disguise

Greetings! How do you like my disguise? Heh. It’s a pair of oversized sunnies, a huge bright red bulb of a nose and a fake mustache.

the beetle

I was at the Volkswagen Das Auto Show 2012 during the weekend – it’s a two day free event that’s open to the public and all the slots were snapped up really quickly. The Icon Is Back is the theme of this year’s show and it features the new Beetle prominently.

disassembled beetle

There’s even a fully disassembled classic Beetle in the foyer!

photo kiosk

I was at the Volkswagen Das Auto Show 2011 and I have to say, this year’s show surpasses the previous one by leaps and bounds. There are a lot of interactive displays and fun stuff to do that I spent nearly 4 hours there to play around and experience everything.

facebook connect

There are kiosks that use Facebook Connect which you can interact with…

qr registration

…and you get issued a QR code wristband when you register.

beetle booth

I was there early and went for the strategically placed photo booth outside to snap a photo.

photo booth

There are no lack of things to do while waiting for the show to start.

icon is back

The Icon Is Back kicked off with a cinematic experience that is simply mind blowing. There was a countdown and the huge darkened hall exploded with a symphony of images and sound.

It started out by featuring a couple of classic Beetle commercials from back in the day…

testimonial

…and has personalities like Patrick Teoh, Melinda Ooi, JJ (from Hitz FM) and others reminiscing about owning and driving the original Beetle.

The screen is over 180 degrees and you have to crane your neck to see everything that’s going on. I really liked that – it provides a good kind of sensory overload. :)

light dance

The show continued on with a launch gimmick that has choreographed dancers with light and shadows before The Beetle was driven on stage.

It’s one of the hallmarks of Volkswagen events – everything is a wonder to behold and just when you thought that it was over, another feature starts that tops the previous one.

The auditorium was packed with people and the first area where The Icon Is Back cinematic experience is held was the best part for me. It was just amazing, the way they pulled off the entire thing.

new beetle

Next up is the area where you can see all the Volkswagen cars in addition to the much anticipated new Beetle. Now, this isn’t a standard static display but a highly interactive one.

like booth

There are stations located throughout that allow you to scan the QR code on your wristband to Like it and as an added bonus…

map

There’s a passport that’s handed to you when you enter – it’s a map of the entire showroom and not only does it provide you with clear signs on where is where, the “passport” also has places for stamps which you can only get once you’ve visited the area!

I think that is a brilliant idea! You get a gift if you get all the stamps from the hostess, I spent a lot of time inside until the batch I was with was nearly gone and the showroom empty. Heh.

think blue

The Think Blue initiative area is one of the highlights with interactive displays which shows how we can reduce our carbon footprint.

little bugsters

There’s also a place for kids to play with…

vw cafe

…and a cafe of sorts where you can have a drink of water and some candy after walking around – all complimentary, of course.

stage performance

The stage has constant shows merging people and cars in a unique performance.

…and of course the star of the Volkswagen Das Auto 2012 Show – The Beetle! :)

black beetle

There are two variants for The Beetle – the 1.2L TSI and the 2.0L TSI.

It’s the centerpiece of the show and everyone flocked to check out the interior and features. The 1.2L Beetle features a 105PS turbocharged 4-cylinder engine while the 2.0L version has a power output almost twice that, topping out at 200PS with a 7-speed direct shift gearbox (DSG) while the former is equipped with a 6-speed DSG.

das auto show

There are a lot of different colors too, I suspect the Tornado Red and Saturn Yellow would be popular but I personally like the Deep Black with Pearl Effect. There’s also a Pearl White version if you like that color.

ipad games

I would allocate a lot of time to this place – there are a lot of fun things to do, like the various iPad games which you can play. Note that it’s connected to the screen and what you do is reflected so even while you wait your turn, you’ll be entertained with people playing badly. Heh.

