So this years Geneva lined up to be a thoroughly boring show, the launches of the decade had happened in 2016 with the Bugatti Chiron and Aston’s DB11 being unleashed.
With 2017 looking a bit low on the mega impressive launch list, we hopped on a plane to see if it was the normal stellar show GIMS lines itself up to be, or a thorough waste of our time and money.
Through the door and up the stairs, the first car that levels into sight is the Spyker C8 Preliator. Now, the B6 Venator ended up being a vaporware concept that never actually became a reality. Which was a shame, as it was a mid sized coupe (or drop top) with looks to die for.
Whilst the Preliator is said to be powered by the Koenigsegg V8, Lotus suspension and a 10 speed auto ‘box with all 100 cars being made in Coventry. The brand hasn’t built a car since 2009, I hope they get this off the ground…but i can’t help but think it will be a long road, with many delays.
It’s set to launch in Summer 2018.
Next we head over to GM corner, quite why they insist on carting all this stuff halfway across the world baffles me. I guess it’s because they can? A huge white Escalade sits at the back with its armchair like seats, it’s huge…like massive. I can’t even begin to imagine what driving one in the UK would be like.
Off to the left sits Chevy with their Camaro Hulk Edition…actually it’s called the Track Concept. It’s just a US spec Camaro SS 1LE that’s only available stateside. A few select accessories will be marketed to Europe in the near future, you’ll have to go to one of the five dealerships in the whole of the UK if you want to buy any of them.
Next up it’s time for the big boys. Lamborghini have released the Huracan Performante. A track hardened version of the Huracan with lambo’s most potent V10 ever, making 631bhp and 442lb ft of torque. It can lap the green hell in 6m 52.01s, 0-62 is achievable in 2.9 seconds.
It has a trick hollow rear wing which is fed air from the rear deck slats. Under braking the air stops flowing through the wing, but on turn in, the air is piped through one half of the wing pushing the wheel turning in down into the road harder. Its all very clever. If you want one expect it to cost about £208k.
The other big story from Geneva in the juicy stakes was the new McLaren 720s. The ubiquitous 3.8 litre V8 has now been bored out to 4.0 litres, turbo’s supplied by Mitsubishi are similar to that on the famed P1. Power is 710 BHP and 770 Nm of torque.
Behind those blind man eye socket style headlamps sit radiators. Air is cleverly fed through numerous parts of the car, like the doors, lower sills etc to keep the whole thing cool. 0-60 comes up in 2.8sec, 0-124mph in 7.8sec and a top speed of 212mph.
Price wise the cost will be from £207,900. All 400 launch edition cars have been sold, with a further 1200 planned for this year, from there on 1500 will be sold a year.
Aston had a static mock up of their Valkyrie AKA AM-RB 001 hypercar. It looks like a small single seat racer, great…nothing amazing or as impressive as the P1.
For us realists out there, the cars we are going to see launched over the next 12 months were shown off for the first time to.
The prettiest was without doubt Volvo’s new XC60. After worrying it would be an 80% scale photocopy of the XC90 Volvo have kept some bold elements but made the 60 its own thing. A long bonnet keeps the purposeful look of the Swedish brands new design language, whilst the interior is suitably up market.
One of the display cars had a gorgeous white wood inlay along the dashboard and under the air vents. The whole car is longer, wider and lower than its predecessor (aren’t they always these days?!), four wheel drive will be standard at launch later this summer. Two wheel drive and even a three cylinder engine will follow in the mid term.
Pricing will be from around £35,000.
We couldn’t not mention the Range Rover Velar either. It looks very squat in the flesh. So low and wide with that modern front end. We really loved the way the bodywork sweeps inwards exposing the lower quarter of the tyre tread.
You know they are going to sell by the bucket load. Gerry McGovern the design director even stood in front of it, wearing an evil villain turtleneck, and a smug look that said
yeahhh, they’re gonna sell by the bucket load
Alfa’s new SUV the Stelvio was there, along with the QV variant that looked very cool. Wider track, arches and bonnet vents, phwoar! Lets hope it drives as well as it looks, as for the last decade all they’ve had to offer is the MiTo and the Giulietta, even though they keep wheeling them out with the word ‘New’ in front of them each time they change the shape of a light bulb.
With the Guilia hopefully staking a claim in the executive, up market sedan segment it will be interesting to see if this new model push reinvigorates the brand or whether it will be the final nail in the coffin for the whithering cloverleaf.
Another new contender that was easy to miss was the Mazda CX-5. It’s about time their crossover had a replacement, sadly the design is all too familiar to the old model…making it even harder to distinguish the new model.
Probably why the stand was as empty as Vauxhall’s bank accounts.
Ford unveiled the new 197 BHP Fiesta ST, apparently if you drive the new one and own the old one you’ll want to sell it…it’s THAT good. It just looks totally bland and generic, shame.
Suzuki have gone all ’emerging markets’ and made an abomination of the new Swift, it’s gone back about 10 years on the design front *sigh*
Subaru showed off their new XV, which is very similar to the stunning concept that came out last year at Geneva. Bold colours, rugged off road looks and a quality hike on the inside set it out to be competitive in the crossover market.
Another biggie for us mortals in the car buying world was the new Honda Civic TypeR. It was shown off in ‘concept’ form last year, it basically hasn’t changed.
With its triple rear exhaust 🙄 wings and aero everywhere, and yet the last generation TypeR has only been out roughly two years, hmm how to piss off your customers 101.
Peugeot had its ‘Instinct’ shooting brake concept on display. They had nothing else to offer, with no new model launches…i guess they could’ve moved the Insignia over to their stand, but that would’ve been a bit short notice. Instinct apparently shows off the brands new design language…and maybe that of Vauxhall/Opel.
Talking of them, the new Insignia was a strange thing to behold. It looks more 5 series in size than 3 series, being stretched and made even swoopier, no doubt mimicking the Passat CC/Arteon.
But design wise, once again it looked a little like a step backward. It’s not particularly modern, or fresh looking.
We did stumble across a car by TATA called the Racemo. It’s a tiny little two door coupe with butterfly doors. Powered by a 1.2 litre turbo engine making 180 odd BHP it’s set to hit the Indian market in 2018.
It looks awesome and totally reminded me of the amazing Toyota Sera coupe, hopefully it will be a sensible price and a hoot to drive 👍.
One final concept that really stood out was the Vanda Electrics Dendrobium, named after a flower the doors and roof open outward after its namesake. It’s in concept stage at the moment, but Williams Engineering are part of the project to make this car a limited run model. Fingers crossed!
So although it wasn’t a ground breaking show there was still plenty to see.
The majority of manufacturers seem to be in a sort of mid life(crisis?)cycle phase, or they just aren’t straying from fairly safe designs from one generation to the other.
A nip here, a tuck there…it’s hardly exciting *ahem* Audi with your RS5.