As far as auto shows around the country go, and I’ve been to many over the years, San Francisco’s is small. The advantage: Attendance is relatively low, especially on a weekday. This means you can spend some good, quality time with most of your favorite makes and models, while even having intelligent and informative conversations with representatives who seem happy to assist you. Add to this, neither having to fight for the driver’s seats with unsavory gawkers, nor being forced to circumvent misbehaved children darting every which way. The disadvantage: Many models are absent from the floor, and some makers appear to be no-shows altogether.
The San Francisco Auto Show at the Moscone Center, for the less-than-a-movie entrance fee of $9, is a pleasant way for any car enthusiast to spend a couple hours of a weekday afternoon. This, despite the absence of a convertible TT, an A5 cabriolet, any 6-Series, and Mercedes-Benz! That’s right… there was absolutely no Mercedes-Benz product at this show this year. This was quite a surprising discovery, which I confirmed by asking. I’d certainly like to know the reason for MBZ’s conspicuous absence, as there has to be one.
Up against a red S5, a hot chocolate Cooper, the not-before-seen 9-5 sedan, and the new Fiat 500, the title of my personal favorite is awarded to the $139K Porsche Panamera Turbo. Having seen this unique sedan a few times on the streets of Los Angeles, I today sat inside one for the first time. Suffice to say, I was impressed, more so than I was with most of the other predictable offerings on the Moscone Center floor.
Once you’ve had your car fill, here’s what you do: You trot on over to the corner of 5th and Howard, to The Chieftain, an “authentic Irish Pub.” You use your Murphy’s Stout to wash down your delicious “Spicy Irish Potato Bites” and then call it a day! I mean, after beautiful new cars and a lively Irish Pub, how much better can your day get?