EXP 10 Speed 6 concept. To sum up the response to the EXP 10 Speed 6 concept, potential clientele viewing the imposing luxury coupe only had one question: when are you building it? The svelte coupe blends Bentley heritage with a striking modern appearance and an interior that blurs the line between classic analog and high-tech digital elements.
Porsche thought The Quail a great opportunity to unveil their latest track assassin, the US-spec GT3 RS. Widely held as one of the best street-driven track cars around, the GT3 RS on the new 991 chassis is finally here. Well, not on the street as of yet, but we did see a GT3 RS roaming the Carmel-By-The-Sea roads wearing Dubai tags. The new car runs a 4.0-liter flat-6 naturally aspirated engine producing 500 horsepower and 338 lb-ft of torque. The styling, carbon fiber and new aerodynamic considerations on the car are sure to make this a popular trim, especially in an age where high-performance cars are all headed in the turbo or supercharged direction.
While the 2017 Audi R8 might have been seen at earlier auto shows, this was our first glimpse of the next generation practical supercar. The Audi R8 V10 Plus on display may have styling that is a modest progression of the first-generation car, but under the skin the new R8 is better in every facet. The V10 Plus produces 610 horsepower, will hit 62 mph (100 km/h) in only 3.2 seconds and will do a touch over 205 mph on the top end! These specs eclipse the first-generation car and we are excited to test the 2017 R8 for a full review here.
While the majority of OEM offerings were of the exotic and luxury end of the spectrum from the Europeans, a few Japanese and Korean manufactures saw the opportunity to present their wares in front of the exclusive clientele. Infiniti was on hand to debut some new Premium Select trim packages for their Q70 sedan and QX50 crossover, while Acura hauled out the NSX once again. Although the NSX auto show color of choice in the past has been red, Acura debuted two new colors: a blue hue and a basic black for The Quail. Hyundai was also on hand to debut their new coupe concept. The handsome Hyundai Vision G coupe is powered by a 420 horsepower 5.0-liter V8 engine and integrates collaborative styling elements from Hyundai designers around the world.
The Quail: A Motorsports gathering is always a must-see for the team here, and a fantastic showcase for OEMs to present their latest production vehicles and gauge interest through concepts to crowds of potential buyers.