During the Portland Auto Show, Ford had multiple Mustangs on display, including the base convertible, the GT, and the EcoBoost. All three Mustangs were similar in appearance and interior styling, but the EcoBoost was the most interesting by far. The engine in the EcoBoost just looks so small compared to the 5.0-liter V8 in the GT, so the minor difference in horsepower (310 to 435) is actually quite astounding. Enthusiasts on a budget could realistically get the EcoBoost for about $25,000 and have relatively similar performance to the GT, especially if they did some tuning.
Next, to the Chrysler 200S and the Chevrolet Camaro Z28, the EcoBoost had one of the larger crowds during the show.
Ken Block’s Rally Car
Ken Block is probably one of the best-known drivers around simply because of his Gymkhana videos. Of course, Block is more than a drifter who makes entertaining videos that almost break YouTube. Block is an accomplished snowboarder, skateboarder, and rally driver who also co-founded DC Shoes. Even better, Block also happens to have the honor of owning the coolest Ford Fiesta on the planet.
Ken Block’s Ford Fiesta is one unique racer that can be configured on the fly for three different types of rally competition: rally cross, stage rallies, and Gymkhana. This monster can produce over 600 horsepower and 650 pound-feet of torque while adapting to the different environments. Block has used this Fiesta to compete all over the world and win Rally America five consecutive times. If you think about it, thousands of viewers got interested in rally cross simply because of Block’s driving and his Fiesta.
Ken Block’s Fiesta was one of a few rally cars in attendance, but it was by far the best. Plus, Block’s car was smack dab in the middle of the DUB booth, complete with bumping music, half pipes, and flirtatious booth girls. The situation was ridiculous, but Block’s Fiesta was a calm spot in the eye of the storm.
Fans of Top Gear may already know what the Gibbs Quadski is, but this fan base only covers a small portion of the auto show audience. Generally speaking, most of the casual auto enthusiasts have no previous knowledge of the Quadski, so the site of this gigantic ATV surrounded by expensive Ducati’s was confusing. Most attendees simply walked around the Quadski with strange expressions on their faces as they tried to figure out what made the vehicle special.
The Gibbs Quadski is so cool because of pure versatility. The Quadski may look like a supersized ATV, but a jet ski hides within the confines of the machine. All you have to do is hit one button and wait five seconds.
The Quadski is a dual-purpose machine that can be used for cruising through the woods before spontaneously diving into a lake or river. The 140 horsepower engine can take the Quadski to speeds of 45 mph on both land and water, and the wider body helps keep the vehicle balanced at all times. The Gibbs Quadski was the definition of unique, and its appearance made the Portland Auto Show even better.
2015 Camaro Z28
The Camaro Z28 was quite possibly the coolest car at the entire auto show, and it drew bigger crowds than the luxury vehicles from Maserati, Mercedes, and Porsche. Chevy brought a Z28 with a 7.0-liter LS7 Chevy engine that cranks out more than 500 horsepower and 481 pound-feet of torque. This Z28 sounded badass, and it looked even better. Even the C7 Corvette sitting next to the Camaro drew less of a crowd.
It’s not often that you get the chance to poke around the interior of a $70,000 car built purely for performance. This interior seems to be designed around track days, with the inclusion of a short throw shifter and bolster seats. The outside of the car included massive Brembo carbon-ceramic brakes, high-performance Pirelli tires, and custom body styling to aid in aerodynamics. The whole Z28 package appeals to almost everyone, and the 19 miles per gallon is just an added bonus.
Hell, the Z28 is more than just a performance car for track days; you could realistically use this monster as an everyday driver, provided the ground isn’t covered in snow or speed bumps.
2015 BMW i8
Hybrid cars have been all the rage with the terrible gas prices, but many of these alternative vehicles have been less-than-stellar. BMW is looking to change that with both the BMW i3 and i8. While BMW did have the i3 at the Portland Auto Show, it was more of an afterthought among similar cars like the redesigned Chevrolet Volt. The i8, on the other hand, definitely garnered enough attention to justify its presence.
This hybrid that totally belongs in I, Robot is a physical specimen with some sexy curves. Everything about the i8 just screams “FUTURE” in a pretty cool way. However, the size of the i8 is actually shocking at first. I expected a smaller vehicle like other hybrids, but the i8 was closer in size to a Lamborghini Aventador at 15 feet 4.9 inches. Granted, the size isn’t particularly a bad thing, especially with the two motors and the curb weight of 3,455 pounds. Going 0-60 in 4.4 seconds with a hybrid of that size would be pretty entertaining.
Sadly, the optional Louis Vuitton luggage package wasn’t on hand to examine and poke fun at, but at least the i8 was entertaining on its own merit.
2015 Chevrolet Colorado
Trucks are essential to everyday life in Oregon, given the mass assortment of contractors, snowboarders, and hunters. Sure, most of the trucks in this area are jacked up Ram 2500’s and Ford F-350’s, but not everyone needs a big truck. The new Chevrolet Colorado graduates from a small, fairly useless truck to a mid-size that could actually come in handy during daily life. While I can’t wait to try out the Colorado’s capabilities as a fishing/work truck, I’m actually more excited about the various engines available. Technically, the Colorado only lists the 2.5-liter inline 4 and the 3.6-liter V6 as the available engines, but Chevrolet brought something exciting to the Portland Auto Show in the form of a Cummins 2.8-liter diesel.
The Cummins diesel engine for mid-size trucks had only been a pipe dream until recently, but Chevrolet surprisingly brought this engine to the show. Obviously, the estimated 28-mpg and hauling capabilities were appealing to rednecks and contractors alike, so the Colorado drew quite a crowd. If made available, the Colorado diesel has the opportunity to be the only mid-size truck with a diesel engine and a decent interior—until the other manufacturers can produce their own versions.
2015 Lamborghini Huracán
Anytime a new Lamborghini appears, auto enthusiasts understandably get very excited. This iconic company has been creating some of the most beautiful and exciting cars for decades, and a new creation always brings mysterious excitement to the automotive world. The Huracán, also known as the Huracán LP 610-4, made its appearance at the Portland Auto Show, and it did not disappoint.
While the Huracán may look like the Aventador from the front, that is where the similarity ends. The Huracán has a new bodystyle that is sleeker and more fitting for the new era of supercars and a lighter curb weight at 3,135 pounds. When you place the two cars next each other, you also notice that the Huracán is six inches shorter than the Aventador. However, the small size doesn’t result in less power. The Huracán has a top speed of 202 mph and a blazing 0-60 time of 3.2 seconds.
The show’s organizers took advantage of the Huracán’s uniqueness and made sure to place the supercar by the main entrance. It was almost impossible to enter or exit the auto show without stopping to examine Lamborghini’s new creation. Honestly, anyone who didn’t stop and look at the Huracán should be ashamed.
I definitely recommend making the trip to Portland, Oregon next year and spending a day or two at the Portland Auto Show. This show is a great place to see the upcoming cars, especially if you can’t get access to the auto shows in Detroit, Los Angeles, or Geneva. Plus, $12 dollars will get you almost unlimited access to any car available, meaning you are free to sit inside, play with the pedals, and drool on the dashboard. Just be sure to clean up your messes.