The world’s most expensive, most prestigious new cars descended on Geneva last week in a swirl of carbon fiber rims, cashmere carpeting, and electrified powertrains.
The Geneva Motor Show is also the biggest tease: Many of the concepts and automated drivers on show here are not available - whether through wait-list times or limited production runs – if they hit production at all.
BMW’s sexy M8 Gran Coupe, the crown jewel of its upcoming 8-Series line, won’t hit production until 2020. Hennessey Performance Engineering’s yet-to-be-built US$1.6 million Venom F5 has a projected top speed of 300 miles per hour and has a two-year waiting list. McLaren's halo, the million-dollar Senna, is already sold-out - all 500 of them. And Aston Martin’s all-electric Lagonda Vision Concept may never see production at all.
Such minor details didn’t seem to dampen the spirits of the thousands of international press and automaker VIPs who attended the early days of the show. After all, hype is part of the allure. Hope springs eternal, if only in their dreams.
Dieter Zetsche, chief executive officer of Daimler AG, stands in front of the Mercedes-AMG GT 4-Door Coupe after its unveiling on Tuesday.
The four-seat, four-door coupe is the latest in the brand’s high-performance AMG line. This is the first four-door coupe made by AMG.
The big hybrid
This year, Bentley announced it will produce a hybrid version of its Bentayga SUV, with a power dock by French designer Philippe Starck. It uses two power sources, a 3.0-liter V6 combustion engine and an electric motor, and was introduced alongside Bentley’s new V8 Bentayga variant.
The grand vision
BMW's M8 Gran Coupe is a concept automobile the brand launched to display its vision for the forthcoming 8-Series lineup. The four-seat, four-door car with golden headlights will be at dealerships by 2020. Its price will probably surpass US$100,000.
The Aston Martin Lagonda Vision Concept aims to revive the historic, heretofore defunct Lagonda brand in fully electric mode. This sedan has four seats that swivel front to back and a steering wheel that moves left to right – or even disappear completely.
The track star
Porsche showed its new 991 GT3 RS, one of the fastest Porsches ever built. It has 520 horsepower and can get to 60mph in just 3.2 seconds. Top speed is 194mph. The seven-speed PDK paddle-shifting gearbox and lightweight 21-inch wheels promise to make it as thrilling to drive on the track as on the road. Pricing starts around US$190,000.
The Spyder strikes
Lamborghini showed its new Huracan Performante Spyder, the open-top version of its super-fast Huracan Performante line. The 640hp convertible is 35 kilograms (75 pounds) lighter than its predecessor, thanks to the addition of carbon fiber components throughout its body. It will compete against such stars as the Ferrari NV's 488 Pista and the McLaren 675 LT.
The Mercedes-Benz Concept EQA is the brand's first exercise in what a compact, electric-powered Mercedes might look like. Mercedes remained vague about the futuristic car, which is expected to begin production in 2019 as the EQC.
One month after showing the next-generation G-Class in Detroit, Mercedes-Benz unveiled the AMG G 63 version in Geneva. The AMG version uses the same 4.0-liter biturbo-charged V8 engine as the standard G550 but has more power, at 577 horsepower and 627 pound-feet of torque.
Volkswagen Audi AG showed its new A6 cars in Geneva – the first update in seven years. The new eighth-generation A6 is slightly larger than the outgoing model: 0.5 inches wider, 0.3 inches longer, and one-tenth of an inch taller; it is likely to come with four- and six-cylinder engine options. A6 will form the flagship basis for Audi’s new lineup, competing against the BMW 5-Series and Mercedes-Benz E Class sedans.
The Polestar 1 electric automobile, manufactured by Zhejiang Geely Holding Group Co.'s Volvo Group, is targeted to appeal to eco-conscious, design-driven drivers. The hybrid-electric car will compete against Tesla Inc’s electric offerings. Only 500 or so will be made in the first year, at the company's production facility in Chengdu, China. Production may start as soon as mid-2019.
The track icon
Along with a carbon-fiber Senna, McLaren showed the limited edition Senna GTR at the Geneva Motor Show. The 814-horsepower GTR comes with increased downforce and additional spoilers, front splitters, and wings, all to increase airflow and speed – it is the fastest McLaren outside Formula 1. The Senna (named after the famous Brazilian racer Ayrton Senna) has already sold out of all of its 500 units; only 75 of the track-only GTR version will be made. Both will start production later this year. Pricing on the GTR (shown) starts around US$1.3 million.
Ferrari’s new 488 Pista is the lightened and tightened version of its excellent 488 Coupe. It has 710 horsepower on a twin-turbo V8 engine and weighs just around 3,000 pounds, which means it’s exceptionally fast, on par with the Ferrari 812 Superfast and a full 1.5 seconds faster than the regular 488. Much of the weight savings comes from – you guessed it – carbon fiber components.
The SUV Coupe
Land Rover used the Geneva show to debut the US$295,000 Range Rover SV Coupe. The hand-built two-door comes with a 5.0-liter supercharged V8 engine that gets 557 horsepower and can hit 60 miles per hour in five seconds, and top speed is 165mph, which makes it the fastest Range Rover available. (Range Rover says it will also retain healthy towing and hauling capacities to boot.) Only 999 of them will be made.
Aston Martin debuted the 1,100-horsepower Valkyrie AMR this week at the Geneva Motor Show. The million-dollar track car has a hybrid V12 engine and can compete against the likes of the Ferrari FXX K. Top speed is more than 220mph. Aston Martin unveiled it along with the Lagonda Vision Concept sedan, which is all-electric and heralds the relaunch of Aston’s luxury brand.
The millennial target
Lexus showed its smallest crossover, the UX, in Geneva this year. It comes in two engine variants, including a hybrid option, and is based on the Toyota Prius platform. (The standard UX 200 model comes will have a 2.0-liter inline-four engine with 168 horsepower.) Pricing has yet to be announced, but since this small SUV is targeted squarely at millennials, expect it to be under US$40,000. Production starts later this year.