The 2013 Geneva Salon International De L’Auto opened today, and as has been heavily trailed in the weeks leading up to the event there has been a whole slew of new cars and concepts revealed at the show.
I’ll be taking a more detailed look across the myriad of manufacturer, styling and tuner displays in a following story, but as a taster here are some first impressions from the opening press day, two days ahead of the doors opening to the general public. Italy and the USA dominate this first foray, which will feature a brief look at some of the bigger debuts. There’s an awful lot of seeing red – it’s the colour of 2013, it would seem.
What a trio of launches we’ve had from Italy, with something long awaited (the Alfa Romeo 4C)…
Something expected at some stage but not necessarily now (the LaFerrari)…
…and something that was a suckerpunch of ‘where did that come from’ (the Lamborghini Veneno). I think it’s actually a shame that new models now get full photo-shoot quality reveals ahead of any big motor show – let alone the one that is still one of the most important international shows on the calendar.
It ruins the night-before-Christmas effect that motor shows should have. When the covers are pulled back, I want to be completely floored, and have jaw ache by the end of the day. Thankfully the coachbuilders still typically take this approach.
That said, the Lamborghini pictures were never going to do justice to the savage brutality of the car in real life, so everyone was still primed to see just what madness the black drape covered.
It’s not like their existing range is that shabby, so things were only ever going to be positive.
The Veneno turns out to be eye-cripplingly extreme. Like a war robot that was waiting to activate and destroy everything in the immediate vicinity. I didn’t want to stand that close at first, until I was sure it was safe… It was like facing off against Gort.
My god. Look at it! Everything has been thrown at it. Over the top? Yes. Are they likely to apologise if you don’t like it? No. They’re going to destroy you with laser beams.
Tomorrow I’m going to try and man up and spend a good amount of time drinking in all the details of this utterly insane car.
Then there’s the so-good-they-named-it-twice Ferrari. If MP4-12C could be accused of being too dry a name, then the LaFerrari is surely the diametric opposite. The only problem is what they’ll call its successor (and the amusing comments in Mike’s preview story have already followed this kind of theme).
There’s a lot going on with the body of this 950hp hybrid hypercar: the wide fenders cut in to a narrow cockpit section before flaring out again at the rear. The nose is obviously generating huge amounts of downforce from the cavernous aperture in combination with the inverted wing – and the rear has similarly impressive diffusers.
Just as every previous Ferrari hypercar has carried nods to the looks of their mere supercar sisters, so does the LaFerrari. But don’t be fooled by the obvious family resemblance: like many car companies, Ferrari are just sticking to designs of certain parts for aesthetic consistency. One light does not this car a 458 make. You’ve read the performance figures?
There are plenty of old school cues as well: the wide shut-lines hark back to the ’80s. The central dorsal area of the cockpit also has a pleasing visual weight to it (it looks much wider and taller in the flesh), which reminds me of old prototypes.
Then there was the Alfa Romeo 4C – yes, there was a red one, but here’s to diversity. I carry Alfa bias proudly, but it really is a prettier car in real life than I’d expected. Compact but lithe, it just looks fast.
There’s been a lot of talk about the two-seat design and high rear suggesting Elise and even Europa. A more positive take would be the influence behind it: there’s definitely a concentration on light weight and getting the maximum out of a small but efficient engine, which is definitely a Lotus ethos.
At its heart, like with any self-respecting performance car in the stratospheric price range, is a carbon monocoque. The engine is only a 1.75-litre turbo, but heavily optimised with anti-lag and connected to a sequential ‘box.
We’re back to the red theme with the American contingent: both SRT and the Chevrolet camps have apparently been ordering in plenty of tins of the red stuff.
So, what is the Stingray like in real life? Does it deserve to carry such a famous epithet?
Predictably, I’d say (hell) yeah. The Corvette has been used to major shape changes, and perhaps people have just got a little conservative after the relatively small upgrade from the C5 to C6.
Along with all those angles at the front, the rear is the big change – and in the flesh, to these eyes it just looks exactly how a modern muscle car should. Despite the sharp lines and angles you still get the classic high-to-low three-quarter view, and those quad-exhausts are just as over the top as you’d hope. European influences, perhaps, but not at all European in outcome.
Then there’s the Viper. I understand that it can seem like a reflection of the original at first glance…
…especially with that oh-so-familar curving rear and slash side intakes.
