The 2018 San Francisco Auto Show


Audi’s latest high-tech SUV

Ryan Tomas, Staff Automotive Writer

For some people, the San Francisco International Auto Show at the Moscone Center is an opportunity to look around and consider their next lease, but for car enthusiasts in the Bay Area, this is a tradition. Concept cars can show us what we may be able to buy in the future. New models can be experienced firsthand. And, what is most interesting to me, we can see the new trends in design going around in the automotive world. If you have any interest in any kind of cars, this is the place to go. Anything could be here, from a brand new VW Jetta to the instant-classic, one-of-285 Nissan GTR M-spec Nür.

One car that caught my eye was the new Audi Q8. This SUV is a high-tech alternative to the Q7, which has been a staple of the Audi lineup for the last ten years. It’s on the same platform as the Q7, but it’s totally different inside and out. This car’s exterior is loud without being overstyled, and it incorporates government-mandated reflectors and such into the styling very smoothly. This car even takes elements from older cars, featuring doors without pillars. The Interior is more tech-filled than the Q7, using electronic touch controls instead of physical buttons and dials. Unlike other cars, though, they aren’t cumbersome and slow to use. The aim of this car is to satisfy customers who want a Q7, but prioritize style over practicality.

Lamborghini’s Porsche-based SUV, the Urus, was featured in the Lamborghini stand, and it fits perfectly into the lineup. If you think ‘Lambo SUV’ in your head, it sounds like it wouldn’t work, but somehow it does. All of the lines and Lamborghini styling cues work well on this car.

One trend that automakers are moving towards electronics for everything, from door handles to climate control buttons. A place where this would make sense is a large, expensive, exotic luxury sedan, but on the Corvette, the button-operated door latch just seems like a gimmick. In some cars, the climate controls, heated seat controls, and seat adjustments are only accessible through a central screen. This is cool for about the first week of owning a car like this, but if you have to go through multiple menus just to change the seat heat, this will get annoying.

People are treating cars more and more like appliances, and cars are starting to hide their mechanics from people who just want something to move them around. One car that still shows its twin-turbo V8 proudly and without any plastic covering is the Mercedes-Benz C63S AMG. The only thing Mercedes added here is a plaque where the engine-builder signed his name. This is great to see compared to other performance cars with large, plastic engine covers that hide their powerplants.

Judging by the auto show, it seems like cars in general are going in a good direction. Concept cars are looking good, new performance cars should satisfy enthusiasts, and vans and SUVs will make families happy. There’s something on the market for everyone.