It’s that time of the year, Geneva. Arguably the best show of the motoring calendar, you can always count on GIMS to deliver the goods. In a surprising twist of events there were less notable SUVs and crossovers making headlines and it was back to what Geneva does best – supercars.
Yes, the most impractical, unjustifiable, and excessive type of car were what got everyone talking about Geneva this year. From a new Paganis, new McLarens, and a record-breaking Lamborghini, there was something for everyone. The return of a three-pedal Porsche GT3 was heralded a sort of second-coming for the Messiah from Stuttgart.
Elsewhere, there were some extraordinary concept cars such as Bentley so silent and refined it doesn’t have an internal combustion engine, a four-door Mercedes supercar, and a quirky automatous VW with an old man’s name.
For more ‘ordinary’ folks there’s a lot of real world heroes to drool over. Who doesn’t want a Porsche wagon? Personally the Alpina B5 appeals in so many ways, a shame the price isn’t quite as mouth-watering. More like eye-watering. Still, there’s a new Ford Fiesta ST and Civic Type R to keep performance accessible to the masses.
Of course there are still some SUVs such as a fourth Range Rover model, a new Volvo XC60, and a range topping Audi SUV that you can’t buy. Well not yet anyway. So here’s a quick(ish) round up of the 2017 Geneva International Motor Show covering each car in a paragraph or so.
The Supercars were the super stars
Ferrari 812 SuperFast
It’ll do what it says on the tin, that’s for sure. Ferrari’s latest V12 GT is an advancement over the already bonkers F12, the 812SF carries over the N/A V12 and pokes it with a stick, upping displacement from 6.3L to 6.5L. The result is Ferrari’s most powerful front engine car to date, 800 natural Italian horsepower going to the rear wheels. What’s not to love? Perhaps the front design but I’d reserve judgment until seeing it in the flesh. The rest of the design, particularly the rear end, is exquisite.
Pagani Huayra Roadster
I’ve already talked about this car here but it’s a Pagani so I’ll talk about it here again. Only 100 of these topless Huayras will be made and all have been sold. It’s not just a matter of cutting the roof off the Huayra, the Roadster is a completely new machine all together. Taking things learnt from the BC and Tempesta cars, the Roadster is as light and rigid as the coupe despite having no top. It’s also more powerful and faster, with a pumped up version of the twin-turbo 6.0-ltire AMG V12 now producing hp. Oh and it’s also freaking beautiful.
Lamborghini Huracan Performante
Perhaps the most controversial car of GIMS2017, not because of its design or technology but because of the claimed record-breaking Nurburgring lap time of 6:52.01. That claim puts it faster than a Porsche 918 and basically every other road car on sale. What I find hilarious about this whole thing is if it was Porsche or Nissan claiming that time no one would bat an eye. But when Lamborghini does it suddenly there’s an uproar. Take it as you will, but the Performante is undoubtedly going to be a fast car. 640hp, 600NM of torque, 1382kg and four-wheel drive. That translates to 0-100 km/h in 2.9 seconds. Oh and it has a wing. Lambos with wings are always good.
Porsche 911 GT3
It’s the return of the manual GT3. That’s all you need to know about this car. Forget the fact that it has a new racecar-derived 4.0-litre flat-six engine pumping out 500hp and will rev to 9000rpm, or that the redesigned bumpers improve airflow and aerodynamics. None of that matters because this comes with a stick and three pedals… or so purists will have you believe. Of course if you want to set the quickest lap times a PDK version will still be available to buy. But if you’re a 911 R owner reading this fret not, this is a completely different machine to your car. That is about pure driving thrills for the sake of driving, the GT3 is more for track and road driving. For that reason I don’t think the reintroduction of a manual box in the GT3 should affect 911 R values. Also, props to Porsche for listening to consumers and fans.
