Tag Archives: geneva motor show

Classic German supercars: Celebrating 60 years of Mercedes 3000 SL Roadster

Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Roadster (W 198 II, 1957 to 1963). Drawing dated 29 December 1955. Image courtesy of Daimler AG

Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Roadster (W 198 II, 1957 to 1963). Drawing dated 29 December 1955. Image courtesy of Daimler AG

In March 1957 at the Geneva Motor Show, Mercedes unveiled a car that would become the de facto blueprint for drop top dream cars the 300SL Roadster.

Like all German manufacturers, it took a number of years for Mercedes to rebuild its reputation following the end of the Second World War. However, thanks to an unnerving focus on racing and performance upon returning to competition in 1952, within two years the three-pointed star was once again the dominant force in motorsport.

But it also wanted to be a dominant force in the US car market and thanks to Max Hoffman, a Vienna-born racing driver turned US-based European car importer, it quickly found the answer.

Hoffman complained that the marque didn’t have a “crowd puller” to get US customers excited. So, to provide him with an out-and-out sportscar, Mercedes had the ingenious idea of offering its racing car, the 300SL Gullwing, as a road car for the well-heeled, a move that essentially set the original template for the supercar, a vehicle that combined mind-blowing performance with phenomenal aesthetics.

Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Roadster (W 198 II series) built from 1957 to 1963. Image courtesy of Daimler AG

Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Roadster (W 198 II series) built from 1957 to 1963. Image courtesy of Daimler AG

So that same year, head designer Friedrich Geiger took the SL back to the drawing board and enhanced its low drag look while simplifying every aspect that could be a hindrance to “care-free” open-air motoring.

This meant a complete reimagining of the chassis. The Gullwing used a spaceframe that rose along the car’s sides so half-size upward opening doors was the only way to allow anyone into or out of the car. The changes enabled the car to have traditional doors, a generous trunk and enough space for a more complex suspension set up to really improve handling.

These did not hinder performance. With a racing wind shield fitted and the passenger seat covered, the car managed an average speed of 242.5 kilometres per hour on the on the Munich-Ingolstadt motorway.

Between 1957 and 1963, despite being one of the most expensive cars in the world it cost $10,900 in standard specification Mercedes sold 1,858 300SL Roadsters before replacing it with the W113 series SL, better known as the Pagoda, but again overseen by Friedrich Geiger.

Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Roadster (W 198 II series) built from 1957 to 1963. Image courtesy of Daimler AG

Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Roadster (W 198 II series) built from 1957 to 1963. Image courtesy of Daimler AG

The car cemented Mercedes‘ place in American consciousness, too. Between 1936 and 1941, the firm had exported a grand total of 41 cars to the country. Yet with Hoffman helping guide the firm, by 1957, the company was exporting 6,048 cars to the United States yearly.

Today, even 300SL Roadsters in poor condition easily fetch more than US$1 million at auction, making it one of the most collectible and sought-after Mercedes in history.

New luxury supercar launches: Porsche 911 GT3 offers higher performance at the Geneva Motor Show 2017

Supercar manufacturer Porsche is on a roll! Having unveiled their new 911 GT3 on Tuesday at the Geneva Motor Show, the track-focused sportscar now boasts a 500hp flat-six engine sitting over its rear axle. This boasts a truly linear performance as the company has managed to crank up the power without turning to turbocharging. The company offers a manual gearbox function along with this addition.

It will ensure that the 1430kg car will go from 0-100km/h in just 3.4 seconds and on to a top speed of 318km/h while being able to rev to a remarkable 9000rpm red-line between gear changes. The car will come with Porsche‘s seven-speed dual clutch paddle shift transmission as standard, but due to customer demand, the option of a six-speed manual is also available. Go for that option and the 0-100km/h time climbs to 3.9 seconds, however, its top speed goes up to 320km/h.

Regardless of transmission choice, the car will come with rear wheel steering as standard, a lower ride height (it sits 25mm closer to the ground than the Carrera S for example), model-specific aerodynamics, dynamic engine mounts, a rear differential lock and no rear seats.

However, that doesn’t mean that the interior is completely Spartan. The infotainment package that on other 911 models comes with turn-by-turn navigation is present here and optimised for racing. The Porsche Track Precision app ensures that keen drivers can record lap times, analyse data and look for areas for improvement.

And there are three choices of driver and passenger seat: hardcore carbon fiber and plastic racing bucket seats, for those that want the most extreme experience; fully electrically adjustable seats with added lateral support and bolsters for those that put a premium on comfort; and a hybrid option that offers manual rather than electronic adjustment and integrated thorax airbags.

The 2017 Porsche 911 GT3 will cost from €152,416 in Europe. Prices for the US will be confirmed shortly.

