The Geneva Motor Show is one of the most significant and largest motor shows for car manufacturers as they debut new cars, showcase future trends and models with concepts and try to out-do their competition. Geneva has a real buzz this year, which has been missing for a while, thanks to the economic climate. Speaking to a few people at the show on press day, the general sentiments was that the positive upturn from Paris continued here, having by-passed the Detroit Show.
With so many new cars, we are going to split these cars into two posts, starting off with the concepts. Special thanks to George Achorn and Stuart Fowle from Kilometer Magazine for allowing us to share some of their images from the Show.
One of the stars of the show is the new Alfa Romeo 4C Concept. It’s their interpretation of a modern small sports car to compete with hot hatches. I’m not a fan of Matte Red, having seen it a few times at SEMA, but it doesn’t look quite so bad on this car! If you can get past the hue on the 4C, you’ll see a well proportioned car which is influenced by the Alfa Romeo 8C. I also see little bits of Fiat Barchetta in the front as well with harder creases on the front end than its larger sister.
I like how the front fender crease drops down into the air intake at the rear of the door. The surround of the air intake also doubles as the door handle.
The rear is also very well resolved. Few cars work well with a single round light, but the 4C is an exception, helped by surface creases and the large diameter of the rear light.
I love this car! I can’t help but think this is the sort of car Lotus should be doing!
Mike Garrett has already reported on the FT-86 II concept. The form is more production like than the first concept, most noticeably around the front bumper and rear bumper although the form isn’t as clean. It looks a little extreme and forced, for a production model, so don’t be surprised if the production car is toned-down a little. It lacks the purity of the original concept.
Other than the rear wheel drive, it lacks any styling carry-overs from the AE86. Is that a good or bad thing? Time doesn’t stand still.
I need to be transparent here. I loved Audis from the 80s and 90s. Clean geometric shapes, tight surfacing, aerodynamic and not fussy. I’m not such a fan of recent designs, but this is one big exception. This new A3 Sedan concept previews the next generation of A3 and to me, it reminds me of m old ‘B4’ chassis’ I owned.
The design language is crisper and flows more than recent designs. I like the small brushed aluminum elements around the car and the latest interpretation of the Audi front end graphic.
Obviously much bigger than previous A3s. The concept has a 408hp 5 cylinder turbocharged engine. One of the stars of the show for me.
Mini is going back to its routes with the new Rocketman concept. I’m often asked my opinion of concepts in the office and on first sight I didn’t think much of it, but now more information has been released, I now see it as a more impressive design.
Aside from the odd proportions (large bulbous front end, small cabin), the Rocketman Concept has clever interior packaging. This is the latest concept to use a 3+1 seat arrangement.
I like the stripped out, basic dashboard, another nod to the original Issigonis Mini.
The doors are a fantastic piece of engineering with a double hinge as they slide out and open. Perfect for tight spots.
Also unusual for the lower section of the bodywork to tuck underneath on a modern day car.
The open mouth expression on the front end looks a little weird, but the rear light treatment is cool. The pull-out boot/trunk is a cool device.
Will it go into Production? Most Mini Concepts under BMW’s watch have, so one would assume this has potential in the future in a watered down form. As a Brit, the best news here, it’s small, just like a Mini should be!
The latest BMW concept continues their design language of the Vision Efficient Dynamics Concept, shown in 2009. The kidney grille remains stretched and angled back like recent concepts, creating an aggressive front help, helped by the sharp leading edge of the front fenders. A very strong aggressive identity.
21st century version of ‘underfloor neons’, fibre optic lighting is also evident on this car, just as they are on the Mini.
The ‘ConnectedDrive’ title relates to the idea where a driver can decide how much, or how little information, and potentially control the driver has. One interesting feature is the doors which disappear into the side sill, like the BMW Z1 from 1989.
I’m a big fan of this concept, the form and creases flowing along the car is well resolved, particularly between the wheelbase.
This is VW’s latest attempt at a modern day Microbus based loosely on the smaller ‘Up’ project. This works quite well mixing modern styling details with some retro elements, but much of this is down to the two-tone paint work. Take that away and the design and connection to the past isn’t quite as strong. Times move on, as do buyer requirements, so this is more of a small MPV and sophisticated than the original 60’s classic.
The Bulli is Electric, using an Lithium-ion battery pack. I prefer the last Microbus concept, which was closer in size and style to the original, but it will be interesting to see if this makes production. The detailing and fit suggests it could be close.
Needs a ‘Keep Drifting Fun’ sticker on the rear!
Coachbuilder, Touring Superleggera were commissioned to design this new Gumpert Torante supercar. Nothing particularly revolutionary or striking but it holds together. At least the Apollo was distinctive. Under the skin the 4.2 V8 engine is turbocharged which results in 700 hp.
Not quite a concept, but will be produced in very few numbers, Mansory have produced this aggressive version of the SLS Roadster, which actually looks pretty good. It’s a little like the front or a SLR Stirling Moss has been mated to a SLS. Imagine that in your rear view mirror.
The Esflow is one of many Electric concepts at the show. I included this as its sportscar appearance has elements of Fairlady/Z design with the fender flares and window line. Inspiration for the next gen Z?
The Istituto Europea di Design of Turin is one of the top Vehicle design schools in Europe. This is their interpretation of an Abarth Electric sportscar. Quite interesting for me as I’ve followed one of its designers, Emre Husmen for many years when he posted designs on Deviantart.
This elegant concept is Bertone’s suggestion of a future Jaguar X-Tupe sedan. Styling is conservative, but heavily influenced by the 60s XJ6.
Bertone also showed a race version of the B99, reminding me of the old Broadspeed Jaguar XJ12C ‘Big Cat’ Touring cars of the 70s.
It wasn’t long ago that we were reporting of Saab’s deminse. At the Eleventh hour, Victor Muller of Spyker bought the company and hired Ferrari F4/5 designer Jason Castriota. His first concept is the PhoeniX. The designer explains Saab will be going back to its roots with aerodynamic looking designs.
Muller has just sold Spyker to concentrate on Saab.
The front end shows a new treatment of the Saab grille. Take away the Silver Mercury paint and it isn’t as distinctive as the awesome Aero-X, one of my favourite concepts, but its a good start to the rebirth of Saab.
In Part Two, we will take a look at some production cars and concept cars were are close to production. If you are Central Europe, the Geneva Motor Show runs from 3rd-13th March.
Thanks to George and Stuart from Kilometer Magazine.com for some of the show floor images.
– Andy Blackmore
Images: Newspress, Kilometre Magazine