I’ve already discussed this car quite extensively after its Tokyo launch a mere 12 hours after its global debut at GIMS. But let’s go over this awesome thing again. It only just nudges first place as my favourite car from GIMS ahead of the next car because of what it represents. It shows McLaren don’t do things by halves, they go all out. There’s a larger 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 producing 720HP and 770NM of torque. That’s 0-100 km/h in 2.9 seconds (in a rear-wheel drive car) and top speed in excess of 340 km/h. As impressive as all that is, it’s the 0-200 km/h in 7.8 seconds that impressed me the most. Then there’s the envelope-pushing design, which looks like nothing else on the road. The want is very real.
Up until now RUFs have been based on Porsches. Not this one. Yes it looks like a 1980s 911 but underneath there’s a bespoke carbon fibre tub. The engine is based on a Porsche unit, a 3.6 litre aided by twin turbos, producing a healthy 700hp. The whole car only weighs 1200kg giving it a mouth-watering 592hp/tonne. Oh, and it’s a 6-speed manual as well. 0-100 km/h is done in 3.5 seconds, which isn’t quite up there with the other new supercars at GIMS but who cares when it looks this cool. Top speed is “over 360 km/h”. More than enough I’d say. This car is so cool it could probably solve climate change.
If my Italian is correct, ‘Zerouno’ should translate to zero one. Anyway, ItalDesign are an Italian styling house known for works such as the original Maserati Quattroporte, the MC12, the original VW Golf, and the achingly pretty Alfa Romeo 159/Brera to name a few. So with a great resume and being owned by Audi/Lamborghini they had the base for an already successful mid-engine V10 supercar (they won’t say it but the Zerouno is basically a Huracan underneath sharing the same 5.2-litre V10 and 7-speed dual-clutch transmission). But for some reason it’s ended up looking like a committee designed it without a singular cohesive vision. If you like supercars unique and rare (only five are set to be made) then this is the car for you.
There were some concept cars too
Bentley EXP-12 Speed 6e Concept
Continuing on with another VAG product, the EXP-12 Speed 6e Concept is a convertible version of the EXP-12 Concept we saw a couple years back. It’s pretty isn’t it? Almost too pretty to be a Bentley if you ask me. What makes this worth mentioning is it’s not powered by a V8 or W12 engine. It’s an EV concept. Well for now anyway because Bentley are planning on an EV offensive in the very near future. They’re saying they’ll have PHEV cars on the market by 2018. You know what, I’m okay with that. As long as it has the long distance cruising range and power you’d expect from a Bentley with eerie silence it’s a win-win.
Infiniti Q60 Project Black S Concept
Remember the Q50 Eau Rouge concept? That Infiniti sedan with Nissan GT-R underpinnings? I wanted that car to be made more than anything else Infiniti had ever done since then. That had me drooling out of places I… You know that’s an overshare. But you get my drift. Did they make it? No, they just left me out in the cold with blue.. Again never mind. So what we have here is a Q60 Coupe with an F1-style hybrid powertrain (it’s got an energy recovery system or ERS if you prefer), around 500hp, and a deliciously aggressive body kit. Please Infiniti, please for the love of all that is nice in this world, put this into production.
Mercedes-AMG GT Concept
I didn’t get this car at first. Is this going to be the replacement for the CLS? Or a whole new model to rival other four-door supercars such as the Aston Martin Rapide and Porsche Panamera? It’s most likely the latter if it does go into production. But I mean come on, it looks ready to roll out the factory already doesn’t it? Roll out maybe isn’t the correct terms – launch out is probably more apt. Powering this rather pretty body (pretty from the side and rear anyway) is a V8 hybrid powertrain. Mated with the familiar 4.0-litre bi-turbo V8 is an electric motor resulting in around 810hp. That’s considerably more than the AMG GT R’s 580hp. 0-100 in “under three seconds” is very much supercar territory. If this is a sign of Mercedes-AMG taking their F1 hybrid technology to the next level count me in.
Renault Zoe E-Sport Concept
There’s no word on whether the cutely name Zoe E-Sport will go into production, it’s more of a chance for Renault to stretch its technology legs out a bit. Taking what they’ve learnt from their successful Formal E program. Powering the Zoe E-Sport are two electric motors producing a combined 460hp and 640NM of torque. 0-100 km/h is done with in 3.2 seconds. Renault know a thing or two about making fast and fun hot hatches so if they do venture into the EV hot match market I have no doubts they’d hit out of the park. Also look at it, doesn’t look like it’d be blast to drive?