BMW Alpina B5 Bi-Turbo: First look and specs of this made-to-measure vehicle at the Geneva Motor Show 2017

The BMW B5 Bi-Turbo. © Alpina

Before the BMW M5 is unveiled in 2018, Alpina releases the latest addition to the 5-Series in sedan and station wagon forms, the BMW B5 Bi-Turbo. © Alpina

If you can’t wait until the new BMW M5 arrives in early 2018, make a ‘B’ line for Alpina‘s latest model. Unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show in both sedan and station wagon variants, the 2017 BMW Alpina B5 Bi-Turbo keeps everything that’s cutting-edge and comfortable about the latest-generation standard 5-Series and adds a 4.4-liter bi-turbo V8 engine.

The result is an executive sedan that is also a supercar in disguise. BMW B5 Bi-Turbo’s engine sends 608hp via an eight-speed gearbox to all four wheels making it the first Alpina 5-Series to feature all-wheel drive as standard but where the car really surprises is in what all that power does. It sends the car from a standstill to 100km/h in 3.5 seconds another first for an Alpina vehicle — and on to a top speed of 330km/h. Prior to this, no production BMW could go beyond 250km/h without removing the electronic governor.

Better still, because this is an Alpina, a car developed alongside the standard 5-Series, it will be able to deliver these quoted levels of performance year-round, unlike an Italian supercar that must be handled with utmost care and only taken out of its special garage when the weather conditions are perfect.

© Alpina

© Alpina

However, the company itself admits that it was a big challenge to construct a car that is able to behave like an everyday executive run-around most of time, while exhibiting such a ferocious turn of speed when pushed. To ensure the ride would not be rock hard, the car’s suspension system uses electronically adjustable dampers.

Additionally, to make sure it’s easy to maneuver when not on the track where drifting sideways is acceptable driving behavior the BMW B5 Bi-Turbo is also the first Alpina to feature active rear-wheel steering. According to the company, such steering should make the car feel like a much smaller vehicle in inner city situations where a small turning circle is a necessity.

The only thing stopping this car from being the ultimate sleeper or Q car is its standard exterior colour, which comprises Alpina Blue or Alpina Green, the pinstriped deco set coachline striping, the subtle front and rear spoilers and of course those unique 20-spoke Alpina wheels. However, all of those elements are standardized. An Alpina is also a made-to-measure vehicle; from interior fittings and materials to exterior paint colors, the car can be customized to individual taste.

BMW won’t be launching its own M5 until 2018 and when it does, there’s a good chance that it could be faster from 0-100km/h than the B5. However, the company has confirmed that it has no plans to make a station wagon version of the next M5, leaving Alpina’s B5 Bi-Turbo Touring in a class of its own.

Pininfarina debuts supercar Fittipaldi EF7 Vision Gran Turismo at Geneva Motor Show 2017

Mercedes unveils a luxury off-road supercar called the Brabus 550 Adventure 4×4² in Switzerland

Brabus bills its latest customised Mercedes, the Brabus 550 Adventure 4×4² as the most off-road capable supercar in its history. Well, it’s certainly the biggest. At the recent Geneva Motor Show, Brabus unleashed the Brabus 550 Adventure 4×4². This monster is 2.25 meters tall, over two meters wide and thanks to portal axles that allow the wheels to sit below rather than in line with the engine’s drive shafts, offers a ground clearance of almost half a meter, too.

When the company’s head of communications, Sven Gramm, said “You’ll see a big SUV,” when asked what the company was planning for Geneva, he wasn’t exaggerating.

While on first glance, it does look like a big boy’s toy. The latest souped-up Mercedes to get the Brabus treatment is a very serious off-roader. Even though, in true Brabus fashion it is a much faster car than the original version — the company has boosted the engine from 422hp and 610Nm of torque to 550hp and 800Nm, it has electronically limited the car’s top speed to a comparatively sedate 210km/h (130mph). However, that’s to preserve the integrity of the vehicle’s off-road tires.

Even with very knobbly rubber wrapping each of the wheels, the car can still accelerate from 0-100m/h in 6.7 seconds. And so that this turn of speed doesn’t feel like crossing the sea during a storm, Brabus has fitted its own electronically adjustable suspension built from aluminum to reduce unsprung weight and which can be adjusted remotely via a control panel in the cabin.

Other modifications include a custom roof rack with off-roading lights, an integrated winch, a reworked front bumper and underride guard, mesh protectors over the lights, a functioning hood scoop, foldaway side steps (it’s a long way up into that cabin) and a new rear bumper with fog lights and a deflector for protecting the car from rocks and other obstacles.

Inside it’s a similar story with a custom leather trim and a host of extra creature comforts not available on the standard car, the most notable being a center console for rear seat passengers that offers fingertip control of the infotainment and climate control settings. Other neat touches include search lights on the roof that can be remotely pivoted from the driver’s seat and a stealth button that immediately kills all lights and switches the exhaust to its quietest mode.

The Alpine A110 made a comeback after 20 years at the Geneva Motor Show 2017

Finally, the Alpine A110 takes the stage! A week ago, Alpine finally showed the world what the new A110 is going to look like when it officially goes on sale later this year and now, following its full reveal at the Geneva Motor Show, we know if the car is all show and no go. Thankfully, it appears that the performance figures, like the exterior design, have been worth the wait. With their last A110 model produced more than 20 years ago, this new baby is sure to drive home the hearts of many car buffs.

