More than any other auto show, Geneva is a hotbed for automotive exotica.
Words and pictures by David Miller.
From mainstream supercars and modified production cars to pure concepts and boutique-built one-offs the Geneva Motor Show is always a haven for the wild and wonderful and 2016 is no exception. Here are some of our favourites.
If you're looking for wild and wacky – you found it in the Opel GT Concept. This is exactly the type of concept that gets people talking and, with its striking red front tires and black, silver and red colour scheme throughout, you can't miss it on the auto show floor. It's a small sports car without side mirrors or door handles. The windows even have a silver film them. In true sports car form, it's a rear-wheel drive coupe, powered by a 143-horsepower 1.0-litre engine, that culd rival the Mazda MX-5 if it were put into production. At this point, however, it's still a concept with no production plans apparent.
One of the stars of the Geneva show came from Bugatti in the form of its Chiron supercar. The numbers are staggering as its 8.0-litre 16-cylinder engine, with – count them – four turbochargers, produces 1,478 horsepower and boasts a maximum speed of 420 km/h. Only 500 units will be made with an asking price of 2.4 million euros. It not only looks fantastic, it will be the most powerful true production vehicle on the road.
Koenigsegg is always a big hit at the European shows and the little company trotted out three seductive vehicles in Geneva: the Regera, the Agera and the One of 1. The plug-in hybrid Regera, which is scheduled for low-volume production, stood out not only for its looks and multiple openings but for its 5.0-litre twin-turbo V-8 engine plus three electric motors that astonishingly achieve a combined output of more than 1,500 horsepower. It tips the scales at just 1,500 kilograms and reportedly can get up to 300 km/h.
Just when you thought 1,500 horsepower was outrageous, here comes the small British automotive manufacturer, Arash to the table with its AF10 hybrid that's supercharged to the max. The AF10 uses a 6.2-litre supercharged V-8 along with four electric motors to produce a whopping 2,080 horses. With all that power, the AF10 still doesn't catch up to the speed of the Bugatti Chiron, but it is said g from 0-to-100 km/h in 2.8 seconds with a max speed of 203 km/h.
From Britain to Croatia, we get to see the Concept One from the little Croatian company known as Rimac. It's an all-electric supercar that produces 1,088 horsepower and is said to do the 0-to-100 km/h sprint in just 2.6 seconds. The company will only build and sell eight production versions, but at least it will eventually get out on the streets. There's also a Concept One S that's new for the Rimac group and gets an extra 286 horsepower plus more downforce from a massive rear wing. No range has ever been provided for either model, but there have been hints from a spokesperson for the group that it will match the 322 km of the Tesla Model S.
To commemorate the 100th birthday of its late founder Ferrucio Lamborghini, Lamborghini unveiled the limited edition Centenario. There will be only 40 produced at 1.75 million euros a pop. Under the hood of this sensational beast is a naturally-aspirated V-12 engine that churns out 770 horsepower and can go from 0-100 km/h in abut 2.8 seconds. Its body is constructed completely out of carbon fibre.
Another showstopper was the Pagani Huayra BC. I still can't pronounce its name correctly, but does it matter? This thing just takes your breath away with its curves and angles. The BC is named after the automaker's first customer Benny Caiola and is a lighter, more powerful version of the standard Huayra. No power numbers were released but it's expected to get more output from its 6.0-litre twin-turbo V-12, which currently produces 750 horsepower. What we do know is that it is said to go from 0-to-100 km/h in 2.8 seconds. Only 20 units will be made available at a cost of 2.35 million euros each.
Intended for much higher production numbers, Maserati showed off its first-ever SUV – the Levante. It's a big step for a company that has been built on luxury and performance but now enters a new world of raised platforms and 4X4s. Three engines will be offered, including a diesel, all in 3.0-litre V-6 frm. The top-ranging S model prduces 430 horsepower and 427 lb-ft of torque. All Levantes will feature all-wheel drive and they will go on sale in September of this year.
The Aston Martin DB11 replaces the DB9 (DB10 was exclusively created for the James Bond movie 'Spectre') and is an all-new design, built from scratch. That means a new aluminum body shell, suspension and interior. Under the hood of this supercar is a twin-scroll turbocharged 5.2-litre V-12 engine with 600 horsepower and 516 lb-ft of torque. It's said to achieve a 0-100 km/h sprint in 3.9 seconds with a top speed of 322 km/h.