Audi Q8 Sportback Concept
Well here’s the first SUV of this list. It’s the Q8 Sportback Concept but don’t let the ‘concept’ bit fool you. This will go into production as the Q8 (surprise surprise) and will serve as Audi’s range topping SUV. It’ll probably most likely be the basis of the upcoming Lamborghini Urus SUV as well. Anyway, the Q8 Sportback is a sort of sporty SUV that’s powered by a 476hp hybrid system. It’s probably got a lot of tech but it’s literally boring me to death.
Volkswagen Sedric Concept
Named after an elderly man and resembling something from a Pixar film, this is VW’s idea of a clean autonomous vehicle in a post-Dieselgate world. It’s a vehicle sharing platform that’ll be available around the world. You’ll be able to control via smartphone app, a touch of a button, or voice control. It’ll even talk back to you. VW are calling it a “companion for the family”. As someone who’s watched both Christine and 2001: A Space Odyssey this scares me quite a bit. No matter how cute its name or face looks.
More Fast Cars
Porsche Panamera (Sport Turismo/Turbo S E-Hybrid)
They actually did it. They made turned the Sport Turismo concept into a reality. What a stunning looking thing. From now on you have to be an absolute lunatic to buy a Cayenne. Not only does this look better, it also looks much better. This is what the Panamera should’ve been in the first place. I absolutely love the idea of a Porsche wagon. It’d be even better with the new Turbo S E-Hybrid powertrain unveiled for the four-door. It’s basically the next best thing to having a 918 Spyder. Coupling the 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 from the Panamera Turbo with an electric motor results in a whopping 680hp and a top speed of 310 km/h. 0-100 km/h in 3.4 seconds. Not Model S fast but at least it’s easier on the eye. And has a V8.
If you’ve read my review of the Alpina D3 you’ll know I have a new found love for the Alpina brand. This new B5 makes me even more excited. I had a quick drive of the new G30 5-Series the other day (a short write up of that will be up soon) and was impressed by it. The Alpina-fettled version will be even better. That handsome body with a 4.4-litre twin-turbo petrol V8 churning out 608hp and 800NM of torque is a mouth-watering prospect, especially in Touring (wagon) form. 0-100 km/h is done in 4.5 seconds, roughly a whole second quicker than the current BMW M5. Top speed is 323 km/h. Power will be sent to all fours via a 8-speed ZF auto and there’ll also be rear-wheel steering. Give me a dark green metallic Touring please and thank you.
Honda Civic Type R
This is a big one for Honda. It’ll the first time a Civic Type R will be sold globally in most of Honda’s key markets – including North America. They need to get this right and from what we know it’s shaping up to be quite positive. A turbocharged 2.0-litre VTEC pumping out 320hp and 400NM of torque. There’ll only be a 6-speed manual with rev matching technology. Honda are hoping to improve its usability by adding a ‘Comfort’ drive mode alongside Sport and +R. The body is said to be 38% more rigid than before and it’ll have the best balance between lift and drag in its class, good for high speed stability. Serious stuff and it looks the part too. This should be a cracker.
Aston Martin AMR
Take an already faster car and add a sub-brand to make it even faster. That’s basically what Aston Martin has done with AMR. Think of it as their M-Division or AMG, taking their ‘standard’ products and shoving motorsport knowhow into them. Aston displayed the Rapide AMR and Vantage AMR Pro at GIMS. The Rapide AMR is said to be the fastest production four-door in the world with a top speed of 336 km/h thanks to a 600hp 6.0-litre V12 and a new quad exhaust system. The Vantage AMR Pro is a track-only car (which must be a relief for GT8 and GT12 owners) powered by a development of Aston’s GT4 racer engine with 507hp.
Renault Alpine A110
12 months after the concept was unveiled, the production car is here. Powered by a new 1.8-litre turbocharged petrol engine placed in the middle, the new A110 is good for 252hp and 320NM of torque. Power is sent to the rear wheels via 7-speed Getrag DCT. Straight out power isn’t what this sports car is about. It’ll only weigh around 1080kg and will have a low centre of gravity. The platform and body are made from aluminum, the brakes are from Brembo, and Sabelt supplied the one-piece bucket seats. This is basically France’s answer to the Porsche 718 Cayman and Alfa 4C.