From the start, Alpine’s owner, Renault has been suggesting that the new car — the first full Alpine of any description to hit the road for over two decades — has been built with the Porsche Cayman rather than the Ford Focus RS in its sights, so the presence of a little 1.8-liter engine calling the shots might at first sound like the company is being overly optimistic.

However, that little unit has a maximum output of 252hp and 320Nm of torque. And, once the car’s weight — just 1080kg — has been factored in, that optimism starts to sound like realism.

The low-slung car — it stands just 1.25 meters high and is just 4.17 meters long — uses a four-cylinder turbocharged engine sitting smack in its center. So as well as a very even weight distribution (44% over the front and 56% over the rear axles), it should be able to kiss the apex and hold the racing line going in and out of every racing circuit corner or country road bend.

With a power-to-weight ratio of 233hp per tonne, the car is capable of going from 0-100km/h in 4.5 seconds. So, faster than a Cayman, and thanks to a specially developed Getrag seven-speed DCT gearbox, it has an extra gear, too.

But best of all is that the first new Alpine has managed to offer all of this performance without diluting its aesthetic. Taking the original 1960s A110 as its starting point, the new car is a modern interpretation — think current generation Mustang — with unbroken lines thanks to clever underfloor aerodynamics rather than recourse to front splitters and huge rear fins to generate downforce.

The company hasn’t scrimped on the interior either, going for aluminium, leather and carbon fiber to dress the cockpit rather than textured plastics and rubber. When the price is factored in — the car will retail for a suggested €58,500 once the dealer network is established — the new Alpine is shaping up to be a bit of a steal.

Luxury hypercar debuts: Koenigsegg Agera RS Gryphon unveiled at Geneva Motor Show 2017

For this year’s Geneva Motor Show, boutique Swedish hypercar firm Koenigsegg will be showcasing the Agera RS Gryphon, an utterly bespoke vehicle. The hypercar boasts sleek lines that allude to its namesake — a mythical creature that is half lion, half eagle and the embodiment of strength and speed — and is also adorned with a 24-carat gold leaf finish. The precious metal, painstakingly applied by Italian master craftsman Ettore ‘Blaster’ Callegaro, adorns exterior badging, makes up the body’s racing strips, adorns interior surfaces, and has even been used on the engine and to dress the hood’s struts.

To ensure the gold has the optimal contrasting effect, the car’s body has been left in naked, albeit clear-coated carbon fiber so that the Gryphon’s structural integrity is presented as art as well as science.

Yet as impressive as its exterior appears, it’s what it covers that truly makes this car spectacular. Sitting behind the Alcantara-trimmed driver and passenger seats is a 5-liter V8 engine designed, developed and built from the ground up by Koenigsegg itself, which, thanks to prodigious twin-turbocharging and some serious engineering knowhow, outputs a frankly physics-defying 1360hp. A bespoke Gryphon motif shines on the head rests, while another image of the mystical creature is stitched into the Alcantara dashboard.

To put Koenigsegg’s engine into context, the Bugatti Veyron, a car built using the immense R&D reach of VW, the world’s biggest carmaker, needed 16 cylinders, an 8-liter capacity and four turbos to generate ‘just’ 1001hp.

And, even with the gold leaf, luxuriously appointed interior, full infotainment system and hydraulics for raising either the front or rear end for overcoming things like speed bumps, this car tips the scales at 1,395kg. That’s just a passenger seat and a few creature comforts short of the magical 1:1 power-to-weight ratio that’s the supercar maker’s holy grail.

The Agera RS Gryphon will make its global debut at the Geneva Motor Show, before being handed over to its owner. After all, from the gold leaf to the engine output, this car has been built specifically to a client’s requests —one of which was that the finished car be completely road legal in the US, where it is set to be driven.

New luxury car launch: Pagani Huayra Roadster makes its debut at the Geneva Motor Show in 2017

Named after the God of Wind, the Pagani Huayra Roadster is light and speedy as its name suggests. This new Huayra is the topless version of its predecessor— the Pagani Huayra Coupe— and is already making ripples throughout the motoring world. With only 100 pieces produced, it is sad to say that all of these beauties have been snatched up even before the model’s debut at the Geneva Motor Show.

Every hypercar from Pagani would be equally at home on display at MoMA as it would lapping Monza. But for his latest creation, company founder and chief designer Horacio Pagani may have set a new benchmark for a car that’s equal parts art and racing science.

“This is the most complicated project we have ever undertaken,” said Pagani. “Engaging in such a challenge, to make just 100 cars, has meant an impressive effort for a company like ours, from a technical, human, and economic point of view.”

The challenge in question was to build an open-top hypercar that is lighter and more rigid than its hardtop counterpart — something that has never been achieved without completely stripping the vehicle of soundproofing, premium interior materials and even essential creature comforts. Yet after six years of development, this 764hp, 1000Nm luxury-packed roadster weighs just 1280kg. That’s 80kg lighter than the Huayra Coupe which, as Pagani points out, “was already the lightest hypercar on sale at the time.”

