Pass the chocolate, clocks, and show cars, please.
The Geneva Motor Show is a tough show to recap. Smack dab in the middle of supercar country, its heart wrenching to see the countless supercars, show cars and European cars we will probably never find on U.S. streets. Switzerland will sweep you off your feet with a mind-boggling number of debuts and concepts. The frugal Kia Sportage shows off stylish new sheetmetal, while the extravagant Ferrari 599 turns up in--surprise!--hybrid form. With so much eye candy, it’s hard to take everything in, so here’s a list of the must-see car debuts and concepts from the 2010 Geneva Auto Show.Photos courtesy of respective manufacturers.
Alfa Romeo 2uettottanta concept
What it is: 2uetto-what? The stunning Alfa Romeo 2uettottanta spider was designed by Pininfarina, celebrating both its own 80th and Alfa Romeo's 100th anniversaries.
Cool features: Narrow LED headlights and the bold yet simple lines of the front end accentuate the traditional triangular Alfa Romeo shield grille, while a proposed turbocharged 1.7-liter four-cylinder engine nestles behind the distinctive visage. The exterior and interior are heavily influenced by simplicity and a "floating" design concept, with a little retro inspiration from the famous Alfa Romeo Duetto roadster.
Bottom line: We couldn't think of a sexier gift to honor Pininfarina's longtime love affair with Alfa Romeo.
Alfa Romeo Giulietta
What it is: A very hot hatchback addition to the ever-increasing upscale compact car market.
Cool features: Based on a new "Compact" architecture from Fiat, the Giulietta is designed to be as exhilarating on mountain roads as it is comfortable tooling around town, and safe no matter what. Concealed rear door handles and upswept rear side windows give the apperance of a coupe. Not to mention a decidedly upscale look for a downscale price. A variety of turbocharged four-cylinders will be available, both gasoline- and diesel-powered.
Bottom line: Rumor has it that Alfa Romeo will be back in the U.S. in 2011 or 2012. If they come back looking like this, it can't be soon enough.
Ferrari 599 HY-KERS
What it is: An experimental hybrid version of Ferrari's 599 GTB Fiorano. A hybrid...Ferrari? Yes, a hybrid Ferrari.
Cool features: The electric motor, weighing only 88 lbs., adds more than 100 hp and uses Kinetic Energy Recovery Systems (KERS) inspired by their F1 racing experience to recapture braking energy. Overall CO2 emissions are reduced by an impressive 35%. The batteries are mounted below the floor pan, preserving both interior/luggage space and the Ferrari's weight distribution--even lowering the 599's center of gravity. That matte green paint is pretty cool, too.
Bottom line: The 599 HY-KERS is a look into what may be the future for every new Ferrari model. Offering better efficiency, HY-KERS helps Ferrari meet ever-tightening emissions standards. It also offers added performance, thus helping buyers get excited about a hybrid Ferrari.
What it is: A luxury small compact a la Mini Cooper, but alas, you won't be seeing it on U.S. roads anytime soon.
Cool features: This sport compact features extensive customization options both inside and out, with a choice of contrasting roof arch colors, LED interior lights and seat covers. Targeted at younger buyers and urban dwellers, its small size makes for easy maneuvering in tight spaces. Audi also touts its high-tech options like Bose surround sound and navigation, in addition to sporty handling and a quality interior.
Bottom line: Given how successful Mini has proven to be, we're a little surprised Audi isn't letting us have a go at the A1.
Audi A1 e-tron
What it is: Audi's latest e-tron electric vehicle concept, based on the aforementioned new compact A1 hatchback.
Cool features: A small, gas-powered rotary engine charges its batteries. Rotaries are far smoother, more compact and lighter than their piston-banging counterparts, making them appealing options for efficient packaging with electric motors. Like the upcoming Chevy Volt, the A1 e-tron is powered solely by its electric motor, with the rotary only rarely kicking in to recharge the batteries. Audi says the A1 e-tron should be able to achieve 124 mpg.
Bottom line: Maybe these two technologies (electric motor and rotary engine) that have yet to reach their respective pinnacles will find that they were always meant for each other.
What it is: A super-high-performance version of Audi's gorgeous A5/S5 coupe.
