Thursday 4th  of May was the opening day of the 2017 London Motor Show, and we went along. What follows is our highlights of London’s annual Motor Show: the Electric and Eccentric.

 

The Podium

3rd: Alpine A110

The A110 is the latest from the French Marque Alpine, a company that despite appearances, is not new to global motoring markets. If you delve into history, then Alpine was a very successful and well-known name in the sphere of the World Rally Championship which it won in the first year of the series’ existence in 1973, with the vehicle that the A110 is named after, the ‘A110’. This sports car then, powered by a mid-mounted four cylinder engine producing 276bhp, is like the current versions of the Mini, Fiat 500 and VW Beetle, it is a revival of a name from the past and with a top speed of 155mph this A110 should run like the present.

Sadly however, it appears to have left what was necessarily good about its predecessor in the past. In recent years, driving enthusiasts have been lamenting the loss of one of the great pleasures of driving, a gear change using a manual gearbox, the process of depressing the clutch, moving the gear lever into gear, releasing the clutch whilst maintaining steady pressure on the throttle pedal. It is an act that, when done well, is one of the great thrills of driving whether it is in a city centre or on an A-Road, it is something that is best enjoyed in a sports car.  Alpine however has, though for understandable reasons, decided to go with a six-speed semi-automatic gearbox that while providing quicker gear changes, removes the interactive feel one has with a car and something that I’m sure will sway buyers towards the latest Porsche Cayman that allows the consumer the option of specifying a manual over a semi-automatic gearbox.

Verdict: 8/10

2nd: The Tesla Model X 100D

The Tesla Model X is Elon Musk’s eccentrically innovative motor company’s entrance into the SUV Market. The Model X, in 100D form at the prominent Tesla stand, is like all Teslas, powered by electricity. With four electric motors, one for each wheel, giving all-wheel drive grip and the battery itself sitting in the floor, the Tesla Model X should to all intents and purposes handle rather like a four-wheel drive sports car. However, due to the static nature of the vehicle we could not evaluate this motion. Depending what variation you go for, the Tesla can comfortably seat up to seven people in comfort and with no engine in the front, it’s also capable of transporting any essential cargo. As such the rear seats fold flat to double the carrying capacity.

Problems? Well there are a couple we spotted with the time we had around Elon Musk’s latest venture. Sadly, despite the investment, the Tesla lacks a significant range with just 130 miles that rules out any journey longer than London to Norwich, at which point you will have to wait eight hours for the batteries to recharge. Furthermore, the Tesla comes without a conventional dashboard in the sense that all your information, radio, satellite navigation etc., is available via a sizeable touch-screen dashboard. This seems like a great idea at first but we suspect that, a bit like your smartphone after a few months, the screen will become dust-ridden and if you happen to spill a drink of any kind, rather adhesive and lack pleasure to use.

Verdict: 7/10

1st: Morgan EV3

Our top vehicle of the multiple that appeared at the London Motor Show is a vehicle that is sold out, has no roof, no manual gearbox and a range, though the same as the Tesla, of just 130 miles. You might wonder then, why we’ve chosen the Morgan EV3, Morgan’s entrance into the world of the electric motor car.

The reason is simple and it is one that has made the internal combustion engine variant of the Morgan Threewheeler so popular. In short, despite the nature of the static display, it has an air fun that few other automobiles have. Entertaining and exiting the Morgan alone is an adventure if you’re over five-foot-seven, feeding your legs into the cockpit and onto the hand-machined pedals. Each switch is hand-crafted to the highest quality and the highest bidder; yet this is a vehicle that feels youthful with each surface and sound that you experience, reviving some forgotten memory, some dream.

In short, this is a vehicle that appeals to no-one yet because of its eccentricities and sense of road-going-adventure it pleases everyone.

Verdict: 9/10