The company has achieved this feat by using materials that redefine the term exotic. In particular, it has made prodigious use of carbo-titanium, a material it essentially invented and one made up of titanium and carbon fiber woven together, plus another composite creation— Carbo Triax HP52. These materials have made the car 52% stronger than the coupe — to make up for the loss of rigidity that comes from removing the roof — but without adding a single gram of extra weight.

There’s also a new seven-speed gearbox that’s lighter than the unit in the coupe. And because there’s a 6-liter twin turbo V12 calling the shots, there is some clever active aerodynamic trickery too. Vents front and rear plus self-adjusting suspension work in concert to change the flow of air over and under the car to ensure the car is always flat and parallel to the road. These improvements, plus bespoke Pirelli tires, mean that this is the first-ever road car capable of achieving 1.8g of lateral acceleration while rolling on road-legal rubber.But none of these features in any way detracts from the car’s looks.

“Everything had to come together as if it was a car carved out of a block of Carrara marble,” said Pagani, who even labored over the design of individual screws as they were going to be on show. “We hope that this six-year effort will touch you, rationally and emotionally.”

All-Electric Maserati Alfieri Gets 2020 Debut

The all-electric bandwagon is on a roll, with the latest brand to hop aboard being Italian luxury automaker Maserati. Its first all-electric car will be an iteration of the upcoming Alfieri model. However, if you are interested in purchasing the model, be ready to wait until 2020 when this all-electric version of the car is expected to be delivered to dealerships; the V6 model will only be released in 2019 and that is expected to be the first real-world version of the Alfieri.

Named after the founder of the brand, Alfieri Maserati, the Alfieri concept car made its debut at the 2014 Geneva Motor Show. It was 2+2 grand tourer concept, boastiong a compact yet aggressive design. The model presented had a V8 engine with 460hp, but the first version that is set to hit the dealers at 2019 will get a V6 engine with as-yet-unspecified power. Only after this will the all-electric version’s release follow, possibly since the chassis needs to adapted to suit both fuel and electric versions.

The two-seater sports car will have front bumper spoiler and rear diffuser made from carbon fiber with aluminum inserts. Instead of analog instrument dials, the driving cabin will feature TFT displays.

Facelifted Alfa Romeo Giulietta Debuts Geneva

Proving the old adage that an old dog can still learn new tricks, the Alfa Romeo Giulietta is set to go on sale spring 2016 with an all new facelift. The hatchback, with its all new trim levels and set up with several engine options, appeared at the Geneva Motor Show 2016. The Giulietta comes in five trim levels: standard, Super, Lusso, Veloce and Business. Other customization options include 11 body colors and a selection of wheel rims. Not everything in this class of cars is exciting to us but Alfa Romeo has sentimental meaning to anyone who loves driving, like other icons such as the Mini and the Beetle.

One thing to take note is the touches to the exterior that seem to push the hatchback closer to the Giulia sedan in terms of design. The old Giulietta’s triangular snout, once fitted with vertical grilles, now has the same honeycomb grilles the sedan has. The front bumper also has a similar touch. On the other hand new alloy wheels and oblique exhaust tips shape the Giulietta’s new look, which also brings a slight redesign to the brand badge.

The sporty version of the Giulietta (Veloce) is furnished with sports bumpers and a dark chrome finish on the wing mirror covers. Leather and Alcantra sports seats, matched with a leather steering wheel add an elegant touch, while a carbon-effect dashboard surround and door panels give a sleek value to the interior.

Engine choices include a choice of four turbo gasoline engines (from 120 to 240hp) and four diesel engines (from 120 to 175ch). The new 120hp 1.6 JTDm diesel engine, the most cost-effective option, is announced with CO2 emissions of 99g/km and mileage of 74.3 MPG (3.8 l/100 km).

The Uconnect onboard touchscreen built into the central dashboard provides an all-encompassing infotainment system, while, also featured is Bluetooth connectivity for hands-free smartphone use (calls, SMS, streaming, radio, etc…). Some versions feature the Alfa Performance application for controlling the main parameters of the car and measuring performance in real time too.

All this blends nicely into a contemporary update of an older model that shows how Alfa Romeo is willing to keep on the edge of developments.

9 Stars of Geneva Motor Show

With the Geneva Motor Show over, the array of cars that were on display were bound to have the heart of any collector or enthusiast pounding. Still, there are those that simply have a greater pull than others, especially for models coming from well established companies such as Porsche, Bentley, Ferrari and Rolls-Royce. Let’s take a look at the main stars of the show:

Bugatti-Chiron-test

Bugatti Chiron

“It is part of human nature to cross boundaries and set new records,” said Bugatti president Wolfgang Dürheimer.

The record-breaking Chiron was probably the leading headliner amongst all models shown in Geneva. Boasting 1600hp and a top speed of 261mph (420kmh), the Chiron takes pole position as the world’s fastest production car, with specifications outstripping its predecessor – the Veyron.

Aston-Martin-DB11

Aston Martin DB11

Aston Martin tried to close the gap between itself and its competitors, such as Ferrari and McLaren, with the high-end luxury supercar – the Aston Martin DB11.