But that what I like about it: not as extreme an evolution as the Corvette, the Viper doesn’t seem to have strayed too far from its family line and is all the better for it. And it’s still got an enormous truck engine in (or as near as dammit), and that means it’s still a Viper. And it’s going to Le Mans!
I’ll touch on one more red-tinged concept before closing out, on the Pininfarina stand. Badged as a Ferrari, the Sergio (a tribute to the founder of Pininfarina, who died last year…) is based on a stiffened 458 chassis and its mechanicals, but you certainly wouldn’t pick that up by looking at the car. The covered outline promised something out of the ordinary…
Once the wrap was pulled, this amazing barchetta design was waiting for us. Awash in ’70s concept styling cues, it’s like the original Pink Panther car crossed with a powerboat. The only thing is that it does look like your head might be ripped off if you drove it at speed – helmets are obligatory, and a special storage compartment is provided.
The rear is less retro, badge aside. A limited production run is possible.
As with the Italian stands, McLaren’s stand was mobbed pretty much all day and almost impossible to get to, as the pre-production updates to the P1 were revealed.
The big change is… that the doors open. Well, that you can now see what’s behind the doors at least. And what’s inside looks like a very nice place to be. On a serious note, we now have the full power train details: the mid-mounted V8 is mated to a hybrid electric system, and will give a seven-second 0-200kph and 0-300kph in 17 seconds – five seconds faster than the F1. Top speed is limited to 350kph.
Ron Dennis seemed suitably proud of his new baby – so much so that an F1 was put on display besides all the 12Cs and pointed to rather frequently. I’ll naturally show images of that in the next story.
Another car going through pre-production – though one considerably more elongated than the P1 – is the NSX.
It’s being dragged out for all the big motor shows now, and it still looks great. I’m not sure that people care if the grills have changed – we just want to see it on the road.
This is (still) a great-looking supercar. It’s interesting seeing it in the context of these other cars, which so overtly use historical or family reference points as part of the design. The NSX is unashamedly modern from every angle and resolutely looking forward, not back.
There have been a few concepts this year where, despite the prestigious badges, the designs are ones that maybe only their mothers could love off the bat… This IED design has proved that I don’t love everything with an Alfa badge.
But putting things back in order was Touring’s svelte reinterpretation of the Disco Volante.
Giugiaro have gone completely mad and jacked up their Brivido to make this Parcour ‘off-road’ performance coupé – built on a Gallardo platform! A roadster version was also on display.
But as well as more details on these cars, I’ll have all the usual suspects coming up as well.
…and more besides. For instance, what are Kia up to? They keep making some actually rather cool cars – and not just this concept. They need to stop it.
Really impressed with the look they've gotten from the new 'vette. I think the Alpha 4C has a lot of potential, but i'm not crazy about the front end.
Alls I want to know is how much game play/ promotional spending will it cost me to get the Ferrari(s) the Lambo and the Alfa's in Forza?
... couldn't give two sh*ts about the "new" NSX
Antonis_K I agree. It has a face only a mother can love and even then it would be put up for adoption. Audi dont make weird looking sh*t and it makes you wonder wtf was going on when they decided to build that. Honestly I would have left thats design in my childs coloring book with all the other suppose it "ART" work they come up with.
hanablemoore Antonis_K Look at the car with some intelligence and you can see it engineered for speed, not looks. Their is art in speed and function, expand your mind.
@BenjaminSaucier @hanablemoore @Antonis_K But they put the same V-12 in it that's in the Aventador, with the same power and everything. If it's made for speed, why not give it a few more horsepower or something?
Jared L BenjaminSaucier hanablemoore Antonis_K lamborghini has always had good hp numbers, this engine is actually rated 40 more hp then an aventador. It is what they call an evolution of the aventadors engine. I'm sure over the years there will be special editions that even surpass that number. However the veneno has so much downforce in that rear splitter and front end. It's the most aero I've seen in a lamborghini in decades. Speed can be more then what is coming from your engine.
I believe that there is absolutely No intelligence in that.
Just a 3.6 million 3-copied batmobile that will be much slower from it's rivals.
Have you seen the Mclaren P1...??