There are photo booths scattered throughout the space, the Beetle Photo Booth being the most popular one. I met Tung Ai while queuing up, he introduced himself as a reader of my blog and we chatted for a bit.

tung ai

This is the photo we were queuing up for – look at how interactive the screen was, that’s the two of them posing behind the screen. Thanks for saying hello! :)

pov

This is what the photo looks like from POV – you can see where you are in relation to the background that you choose so I saw a lot of creative poses.

beetle photo booth

This is mine. Heh. I wanted to wave out but settled on putting my arm on the window and pointing ahead instead.

photo download

There’s also a QR code at the back of the instantly printed photo where you can download a high resolution digital copy of! You can also Share it on Facebook and Twitter! Nifty.

screenshot

I managed to get all the stamps for my passport and got free gifts at the end, and also a tattoo. Temporary of course.

volkswagen passport

Here’s one of us posing with it, hello Penny!

penny hb

It was a lot of fun, I didn’t realize how much time I spent inside until I realized that people were slowly filtering out. I can’t wait for the next Volkswagen Das Auto Show! I really fb like the social media interactive integration of the show this year. By the way things are going, it looks like it’s only going to get better! :)

sic race track experience

Yes! I can strike another one off the bucket list! I’ve actually driven on the Sepang International Circuit – one of the official F1 race tracks around the world! w00t!

model

I was at the Volkswagen Das Auto event held to herald in the Volkswagen Scirocco R Cup 2011 at SIC and got to experience this once-in-a-lifetime chance. Heh!

vw

I was there pretty early – the event was very well organized – there’s even parking near the paddock and a shuttle to ferry you there so you don’t have to walk.

driving experience

After a quick registration, I signed up to test drive the Volkswagen Polo GTI.

polo gti

I got the 9:45 am slot so I grabbed a quick breakfast of hot noodle soup and coffee before testing out the car.

testing

This is a real world 7.7 km circuit around SIC comprising of various conditions you’ll expect in your daily commute.

I was quite impressed with the car – it handled the straights very well as you can see in the video above. The traffic was pretty light at that hour so the kind folks at Volkswagen let me drive through it twice. This isn’t the actual track (more about that later) – there was a lot of stuff to do that day.

racing sims

…like this driving simulator located throughout. It’s customized so you can see the new Volkswagen Polo in the simulator.

I also went for the Volkswagen Driving Experience – which is basically a safety course. Obstacle avoidance, emergency braking, stuff like that. It was a lot of fun though and I was so glad I got there early coz the spots were all quickly taken up till 4:30 pm.

polo models

The highlight of the event was the launch of the Volkswagen Polo GTI. The car is a beauty!

gti

All the meals were provided that day. I guess they don’t call it a VIP experience for nothing. Heh.

lunch

Catering was done from Pan Pacific so the food was pretty good.

scirocco r

There’s also a Volkswagen Scirocco R car inside – this is the actual car used in the Volkswagen Scirocco R Cup 2011.

scirocco r cup

Here’s another angle of the car. I don’t think this highly tuned and spec-ed up car is road legal but won’t it be a blast to drive it? :D

girls

Anyway, the event that everyone has been hoping for with two fingers crossed came up after lunch – the lucky draw to drive an actual Volkswagen car ON the Sepang International Circuit! The names were announced and there was a mad rush to the monitors see if we were one of the lucky ones.

lucky draw

FUCKYEAH.JPG

I think I’m going to have a stroke. *pounds chest

twitter

My name was on it! I am going to drive on an actual F1 circuit. There are people who would kill for this. I know, you all hate me. ;)

on track

I suited up in safety gear and went into the car. There were Volkswagen Golf and Volkswagen Scirocco up for grabs and as I headed to mine, I suddenly thought – how am I going to film the experience?

safety gear

I mean, this is an experience of a lifetime, I’ve gotta get it on film! Thus, I randomly scanned the crowd of people who weren’t as lucky and picked one at random.

celine

Say hello to Celine! She’s from Penang and has agreed to be a passenger in return for filming the Sepang International Circuit drive.

race

I actually filmed the entire experience (or rather, Celine did) but I had the radio on at the beginning – it was Eminem feat. Dr Dre – I Need a Doctor and I forgot to turn it off so I couldn’t upload most of the drive around SIC.