“A brand new bonded aluminum platform, clever aerodynamics, a new characterful twin-turbo V12 and class-leading infotainment systems are just a few aspects which make this the sports car that will proudly spearhead Aston Martin’s second century plan,” said company CEO Dr. Andy Palmer, summarizing the main traits of this contending powerhouse. Either way, the DB11 re-stoked great expectations for the company.

Porsche-911-R

Porsche 911 R

Porsche was all about stripping down and streamlining with their new 911 R as a part of a strategy to appeal once again to the purist fans alienated by previous creature comforts and technological aids. It weighs 3,020 pounds and maxes out at 201mph with 500hp.

With sporty performance back at the forefront, hopefully the fans are placated.

Rolls-Royce-Black-Badge

Rolls-Royce Black Badge Series

A bespoke range of Rolls-Royce Wraiths and Ghosts appeared at Geneva to appeal to edgier and younger customers. The Black Badge series is finished up with a black gloss (right down to the Spirit of Ecstasy donning the hood) while the interior was spruced up with a darker palette, all blacks and purples.

Lamborghini+CentenarioFront

Lamborghini Centenario

The limited edition Centenario made an appearance at Geneva before disappearing into the mist given that all 40 models of this anniversary model were sold out already. Imbued with 770hp and a smooth tasteful geometric design, this little tease broke the hearts of countless expectant collectors at the show and beyond.

 

Levante-Geneva-2016

Maserati Levante

Despite the surprise being spoilt by internet leaks, Maserati launched its Levante crossover with an Italian flair, rivaling the likes of others such as the Porsche Cayenne and the Bentley Benteyga. The first SUV in the company’s hundred-year history aimed at breaking into the premium crossovermarket with sophisticated technological features and performance.

Arash AF10

Opposing the Chiron in output figures (though not speed), the British-built Arash AF10 takes some beating. With four electric motors plus a V8 it has 2080hp on tap and despite being built for the track is road legal. At £1.1 million, it is also cheaper than a Bugatti.

Mulsanne-Grand-Limo

Bentley Mulsanne Grand Limousine by Mulliner

This bespoke stretch limousine that was built for a certain anonymous client inches out the Mercedes-Maybach Pullman as the world’s longest and most comfortable passenger car. With the high-craftsmanship of the interior and various luxury additions like a bottle cooler and a soft drinks cabinet, Bentley sought to prove the sheer capability of their in-house coachbuilder, Mulliner, in tailoring to the demands of their customers.

Ferrari GTC4Lusso profile

The Ferrari GTC4Lusso

Now replacing the Ferrari FF comes the four-seat GTC4Lusso, which also happens to be the first production Ferrari to boast of having both all-wheel drive and four-wheel steering. When you mix a high quality ultra-intuitive infotainment system with a significant power boost to the FF package, the result is a whole luxurious package wrapped up in one excellent shooting brake bound to impress with a younger crowd.

Lamborghini Centenario Debuts, Sells Out

The ferociously sleek design may be leaving all the car enthusiasts drooling but the Lamborghini Centenario is sadly sold out. All 40 limited editions (20 coupes and 20 roadsters) of this elegant speedster have gone to some very lucky customers for a start price of 1.75 million euros plus tax. Still, to be a tease, the Centenario was featured in the Geneva Motor Show 2016 in its full glory, much like the Pagani Huayra BC.

The first thing to take note of is that sensuous roar at the back channeled by the 770hp that powers the 0-100km/h 2.8 seconds sprint. The top speed peaks at more than 350km/h. All that comes together nicely thanks to the innovative design and engineering competencies of the V12 architecture in its naturally aspirated engine, and a weight to power ratio of just 1.97kg/hp achieved by its carbon fiber body (to help you calculate that, the total weight is 1,520kg).

Lamborghini+Centenario+3-4+Rear-1

“The Centenario is a car that perfectly combines tradition and innovation. It looks to the future while honoring the legend that is Ferruccio Lamborghini” said Automobili Lamborghini President and CEO Stephan Winkelmann, referencing the fact that the Centenario was built to celebrate the legendary industrialist’s 100th birthday.

The aerodynamics are achieved through the sheer geometry of its pure and essential lines. A mono line from front to back defines the recognisable Lamborghini contours, with long, low overhangs front and rear creating a clean mono-body shape. Air flows through ducts within the front headlight casing and others in the sideskirts and around the wheel arches, improving the airflow to the rear radiators and providing optimized cooling. Even the roof has air scoops, with styling taken from aeronautical cues.

The chassis is designed for the highest maneuverability. With permanent four-wheel drive and a new Lamborghini rear-wheel steering system, the characteristics of each of the three driving modes (Strada, Sport and Corsa) are heightened in the lateral dynamics. The Independent Shifting Rod (ISR) gearbox allows for some of the fastest gearshifts possible.