We have to save sme room for the practical, so – drumroll! – enter the Honda Civic hatchback. Many Civic fans have been waiting for the hatch to reappear on Canadian soil and they should soon have their moment. This car was still a concept version, but given Honda's past practice, the production model is expected to stay very similar to it. The concept features a bold and sharp appearance with a dual-central exhaust.
Porsche tried to keep the 911 R reveal a surprise in Geneva, but the media got hold of a photo and leaked it in advance. The 911 R honours the 50th anniversary of the 1967 911 R with a limited run of 991 units to be priced at $211,000 CDN – all reportedly already sold. The R is powered by the same 4.0-liter flat six as the GT3 RS but sheds the big wing and 50 kg, as well as swapping out the dual-clutch PDK transmission for a conventinal six-speed manual gearbox. It's a beautiful specimen with red racing stripes running the length of its body and an active rear spoiler in place of the rear wing.
The Chinese-based group called Techrules showed off both AT96 and GT96 supercar concepts in Geneva. The group is at the show primarily to show off its new Turbine-Recharging Electric vehicle technology, simply known by the acronym TREV. It is a range extender system that uses a micro-turbine to generate electricity and charge its 20 kWh battery pack. It's hard to tell the AT96 and GT96 apart visually: the AT96 is more track-focused and can run on aviation-grade kerosene, diesel or gasoline, while the GT96 can use bio-gas or natural gas.
Volkswagen showed off a new compact crossover concept called the T-Cross Breeze, which looks similar to the Range Rover Evoque Convertible and could become its competition down the road. In its press release, Volkswagen hinted at a new SUV model series, so we could be seeing the design language of those upcoming vehicles in the T-Cross. Under the hood is a 1.0-litre turbocharged three-cylinder engine with 109 horsepower and 129 lb-ft of torque.
If you're looking for a supercar with luggage space, perhaps the McLaren 570GT will appeal to you. Yes, it still has the same 562-horsepower twin-turbocharged V-8 engine inside as the 570S, but McLaren has softened its suspension, lowered the volume on its exhaust, replaced carbon-ceramic brakes with quieter versions and made it more user friendly to travel with via a secondary glass-covered trunk storage area found above the mid-mounted engine.
At Geneva, there are plenty of companies that specialize in modification. The German-brand Mansory is one of the best with an Aventador, AMG GT and a 4XX Siracusa on-hand in its exhibit. But the one that was most polarizing was its gold-coloured Rolls-Royce Wraith Palm Edition 999. Only nine will be created and the Rolls-Royce badging has been replaced with Palm Edition ID. This looks like a car we might see in a Bond movie or maybe its funny movie spoof: Austin Powers in Goldmember.
As for the actual Rolls-Royce company, the British luxury brand attempted to be more youthful and cool with its new Black Badge offerings. These limited edition packages will be on both the Ghost and Wraith. The Black Badge vehicles are filled with colour, enhanced premium finishings and additions and an bold overall look, but they also come with a boost in power. Both have 6.6-litre V-12 engines, but the Ghost gets 603 horsepower and the Wraith gets 623.
Morgan is well known for its three-wheelers and in Geneva it added to that list by unveiling a battery-electric version called the EV3. This all-electric model is a first for Morgan. The EV3 uses a 46 kilowatt electric motor with a 20kWh lithium battery to produce 62 horses and hopefully, a proclaimed 241 kilometres of fun on a single charge. It retains its old school style and charm, even though it was decked out in a silver paint scheme.
Last, but not least is the autonomous-driving Rinspeed Etos. It is the Geneva Motor Show after all, so why not highlight a local Swiss company. It's an impressive tech-laden supercar based off of the BMW i8 hybrid and it has a steering wheel that can fold away, a camera system with virtual mirrors, active eye-tracking to monitor what the driver sees and doesn't see and hidden laser LEDs that can project light on vehicle surfaces.
Hyundai’s all-new Ioniq comes in hybrid, plug-in hybrid and fully-electric flavours
The Bolt is a real, practical, fun-to-drive car with a few welcome surprises
Nissan’s compact Sentra gets a turbo boost and a big dose of sportiness