I can tell you though, it was hair-raising. I pushed the Volkswagen to its limits, hitting 220km/h on the straights and doing corners at 180 km/h. I have to say, the latter is not to be attempted by anyone less than a professional.

sic track

I nearly skidded out of control three times and it’s a testament to Volkswagen’s ride and handling which corrected my amateur mistakes. I think I might have frightened Celine though, heck, I frightened myself at the power of the car and the experience of driving at high speeds on an actual racing track.

Thank you for the experience of a lifetime, Volkswagen. I’ll never forget it. :)

Good luck in the Volkswagen Scirocco R Cup 2011 season!

vw das auto

I just came back from the Volkswagen Das Auto Show 2011 and I am suitably impressed. Volkswagen sure knows how to come up with amazing events. I got to experience driving on the actual Sepang International Circuit last week and this time they have an incredible launch gimmick that you have to see for yourself. It’s epic!

vw girl

Anyway, I went there quite early and strolled around the reception area at Stadium Bukit Jalil before the dome experience started.

driving sim

They have driving simulators scattered around so you’ll have no shortage of entertainment.

snacks

You would not want for food or drink either as there are people going around with trays of intriguing hors d’oeuvres.

food

I had more than a couple since I haven’t had breakfast. Heh.

ipad

There are also Volkswagen Ambassadors walking around with iPads to take your photo – this will be uploaded to dasautoshow.com.my so you can download, tag or share the pictures.

driving2

The dome experience is hands down the HIGHLIGHT (no pun intended) of the Volkswagen Das Auto Show 2011. You are ushered into a complete spherical dome to see the new offerings of VW and what the future has to offer.

dome

It’s a 30 minute experience that blew me away.

electric scooter

Petra Schreiber, the Marketing Director of Volkswagen Group Malaysia came on stage riding a futuristic electric scooter. This. Is. The. Future.

ramp

The show then started with the latest yet-to-be-released Volkswagen cars been driven right INTO the dome and around it. It rates way up there as one of the coolest launch gimmicks I’ve ever seen. Check out the video – it’s mind-blowing! :)

The dome is a complete 360 projection screen so it’s pretty amazing to be bombarded (in a good way) by interactive images everywhere you look. It’s like 3D, wait, 4D, or maybe 5D coz you can smell the exhaust of the cars. It’s the future, yo. ;)

cars

The dome is structurally made with a loop around it so a convoy of cars can drive around it. There are ramps leading up and down too so the cars can get on the stage for a closer look before being driven away again…

ella

…and just when you thought things have ended, a bunch of kids came on stage singing Reach by Gloria Estefan.

…and when you thought that was it, someone stood up on the third row and joined in – it’s Ella! She’s a Malaysian artist, I didn’t see her at the show until she joined in the song. I managed to capture that on video. Sweet.

elaine daly

I also got a photo with Elaine Daly – she was the MC during the event.

vw beetle

This is perhaps the most photographed car during the Volkswagen Das Auto Show 2011The 21st Century Beetle.

beetle interior

It’s a classic and it comes in red. It’ll come to Malaysian shores soon, and I bet the demand would be huge for this.

convertible

We literally had to be chased out of the dome coz we were taking so many photos with the VW Beetle. :)

golf

The dome experience does not end there – the entire portfolio of existing Volkswagen cars is on display outside.

golf gti

Golf GTI

eos

I love the Eos convertible. Imagine driving this baby around town.

prassat

However, one of the more interesting things revealed in the Volkswagen Das Auto Show 2011 is that there will be 3 models that will be manufactured in Malaysia! This includes the Passat – and I think localization is a great idea, it’ll drive costs down and make the cars more affordable to the general public.

driving

I went in the morning so the domes are not lit – I heard that the lighting makes the dome much more surreal at night so drop by this weekend if you can. The Volkswagen Das Auto Show 2011 is at Stadium Bukit Jalil and will be going on from 10-11th September. Head on over for a peek at Volkswagen’s new offerings!

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