The 2011 Geneva Motor Show opened to the public this week, but all the juicy details were announced last week during the press preview in which a large number of vehicles from a wide spectrum of automakers were unveiled. Even though most of these new models will never be available in the United States, they provided plenty of excitement for what turned out to be one of the most energized auto shows of the year with some of the biggest automakers revealing more than 60 production and concept vehicles. Narrowing down such a big list proved to be even more difficult than keeping up with the coverage, but check out this list we put together of some of the top new vehicles introduced in Geneva that includes fuel-efficient cars from Opel and Land Rover to high-performance coupes from Lamborghini and Jaguar and everything in between.
The Chevrolet Cruze sedan has proven to be a top-seller in some of General Motors most important markets, but when it comes to Europe, hatchbacks sell. So with this in mind, GM introduced the 2012 Chevrolet Cruze Hatchback. Rather than going for a wagon-like shape, the Cruze hatchback features a severely raked D-pillar that not only gives the hatchback a sporty look, but it also adds to the already-attractive styling of the Cruze sedan. The stylish direction GM took with the Cruze hatchback actually gives it less cargo volume behind the rear seat than its sedan counterpart (14.1 cubic feet for the hatch vs. 15 cubic feet for the sedan), but the 60/40 split folding seat should help provide plenty of additional cargo volume, including being able to accommodate larger, bulkier cargo. For now, don’t expect the Cruze Hatchback to make its way to Chevrolet dealers in the U.S., but if cars like the Focus Hatchback catch on, it probably wouldn’t be too hard for GM to Americanize this car for our market.2012 Hyundai i40 Wagon
Hyundai has been on quite a roll lately with new introductions ranging from the Genesis to the Veloster, but the 2012 Hyundai i40 Wagon shows the automaker’s direction for the European market. Although it is based on the popular new Sonata sedan, the i40 Wagon sports a design that is exclusive to the wagon body style. Many elements are shared with both the new Sonata and the Elantra including the rising side character line and hexagonal grille shape. Like station wagon designs, Europeans buyers also like fuel-efficient diesel engines, and the i40 will offer Hyundai’s 1.7-liter diesel engine that is expected to return improved torque and fuel economy in addition to best-in-class emissions. Initially, the Hyundai i40 Wagon will only be offered in Europe, but there has been some talk in the past of bringing it over to the U.S. where it would likely carry the Sonata moniker.2011 Infiniti Etherea Concept
Looking to introduce a vehicle that slots in beneath the popular G line-up, the 2011 Infiniti Etherea Concept is a look at what Infiniti has in store for the future premium compact market. Similar to Infiniti’s recent concept vehicles, the styling of the Etherea blends soft brush-stroke lines with angular cues, but one of the most interesting styling cues of this concept vehicle is the unique hatchback design. The combination of the S-shaped C-pillar with the athletic rear haunches is supposed to give the Etherea a less obvious hatchback look while giving it a more unique and upscale overall appearance. The front end has more of an aggressive styling similar to the Infiniti FX, and the rest of the Etherea is finished off with more conceptual elements such as the seamless, panoramic roof and the suicide rear doors. Aside from its looks, the 2011 Infiniti Etherea Concept shares a similar hybrid setup as the all-new Infiniti M35h with the exception of the 245-horsepower, 2.5-liter supercharged inline-four engine.2012 Jaguar XKR-S
Jaguar’s new B99 Concept sedan may have given fans something to look forward to in the future, but the 2012 Jaguar XKR-S helps pay homage to its past with a powerful and seductive sports coupe. Starting with the impressive XKR, Jaguar added better aerodynamics, lighter weight and more power for what it calls “the most and fastest series production sports car Jaguar has ever built.” The XKR’s has been retuned for the XKR-S to produce 550 horsepower and 502 lb-ft of torque to go along with acceleration from zero to 60 miles per hour in just 4.2 seconds and a top speed of 186 mph. To go along with this increased power, the Jaguar XKR-S also features an exclusive design that balances aerodynamics with styling including a more aggressive front fascia, a ride height that has been lowered by 10 mm, rear diffuser and a carbon fiber rear wing. This car is already slated to go on sale in Europe, but there is no word as to whether or not it would be offered here in the U.S.2012 Kia Rio
