Goodwood is more than a festival of speed

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Motorshow or festival? With Goodwood it’s hard to tell where one ends and the other begins these days.

If you’re a car fan like me, it was sad to see the demise of the British Motorshow in 2008, yet rising from the ashes of the summer event in London’s Expo, came the Moving Motorshow, as part of the Festival of Speed.

Okay, it’s been a slow and steady growth since the Moving Motorshow started back in 2010, but looking back at this year’s festival, the first day saw 21 new cars make their debuts. This new metal from 18 manufacturers, is shown on the hill around, or on the lawn of Lord March’s amazing estate on their massive motorshow-like stands in the rolling Sussex downs.

You’ll probably have to look through rose-tinted specs to justify them as business cars, but here are five of my favourites seen in action or in the metal for the first time.

Mazda MX5
Mazda is the key sponsor this year and on top of UK debuts of the impressive CX-3 crossover and Mazda 2 supermini, the new MX-5 really appeals to my wind in the hair, sports car-loving side. Designed to go back to basics, being lighter and more focussed, it looks great and the entry-level 1.5 SE boasts 139g/km emissions.

Ford Focus RS
The RS is about as far removed from Focus fleet favourite trims, such as the Zetec and Titanium – but with 350PS and four-wheel drive, the fastest Focus is going to be one of the hottest and most capable hot hatches. With the chunky bodykit and that tea tray rear spoiler, the fast Ford looks the part too.

Honda Civic Type-R
The latest Honda Civic whether in latest Tourer estate, or the more popular hatch, is a sharp-looking car. But, it’s been crying out for a banzai fast halo model. Well finally, after an eight year break, the iconic Type-R badge is back on the boot of a Civic and the result is the 306bhp turbo monster, that makes its UK debut at Goodwood.

Peugeot 308 GTi
Previous Car of The Year, the Peugeot 308 might be an anonymous looker, but its mix of efficient engines, comfortable ride and lots of equipment, has won it many fans and awards. I thought the GT with 202bhp that I drove recently felt quick enough, but not enough for Peugeot, who brought along a 308 with the hallowed GTi badge on the back boasting a 268bhp punch.

SEAT Ibiza
The new SEAT Ibiza supermini also made its debut at Goodwood boasting new infotainment systems, efficient engines and safety systems which builds on its fun reputation – but I think SEAT have missed a trick on its styling – it looks too similar to the 2008 original for my liking.

So for those that believe that the British Motor Show is dead and buried, you’re wrong – it’s alive, well and flourishing in Sussex!