2018 Twin Cities Auto Show: 5 Things You Can't Miss

Ok, so the movie "Fargo" turned 22 years old this week, but, so, ya know ... despite widely held stereotypes about the state of Minnesota and its dialect made famous by the movie, you betcha the chilly Northern state nestled between Wisconsin and the Dakotas has much more to offer than earnestly square (albeit accurate) vernacular and famously frigid winters.

The Minneapolis-St. Paul area is still relishing in the excitement of hosting the Super Bowl, but residents of the Twin Cities will have another reason to bundle up and head outside this weekend when the 45th annual Twin Cities Auto Show opens at the Minneapolis Convention Center in the heart of downtown at 1301 S. Second Ave.

Related: How to Car Shop at an Auto Show

As guests of the show can get behind the wheel of more than 600 vehicles from three dozen automakers that will set up shop in the 475,000-square-foot convention center, the focus is on the consumer. That's not to say, however, that guests won't discover glimpses of awe and intrigue offered by Hollywood-inspired specialty cars and a pack of showy, high-end vehicles from Aston Martin, Bentley and Maserati that will be on display in the Luxury Ballroom.

Showgoers will also have the opportunity to catch up with some all-new models that made their big debuts at previous exhibitions this auto-show season. Two big ones coming to Minneapolis are the 2019 Ford Mustang Bullitt, the special-edition 'Stang celebrating the 50th anniversary of the iconic Steve McQueen movie car chase, and the 2019 Ford Ranger, which marks the return of the mid-size pickup truck after an eight-year absence.

Among the list of cool new attractions added to this year's show — which opens to the public this weekend — is the ambitiously ambient After Dark display. On the evening of March 16, the lights will go out in the convention center, and the exterior and interior lights of hundreds of vehicles will illuminate the auto show to create a "brilliant nighttime experience," according to Molly Steinke, spokeswoman for the show.

The nine-day show starts tomorrow and is open 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday, March 16, both Saturdays and Wednesday; 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. both Sundays; and 4-10 p.m. Monday, Tuesday and Thursday. Admission is $12 for adults or $10 when purchased in advance online, and $6 for kids age 11-15 (kids age 10 or younger get in free). Adults receive half-off admission on Wednesday. Coupons for discounts on admission are available at participating SuperAmerica stores and certain dealerships.

Here are five things you can't miss at the 2018 Twin Cities Auto Show:

1. Mitsubishi Minnesota Mile

Drivers in Minnesota like to joke that they endure only two seasons: winter and road construction. It's true that driving in the state home to two of the 10 coldest U.S cities is no cakewalk. That reality prompted the idea for the "Mitsubishi Minnesota Mile," a 20,000-square-foot indoor course peppered with pot holes, staggered orange construction cones and a custom-built ice bridge. Professional drivers from Mitsubishi will take guests for a ride on the course in the new-model Outlander Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicle and Eclipse Cross Turbo to demonstrate features like all-wheel drive and smartphone-enabled technology that allows drivers to heat up or cool down their vehicles before getting inside.

Similarly, it's worth noting that Fiat Chrysler Automobiles is also slated to bring its popular Camp Jeep off-road obstacle course. It looks like there'll be plenty of fun to be had from the passenger seat at the Twin Cities show.

2. Ride and Drive

A visit to the auto show saves car shoppers time and energy by sparing trips around town to multiple dealerships flanked by sometimes pushy salespeople. Grab the keys and drive 42 current-model vehicles from seven brands, including:

  • Chevrolet (Bolt EV; Colorado, Silverado and Silverado heavy-duty pickups; Cruze and Malibu sedans; and Equinox and Traverse SUVs)
  • Ford (EcoSport, Escape, Explorer and Expedition SUVs; Focus and Fusion sedans; and F-150 pickup)
  • Jaguar (E-Pace SUV; F-Pace sports car; XE and XF sedans; and XF Sportbrake wagon)
  • Land Rover (Discovery, Discovery Sport, Range Rover, Range Rover Evoque, Range Rover Sport and Range Rover Velar SUVs)
  • Mazda (CX-5 and CX-9 SUVs; Mazda3 sedan and hatchback; Mazda6 sedan; and MX-5 Miata RF sports car)
  • Toyota (Camry and Corolla sedans, and C-HR, Highlander and RAV4 Hybrid SUVs)
  • Volkswagen (Atlas and Tiguan SUVs; Golf GTI hatchback; and Jetta and Passat sedans)

"It's a good time to bring the whole family to see how well everyone fits into the cars," Steinke said.

3. Acceleration Alley

"It's time to realize your street-legal hot-rod dreams and view the rare Hurst Heritage by GSS Dodge Challenger and the Hurst Heritage K-Code Ford Mustang," according to the show's website.

Among the fastest vehicles in the luxury sports car industry, according to show organizers, the pair of muscle cars from performance parts outfit Hurst Heritage will debut for the first time in the Acceleration Alley exhibit.

4. 'Black Panther' Lexus, Et. Al

Marvel superhero fans can check out a super-sleek Lexus LC 500 used during the filming of massive box-office hit "Black Panther." The luxury performance sedan is the most technologically advanced vehicle ever produced by Lexus, according to Toyota's upmarket offshoot.

Pop-culture fans can further feast their eyes on Scooby-Doo's Mystery Machine, Batman's Batmobile and other tricked-out Hollywood cars in the "Crime Fighting Cars" exhibit. "Star Wars" fanatics can catch an up-close look at the Nissan Rogue Sport A-Wing. Part of a limited-edition fleet of vehicles styled after imagery from the "Star Wars" universe, the model is equipped with dual rear thrusters, mounted fins and laser cannons.

5.  Celebrity Athletes

Minnesota sports fans can meet personalities from their favorite local teams, including Jamal Crawford and Taj Gibson of the Timberwolves, on March 10; and various players from the St. Paul Saints on March 11. Zeus McClurkin of the Harlem Globetrotters will meet fans on March 18 before he joins his team for two shows at the Target Center on March 31.

Cars.com's Editorial department is your source for automotive news and reviews. In line with Cars.com's long-standing ethics policy, editors and reviewers don't accept gifts or free trips from automakers. The Editorial department is independent of Cars.com's advertising, sales and sponsored content departments.

 
Related Articles