Geneva Motor Show 2011: Beauty, Brawn and the Bizarre
By: Keith Barry
Article Source: http://www.wired.com/autopia/2011/03/geneva-motor-show/?pid=745&viewall=true
From the sublime to the bizarre, no other auto show thrills like Geneva. Under no other roof but that of the Geneva Palexpo could you find an electric Rolls Royce, an Indian microcar and an outlandish French concept. And that’s not even mentioning the most exotic supercars, built in countries we didn’t even know had automobile industries.
With the knowledge that variety, and horsepower, is the spice of life, we bring you the concepts and cars that caught our eye at the 2011 Geneva Motor Show.
BMW Vision ConnectedDrive
Any news from BMW is big news, especially a concept that showcases a new design language. However, the folks in Munich sent over the Vision ConnectedDrive to highlight function, not form.
While its sumptuous silhouette and roll-down Z1-style doors are certainly lust-worthy, we’d also love to have its 3-D augmented heads-up display that can be customized to show the driver anything from a clear windshield to architectural information about nearby buildings.
What a difference a dash makes. The Abarth Scorpione 1300 was a tiny, rear-wheel drive racer that got about 8 mpg and did 0-62 in 12 seconds. The Scorp-Ion, however, is an all-electric, lithium-ion (get it?) battery-powered design study from Turin’s Istituto Europeo di Design that puts electric motors at each wheel. We’d like both, please.
Alfa Romeo 4C
Please excuse our behavior when the 4C hits the showroom floor at our local Chrysler dealership, because we’ll be squealing like tweens at a Justin Bieber concert. For us, the long-rumored return of Alfa has been like the promise of a Verizon iPhone, and it looks like it actually might be happening this time.
Sure, it’ll start out at $60k, but it’ll be here, carving up the 101, valeted outside Manhattan hot spots and drooled over from sea to shining sea.
Alpina BMW B5 BiTurbo
It’s the consummate Q-ship, the sublime sleeper, the überwagon. Alpina worked their Bavarian black magic on a 5-series wagon to give it 500 horsepower out of a 4.4-liter twin-turbo V8. Amazingly, the bodywork and 20-inch rims look downright classy.
We’d love to get groceries in this monster, but we’re pretty sure they’d all end up pasted to the rear windshield.
Audi A3 Concept
Another score from Audi. Not only does the A3 look good as a sedan, but its stats are just as breathtaking: 408 hp from a direct injection, 2.5-liter, 5-cylinder engine mated to a seven-speed S Tronic transmission. The aluminum and carbon-fiber 20-inch wheels might reduce unsprung weight, but we’re pretty sure they won’t end up as standard equipment on a production vehicle.
Designed for the French pavilion at the 2010 Shanghai World Expo, the Metropolis luxo-barge plug-in hybrid has silently sailed into Geneva. Still no word on if it’s been given the green light for production, but if it does it’ll certainly give the Panamera a run for its money, and become a worthy successor to the incomparable DS.
No, we didn’t pull a photo of a Gallardo off wreckedexotics.com — that’s how it’s supposed to look. The Evoluzione is actually the creation of students of Swiss designer Franco Sbarro, who is best known as the inventor of the hubless wheel. We’d like to say the car is a beast if not a beauty, but unfortunately there’s only a 1.8-liter Audi four-cylinder engine in the Evoluzione’s bedsore of a rear end.
Mansory 458 Italia Siracusa
We’ll never forgive them for what they did to a Mercedes SLS, and the Dodge Challenger paint job isn’t quite our cup of tea, but at least the tuners at Mansory squeezed another 30 horsepower out of, and shaved off 150 pounds off, a stock 458 Italia.
Nissan Esflow concept
Unfortunately for Nissan, the Esflow debuted online a few weeks before its big unveil in Geneva. That doesn’t change the facts: It’s a mid-engine, rear-drive EV with a nearly 150-mile range that can do 0-62 in under 5 seconds. If Nissan decides to build the Esflow, it could be the new Z for the Leaf generation.
If they still make coffee-table books of supercars, this one will be on the cover. Replacing the Pagani Zonda, the ultra-exotic Huayra is so exclusive, you have to put down a $100,000 deposit just to learn how the model name is pronounced.
Aside from the fact the car might be sold in the United States, the rest of the news is just math: 700 horsepower + 12-cylinder twin-turbo engine built by AMG + 0-62 time of 3.3 seconds = around $1.6 million.
If you can imagine the styling of the Nissan Juke getting any more, er, “unique,” you’ll have a Renault Captur. Apparently, Renault still has enough money to hint at future models with outré concepts, and they’ve done so with the Captur. Beneath that rugged exterior lie seats made of fluorescent orange rubber bands and similarly colored luminescent dashboard panels.
A Rolls-Royce is supposed to be silent and powerful, right? It makes sense that it would be electrified. Still, a company as staid (and low-volume) as Rolls would go about the process quite conservatively. Hence, the 102EX is a one-off concept meant to judge customer interest and ensure that it delivers an “authentic Rolls-Royce experience,” according to CEO Torsten Müller-Ötvös.
While we’ll never see one in the United States, SEAT’s iBX previews the design direction that the entire brand — a Volkswagen Group subsidiary — will take in the coming years. The two-door crossover is also a range-extended plug-in EV with about a 28-mile electric-only range.
The Pixel is a city car in every sense of the world. Tata claims that it comfortably fits four adults in a package that’s only 10 feet long — jut a little bigger than a Smart ForTwo — and gets over 60 mpg with start-stop technology and regenerative braking. The doors open upward, Lambo style, to make exiting the vehicle a snap even in the tightest parking spaces. Most interestingly, however, are the rear wheels that can turn in opposing directions, allowing the vehicle to “pivot” and parallel park effortlessly.
Toyota FT-86 II
This Toyota-Subaru creation is the latest iteration of the rear-wheel-drive sports car that Toyota has been promising us for years, looking a little more production-ready than the previous FT-86 concept we saw. We’d love it if they called it a Supra.
Volkswagen Golf R
Volkswagen debuted new colors and interior stylings for the Golf R hot hatch, which is already on sale in Europe but debuts as a 2012 model in the United States. Perhaps the new colors of “Oryx White,” “Carbon Steel Grey,” “Space Grey” and “Aplomb Blue” (shown above) will make it stateside as well. Interiors of the show cars feature Nappa leather.