In this internet age, car shows serve less and less purpose. Manufacturers have increasingly started premiering new metal (and carbon fibre) online, over live streamed press conferences around the world, making physical locations of the debutants kind of meaningless.
And yet, Detroit, Frankfurt, Paris, Shanghai and Tokyo, LA and New York, they all plod on, with sky high costs per square foot — useless fact time: floor space at the Dubai motor show can be more expensive than Frankfurt real estate… — and logistical nightmares to mind, not to mention that manufacturers aren’t guaranteed press coverage since everyone is vying for the same limited attention spans.
One show that should be a must-visit gig on everyone’s list in the industry though is still Geneva, the cosy little get-together taking place every March that ushers in not only the European spring, but also the most exotic cars due to be hitting roads in the near future. There’s little in the way of consumerware in Geneva — here, where a cup of coffee costs you 10 euros, everything caters to the one-per-centers.
So without further ado here comes wheels’ preview of the top 10 cars that some of the most well-heeled car enthusiasts will be looking forward to at the Geneva motor show this week.
One of the most hyped cars of the decade is finally upon us, as Toyota finally confirms the return of the legendary Supra name, albeit on a car made in partnership with BMW. This odd couple is producing a front-engined, rear-wheel drive sportscar, but don’t expect to get all the nitty gritty in Geneva either — Toyota is only bringing a concept version to the show, so we’re still in for a wait until the Supra finally reaches production to the delight of Fast & Furious fans everywhere…
McLaren Senna Carbon Theme
McLaren stunned the supercar world with the mid-engined Senna recently, and the car hasn’t even reached the roads yet, but Woking has found time to release a special edition dressed completely in naked carbon fibre. Dubbed the Senna Carbon Theme, the car’s body alone takes 1,000 hours to produce, and features the late Brazilian Formula 1 champ Ayrton Senna’s helmet colours accentuating the exterior and interior. Each Senna starts from Dh3.8 million, and we’re too scared to ask how much the Carbon Theme costs on top of that.
Already out to some glowing reviews from motoring journalists around the world, the Alpine A110 has really hit the road running with its 252bhp 1.8-litre turbocharged four-cylinder and lightweight chassis — now, premiering in Geneva, customers will also have the choice of two new additions to the line-up in the form of the A110 Pure and A110 Légende. The former is even lighter than standard, and the latter is packed with equipment to make the mid-engined two-seater more useable as a daily driver, with a full leather interior and plenty of glossy carbon fibre finishings.
Subaru Viziv Tourer concept
Subaru has been fairly busy with crossovers and SUVs lately (the Japanese have just released the seven-seater Subaru Ascent, the brand’s biggest car yet) to worry about blasting around rally stages somewhere deep in the Welsh forests. But make no mistake, Subaru hasn’t forgotten its performance roots: at the Geneva motor show, the manufacturer is bringing along the new Viziv Tourer concept car which is meant to preview a potential estate body style WRX model. Think about it, practicality and hooliganism both contained within four flared wheel arches.
If you look very carefully, you might notice this is an all-new Audi A6 saloon, fresh after the launches of BMW’s new M5 and Merc’s E-Class. Highlights include loads of driver assistance systems (right out of the new A8 saloon flagship) as well a range of connectivity features. Designers focused on aerodynamics to produce a low drag figure of just Cd 0.24, and the cabin mimics the styling established in the latest A7 and A8 models.
Ferrari 488 Pista
Obviously when Ferrari first released the 488 (the first mid-engined twin-turbocharged Ferrari V8 since the fabled F40 from 1987) we knew there was something even more special on the way. Now, following on from the hard-core theme set by the 360 Challenge, 430 Scuderia, and 458 Speciale, Maranello has unveiled the 488 Pista. Meaning ‘track’ in Italian, the Pista is aptly named, weighing in at 90kg less than the stock 488 while producing 50 more ponies for a total of 720 horsepower. What’s more, this turbo motor revs all the way to 8,000rpm, and gets to 100kph from rest in 2.85 seconds, which is quick. Too bad you had to be even quicker to bag one, because they’re all sold.
Italdesign Zerouno Spyder
Remember the Italdesign Zerouno at last year’s Geneva motor show? The Italian styling studio is back in Switzerland, this time with a drop-top version of the Zerouno sharing the same V10 engine and technical bits, and standing out with a Spyder body style that’s bound to attract a bit of attention down at The Walk on Friday nights.
Morgan 50th Anniversary
To celebrate the 50th anniversary of rat company’s Plus 8 model, British boutique sportscar marque Morgan is preparing a Plus 8 50th Anniversary Edition powered by a 4.8-litre naturally- aspirated V8 engine from BMW — if you want one, expect a waiting time measured in years, or just buy a used Morgan since they’ve been pretty much the same for half a century.
BMW M8 Gran Coupe
If you’re a German car manufacturer these days you’re worried sick about the future prospects of diesel fuel — Porsche has already announced the death of all diesels in favour of electrification and hybrids. Also, you’re launching a car a week, and in Geneva BMW will be stretching the line-up yet again with a concept car that’s supposed to give us a clear glimpse at an upcoming 8 Series Gran Coupe. Expect 600 horsepower, all-wheel drive, compromised headroom, and gorgeous looks.
Rimac Concept Two
Croatian company Rimac made waves with the Concept One as the fastest accelerating car in the world at the time, and certainly the fastest EV around — since then there has been plenty of newcomers in the EV game, particularly from China, but Rimac is back with a successor model, imaginatively dubbed the Concept Two. Rimac reveals very little leading up to the show, but the Croatians have promised more luxury and even more performance which should call for well north of a thousand guilt-free horsepower.