Lamborghini+Centenario+Interior

In terms of personalization and comfort, the interior can be finished to each Centenario client’s specification. Sport seats in lightweight carbon fiber are included. A Hi-Def 10.1 inch touchscreen connects the driver to the car’s extensive infotainment system, which includes internet connection and access to Apple Carplay. Also included is a sophisticated telemetry function that allows speeds, times, lateral and G forces to be recorded and even compared between different occasions and different drivers. Two optional interior cameras allow the drivers’ experiences to be recorded.

With all of the above spice, fans catching a whiff of the car at Geneva must be ultimately pulling their hair out at the fact that this heavenly beast happens to be a one-off edition already out of stock. Thankfully Lambo seekers can get their fix on the next Forza racing game where the Centenario is playable, as a minor reprieve. Then again, that may just pull at the heartstrings worse.

All Wheel Drive: Ferrari GTC4Lusso

Legendary Italian automaker Ferrari finally unveiled the new four-seat, four-wheel-drive replacement for the FF March 1. The car remains essentially a family-friendly shooting brake, or hatchback if you prefer.

The GTC4Lusso is the first production Ferrari to boast both all-wheel drive and four-wheel steering; you might recall all-wheel steering in the special edition F12tdf. The extra control of rear-wheel steering will be needed because the new GTC4Lusso, the long-awaited replacement for the existing FF, has been given a significant power boost. The 6.2-liter V12 now delivers 680bhp at 8,000 rpm and can race from standstill to 100km/h in 3.4 seconds.

Inside, the dashboard and in-car entertainment systems have been given an extra injection of quality (we’re note sure how such a thing is even possible) while the exterior has been given aerodynamic improvements. Ferrari signals that the new car is a Ferrari that can be driven in all conditions (like the FF, this baby goes in the snow) and is one it expects to appeal to the younger set.

Ferrari GTC4Lusso back

Ferrari GTC4Lusso profile

Ferrari GTC4Lusso Interior

4 Concept Cars Going Green and Pushing Power

Fast cars have relied on the internal combustion engine for far too long, to the detriment of both the environment and, arguably, performance. More and more, though, motoring firms are rising to the challenge of setting things right. At this year’s Geneva Motor Show, we saw a lot that we liked, in terms of greener concepts that addressed the issue of oil dependence without compromising on power. These are some of the new models that embrace the green side, without going soft:

Geneva-Italdesign-GTZero

Italdesign GTZero

Displayed in a gleaming yellow, this plug-in electric shooting brake has claimed a 500km range and can recharge by 80% in 30 minutes. That is less time than it takes to charge a typical smart phone. Thanks to its three electric motors, the GTZero has 483hp on tap. No 0-100km/h has been quoted yet but it is proposed with four-wheel drive and four-wheel steering.

Another timeless design is its modular construction. If you don’t fancy this body, the front and rear portions can be replaced to suit different styles of car and, crucially different types of propulsion – better batteries, a hybrid powertrain or even a fuel cell (remember those?).

Pininfarina-H2-Speed-Geneva

Pininfarina H2 Speed

The legendary Pininfarina style is self-evident here, if you have eyes in your head. Not so self-evident though is the kind of environmentally sound thinking that went into this vision of a high performance track car. Incorporating revolutionary developments in hydrogen fuel cell technology, this sporty model promises fast driving fun.

Two electric motors deliver more than 500 horses worth of power to the rear wheels, pushing from a 0-100km/h in a gut-wrenching 3.4 seconds and topping out at 300km/h. It takes 3 minutes (that’s less than you spend at the pump right now) to refuel and still performs at the same level as a traditional performance vehicle.

Techrules-Geneva-TREV

Techrules AT96 TREV

Claiming to be China’s first supercar, the TREV also has an engine fit for easing the pressure on the country’s haze-heavy atmosphere. This electric car uses a turbine engine (you know, those things that power fighter jets) for battery recharging and range extension, and produces, at peak power, 1,030bhp. Projections indicate 0-100km/h in 2.5 seconds and a 350km/h top speed. The fuel consumption, though, is just 0.18L/100km.

Current plug-in hybrids or range-extending hybrids pair an electric engine with an internal combustion engine to share the driving load or to regenerate the battery. The turbine engine is a first (the Jaguar C-X75 had a similar system though), and if successful, may be adopted in other models. It is worth noting though that the turbine engine is still an internal combustion system…

nanoflowcell-quant-f-ef-geneva

nanoFlowcell Quant F EF

This car appeared last year, but this year the design has evolved and its unique powertrain technology is closer to production. It has a top speed of more than 300km/h but zero harmful emissions thanks to the nanoFlowcell drive technology.

The nanoFlowcell uses ionic fluids to generate the charge that powers an electric motor. One more step towards the dream of an electric car with all the benefits – acceleration, torque… – and none of the drawbacks.

Images courtesy of Newspress and Techrules

Spyker Preliator: Warrior’s Comeback at Geneva

The “Preliator” name, which means “fighter” or “warrior” in Latin, is a fitting name for the car that signals Dutch boutique supercar maker Spyker’s comeback at this year’s Geneva Motor Show. Spyker almost didn’t make it – in fact the company almost went under – but the show’s organizers were considerate enough to allow them a spot among the other boutique carmakers.