BenjaminSaucier Antonis_K Hey benjamin Ferrari and McLaren can get the same results without there cars looking so crudely designed. Im all for function but Ferrari and McLaren are aero masters seeing that they have won a few F1 titles themselves. A sport ruled by aero efficiency. Their products dont look like that. I would love to see it face off against the P1and LaFerrari to see who is better.
hanablemoore Antonis_K and that's exactly what we will have to wait for hanable. Antonis, these cars don't race in a class specifically against each other. Each car manufacturer has put their spirit into these vehicles. Think of these 3 cars as the cast of top gear. You can't cut on hammond because he'll never be as tall as mays or clarkson. Just because you don't like the way it looks and the price doesn't speak on it's performance characteristics. My favorite is the P1 but I will respect lamborghini for what this car accomplishes.
BenjaminSaucier Antonis_K Well put benjamin and a good reference because you need all three for there to be a top gear. Lambo has always gone a different route design wise since the countach and this is no difference. I dont necessarily agree but then again its not like i was in line to purchase one. I guess the P1 got me spoiled because it is gorgeous.
I love the new vette myself. I was the same way when i first saw the GTR concept many moons ago. But once i saw it in person all that had changed. Now i think its one of the best looking whips on the road. Besides i doubt anyone on here was going to purchase a vette regardless if they continued with the C6 type styling or started brand new like they did. Im just glad they are trying a new direction because the styling really has not changed much since the C3.
All the hate simply makes the Corvette stronger. It might look silly because it's the only car on realistic 35 series tires but it's a car some of us can actually afford. I just want to say it'll feel great to fill the gas tank with all your tears.
aussieANON I am paraphrasing Aristotle... Badly perhaps, but still. It's a famous phrase! :)
aussieANON (and I've corrected it at least, so even if it's still a bad paraphrase at least properly reads it does maybe read it does. Car. Perhaps... Argh!)
aussieANON Hehe... not at all! It made LITERALLY NO SENSE as I'd written it, so a more than fair comment!
The Veneno has to have one of the most intimidating side profiles I've ever seen on a production car but the LaFerrari is just about the best looking car I think I've ever seen. It'll be interesting to see how these age...
PaddyMcGrath Absolutely. I think you're right. Ageing gracefully is a key point to all these supercars - it's fundamental to what becomes a classic or laughable within five years, isn't it.
I'm probably gonna get so much crap for theis, but I can't stand the styling of the new Vette. It looks way too much like the new Camaros and I feel like it doesn't fit.
Jared L Agreed, none of the lines really flow for me. It's like a mish-mash of angles and grilles with no real over-arching stylistic theme.
FunctionFirst Jared L I do know what you mean... I think I am trying to be positive, but honestly, in real life it is a pretty cool car! And using the familial rear lights isn't such a bad thing perhaps? But it's all subjective – and you might still dislike it in the flesh! After all – there's no wrong, just personal preference. :)
@Jonathan Moore @FunctionFirst @Jared L I really think it's just the rear end for me. I really like the look of it otherwise, but the rear just doesn't seem to fit the rest of the car. Plus it kind of looks more like a concept car than a production car, but with saying that, I have no clue if GM is planning on changing any styling before throwing it into mass production
@Jared L nope, I definitely agree. The first time I saw the new Corvette, my immediate thought was: front = Viper, back = messy Camaro; the styling of the Viper is much more graceful and traditional, IMO.
YES! SRT finally learned to make a stripe that follows the enormous vents they cut out of the bonnet! They've showed so many pictures of their new Viper with just basic straight lines that follow no curve on the car, and it always looked terrible. Since I'm the only person I've seen on the entire internet complaining about it, I shall take full credit
Yes, Kia does need to stop making cool-looking cars until they can make just plain "good" cars that won't fall apart in 5 years.
The Ferrari, The Viper, Vette, P1, and NSX have me really excited! These cars will be epic once they hit the streets.
The corvette had no business in this "savage Weapons post", Talk about probably the most boring car on the market.
Aisakey Absolutely – it's the only way to make a real decision on these cars, as you can spend proper time looking round each one. Eyes are always better than someone else's pictures. Go go go!
Jonathan Moore Yup', moreover I live on the french side of lake geneva, at like 10 kilometers from the Swiss border. So I feel like I just HAVE to go to the auto show ! : D
Super awesome write up mate. That "They’re going to destroy you with laser beams." Lambo is fkn bonkers
Speedhunters_Rob Seriously, that Veneno is out to get me I'm sure. It kept on turning round to face me as I tried to get away...
I really hate it when design legends, race car drivers, and favorite automotive authors die. Its like a family member dies. You get to know them through there desings, skill ,and articles. But on the upside its good to see the new Ferrari. I wonder who is going to be the most desired hyper car. The Ferrari or the Mclaren.