Events>> Geneva Motor Show 2011 Pt.1

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 for some of the show floor images.

– Andy Blackmore

Geneva Motor Show Geneva Motor Show Galleries

Images: Newspress, Kilometre Magazine



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I can't believe I want to buy an Alpha!


The 4C is absolutely gorgeous!


The FT86-2 looks a lot better than the original.


Please do some more research next time. The Alfa is going in production, although they say 2012, they're Italians...

It's a rear wheel drive!!!!!!! And everything underneath the body is designed together with the guys from the X-Bow. So this thing is going to be a blast!


That SAAB looks badass!

Not a very big fan of those "handles" though..


hehehe stole the name :)

So the SLS stirling moss, has Ferrari 599 headlights..............


That mansory SLS...hmm not quite there. The headlights remind me of a certain 599 Ferrari. The new Gumpert is more refined than the old, much more beautiful. Alfa Romeo once again showed some of the purest lines in automotive scene.


That Alfa Romeo looks very Lotus-que.


Some really nice looking concepts this year, much better than most of the last decade, amazing how the 8c competizione's design language still looks good when carried over to different platform layouts. The Saab is pretty awesome and swoopy, a definite step in the right direction from the abuse GM did to the brand, I have of course commented on the Toyota FT86 II by saying the design is ALMOST there, just needs tweaking on the front fascia, the Bertone Jaguar concept is what William Lyons would have looked at for the future of Jaguar Styling if he were still alive, the Germans of course bought stylistically boring and predictable designs, the Abarth Electric Car concept styling looks awesome, reminds me of Group C cars at Le Mans, Overall the big styling winners this year were the Italians in first, the Swedes second, the Japanese third, and the Germans a distant fourth


the new 86 definitely has some similar styling cues from the trueno/levin. it's about the shape


The Ft-86 2 rendition isn't quite as I expected. The first version was a lot sleeker, and the gazoo rendition is even better. This reminds more of the Lexus LFA.


How epic is the ft86 ! Cant wait to add it to the collection :-D


It's really nice to read a write-up of a car show that in some small way acknowledges the fact that old cars kicked ass and new cars kinda suck dick, but at the same time points out the good parts of the new cars, so it isn't a total rant about the good ol' days--kinda acknowledging the future with a nod to the past in a sober way. I'd love to punch a car exec in the face and kill his kids but I guess it is what it is, you know? But just to fantasize some more, I'd love to kidnap the son of a modern car executive (any company, someone involved in signing off on final designs, maybe someone who was integral in the invention of the crossover? Or the guy who designed the Venza)-- OK more specific fantasy, sorry I'm thinking out loud. It would be my fantasy to kidnap the son of the guy who designed the Venza and torture him and smash up his testicles then show his father the video tape while screaming Venza. Also, I'm just kidding and this is a work of fiction, and I'm a fictional character.


Also, the FT-86 was ugly before this pre-production model. It's always been ugly. It's ugly because the only thing CALTY is good for is making HID headlights that look like they belong on a Gundam. I love the hachi, and a modern-day sports car excites me. But just because you're horny and there are no women, that doesn't mean that Delta Burke's corpse is attractive all of a sudden. On the reals.

These big wheels and high beltlines are so fuckin' ridiculous I could vomit. I want to get a job at an industrial design studio and make concepts that are progressively higher beltline and bigger wheels until finally one day I'd unveil my grand design, a car that was ONLY beltline and huge 40 inch wheels. Then everyone would cum and it would be the best car ever.

unrelated: Audi R8 looks like an alien vibrator for an alien pussy


These posts are SO informative. I had not noticed the Masonary looks like the SLR Stirling Moss and what appear to be F599 lights help that. I hadn't noticed the door handle of the Alfa (NOT ALPHA) and the A3 sedan does look like an old Audi 90

great post


FT86-11 is a vastly inferior concept compare to the original which was clean. The whole project is a marketing gimic. No AE86 references on this car at all other than four wheels and a fastback liftback.

