Highlights: 13th Manila International Auto Show

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, April 2) — Summer is finally here, marked by the skin-searing, sweat-inducing days that come with the season.

But for motoring enthusiasts, this time of the year signifies another "hot" event: the Manila International Auto Show (MIAS), which opened Thursday at the World Trade Center in Pasay City and runs until Sunday, April 2.

MIAS co-organizer Alvin Uy told CNN Philippines that this year's show is bigger than ever with over 34,000 square meters of show space. He also said he hopes to beat last year's record of 110,000 visitors.

"We had an additional area of 3,000 square meters," he said. "So hopefully, maybe another three, five-percent increase in traffic."

 

CNN Philippines toured the show to find the most striking cars on display. Here's what we found:

1.      Mercedes-AMG GT S

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The successor to the venerable SLS AMG may have been put in its own little corner at the Mercedes-Benz display, but its sleek, yellow body defined by swooping curves drew crowds to no end.

The GT S is the more powerful version of the standard GT. It is powered by a twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter, twin-cam, 32-valve, direct-injection V8 producing 503 horsepower and 650 Nm of torque (47 more horsepower and 50 more Nm of torque).

2.      Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat

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The Mercedes-AMG GT S may have a potent powertrain, but it is simply blown into the weeds by what debuted at the Dodge stand.

The Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat packs a supercharged 6.2-liter, overhead-valve HEMI V8 producing a whopping 707 horsepower and 881 Nm of torque. All this brawn is coursed to the rear wheels through an 8-speed automatic gearbox with sequential-shift mode.

The company said the Challenger Hellcat will do 0 to 96 km/h in under 3.5 seconds and has a top speed of nearly 320 km/h.

3.      Honda Civic Type R

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“Type R.”

That little badge is enough to drive Honda fanboys wild. And there is certainly no hot hatchback quite as wild as the Civic Type R, distinguished from its plainer siblings by its scowling front bumper, huge wheels and massive, rally-car-style rear spoiler.

This compact street-fighter may have a 2.0-liter, twin-cam, 16-valve inline-4 under the hood, but with two turbochargers, it packs 306 horsepower and 400 Nm of torque.

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Honda Cars Philippines Inc. told CNN Philippines on Saturday that the Type R on display is meant to "test the waters" in terms of how well it would be accepted in the Philippines.

Considering the huge crowd that gathered around it, the Volkswagen Golf GTI and the Subaru WRX may soon face another rival in the sport-compact stakes.

4.      Subaru Impreza

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Speaking of Subaru, the Japanese carmaker launched its all-new Impreza sedan at the show.

Aside from the revised styling, the Impreza is the first vehicle in the company's line-up to use the "Subaru Global Platform," which will serve as the architecture for all future Subaru vehicles.

Only one variant will initially be available: the fully optioned P1.388 million 2.0i-S, powered by a 2.0-liter, twin-cam, 16-valve, direct-injection flat-4 producing 150 horsepower and 200 Nm of torque. This is mated to continuously variable transmission and Subaru's trademark Symmetrical All Wheel Drive system.

5.      Mazda MX-5 RF, CX-5, CX-9 and BT-50

Mazda Philippines went all-out in this year's MIAS by debuting four new models in one go.

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The venerable MX-5 roadster gets a new variant: the RF, which combines a "retractable" hardtop with "fastback" styling.

In essence, the manually operated soft-top is replaced with a power-retractable roof that the company said adds safety, security and long-term durability to the list of exceptional attributes that the MX-5 already has.

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Although the all-new CX-5's design is more evolutionary than revolutionary, the crossover has notable alterations under the skin, such as the addition of the G-Vectoring Control system that alters engine torque to the front tires for better handling.

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Meanwhile, the full-size CX-9 finally gets the full "Kodo" design treatment seen in other Mazdas.

The 3.7-liter V6 engine, which produced 273 horsepower and 366 Nm of torque, has also been replaced with a turbocharged, 2.5-liter, twin-cam, 16-valve, direct-injection SKYACTIV inline-4 pumping out 227 horsepower and 420 Nm of torque.

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And finally, Mazda's rendition of the Ford Ranger pick-up, the BT-50, has been restyled for 2017 with a more prominent grill, as well as revised headlights and taillights.

6.      Volkswagen Tiguan

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Not to be outdone, Volkswagen also debuted at MIAS 2017 the newest iteration of its crossover, the Tiguan.

Much like the Mazda CX-5, design changes are minimal. But under the hood, the Tiguan drops the controversial, 2.0-liter TDI turbodiesel for a turbocharged 1.4-liter, twin-cam, 16-valve direct-injection inline-4 producing 148 horsepower and 250 Nm of torque, which is mated to a 6-speed dual-clutch gearbox.

7.      Genesis G90

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If you put the words "Hyundai" and "Genesis" together, you would end up with a high-performance coupe designed to take on the Toyota GT86.

But this particularly Genesis model signifies the birth of all-new Korean luxury marque, designed to do battle with established brands like Lexus, BMW, Audi and Mercedes-Benz.

The full-size G90 is the first salvo in this battle, with the car displayed at the show packing a 420-horsepower 5.0-liter V8 engine under its massive hood. This is mated to an 8-speed automatic gearbox.

8.      Chevrolet Spark

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Chevrolet Philippines debuted the all-new Spark at MIAS 2017 and it has very big shoes to fill.

The previous-generation Spark made its name on the big screen through the Transformers series, helped by its funky styling, motorcycle-like gauges and wild color choices.

The new one looks more grown up, but it also comes with a bigger 1.4-liter inline-4 producing  98 horsepower and 128 Nm of torque. This engine is available with either a 5-speed manual or a continuously variable transmission.

All Sparks (Transformers pun slightly intended) likewise come with Chevrolet's MyLink infotainment system, which comes with a 7-inch touchscreen and smartphone mirroring.

9.       Haval H9

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The last time CNN Philippines tried out a Chinese sport-utility vehicle, we found it to be quite terrible.

But Chinese carmaker Haval has the Toyota Land Cruiser Prado, the Ford Explorer and the Honda Pilot in its sights with its luxurious H9, which has been stuffed with enough goodies to make even Mercedes-Benzes feel as sparse as jail cells.

For ₱3 million, you get a four-wheel-drive, seven-seat SUV with the softest leather interior this side of a Range Rover.

It also gets an Infinity surround-sound system, heated and massaging seats, electrically folding third-row seats and even LCD monitors mounted on the front-seat backrest (a la Lexus LX570).