Geneva Motor Show Preview: Ten Star Cars
Between the 5th and 15th of March, Geneva in Switzerland will be home to the first major European auto show of the year. Although we are still a couple of weeks away, there have already been some major announcements. Here’s my top ten.
Honda have been teasing us with the promise of a new Civic Type-R since 2012. Last year’s Geneva show brought a concept version that was seemingly quite close to reality if the spy shots and recent teaser images are anything to go by. The big question is whether the long gestation period will harm its performance credentials. 300bhp was big news back in 2012 but the introduction of the AMG A45, BMW M135i and now the Focus RS make the figure look almost tame. Don’t count it out though, the Renaultsport Megane has less power and front wheel drive yet is still considered the most fun hot hatch by many.
The final specification and fresh pictures of the production McLaren P1 GTR were revealed this week. Power is a nice round 1000PS (986bhp) with the twin turbo V8 getting a 62bhp bump and the electric motor gaining 21bhp. Weight is down 50kg which is impressive considering the car is 80mm wider at the front and gains a sizable rear wing that gives 10% more downforce, 660kg at 150mph. Buyers will have access to a driver programme that will see them on circuits across the globe starting with Silverstone, England followed by Circuit de Catalunya in Spain.
Ford are on a roll with performance cars at the moment having dominated the Detroit Motor Show with the F150 Raptor, Mustang GT350R and unforgettable GT. Geneva will be the first opportunity for the public to see their next and most relevant fast car, the Focus RS. After the wide arched brutes that came before this third generation RS, the narrow hipped 3rd generation car almost looks dainty by comparison. Not to worry though, it has ‘well in excess of 320PS’ along with a trick four wheel drive system that was in part developed by star of the Gymkhana videos Ken Block.
Any plutocrats who are reading this article might be interested in the Mercedes-Maybach Pullman. Harking back to the old 600 Pullman of the 1960s, it offers seating for up to four in the rear thanks to its 6.5 meter length. The roof is also 10cm higher to add headroom while the interior is more luxurious than the majority of 5 star hotel rooms. If you need Jeeves to get you somewhere quickly, there’s a massive turbocharged 6.0 litre V12 up front producing 530bhp. Dictators the world over will also be interested in the option of armour plating. Would you go for this over a Rolls-Royce?
Lotus Cars have been busy creating the Evora 400. Power is up to 400bhp (unsurprisingly) thanks to a larger supercharger and new intercooler with a limited slip diff now needed to put the extra grunt down. This means it’s an astonishing 6 seconds faster around Lotus’ Hethel test track than the old car. It’s also lighter and much easier to get into courtesy of a new aluminium chassis and detail changes. Lotus are expecting this to contribute to a big boost in production, fingers crossed for them.
Aston Martin have finally shown us the production Vantage GT3 and it looks fantastic. Liberal use of carbon fibre has reduced the weight by 100kg while power from the V12 is up to very nearly 600 bhp. Track widths have been increased and there’s some serious aero to help the GT3 corner even faster. Production is limited to 100 vehicles priced at £250k. I’d be sorely tempted if I had the funds. Aston also have another, so far unrevealed car for Geneva the reputedly track only Vulcan. All we know for sure is that it has a V12.
Mercedes-Benz have revealed a mildly toned down 4 wheeled version of the G63 6×6 called the G500 4×4². Officially it’s a ‘show car’ but it wouldn’t take much to get this into production, especially considering a lightly disguised Kermit green test car was spotted late last year. Judging by the name, it won’t be as powerful as the AMG 6 wheeler but it should weigh a hell of a lot less. Price should be a lot more reasonable too although don’t expect it to be cheap. More details will be revealed at Geneva.
Bentley Motors have revealed possibly the last update for the current Continental GT and Flying Spur. The latter gets interior upgrades to make it even more sumptuous while the former receives new bumpers, bootlid, radiator shell and wings complete with vents. Although the changes are subtle, they do add a little more muscle to the body. There are also upgrades to the W12 motor in both cars to increase power yet reduce fuel consumption and CO2 emissions. The Conti may be getting on a bit but it still has presence in spades, is this the best it’s ever looked?
Any new Ferrari is going to create a stir but when it’s one as important as the 488 GTB, you can guarantee all eyes will be on this prancing horse when the covers come off. Although based on its predecessor the 458, the engine is an all new turbocharged unit which marks a radical change for the marque. While there have been turbo Ferraris before, most notably the legendary F40, there are concerns the razor sharp throttle response and glorious noise of the 458 will be lost.
The R8 has been an incredibly successful halo car for Audi so replacing it was always going to be tricky. It seems the German manufacturer decided going balls out was the only option so the second generation car will initially only be available with the 5.2 litre V10 with no V8 option. You do get a choice of two outputs though, 532bhp for the ‘normal’ V10 R8 or 601bhp for the R8 V10 Plus. Both are lighter than the outgoing car and look pretty sharp if the leaked pictures from last week are to be believed.