Switzerland is known for its cheese, its watches, and its banks. But those Swiss also know how to host a damn good motor show. The Detroit Motor Show may have kicked things off for 2016 but the Geneva Show, like in previous years, got the ball rolling in hyperdrive.

This year’s Geneva Motor Show didn’t disappoint with a large emphasis on mega speed, mega powerful, and mega million dollar cars. Bugatti, Pagani, Lamborghini, Aston Martin, Porsche, and McLaren to name a few used Geneva as the venue to debut their latest and greatest.

Down the food chain, cars such as the new Aston Martin DB11 showcased the brand’s future direction, the McLaren 570GT was an addition in the ever growing and ever confusing McLaren family, while the Porsche 911 R got all the purists drooling.

To add balance into the mix Alfa Romeo showed the garden variety versions of its new Giulia sedan, Honda previewed the upcoming Civic Hatchback, and Volvo have a shiny new wagon on display. Maserati also had their first ever SUV, the Levante, at the show dividing crowds.

The Geneva show is one of the most important of the motoring calendar as it gives us an indication of what to expect from manufacturers in the coming months as well as their long term direction. So let’s take a quick look at some of the highlights from this year’s Geneva Motor Show.

My star of the show: Porsche 911 R
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It would’ve been easy to have said the Chiron or the Huayra were my stars of this year’s Geneva Motor Show simply because of how breathtaking their performance figures are and how insane they look. Of course those sorts of cars should be heralded as triumphs of engineering and we should applaud brilliance of the people behind those cars. It’s a miracle they’re able to exist in our day and age but for me, the 911 R was my undisputed favourite of the show.

Essentially a GT3 RS without the “because racecar” wing, a GT3 body (it forgoes the RS’s side vents), and shock-and-horror a 6-speed manual! The R is powered by the same 4.0 engine as the RS meaning there’s 493bhp on tap. 0-100 km/h is four-tenths slower than the RS but 3.7 seconds is still pretty brisk. Top speed is higher than the RS though, at 322 km/h.

Only 991 will be made and it’ll cost more than a RS… Coincidentally I want one even more than a RS. I have never wanted a 911 as much as I want this.

Pagani Huayra BC
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Let’s talk about the Pagani Huayra BC. There isn’t much left to say about this 800bhp masterpiece that hasn’t been said before. It’s a more hardcore, track-focused version of the Huayra. There are many aero parts. It doesn’t share a body panel (apart from the roof) with the standard Huayra and it’ll cost an eye watering amount of monies. Only 20 will be made and they’re already spoken for. Oh, and no hybrid power here. Which was a recurring theme.

Bugatti Chiron
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Everyone, and I mean everyone expected Bugatti’s replacement for the Veyron to adopt hybrid technology. After the success of the hybrid hypercard of recent years such as the LaFerrari, Porsche 918, and McLaren P1, it would’ve made sense for Bugatti to jump on the hybrid bandwagon. Hell, especially after the whole VW “let’s not talk about that crisis” fiasco you’d imagine Bugatti would be pushing for greener tech. But no. Instead we get an even more powerful version of the quad-turbo W16 producing 1500bhp. Get ready for an onslaught of world records.

Aston Martin DB11
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I’m still on the fence about this one. The DB9’s replacement features a new in-house developed 5.2-litre twin-turbo V12 producing 600bhp. That’s good and all, an Aston GT should always have a V12 at the front. But I’m not blown away by the design. It just doesn’t seem very coherent. Some parts look stunning (they got the silhouette right) while others just look awkward (the rear). It also looks a bit bulky. However, I’ll reserve full judgement until I see one in the metal. At least we know it’ll sound nice.

Lamborghini Centenario
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No, Lamborghini isn’t 100 years old. However, it is Ferrucio Lamborghini’s 100th anniversary so why not celebrate it with a special limited run car? I love the way Lamborghini thinks. Any excuse to go let their hair down. The Centenario is based on an Aventador with the power of the 6.5-litre V12 upped to 770bhp. As you can see there’s also been some extensive styling changes. It’s got the crazy styling we’ve come to expect from Lamborghini and is, to my eyes at least, easier to digest than the marmite styling of the Veneno. Only 40 (20 coupes and 20 roadsters) will be made so it’s not quite as exclusive as the Veneno.

McLaren 570GT
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The third model of the Sport Series range, the 570GT is a more luxurious take of the 570S. Differences include more leather, a revised rear deck (now featuring a second boot under an opening glass window), and slightly more weight. The GT aims to add more usability and practicality to the 570S to take on the likes of the Audi R8 and Porsche 911. Despite the extra weight, the 3.8-litre twin-turbo V8 still produces 570bhp and gets it from 0-100 km/h in 3.3 seconds.

Volvo V90
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Isn’t this a nice looking wagon? The V90 is the third new ’90’ model in Volvo’s model renaissance. Essentially a wagon version of the S90 sedan, the V90 aims to take on the likes of the Audi A6 Avant, BMW 5-Series Touring, and Mercedes E-Class Estate. There’ll be a range of various petrol, turbo, and hybrid powertrains to choose from but just look at it. Such a good looking car.

