Around The Bay Auto Weekend Wheels

Weekend Wheels: 8 reasons to drive (or ferry) to the Tampa Bay New Car & Truck Show

Even the kids get a car to test-drive (read on).
Luxury Living Tampa Bay

Pssst, they got the new mid-engined Corvette there. And it’s a convertible. And they have a new Mustang Shelby GT500. Repeat after me: Seven Hundred and Sixty Horsepower. Just two reasons to head to downtown Tampa this weekend for the annual Tampa Bay New Car and Truck Show, which runs through Sunday at the Convention Center. 

What about that new Corvette C8? Unless you’ve been living under a rock in Podunk, Iowa for the past year, you’ll know there’s a brand new mid-engined Chevy Corvette C8 coupe and convertible hitting the market early next year. With 490 horsepower and pricing from $59,995, this is going to be the performance bargain of the decade. 

Want to see Matthew McConaughey on the Lincoln Stand? Me too, but he won’t be there. But they do have the awesome new mid-size Aviator for you to climb aboard. This is one of the coolest-looking crossovers coming for 2020, and inside is Lincoln quality at its finest. Ask about the Grand Touring hybrid version with its twin-turbo V6 and electric motors cranking out 494-hp and a massive 630 lb-ft. This is one Aviator that will fly.

Winter’s coming, so it’s time for a BMW Convertible BMW is showcasing not one, but two drop-dead-gorgeous drop-tops at this year’s show. Want small and powerful? Take a look at the new Z4 M40i roadster with its turbine-smooth 382-hp 3.0-liter V6. Not cheap, but it’s an absolute blast to drive. Want big and powerful? The new for 2020 M850i flagship convertible is a 523-hp four-seat open-top rocketship.  

Here Kitty, Kitty Think of it as catnip for the performance sport-ute lover. Jaguar’s simply puuurfect F-Pace SVR is a 5.0-liter, 550-hp bundle of feline fantasy that can hit 60mph from zero in just 4.1 seconds, and not quit till it’s topping 176mph. Yikes, try that on the Courtney Campbell and you’ll be in an orange jumpsuit before you know it. The Get-Into-Jail price: $80,600. 

Sonata in C Major If you’re one of the 2 percent of buyers in the market not looking for an SUV, and who still thinks sedans are cool, head over to the Hyundai stand to check out the all-new Sonata. This is one good-looking four-door, with terrific new styling, new 1.6 and 2.5-liter four-cylinders and insanely high-quality interiors. And with pricing from $33,000, it’ll be music to your ears. 

Did we mention the new Shelby Mustang packs 760-hp? Yup, the world has gone performance crazeeee. Next year you’ll be able to order a new $74,000 2020 Mustang Shelby GT500 with a hand-built 5.2-liter supercharged V8 packing 760-hp. It’s the most powerful Mustang ever, capable of an insane 0-to-60 time of 3.5 seconds. They have a prototype on the Ford stand. Ask nicely and they might let you pet it.

Cadillac wants to give you a High Five RIP dear CTS and ATS. We loved you while you lasted. But now there’s a new mid-size Caddy sedan in town. It’s the new CT5 and it’s one of the coolest-looking four-doors out there. Sleek, sexy, with a swoopy-coupe roofline, it throws down the gauntlet to Audi’s A4, the BMW 3 and Mercedes C. Prices start at $37,890, and you can even get one with a twin-turbo 355-hp V6. Sweet.

Honey, I shrunk the ‘Vette To lure your kid to the car show, just mention there’s a classic ’50s Corvette they could drive — without a license — that’ll do 50mph and could be the coolest toy since the new PlayStation PS5. This two-third-scale ‘Vette is the creation of Tampa-based Mini Cars Inc. Powered by a 107cc gas motor, it’s zippier than any golf cart. Prices from around $15,000. I want. 

This year’s Tampa Bay New Car & Truck Show features over 350 new vehicles and more than 35 to test drive out on the streets. It’s open Saturday 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., and Sunday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tickets cost $12 for adults (13 and over), and $5 for seniors 62 and over. Kids 12 and under get in free. Going from St. Pete? Take the Cross-Bay Ferry — it pulls up right outside. And be sure to stop by the display of exotic motorcars from our friends at the duPont REGISTRY auto magazine, too; that’s where you’ll see that nifty new McLaren 720S pictured below.

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