The annual Geneva International Motor Show has a unique appeal that ensures that manufacturers always bring their A-game to the Palexpo exhibition center.
These manufacturers range from high volume producers of the likes of Toyota and Volkswagen to specialist companies and design houses like Koenigsegg, Pininfarina and Giugiaro. With the latter an eye-catching display is virtually guaranteed, which forces the mainstream manufacturers to really make an effort in order not to be completely overlooked.
The 2014 Geneva Motor Show was certainly no exception as it featured interesting and/or spectacular releases and announcements across the board, whether it was the rear-engined Renault Twingo, Porsche’s new endurance racing program or the 1,341 bhp (1 MW!) Koenigsegg One:1.
Although a little harder to find, what was also not to be missed was a fabulous display of cars that placed in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, including many outright winners. These ranged from an early 1920s Chenard & Walcker all the way through last year’s battle scarred Audi R18 e-tron quattro.
We spent the better part of two days on the show floor, which has resulted in this comprehensive 260-shot gallery and the following concise report.
Manufacturers across the board used this year’s Geneva Motor Show to introduce a brand new city car. Among them were the quirky new Aygo, C1 and 108 developed jointly by Toyota, Citroen and Peugeot respectively. It was a great show for Peugeot anyway as on the eve of the first day the 308 was named car of the year. While the Aygo, C1 and 108 were a conventional development of an existing model, Renault started with a clean sheet to create the all-new Twingo.
Although it is still recognizable as a Twingo, it is a packaging marvel as the diminutive engine is mounted flat behind the rear seat. This has opened up additional cabin space and leg room, while hardly any luggage space was sacrificed to mount the engine. We can imagine a hot version will be great to drive. The super mini we would really like to take for a blast on some winding roads is the Fiat Abarth 695 Biposto; a fitting tribute to legendary Fiat Abarth 695 esseesse, which was introduced 50 years ago.
A Return To Form
At the start of the recent economic crisis, motor sport was considered by many as a frivolous and not particularly environmentally friendly waste of valuable resources. Honda was among those that took the most drastic measures, withdrawing from Formula 1 with immediate effect and scrapping all exciting models from the line-up.
Fortunately sense has returned to Japanese manufacturer and following the recent foray into the World Touring Car Championship, Honda will be back in F1 from 2015 as an engine supplier. The company’s great return to form was clearly visible in Geneva as the upcoming Civic Type R took centre stage and a model of the new NSX’s drivetrain was also shown. Another star on display was the RA271, Honda’s very first F1 car.
Another manufacturer to rediscover their racing roots was Porsche, who revealed the 919 hybrid LMP1 racer. Built to challenge Audi and Toyota, this is the first Porsche to vie for outright victory at Le Mans since the 911 GT1 ’98, which was also brought out for the special Le Mans display. Other new racing cars on display were the Lexus RC F GT3 and the second generation Audi R18 e-tron quattro.
Spectacular Sports Cars
As always sports cars were the big stars in Geneva with the likes of Maserati, McLaren, Ferrari and Lamborghini all introducing new models. Celebrating the company’s 100th anniversary, Maserati pulled out all the stops to create the Alfieri, named after the most prominent of the founding Maserati brothers. Based on a shortened GranTurismo chassis, it was shown in concept form but a production version is under serious consideration.
McLaren on the other hand expanded their line-up with a hardcore version of the MP4-12C, dubbed the 650S. It was shown in both Coupe and Spyder form. The British manufacturer’s closest rival Ferrari, used the Geneva show to introduce the California T. In addition to a substantially restyled exterior, it also features a new turbocharged V8 engine, which is good for over 550 bhp. On the Lamborghini stand, the all-new Huracan made its public debut.
Replacing the Gallardo, it had already attracted a lot of interest and Lamborghini has received over 1,000 orders even though no customer has been able to test-drive a production model. Really taking the cake in Geneva was Swedish specialist super car constructor Koenigsegg, who introduced the One:1. Due to be built in very limited numbers, the name is a reference to the fact that each of the 1,341 horses available has to move just one kg.
For those seeking neck-snapping performance in combination with enough interior space to share the experience with a couple of friends or the family dog, there were also some interesting cars on display. Among them was the Jaguar XFR-S Sportbrake, which offers a whopping 542 bhp in an estate body. A little tucked away in a corner was Infiniti’s new high performance Q50 Eau Rouge.
Up until Geneva no details of the engine were available but placed alongside it was a Nissan GT-R V6 engine, so there should be little doubt that the Infiniti will be a serious rival for the BMW M3 or Lexus RC F, which were both shown for the first time in Europe.
There were also some new faces at Geneva, which included the reborn Ermini brand. They showed a diminutive sports car, engineered by Osella and dubbed the Seiottosei, which is Italian for its kerb weight of 686 kg. We were also pleasantly surprised to see two examples of the Zenvo ST1. This Danish super car was announced back in 2009 but we had heard preciously little about it since then. Another interesting and remarkably beautiful machine revealed here was the Quant e-Sportlimousine, which derives its energy from a novel Nanoflowcell, which is considerably lighter and quicker to charge than a conventional battery.
After several dismal years, things are looking up again for the automotive industry and this was clearly seen and felt at the 84th Geneva Internal Motor Show in the quantity and quality of the new releases and also the return to form of manufacturers like Honda and Porsche. All this and much, much more can also be seen in our 260-shot gallery.