Like Hyundai, Kia Motors has managed to inject its line-up with some impressive new designs, and the next car to get this new styling treatment is the B-segment Kia Rio which has been redesigned for 2012. One major change for 2012 is that the Rio appears to be dropping its sedan body style in favor of a three-door hatchback as a complement to the more popular five-door hatchback. The Rio’s new styling is emphasized by its upscale features such as LED daytime running lights and LED taillights, but it still has a look very familiar with Kia’s new design language thanks to the “tiger nose” grille and the sporty front fascia. The new Kia Rio will offer four engines (including two diesel engines) in Europe when it goes on sale later this year, but the U.S.-spec model will likely be limited to the 1.4-liter gasoline engine. If there is no sedan model, the U.S. market Rio5 name will likely be shortened to just Rio.2012 Lamborghini Aventador LP700-4
Lamborghini doesn’t introduce a new model very often, so when it does, it’s big news. In the case of this car, the 2012 Lamborghini Aventador LP700-4 will replace the aging Murcielago and give children and adults alike an all-new exotic supercar to lust over. The Aventador’s design is an attractive mix of angular, stealth-fighter-like lines and rounded, sexy lines that flow the length of the car’s profile over the wheel arches. Despite having similar dimensions to the current top-of-the-line Lambo, the new Aventador LP700-4 manages to deliver a unique low-slung look that still has signature Lamborghini elements such as the gaping front and side intakes, angular headlights and, of course, the scissor doors. As its name suggests, the Aventador’s rear-mounted 6.5-liter V-12 puts out nearly 700 horsepower (691 hp to be exact) which is sent to all four wheels. Look for the Lamborghini Aventador LP700-4 to go into production later this year with a price tag somewhere in the mid-six-figure area.2011 Land Rover Range_e Concept
Land Rover is well known for its off-road capabilities and its luxurious SUVs, but the 2011 Land Rover Range_e Concept is a glimpse at what the future holds for the iconic British automaker. Based on the current Land Rover Range Rover Sport, the Range_e is a production intent plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) that pairs a diesel engine and four-wheel drive system with an advanced, battery-powered electric drive system. Like any current Land Rover model, the Range_e will also offer impressive on- and off-road performance. Combining the diesel and hybrid electric systems together will give the Range_e a total output of 339 horsepower to go with a total driving range of almost 700 miles on a single tank of fuel and a top speed of 120 miles per hour. Land Rover says the Range_e will be the world’s first four-wheel drive, diesel plug-in hybrid, and a production version of the Land Rover Range_e Concept is expected by 2013.2012 Opel Ampera
One of the most popular trends at this year’s Geneva Motor Show is fuel-efficient cars, and GM’s Opel division took the opportunity to unveil the 2012 Opel Ampera extended-range electric vehicle (E-REV). Based on the Chevrolet Volt, the biggest difference between the Ampera and its Chevy counterpart is the exterior styling which has been noticeably changed for the Opel model. Up front, blacked-out vents below the headlights give the Ampera a cheetah-like face while the lower side sills and squared-off rear fascia finish off the aggressive design changes. Aside from these relatively minor, but effective, changes, the Ampera is identical to its Volt cousin including its use of GM’s advanced Voltec drive system that features an electric drivetrain paired with a range-extending gasoline engine that delivers a zero-emission range of around 37 miles before requiring the engine to kick in. The 2012 Opel Ampera will go on sale in Europe this year, and unlike its American counterpart, it will offer the added benefit of being E85 capable.2011 Toyota FT-86 II Concept
Building on the styling of the 2009 FT-86 Concept, Toyota has released the 2011 Toyota FT-86 II Concept which gives a closer look at what the production model of this sports coupe will look like. Key changes since the original concept debuted include more aggressive styling that includes a sportier front fascia with angular headlights, larger front grille, more pronounced front and rear wheel arches and separated taillights. According to Toyota, this updated styling “gives the clearest indication yet as to the final design” of the production version of this car which goes into production next year. Developed in conjunction with Subaru, the new Toyota sports car will be rear-wheel drive and powered by a boxer engine that reduces the curb weight while lowering the car’s center of gravity. Although the final naming or styling probably won’t be released until later this year, one thing that is for sure is that the styling of the Toyota FT-86 II Concept will make its way to the U.S. as an all-new model for Toyota’s Scion brand.Summary
Judging simply by the number of vehicles unveiled at this year’s Geneva Motor Show, the global automotive industry is definitely going in a positive direction once again as it continues to recover from one of the worst sales years in recent history. Even more impressive than the number of vehicles displayed in Geneva was the diversity of the vehicles in terms of both makes and models. Everything from fuel-efficient concepts to ready-for-production exotic supercars was introduced from automakers that ranged from entry-level to upper echelon. The 2011 Geneva Motor Show opened on March 3 and runs through March 13.