Gearheads, this is your red carpet. Since it began in 1905, the International Geneva Motor Show has been held annually in Switzerland. This is where automakers go to shine. Everyone from household names like Ford and Volkswagen to more exotic, independent, or upstart car manufacturers are there, showing off their new ideas.
This year, the show ran from March 8 through 18 and focused on EVs (electric vehicles) due to trends in the automotive industry. And wow, what trends they are. There are many entries on this list that'll make you rethink everything you believe you know about electric cars and hybrids. But there were also several other categories present: motorcars with three or more wheels, special bodywork/car design/engineering, tuned cars, accessories and parts, OEMs (original equipment manufacturers), workshop installations, miscellaneous, and attractions.
Innovation requires risk, and throughout history, Geneva has been the coming-out party for thousands of concept vehicles. Some have been more successful than others, however (i.e. the nuclear-powered concept cars of the 1950s). This year was no different, and the show was packed full of amazing concepts (spoiler: you'll need a pilot's license to drive one of them). But it's not all about new faces either. A few legendary discontinued vehicles are making their return, and now that we've seen them again, it's hard to believe we ever lived without them.
But enough talk. Without further ado, here are the most wonderful, wacky, and weird things we saw at this year's Geneva.
Aston Martin just called out McLaren and Ferrari. Last year, Aston Martin turned heads at Geneva with their supercar, the Valkyrie, but this year, they've returned with a track version: the new Valkyrie AMR Pro. Aston Martin claims they have now created the fastest road car-based vehicle of its kind. On paper, that claim appears to be mostly true.
The AMR Pro has a top speed of 225 mph, which it accomplishes via its 1,100 bhp-producing 6.5L naturally aspirated V12 engine.
The Ferrari FXX K "only" goes 217 mph, but the McLaren P1 GTR also goes 225 mph, so if the AMR Pro is going to beat it around a track, it's going to have to have a little something extra in the handling department. However, Aston Martin won't start delivering AMR Pros until 2020, so we'll just have to wait until then to find out.
When a legendary automaker debuts a new car, you pay attention. At this year's Geneva, Ferrari introduced the 488 Pista. Named for the Italian word for "racetrack," the V8 Pista has been put through its paces and proven itself worthy with five class titles at the FIA World Endurance Championship. It boasts 568 ft-lb, the same as its predecessor (the 488 GTB), but the Pista weighs 200 lbs less and has more horsepower (710 bhp, to be precise). And any vehicle that can break three seconds in the 0-60 (the Pista does it in 2.85), as well as top 200 mph (top speed is 211 mph), deserves our attention. Perhaps best of all, Ferrari has included its Dynamic Enhancer software (which essentially makes driving it a bit easier) so that “all drivers, professional or otherwise,” can enjoy it.
Hyundai calls the design for their new Le Fil Rouge Concept "sensuous sportiness." Their goal is to balance proportion, architecture, style, and technology to produce more "emotional" vehicles, not just in the Rogue, but in their entire product line (the name translates as "a common thread," which is a nod to the Korean carmaker's belief that the past, the present, and the future are all connected).
Even though the four-door Rouge was designed according to the Golden Ratio (the mathematical concept that's considered to be expressive of beauty), it's more than just a pretty face. For instance, it's Level 4 autonomous driving mode has different lighting modes. The car doesn't need visible light to see where it's going, so it sends the energy to other uses. But when the human is driving, it returns to normal headlight levels. Talk about a smart car.
"The fastest car in the world"—that's what automaker company Corbellati claims they have with the Missile, their new hypercar that debuted at this year's Geneva. If you haven't heard of Corbellati before now, you're not alone. For the past 70 years, the family has been making jewelry. But if their word is as good as gold, the Missile will go over 500 kph (which, for those playing along at home, is more than 311 mph). For comparison, the fastest car in the world right now according to Guinness World Records is the Koenigsegg CCR at 387.866 km/h (241.009 mph).
Supposedly the Missile gets its mind-blowing speed with a 9.0L twin-turbo, quad-cam V8 that hits 1,800 bhp and 2,350 ft-lb of torque.
The Missile certainly looks the part, but everyone knows talk is cheap. I look forward to seeing what this vehicle can really do.
Electric and hybrid supercars seem to be the name of the game at Geneva. Case in point—check out Techrules Ren RS. The China-based company turned heads at last year's Geneva with their Ren supercar, which was designed in collaboration with Fabrizio (the Formula One driver) and Giorgetto Giugiaro (the Italian automobile designer). The fighter jet-inspired RS is a single-seat, racetrack-only version of the Ren—that means business. It comes complete with a racing-spec roll cage yet without paint on its woven carbon-fiber exterior. Its six electric motors produce 1,287 bph and hit a top speed of 205 mph. The secret lies in the company's proprietary TREV (Turbine-Recharging Electric Vehicle) micro-turbine hybrid range-extender technology, which allows the car a range of 727 miles using only 21 gallons of diesel.