Cool features: Besides the 450-hp 4.2-liter V8 engine? Well, it has a newly tweaked version of Audi's famous quattro all-wheel drive system. And a seven-speed S tronic transmission with paddle shifters. A built-in lap timer. Underbody diffusers, a pop-up rear spoiler and other aerodynamic elements that generate downforce at highway speeds. Audi claims it will best its main competitors on fuel economy too, with nearly 22 mpg.
Bottom line: While Audi won't confirm sales of the RS5 in the U.S., we definitely have our fingers crossed. Toes, too.
BMW 5 Series ActiveHybrid concept
What it is: The newest application of BMW's ActiveHybrid technology in the just-redesigned midsize 5 Series sedan.
Cool features: Taking more steps towards earth friendliness, the ActiveHybrid system in the 5 Series will provide zero-emissions, all-electric driving in the city. The 53-hp electric motor will help the gasoline engine save 10% more fuel and reduce emissions by the same amount. But in keeping with its famous "Ultimate Driving Machine" tagline, the motor will also give an added boost of performance to the smooth turbocharged inline six-cylinder engine.
Bottom line: Another look into the very likely future of hybrid motoring, with a luxury twist.
Hyundai i-flow diesel hybrid concept
What it is: A preview of a potential future small vehicle from Hyundai, featuring a highly exaggerated version of the company's new corporate design language.
Cool features: An awesomely low drag coefficient of 0.25 plus a clean and efficient 1.7-liter turbodiesel engine matched with an electric motor--why isn't this combination already in production? Said to return more than 78 mpg, the i-flow concept also captures energy from solar panels on its roof and exhaust heat.
Bottom line: Hyundai continues to impress with some groundbreaking new designs. And we really hope a diesel hybrid makes it to production in something. It just makes sense.
What it is: New Sorento too big? Kia has the answer with a redesign of its compact SUV.
Cool features: Longer, wider and lower than the previous model, with new exterior and interior styling to boot. Available engines and features make it tops in its class, and per Kia tradition, it should be impressively affordable.
Bottom line: Just look at the thing, Kia's ready to make a splash!
Lamborghini Gallardo LP570-4 Superleggera
What it is: Superleggera means “super light” for those of you that don’t speak Italian. Putting two-and-two together, it’s a super light Gallardo.
What’s New: The "70" in the "LP570" moniker designates a bump in juice over the “standard” LP560…to the tune of 570 horsepower. While a 10 hp increase may not seem like a lot, a full carbon fiber treatment sheds 154 lbs., making the hottest Gallardo down right lethal -- 0-62 in 3.4 seconds and 202 mph top speed lethal.
Bottom Line: Puts the “super” in “supercar.” Rumor is Bruce Wayne’s already got one on order at Gotham City Lamborghini.
What it is: A premium compact hybrid. The first in the premium compact segment.
Cool Features: Designed with the European market in mind, this is Lexus’s first five-door compact car. Utilizing the familiar hybrid system found in other Toyota and Lexus hybrids, the CT200h is capable of running in electric-only mode for up to 1.2 miles at speeds up to 28 mph.
Bottom Line: No word on weather or not it’s coming to the United States, but rumor has it, we could see a U.S. version of the baby Lexus at the New York Auto Show in April.
Lotus Evora 414E Hybrid Concept
What it is: Extended-range electric sports car concept.
Cool Features: Two numbers: 408 and 590. Those are the all-electric horsepower and torque numbers, respectively. The Evora 414E Hybrid concept is capable of driving on electricity alone for 35 miles, after which, a 47-hp three-cylinder gas engine kicks in to recharge the battery pack and extend the range.
Bottom Line: If brought to production, Tesla might have a hard time selling roadsters.
What it is: Mazda’s zoom-zoom minivan.
What’s New: Everything. The new design is based on the same “Nagare Flow” theme that brought us the new smiley Mazda3, and the interior features more comfortable seats, and easy-to-use instruments. On the engine front (at least for Europe, US specs are yet to be announced), the 2.0-liter direct-injected 4-cylinder features Mazda’s i-stop system that turns off the engine at stop lights or when the vehicle is not in motion to save fuel and carbon emissions.
Bottom Line: We should be receiving this van as-is in the United States, and while the improved interior is welcome, we’re not so sure about the exterior styling.
Mercedes-Benz F800 Style Concept
What it is: A concept showing the future of Mercedes-Benz design.