Alfa 4c stunning. Thanks for posting. You know your stuff


holy cow! That Alfa looks hot as hell


Bertone should have done the new XJ, not Ian Callum!


wow.. some very futuristic design's here, i'm watching what BMW is doing - they are quite ahead of the field with innovations.. and actually putting them into practice & production. - Hon. mention the Alfa Romeo 4C - keep us posted!


The BMW concept reminds me of the Z1..


Today's "top" automotive designers and coachbuilders are certainly getting the best of the white powder, maybe they got their hands on a jeffery.... Although, the Bertone B99 racecar kicks ass.


There are a few cars in here that I liked, like the Bertone Jaguar future concept, the Audi A3 sedan, and surprisingly the Mansory SLS. Yes, I'm confused also... Mansory finally actually did something that looks somewhat good. Who would've thaught? I also liked the looks of the Alfa Romeo 4C, although I'd like to see the same body with, say, a V6 (preferably with some sort of forced induction ;])? Call it the 6C? Sounds good to me.

Oh and "An American", I'm thinkin you mean "Alfa" and whats so bad about wanting an Alfa Romeo? They're great cars... not super reliable but still great.


Alfa is the new Lotus! ;))


Listen you bloody twats for the last time the FT86 is something entirely new, it does not have to look like a goddamn AE86 or Supra, wtf do you want a reissue of those damn things so you can live out your crappy Fast and Furious fantasies and push the resale value of unmolested pristine examples through the stratosphere by badly modifying the new ones to the point where they are a bad used sports car investment like you did with the RX7, Supra, 3000GT, and 300ZX?

Also I want my Shaguar make it happen Bertone and Jaguar.


Totally agree with you on the A3 Sedan.


Couldn't agree more about the FT-86 Concept II. The original was way cleaner and more subtle. If they are basing it off of an ae86 it should be subtle. It was a corolla in the U.S. for goodness sake. It doesn't need flash it needs to function like the purist car it was based on nothing more and nothing less.


Great post.

@American2 - Did you even look at the SLR Stirling Moss, Andy is right, it does look like that model, regardless of lights.

@Nick - Alfa is evaluating production as reported on many sites. It is not signed off despite other sites might claim...Hopefully it will come to the US if it does go on sale.

@designer - You in the car industry?

More posts like this please SpeedHunters


Alfa Romeo 4C Concept = ¿Lotus Elise in Italia?


oh my days that Bertone Jag looks sooo freakin slick! and that race :o !!!!!


Ugly cars everywhere.


Audi A3 sedan concept is so cool, i didnt expect that A3 will be in sedan form, looks very hot and stylish!


4C looks better than the 8C


SamW - Toyota have marketed this as a modern day AE86, named it a **86 and released images with a AE86 in the background, so I think its understandable that people expect reference to an AE86.

Part 2 up shortly


Well sorry but obviously until they decide that there is a market for rear wheel drive Corolla's again you will not have an AE86, Toyota's marketing people are obviously shit because they haven't tried to market anything sporty like this for a long time. This is quite obviously a clean break from anything previosuly released by Toyota and it looks like it is going to compete with the 370Z. Don't hate the car people, hate the marketing department and the consumer market which does not demand rear wheel drive Corollas.


That full carbon Mansory SLS is straight Batmobile status.


do mini Rocketman's doors work like Renault Avantime ones.


So Spyker DOESN'T own Saab now? Did it ever? :s


Mr Z - In concept, quite similar, but the hinge is much further forward so it brings the door much closer to the front. The Carbon piece (I suppose it is still part of the hinge), rotates 90 degrees to push the doors away from the car (The Aventime doesnt have that). Better solution.

Russ - Spyker did own SAAB for a while, but its owner recently sold Spyker to a Russian billionarie who also owns the company in the UK which has built Spykers in recent years


Great coverage! Inspiration for the next gen Z? I sure hope not!


the audi lines, looks alot like mitsubishi's evo x


Check out my review of the hot new Alfa Romeo 4C model. Find pictures, video, specification, price and much more on this page. This attractive two-seater is one of the most beautiful cars today. This year this car is really coming to the dealers.