Honda Civic Prototype
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Although it’s a ‘prototype’ this thinly disguised concept previews the next-generation Civic Hatch will be the first global Civic since… Well since long before I can remember. But hey, at least this one isn’t sleep inducing and might actually be half interesting to drive judging from Honda’s recent commitment to making exciting cars again (see NSX, Civic Type-R, S660).

Bentley Mulsanne
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The Mulsanne has gotten a midlife facelift as well as a new variant. Bentley has introduced an Extended Wheelbase (EWB) version of its flagship Mulsanne sedan. The Mulsanne also gains a new wider grille, a new one-piece front bumper, and new taillights. This being a Bentley the performance was already adequate before so it remains unchanged. Hurry up already and give us the Grand Cabriolet already!

Fiat 124 Spyder Abarth
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It didn’t take long for Abarth to get their hands on the new Mazda MX-5, I mean Fiat 124 Spyder. The Abarth 124 Spyder features a turbocharged 1.4-litre four-pot pumping out 170bhp, which wasn’t quite the 200bhp Toyota 86 equivalent we were hoping for. But they did show a rally version next to it at the show we’ll forgive them for that.

Alfa Romeo Giulia
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We saw the 510bhp Giulia QV a lot last year. It was one of my favourite cars to be launched in 2015. However that top-of-the-line model will only account for a fraction of Giulia sales. Alfa used the early Geneva show to display the bread and butter versions of the Giulia. These will be powered by turbo petrol and turbo diesel engines. Luckily they still look gorgeous.

Maserati Levante
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Another one bites the dust. The success of Porsche’s SUVs has given hope to other once proud sports car manufacturers, the likes of Bentley, Jaguar, and Lamborghini will be launching their own sporty takes of SUVs to help boost sales. Now Maserati have their own – the Levante. In comparison to the Kubang Concepts, the Levante just looks a bit… messy. But at least it’ll be powered by Ferrari-sourced engines.

Spyker C8 Predator
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Spyker is back! In case you haven’t been following the quirky Dutch company, Spyker has fallen on hard times filing for bankruptcy in 2014 after failed business attempts such as the acquisition of Saab. In 2015 they resumed normal business operations and the C8 Preliator is the result of this rejuvenated Spyker. Powered by an Audi-sourced 4.2-litre V8, Spyker have thrown in a supercharger resulting in a 525bhp output. 0-100 km/h is done in 3.7 seconds and top speed is over 320 km/h.

DS E-Tense Concept
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Looks good doesn’t it? It’s a 402bhp, 250 km/h, EV supercar with a carbon fibre tub and aluminium subframes. 0-100 km/h is done in 4.5 seconds and the electric range is 350 km and weighs around 1800kg. DS has no plans of putting it into production but haven’t ruled out the possibility of having a sporty halo model. I’m not going to say no to having another good looking supercar on the market.

Alfa Romeo Disco Volante Spyder
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Just look at it. No, honestly put some time aside and just look at how beautiful this car is. I thought the Disco Volante Coupe was a pretty car but I was wrong. The topless Spyder version is even better. Based on the already gorgeous Alfa 8C, the artists at Touring Superleggera have worked their magic on this one. Hands down the best looking debut at this year’s Geneva Motor Show.

Brabus 650
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Take an already fast car (Mercedes-AMG C63 S), poke it with a stick, and turn it up to 11. You end up with the Brabus 650. As the name suggest it’s a 650bhp sedan. 0-100 km/h is done in 3.7 seconds. Top speed is limited to 320 km/h. Of course it is, those silly Germans. Other changes include a 10-way adjustable Bilstein suspension, stainless steel exhaust, and a more aggressive bodykit with many carbon fibre.

AC Schnitzer ACL2
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Take a small, attractive, BMW coupe, add many horsepowers, a dollop of green paint, and you get this – the 570bhp ACL2 from AC Schnitzer. There’s carbon ceramic brakes, carbon fibre intakes, fully adjustable suspension, and a MASSIVE rear wing. 570bhp in a car this size can only be a recipe for fun (and losing your license).

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Okay, so these aren’t quite show stealers but just a reminder the Geneva Motor Show isn’t all unattainable dream machines. The Renault Scenic is a car that we won’t be getting but shows Renault is sticking with MPVs. The Kia Optima Sportwagon is another handsome looking mainstream car that won’t end up on bedroom walls but gives buyers a good looking family wagon.

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A notable miss was the Audi Q2. Audi did well at keeping the Q2 a secret in the lead up to its Geneva unveiling with all the ‘teasers’ and ‘leaks’ these days but perhaps it was because they weren’t all that proud of it. It feels like the designers couldn’t make their minds up of it. Some parts remind me of a VW, others a Skoda. But the whole thing comes off with a ‘fake Audi’ vibe. It might as well come with a Chery or Geely badge. The worst part about the Q2 is that it’ll sell well. Which means soon we’ll have a Q9 and a Q401 to look forward to at future shows.

So that’s Geneva done for another year. What were your hits this year and what were your misses? Let us know in the comments below.

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