Cool Features: Ever sit in a traffic jam? Of course, we all have. Image your car operating the pedals and steering for you, allowing you to sit back and gently rest your hands on the steering wheel. This is the new DISTRONIC PLUS Traffic Jam Assistant from Mercedes-Benz. A world-first, and showcased among many other bleeding edge technologies in the F800 Style Concept.
Bottom Line: A preview of the next generation CLS perhaps?
2011 MINI Countryman
What it is: A crossover, MINI style.
Cool Features: The Countryman is MINI’s fourth model, and the first MINI with four doors and available all-wheel drive. It promises to introduce crossover-like utility, while maintaining MINI’s signature design and handling behavior.
Bottom Line: If you’re a fan of the original MINI, but looking for more versatility, your vehicle has arrived.
What it is: “Compact SUV meets sports car…to challenge small car traditions,” according to Nissan.
Cool Features: All-new turbocharged, directed-injected 4-cylinder engine under the hood with a torque vectoring all-wheel-drive system that can split torque front to rear 50:50.
2011 Nissan Micra
What it is: Nissan’s city car enters its fourth generation. Don’t worry if you haven’t heard of it, it hasn’t made it to the United States.
What’s New: The Micra is all-new for 2011, carrying on its tradition of affordable, reliable, and stylish small-car transportation. Sold in 160 countries, it’s a venerable world charmer packing features such as reverse sensors with parking space measurement (PSM), keyless start, navigation system, glass roof, and automatic wipers.
Bottom Line: Another great small car that those of us in the United States have to admire from afar.
2011 Porsche 911 Turbo S
What it is: Porsche’s new top-of-the-range sports car.
What’s New: Entering the market as a coupe or drop-top, the 911 Turbo S features 530 horsepower…30 more than the “regular” Turbo. It also comes standard with all of the performance goodies available as options on the Turbo, including a PDK dual-clutch gearbox, ceramic composite brakes, and torque-vectoring all-wheel drive. All this equals a 0-62 run of 3.3 seconds with a 195 mph top speed.
Bottom Line: Factor in the cost of speeding tickets to the cost of ownership. Porsche’s new top dog is a screamer.
Porsche 918 Spyder Concept
What it is: What happens when Porsche thinks about building an efficient supercar.
Cool Features: As if the 500-horsepower V8 wasn’t enough, two electric engines are mounted at the front and rear axles that add 218 horsepower. That equates to a 0-62 run of 3.2 seconds and 78 mpg. The coolest feature is that it could possibly be produced.
Bottom Line: So much want.
2011 Porsche Cayenne S Hybrid
What it is: An eco-friendly version of Porsche’s mainstay SUV.
What’s New: Aside from being completely redesigned for 2011, the Cayenne S Hybrid is the first hybrid vehicle Porsche has produced. A full hybrid, the Cayenne S Hybrid is capable of driving on either the supercharged V6 gas engine or electric motor alone or both at the same time. Together, the gas engine and electric motor produce 380 horsepower and 427 lb-ft of torque, the same as a V8-equipped Cayenne S.
Bottom Line: Makes the eco-conscious feel better about driving an SUV.
What it is: The compact SUV from Toyota, given a once-over.
What’s New: The RAV4 receives a full redesign of the exterior and interior styling for the European market. Expect to see styling very similar to this when the RAV4 we receive stateside is revealed later this year.
Bottom Line: One of the main contenders in the compact SUV segment gets even hotter.
2011 Volvo S60
What it is: A much needed update to Volvo’s midsizer.
What’s New: Exterior, interior, bleeding edge safety equipment, not much isn’t new on the S60. Faster steering and a stiffer chassis should make the new S60 sportier than the outgoing model, while a new pedestrian detection system and full auto brake system can detect objects in front of the car, and automatically apply the brakes accordingly in an emergency situation.
Bottom Line: A Volvo has never looked this good.
2011 Volkswagen Touareg
What it is: Lighter, stronger, more efficient redesign of Volkswagen’s large SUV.
What’s New: The 2011 Touareg is completely redesigned from the ground-up, marking what VW calls “the most technically innovative Volkswagen since the brand has been in existence”. The 20% increase in fuel efficiency over the outgoing model can be attributed to a 450+ pound weight loss, and all-new engines including a direct-injected V6, Diesel, and the first Volkswagen hybrid drivetrain.
Bottom Line: After a much needed diet, the Touareg’s poised to go head-to-head with the best in the market.