CEO Victor R. Muller’s strategy for the Preliator, and the brand in general, is to push its exoticism. In a statement, Muller noted that “Our car is on average the seventh car in the collection of an owner. It’s a car that they buy because it is so different”. Spykers, apparently, are cars that are kept – almost three-quarters of all Spykers are still with their original owners – as collectibles and because of this, their values have soared.

“They all end up in the hands of collectors who cherish them” said Muller. Looking at the design you can get an idea why. The Preliator aims to be even more inspired than Spyker’s aviation heritage than any other previous models. From propeller design in the first generation, to turbine engine inspired design in the second, the emphasis for this generation of Spyker cars has shifted to submerged air intakes, or NACA-ducts, as used in the aviation industry.

Spyker-Preliator-Interior

Other design choices include a glass canopy with reflective gold coating as used in jet fighters applied to it; replacement of the air-scoop on the canopy by a NACA duct to reduce drag; small ailerons added on the front splitter and side skirts to redirect the airflow optimally; and the abandonment of shark like gills for a cleaner, smoother, and fresher overall appearance.

The Spyker C8 Preliator is available in 16 standard colors, but customers may choose any color they wish as an option, as well as the sporty Spyker Squadron GT2 color scheme. All a part of its plan to be the bespoke car for any discerning owner wishing for a special model. In terms of vital statistics, the car’s Audi-built supercharged 4.2-liter V8 offers up 525bhp.

Spyker-Preliator-Rear

With Spyker pushing so much on the style front, there might be a worry that the cars will be in storage rather than on the road, thus leading to the brand being unable to resonate with a wider audience. Muller was optimistic though, as he figured that “because these people do show their cars, among their peers – they’re our potential clients. Our owners are basically doing our marketing for us”.

Images courtesy of Newspress and Spyker

Porsche 911 R Goes for Pure Racing Pedigree

Weighing in at 3,020 pounds, the 911 R (‘R’ for Racing) cuts 110 pounds from the next lightest 911 variant. This bid for cutting down the weight is all a part of Porsche’s vision for bringing back a good old pure sportscar in a bid to no longer alienate the hardcore fans, after being forced to add turbochargers and paddle-shift gearboxes to keep with the times or environmental legislation. The 911 R was displayed at the Geneva Motor Show.

The naturally aspirated 4-liter flat six-cylinder engine pumps out 500hp to propel this lightweight speedster from 0-100km/h in just 3.7 seconds, maxing out at 201mph. This new lighter body results from racing design choices such as ripping out the rear seats, using carbon-fiber for the bonnet and front guards, a magnesium roof, and aluminum everywhere…

With paddle-shift transmission gone, what’s there instead is a proper six-speed manual gearbox. The idea is that the driver is completely involved in every aspect of the car’s performance and it’s for this reason that, although the new car clearly stands out visually from any other 911, it doesn’t do so because of side skirts, front aprons or huge rear wings. Porsche also carried over two recent technological innovations. The first is rear-wheel steering to keep that pendulous back end in check, and the second is huge carbon ceramic brakes.

With its unassuming white colors though, little indicates the car’s powerful capabilities except for the twin red racing stripes detail that run from nose to tail. The 911 R is the model that puts the sporty performance back to the forefront, limited to just 911 numbered examples worldwide.

Images courtesy of Porsche

Land Shark: Aston Martin DB11

Aston Martin might be favored by a certain famous super-agent but even the likes of James Bond can’t save the brand if it isn’t able to compete with the leading lights of the automotive industry. Thankfully this Geneva Motor Show, the company brought out a grand tourer that may just close the gap between them and their biggest direct competitors such as Ferrari and McLaren. The DB11 is the long-awaited replacement for the once glamorous but now long-in-the-tooth DB9 and promises all the high quality performance with the latest in technology.

Aston-Martin-DB11-Rear

“This is not only the most important car that Aston Martin has launched in recent history, but also in its 103-year existence” claimed Aston Martin CEO Dr Andy Palmer. There are good signs indicating that. The new twin-turbocharged 600bhp 5.2-liter V12 speeds from standstill to 100km/h in 3.9 seconds, topping out at 200mph, putting it on par with the new Ferrari GTC4Lusso. This engine makes it the most powerful production car in the company’s history and the new chassis and suspension set-up, plus an automatic transmission with torque vectoring means that it could also be one of the best handling.

Furthermore, being both longer and wider than the DB9, the DB11 has enough space for the family, with a full 54mm greater head & 87mm greater legroom, and ISOFIX mountings for fitting child seats.

Aston Martin may have been behind its competitors in terms of dashboard technology in the past, but the DB11 aims to fix that. It gets park assistance, a 360-degree birds-eye view camera system and a host of other high-tech touches including a new infotainment system, voice recognition and gesture controls thanks to its business relationship with Mercedes parent company Daimler.

Aston-Martin-DB11-Interior

“We aspire to make the most beautiful cars in the world” said Palmer. The cabin still holds true to the application of craft and skill, with leather from Bridge of Wier still being put to good use, but this model has an added tastefulness to its design with open-pore wood finishes and a more refined make of upholstery.

