2018 London Motor Show preview

Show returns to ExCeL for first time in more than a decade

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This month the Confused.com London Motor Show returns to the capital in its newly-expanded format with a host of brand new cars for visitors to view, touch and sit in over the course of four days.

The event is being held at the ExCeL Exhibition Centre in London’s Docklands and runs from 17-20 May. Highlights this year will include a new Live Arena and Built in Britain zone.

If you’re looking for an excuse to miss the royal wedding and kick a few tyres, then this is definitely the place to be on Saturday 19 May!

London Motor Show 2017 BMW display

What do I need to know about the London Motor Show?

The London Motor Show has a long and rich history stretching back to 1896, when the inaugural event was held at the Imperial Institute in South Kensington and featured the latest new-fangled horseless carriages.

By 1903, it had moved south of the river to Crystal Palace before settling at Olympia in 1904. In 1976, it moved to Earl’s Court and then ExCeL from 2006 to 2008.

After a long absence, the show relaunched as an annual event in 2016 at Battersea Park, immediately becoming part of the capital’s rich diversity of spring events and makes a welcome return this year to ExCeL for the first time since 2008!

The show features a rich mix of carmakers and dealers enabling buyers to get the lowdown on finance deals and book test drives.

What’s new about this year’s London Motor Show?

Lots! The content is wider than ever before with a special Live Arena and plenty of family-friendly activities to keep future generations of petrol heads entertained from interactive games to simulators and more.

The show puts the visitor right at the heart of the event. So, expect to be able to sit behind the wheels of as many cars as you can.

But it’s not just cars on display. This year the show recognises a broad range of mobility options from motorbikes, garden tractors, diggers and motorhomes to the Bloodhound jet car!

Also, you’ll need to set aside time for special live events hosted by the stars of the hit TV series Car SOS and Paul Swift’s gravity-defying stunt shows.

There’s also a chance to sample the high-performance delights of a Lotus on a special handling circuit.

While for younger visitors there’s an unmissable opportunity to sit in with a professional trainer and drive a car at the Under 17s Experience from Mercedes-Benz World.

London Motor Show new car unveilings

Which cars are going to be on show?

With around 200 vehicles due to be on display, it’s a long list! But here’s a taster.

The latest models from Aston Martin, Rolls-Royce, Lamborghini, Ferrari and BAC will be there.

Expect to a sneak preview of the Jaguar I-Pace, the first electric SUV from a premium European car brand, ahead of UK deliveries this summer.

And check out the all-new Range Rover Velar, the carmaker’s first medium-sized 4X4, which sits between the Evoque and Range Rover Sport in its expanding line-up.

Hyundai will be showcasing its all-new i30 N hot hatch as well as the Kona electric SUV.

Alfa Romeo’s Giulia Quadrifoglio and Stelvio will be on show, along with the Jeep Grand Cherokee and all-new Compass SUV, as well as an Abarth 124 Spider and the latest showroom favourites from Fiat.

Toyota’s new generation Auris; and the growing line-up from MG will also be featured.

What’s Built in Britain about?

The Car Expert Best of British horizontal banner

One of the major attractions of this year’s London Motor Show will be the Built in Britain zone, which resonates with us here at The Car Expert, with our Best of British campaign.

As we head towards the post-Brexit world this will serve as a timely reminder that the UK is an international centre for automotive innovation and manufacturing with a special focus on vehicles built here and exported around the world.

The vehicles on display are diverse.

Popular favourites will include the Vauxhall Astra hatchback and Vivaro van, while Honda will have its latest Civic, Civic Type R and CR-V.

Nissan’s Sunderland plant will be showcased by the Qashqai, LEAF and Juke Nismo RS as well as the Infiniti QX30.

Jaguar Land Rover’s massive investment in UK manufacturing will be acknowledged by the Jaguar I-Pace and Range Rover Velar.

Classic Jaguars will also be celebrated by leading restorer Eagle with the Speedster E-Type and Low Drag GT.

The Oxford-built MINI hatch will be showcased alongside a BMW i8, powered by a UK-built three-cylinder engine.

High-performance cars range from the Lister Thunder and Knobbly, TVR Griffith, Noble M600 Carbon Sport to the McLaren 720S and 570S Spider and Aston Martin DB11.

Also expect to see the latest top-end models from Bentley and Rolls-Royce.

Alongside the cars will be the latest motorcycles from Triumph, earth movers from JCB; Supacat, the military vehicle specialist, will show its Jackal; and Whitby Morrison will feature one of its ice cream vans!

When and where?

17-20 May, ExCeL Exhibition Centre, London.

Show times:
Thursday 17 May 2pm-6pm
Friday 18 May 10am-6pm
Saturday 19 May 10am-6pm
Sunday 20 May 10am-5pm

How do I get tickets?
Tickets are available in advance costing £18.50 for adults with each adult able to take one child aged from 6-16 free, additional childrens’ tickets cost just £10.50.

Book online https://thelondonmotorshow.co.uk/visiting2018/ticket-information/ or pay on the day, although buying in advance could work out cheaper.

Top tip
If you want to beat the crowds then why not go on 17 May, which is the official trade and press afternoon, running from 2pm-6pm? Tickets cost £18.50.

London Motor Show flyer

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Curtis Hutchinson
Curtis Hutchinson
Curtis Hutchinson is a member of the Guild of Motoring Writers and has been a senior motoring journalist for over 25 years. He has written extensively about the automotive industry as editor of both Company Car and Motor Trader where he won the coveted Newspress Business Publication of the Year Award. His work also appears in Fleet World and Fleet World International. In 2016 he was part of the founding team behind the relaunched London Motor Show.

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