Gone is the charismatic 4.2-litre naturally aspirated V8 and in its place is a new 2.9-litre bi-turbo V6. If that sounds familiar it’s basically the same recipe as the Alfa Romeo Giulia QV and BMW M4 (in this case a twin-turbo 3.0-litre inline-6). The RS5 sends 450hp and 600NM of torque to all fours, so don’t expect to do slides in this like you would in a M4 or C63. Audi claim they’ve added more dramatic styling to it compared to its predecessor. Sure it’s a good looking thing but dramatic, really? With this going down the turbo six-cylinder route that leaves only the C63 and RC F in this segment to have 8 cylinders.
Ford Fiesta ST
Continuing the downsizing trend but maximum fun is the new Fiesta ST with a 1.5-litre three-cylinder turbocharged EcoBoost engine. That might not sound like much but it’s still good for 200hp, 290NM of torque, and0-100 km/h in 6.7 seconds. So it’s nippy enough but it’ll also give you fun without depleting the world’s resources as this is the first three-cylinder engine to have cylinder deactivation. Yes, it’ll actually shut off one of its cylinders if they’re not needed. Because a three-pot Fiesta really needs that.
And some of the sensible new cars at the show
The Swedes can’t seem to put a foot wrong these days. The new XC60 looks every bit as handsome as all the other new Volvos to come out in recent years. This new design language fit with the smaller SUV rather well. Being a Volvo safety is top priority and the XC60 is no exception. It comes with a new system on top of City Braking which uses a new Steer Assist function and Blind Spot Indication System to mitigate head-on collisions and reduce the risk of lane-changing collisions. It’ll also be available with Volvo’s 407hp T8 plug-in hybrid powertrain.
Range Rover Velar
One car two names. That’s basically what the Velar is. It’s a Jaguar F-Pace with a Range Rover-style nose and ass. Jaguar Land Rover will tell you both cars serve different purposes but really they’re both gunning for the same sort of vehicles such as the Porsche Macan, Alfa Romeo Stelvio, and Mercedes GLC. I think it also looks a bit odd, as if someone photoshopped the front of a Range Rover Sport onto a smaller and curvier car… oh wait.
Mitsubishi Eclipse Sport
Remember the Mitsubishi Eclipse? That somewhat sporty car they had in the 90s and 00s? Well it’s back sort of but only by name. This is Mitsubishi’s new coupe-crossover and what they hope will be their bread and butter. This segment is growing at an unprecedented rate and the three-diamond brand wants a piece of the pie. This slots in between the ASX and Outlander in their lineup. It’s got their new look and it’s not an offensively ugly car, the interior looks good too. But something doesn’t look quite right, I just can’t quite put my finger on it. The back doesn’t look, balanced somehow? Anyway, I hope it does well for Mitsubishi because this is their first new car in what feels like a decade.
Forget the Passat CC, that’s gone. It’s now been replaced by the Arteon. Some kind of “avant-garde granturismo”. It’s still the same idea of a four-door fastback for people who want an Audi A5 Sportback or a BMW 4-Series but can’t quite afford it. It’ll be available with 1.5-litre or 2.0-litre turbo engines or a 2.0-litre TDI. Power will be sent to the front-wheels, 4MOTION four-wheel drive will be an option. Good on VW for getting rid of the Passat name though. That’d be like a Michelin star restaurant trying to sell serve a dish called ‘Lobster ala Happy Meal’.
GIMS also gave us some updates on hypercars such as the Aston Martin Valkyrie, previously known as the AM-RB001 or Nebula. We now know it’ll have a 6.5-litre V12 from Cosworth and electric assistance from Rimac but will still aim for a 1:1 power to weight ratio. McLaren announced their ‘BP23’ three-seater hypercar will be “their fastest road car” and is due by 2019.
So that’s Geneva done for another year. What was your favourite from the show?