Foreign makers provide pizzazz and even robots

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Foreign makers provide pizzazz and even robots

Foreign automakers that have been making significant inroads into the Korean market vied for car lovers’ attention at the Seoul motor show. They introduced a number of new models and some luxury brands such as Maserati, Porsche and Bentley excited the crowd with supercars.

The exhibition for Volkswagen was its largest ever in Seoul, reflecting its recent success in the country. Audi-Volkswagen Korea sold a total of 58,366 units last year, a 27.76 percent rise from a year earlier, to beat out rivals BMW Korea (40,174 units) and Mercedes-Benz Korea (35,213 units).

Volkswagen occupied the largest exhibition space - 2,250 square meters (2,421 square feet) - among foreign brands.

The automaker unveiled its high-end concept car Design Vision GTI Concept, which boasts 503 horsepower and a maximum speed of 186 mph. Volkswagen’s T-ROC concept car, a diesel-powered, compact crossover, and Golf GTE, a hybrid model, are also poised to catch visitors’ attention.

Audi is showing a total of 22 vehicles at the event, with eight being Korea premier models set for local release within this year. The Korea premier models include the New Audi A6, New Audi S6, New Audi A7, New Audi S7, New Audi RS 7, New Audi TT, New Audi A1 and New Audi Q3.

One of the company’s highlights is its introduction of the New Audi A6, seen in Korea for the first time. Audi has updated the model with a new engine, transmission, headlights and an advanced audio system. The New Audi A7 is also grabbing attention as the spacious five-door A7 coupe has revamped bumpers, tailpipes, headlights and LED technology.

Honda featured a humanoid robot, its latest All New Asimo, which was introduced at the event. Honda said the Asimo’s movements have been improved and it can now run faster, climb stairs more smoothly and transition seamlessly between walking, stopping and running. Honda said that advanced technology used in the Asimo was also applied to the Honda Legend, a hybrid model, and crossover HR-V.

Japanese automaker Nissan has introduced its new Murano SUV for the first time in Asia.

Bentley impressed the showroom with a grand-touring car Continental GT3-R. The company will only produce 300 units for sales worldwide. Korea has a quota of six. The car comes with an upgraded 4.0-liter twin turbo V8 engine that has 580 horse power and 71.4 kilogram-meters of torque. The car reaches 100 kilometers per hour in only 3.8 seconds.

Italian brand Maserati unveiled its premium concept sports car Alfieri for the first time in Korea along with six other models including Ghibli S Q4 and Quattroporte GTS.

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