“The DB11 is the absolute embodiment of what an Aston Martin should be and we have worked tirelessly to ensure that DB11 combines both exceptional design with the latest technology throughout” noted Palmer. What we have seen so far looks pleasing enough for those who may have the misconception that the company has lost its mettle. The DB11 is the supercar that may be hard to beat.

Rolls-Royce Goes Dark with Black Badge

It may not be the same as owning a Batmobile but Rolls-Royce’s new bespoke range of Wraiths and Ghosts, displayed at the Geneva Motor Show, is probably the next best choice of automobile for the brooding dark soul who wants a ride that’s ‘blacker than black’. The “Black Badge” series is what happens when you mix luxury with the bold and edgy. Seriously, how can all that purple not make you think of The Joker…

Rolls-Royce-Black-Spirit

Company CEO Torsten Müller-Otvos described the series as “the alter ego of Rolls-Royce Wraith and Ghost: darker, more assertive, more confident and powerful, and more demanding. The first thing that you may take note of is that even the famous silver Spirit of Ecstasy normally donning the hood has been finished up with black gloss. A darker palette of blacks and purples has been used for the interior. In terms of materials, the sensuous wooden interiors have been swapped out for carbon fiber.

Rolls-Royce-Black-Interior

The tweaks extend under the hood. The Ghost gets an extra 39 horses while its more sporting relation, the Wraith coupé gets increased torque, a new suspension and transmission set up to make it even more of a driver’s car. All this in a bid to expand to “a group of young, driven, self-made people”.Rolls-Royce-Black-Interior-2

Such changes make this perfect for the gothic-ly affluent. Put on that black eyeliner and set Burzum on the speakers and you’re more than set to face the night.

McLaren Plans £1 Billion Investment

The 570GT wasn’t the only big thing coming from British automaker McLaren for the Geneva Motor Show. CEO Mike Flewitt has plans for the next six years of the company in something he calls “Track 22” – something that involves a £1 billion investment.

“Since its inception, McLaren Automotive has launched world-class products and this has been made possible by continuous investment in our future” Flewitt said, and revealed that they were getting ready to plough 25% of their turnover back into the business. “This will see us launch 15 all-new cars or derivatives,” continued Flewitt.

One of the possible results from this investment is the development of a new engine moving towards hybrid powertrains. The company’s current hypercar, the P1, uses a ferocious combination of gas and electric power to push its speed and McLaren is looking to spread that into the rest of their range. “Our next hybrid vehicle will launch towards the latter part of our six year plan,” Flewitt explained, “And we will see at least 50% featuring hybrid technology by 2022. Hybridization has obvious CO2 and fuel consumption advantages but for us, it is all about delivering the performance and enjoyment of a McLaren.”

But Flewitt has also confirmed McLaren may be exploring electric power all the way for their next ultimate series flagship, to push towards something more astounding: “Our engineers have even started work on a one-off prototype to evaluate the possible benefits of a fully-electric powertrain in an Ultimate Series car; such is the pace of development.”

However that car will be for the far future. The next Mclaren scheduled for launch is the 570S Spider in 2017. Still, the gears are set for them to really get things off the road, hopefully.

Images are courtesy of McLaren Automotive

Bentley Mulsanne Grand Limo by Mulliner

Aimed at clients with a yen for personalization, Bentley presented their first bespoke stretch limousine at the Geneva Motor Show. The Mulsanne Grand Limo by Mulliner is now the world’s longest (6.75 meters, nose to tail) and, arguably, most comfortable limousine Of course, it is built to the typical high standards of the Crewe-based firm.

The entire car stands one meter longer than the standard Mulsanne, and is also raised 79mm higher. That gives plenty of room for the four rear passenger seats to be placed facing one another. The mandate with this car was in fact to build it in such a way that four passengers could sit in the back and enjoy equal comfort. The cabin certainly doesn’t compromise on comfort, with handcrafted wood-veneers and leather seemingly everywhere.

In another first for Bentley, smart glass is used to up the privacy factor as the partition between driver and the passenger cabin as well as the windows can change from clear to opaque at the touch of a button. Furthermore, iPad charging and docking stations help to sate modern needs in a gadget-heavy world. A bottle cooler with frosted glasses and crystal flutes, and a soft drink cabinet with bespoke tumblers provide the additional touch of class and convenience. The excess of comfort is finished with a specially created HVAC system, keeping the temperature in the cabin just as the occupants prefer it.

Make no mistake though, this luxury coach can move. Under that enlarged body is a thoroughly reworked powertrain and suspension set-up ensuring the car can still remain a smooth ride. The body itself is finished in two-tone Silver Frost and Moroccan Blue, with a unique iteration of the standard iconic chrome grilles and lower bumper grilles as a specific design for the car.

“The Mulsanne Grand Limousine showcases the exquisite craftsmanship of our in-house coachbuilder, Mulliner and exemplifies the way in which our experts consult with a customer to turn their vision into an extraordinary reality” said Wolfgang Dürheimer, chairman and chief executive of Bentley Motors.