Icona car-manufacturing company may be based in Shanghai, China, but its roots are Italian. Founded in 2010 from ideas that germinated in Turin, Italy, Icona's previous release was the head-turning Vulcano, a scissor-doored titanium V12 supercar. But now, Icona is following that up with something very different: the four-seater Neo, which they debuted at the 2016 Festival International Automobile in Paris. Styled after the urban environment that is the Neo's intended stomping ground, the tiny two-door, electric hatchback boasts a city driving range of 150 km (which is about 93 miles). I don't recommend taking it on the freeway, however, as it has only 28 bhp. Designed to be agile and efficient, the Neo should give you zero problems when it comes to parallel parking.
In case you just happen to have $400,000 and a pilot's license stuffed in your wallet, you might be interested in the PAL-V Liberty, the first commercial flying car. On the road, the three-wheeled, two-seat Liberty drives a bit like a motorcycle and can do 0-60 in under nine seconds. To go airborne, you'll need to complete a transformation that takes five to ten minutes, but once that's done, Netherlands-based PAL-V says that “maneuvering and swiftly getting around obstacles like a hummingbird will make you smile.” The Liberty has separate engines for the road (99 bhp) and air (197 bhp), which have ranges of 817 miles and 310 miles respectively. But in case you only have $200,000 and a pilot's license, PAL-V is also planning a more budget-friendly Liberty Sport model.
Don't you love this totally gorgeous Koenigsegg? So do I. Which is too bad because we can't have one. This custom creation is one of only 80 that will be made by the Swedish auto company. Koenigsegg says the Regera (which translates as "to reign" in English) "is specifically designed to be a luxury Megacar alternative to Koenigsegg’s traditional extreme, lightweight, race-like road cars."
This particular model flaunts a Swedish Blue and Ocean Green finish with a matching interior.
But it also has the same 1,500 bhp-producing dry-sump twin-turbo, DOHC, 5.0-liter V8 hybrid engine as the other 79 Regeras. The Regera is so special, in fact, that this is the first time Koenigsegg has ever had two different models in production at the same time.
Move over, Rolls-Royce and Bentley. Lagonda is here to take your places as the luxury brand of choice. Or should I say, it's here to take back the top reputation that it used to own? The brand was founded in England in 1907, and thirty years later, they were the producers of the most elite luxury cars in the world. Aston Martin, tired of going head to head with the company as a competitor, purchased the brand and gradually allowed it to dwindle down. For years, the only Lagonda descendant in production has been a sedan, the Aston Martin Lagonda.
But no more. With their reveal of the Lagonda Vision concept EV at this year's Geneva, Aston Martin is declaring their intention to finally return the brand to its former glory.
Now, this takes me back to high school, when the Supra was the car of choice for street racers out past curfew. Discontinued in 2002, now, the Japanese superstar is back for its fifth gen, and it's looking better than ever. Available hopefully in 2020 (though you should be able to "drive" it sooner on Playstation 4 in an upcoming update for Gran Turismo Sport), the shiny new Supra will feature a super low center of gravity and a 50/50 weight distribution. Leaked specs hint at a 3.0L inline-six engine that will produce 335 bph and 332 ft-lb. Strangely, however, this two-seater-only racer (yes, I'm calling it that because even if you buy the road version, we all know what you'll be using it for) won't be available with manual transmission.
While the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and subsequent tsunami that hit Japan may seem like a long time ago, there are plenty of people who have not forgotten. Japanese car-manufacturing company Fomm has certainly not, as evidenced by their entry in Geneva, the Concept One electric car. Called "the world’s smallest class four-seater electric vehicle," the Concept One weighs only 1,014 pounds and is a mere 8 feet long (for comparison, a Honda Civic is 20 inches wider). It boasts a 62-mile range with electric hub motors and a lithium-ion battery, but the real kicker happens during an emergency. Targeting the Concept One to flood-prone areas, Fomm designed it to float like a boat, which is steered with motorcycle-like handlebars instead of a traditional steering wheel.
In 2013, Felix Eaton was watching a TV adaptation of one of Agatha Christie's Hercule Poirot stories (Never heard of him? Go watch Murder on the Orient Express.) when he fell in love with the cars of the 1930s. This inspired him to found Eadon Green and manufacture the Black Cuillin, which was based on the grand tourers of that era and debuted at Geneva last year. This year, however, Eadon Green returns with another 1930s inspired tourer, the Zeclat. While it looks impressive on the outside, you might be surprised to learn that it's basically a stock Corvette C7 everywhere that counts. The Zeclat website says that its "naturally aspirated 6.2-liter V8" has a "0-60 time of 3.6 seconds." Shockingly, that's the same as the Corvette, but while the 2019 C7 is priced around $105,000, I'd be willing to bet the Zeclat is just a tad more.
If you think the new Stratos by Manifattura Automobili Torino (MAT) has a rather retro exterior, then you've got a good eye. Back in 2011, Italian car-design firm Pininfarina began work on a prototype that would pay homage to the iconic Lancia Stratos rally cars of the 1970s. The result was the Stratos, which was built using the chassis of a Ferrari 430 Scuderia. The fact that customers were pre-ordering the Stratos left and right mattered nothing to Ferrari, who declined to give Pininfarina permission to manufacture the Stratos.
