While the Dream Cars section showcased a considerable fleet of luxury cars, including the exotic far end of the traditional premium manufacturers’ model ranges, the German trio also showed quite a presence in their own chambers.
Mercedes usually brings something draw-dropping to Brussels, like a Maybach roadster or the reigning Formula-1 champion race car.
This year the highlight was a futuristic Vision Van concept with two drones, showcasing the van of the future.
It was surrounded by the commercial vans of today, giving a different focus to the chambers of Mercedes compared to last year.
Otherwise, the most prominent cars were already presented in Paris (the GLE and the B Class), not that they could steal the show from the luxury cars lurking in the back.
BMW took things back a bit too but still ensured a presence worthy to the Bavarian brand, that in some years, snatched a podium finish in the Belgian market.
This stage is still at the levels of international car shows, but I missed the extra firecrackers and the wow factor.
As far as premiers are concerned, BMW brought along cars that could be seen for the first time in Europe, such as the 8 series Cabriolet and the X7 mastodon.
Visitors could also get familiar with the entire BMW line-up from Minis to X5 SUV. The new 3 series debuted in Paris, but I can imagine, most visitors will be attracted by the recently renewed roadster Z4.
The I8 always steals the show, and Brussels is no exception. The I8 Roadster is paired with a charger, and a hostess is giving all the explanations for the visitors who are patient enough to wait for the queue.
The first Mini Morris is celebrating its 60th anniversary, and the stage was built around the special anniversary edition model.
Audi was hosted in hall 11 reserved to the VW Group. Last year, the Group filled two halls, but back then, the Group’s high-end luxury cars were not donated to the Dream Cars exhibition.
In the absence of dedicated Bentley, Lamborghini and Bugatti stages, the mainstream brands and Audi were collocated in Hall 11 this time, while the luxury brands from Porsche and upward were hosted in the Dream Cars Hall.
Audi came up with the usual corporate identity, the white design lines somehow always work, whether they highlight classic or concept cars.
The fleet showcased the complete model-line, although I have some difficulties distinguishing the individual Audi models these days, maybe I am getting bad eyesight with my age.
The longest queue led to the recently presented E Tron SUV whose mirrors were replaced with cameras, in case an all-electric SUV from Audi would not be enough to reach the headlines.
The fact that Volvo is present is already news-worthy, as the Swedes decided to withdraw from the autumn European car shows. Nevertheless, Belgium is one of their key market, where at least a third of their cars are made, and they maintain a decent 12% market share.
A brand like Volvo, simply cannot pass on the show, and their stage reflected the importance of the Belgian Market.
The complete model lineup was present, from the most recent V60 Cross Country to the outgoing V40.
While decoration is functional and appropriate, it is free of excess (evidenced by the absence of concept cars), the stage also featured an elegant gallery upstairs with a large space for interested clients.
Lexus is a regular guest in Brussels, although its model range is not optimised to one of the most diesel-friendly new car markets of Europe.
Apart from the flagship LC, the Japanese premium brand presented its complete model range.
The presence of Alfa Romeo at international car shows is not self-evident, proven by their absence in Paris and Frankfurt. Their recent absence in Paris was particularly striking, despite the surge in sales, driven by new models, most importantly the Stelvio SUV.
The wider area of Belgium, Alsace and Luxembourg however, counts a traditional stronghold of the brand. Thus it could not pass, even if they are now preparing for their show in Geneva.
The Alfa stage is compact yet stylish and elegant, the most prominent part was awarded to the 2018 Sauber Alfa Romeo Formula-1 race car.
Maserati delivers a worthy show in Brussels every year, this was no exception. If anything to nag about, the cars were not accessible most of the time, and despite the more dissuasive separation by glass barriers, the stage was never easy to photograph, although Maserati did not inaugurate any new models for some time.
It is time to take another break, as there are quite a few brands that are still to be presented.