But life finds a way, or at least the Stratos does. MAT has picked up where Pininfarina left off and will be producing 25 of the New Stratos. Prices start at €550,000, which also includes the donor Ferrari F430, so could you almost even call it a bargain?
This used to be a first-gen Porsche Cayenne. Now, it's basically an experiment for the science fair. This is the Sbarro 4x4+2, which was created by the students at the French-based Espera Sbarro school (of Franco Sbarro, the Swiss designer and founder of Sbarro motor company). The 4x4+2's 5.0L V8 engine produces 550 bhp, and it has a six-speed automatic transmission, but that's about all anyone knows for sure. Supposedly, the extra side wheels can be deployed to make it a six-wheeled rock crawler, but they don't appear to be powered, so one wonders how that's supposed to happen. Besides, the clunky aerodynamics seem to say that rock crawling isn't its intended use at all. If I had to guess, I'd say the students at Espera Sbarro simply sent it to Geneva on a dare.
Another exotic debut from this year's Geneva is the Zenvo TSR-S, a street version of Zenvo's racing-machine TSR. The S will have a twin-supercharged 5.8L V8 that boasts sequential fuel injection and two centrifugal superchargers. And what's the result?
The S can produce either 700 bhp or 1,177 bhp, depending on whether you've set it to Minimum or Maximum mode.
In order to help get all that power to the pavement, the S also has a spoiler operated with external hydraulics that both provide downforce and work as anti-roll bars. But don't fall in love with the S just yet. Zenvo only produces five cars each year, and none are yet available in North America, as the company is still working to gain global crash certification. No hurry, Zenvo. I'll just be waiting right here.
On their website, Bugatti calls the Chiron Sport their "breathtaking new interpretation of the ultimate super sports car." Considering the models already in Bugatti's line up (the EB110, the Veyron, the Type 57SC Atlantic, etc.), that's really saying something. The Sport has a completely insane (you may want to sit down for this) 1,500 bhp and 1,180 lb-ft, the same as the "ordinary" Chiron but with a stiffer ride to give it more responsive handling. The 16-cylinder AWD Sport is also 40 lbs lighter than its predecessor, which, according to Bugatti, makes it five seconds faster. And you can get one in any color you desire for a scant $3.3 million starting later this year. Sure, no problem. Do you think Bugatti takes checks?
In case the 789 bhp- and 590 ft-lb-producing twin-turbo 4.0L V8 of the regular McLaren Senna isn't enough for you, there's always the Senna GTR. For a mere $1.4 million (almost double the cost of the regular Senna), 75 lucky customers will have a chance to get the super-caffeinated version of McLaren's famous hypercar starting next year. So, what do you get for your extra cash?
The GTR may weigh the same as its predecessor, but it offers more grip, more downforce, and an upgrade to 814 bhp.
It'll also include a racing gearbox, track suspension, and Pirelli racing slicks in the standard options. And as an added bonus, you're practically guaranteed to have the most head-turning front-splitter and rear-diffuser at the track.
It feels weird to call the Icona Nucleus the Neo's little brother, even if it is technically the case. For one, just look at its size. Whereas the Neo is a nimble little urban fiend, Icona calls the Nucleus "the ultimate self-driving living room." That's right—we're in the age of self-driving vehicles, and Skynet is just a hop, skip, and a jump away. Seriously, though, the Nucleus lacks many of the things we've come to expect in modern cars, such as a steering wheel, pedals, a dashboard, and a driver’s seat. The 17.2' by 7.0' concept behemoth fits six people, while it's mainly glass upper offers an unimpeded view of where you're (not) driving. No word yet on whether or not the glass is Terminator-proof.
Unpopular opinion time: I'm just not that thrilled with Lamborghinis. It's hard to argue with their performance (as long as you don't mind them catching on fire), but when it comes to their signature look, I just... no. But yet, even I found the word "wow" escaping my mouth when I first saw the new Huracán Performante Spyder. It's quite the looker, but that's not all. With a 5.2L V10 engine and a seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox, it produces 640 bhp—good enough for a blazing 2.3-second 0-60 and a 201 mph top speed (one wonders what it could manage if not for the convertible top). So, what's the catch? It's a doozie. The Spyder only has automatic transmission. Freaking seriously? Even when paying the top-of-the-line price of $308,859, a manual transmission is one option that's not available.
The car that was humorously redesigned to be Richard Hammond-proof (where are my Grand Tour fans at?), Rimac's C_Two is basically what NASA would use if they decided to go to the moon on electric power. This grand-tourer hypercar sets a new bar with its four electric motors and four gearboxes that produce a staggering 1,914 bhp and almost 1,700 ft-lb.
That's good enough for a 1.85-second 0-60 and a top speed of 258 mph.
But if you don't go quite that fast, you'll be able to take advantage of the C_Two's 400-mile total range. And if that isn't futuristic enough, it also has a Level 4 autonomous driving mode, which is higher than that of any production car offered today. Plus, look at its gorgeous 100% carbon-fiber body and butterfly doors. Did I mention the butterfly doors?