Stars of the Geneva Show
COUNTER FLOW - James Deakin (The Philippine Star) - March 15, 2016 - 10:00am

Geneva, once known as one of the greenest cities on earth, set the stage for the world’s most politically incorrect vehicles as automotive heavyweights like Bugatti, Lamborghini, Porsche, Aston Martin, Maserati and Pagani battled to unveil some of the hottest new releases in what has now been dubbed as the Octagon for supercars. Well ok, that was just me that said that (I think you need to lay off Ultimate Fighting for a bit, James. – Ed.), but this supercar slugfest had the humble automotive enthusiast on his knees with gratitude. 

In a complete role reversal from the normal clean and green motor shows, it was ordinary cars that were the equivalent of celebrity sightings as automakers plied ahead with outrageous top-flight exotica, sports cars and niche-busting SUVs.

Geneva motor show highlights

Maserati unveiled the Italian supercar company’s first ever SUV, Honda laid claim to its sportiest ever hatch and Audi fills a new niche with the world debut of the Q2.

The supercar crowd didn’t disappoint either. Bugatti’s highly awaited successor to the record-breaking Veyron, the Chiron, sent supercar benchmarks into a new stratosphere. Lamborghini’s 770 V12 Centenario teased us all with the most powerful and lightweight Lambo ever (only to tell us they had all been pre sold) Aston Martin answered back politely with its hotly awaited DB11 flagship, while Porsche evoked its rich rallying heritage with a modern, stripped-down version of the 911 R.

So in no particular order, here are my top picks from the Geneva show:

Bugatti Chiron

The spectacular new Bugatti Chiron packs a STUPENDOUS 1500hp, weighs 1995kg, blasts from 0-100km/h in less than 2.5 seconds but has been electronically speed limited to a disappointing 420km/h, according to official figures revealed by Bugatti president Wolfgang Dürheimer during the unveiling of the eagerly anticipated successor to the fabled Veyron.

 Bugatti describes the second of its modern-day models as the most powerful road car to ever see series production, although with volumes set to be limited to 500, this means that the car, should it ever reach our shores, will retail in the Philippines at a quarter of a billion pesos. 

Porsche Boxster 718

Paying homage to the original mid-engine 718, the new Boxster ushers in a new era for Porsche as it comes out of the box with all-new turbo-charged models.

Arriving with completely new engines, the Boxster has brought 911-levels of performance to this open-top segment and threatens the shatter the template of what some still considered a lifestyle Porsche. 

Aston Martin DB11

The British brand pulled the drapes off its stunning new DB11, which welcomes an internally developed twin-turbocharged 5.2-litre V12 petrol engine that produces a healthy 600hp and 700Nm of torque, as well as some electronic assistance from minority shareholder, Daimler.

Somewhere down the bragging list is an in-house-produced engine with a cylinder deactivation system that Aston Martin refers to as intelligent bank activation.

Porsche 911 R

Described by Porsche as  “one for the purists” this back-to-basics, 493hp coupe is not Porsche’s fastest production car by far, but was conceived around the promise of sheer driving engagement rather than all-out lap time potential.

Power comes from the same naturally aspirated 4.0-litre horizontally opposed direct injection petrol engine used by the 911 GT3 RS, but now features a lighter six-speed manual transmission to keep weight down and driving enjoyment up.

Maserati Levante

Well it was bound to happen sooner or later, and better Maserati to dip its fingers in the highly lucrative super sport utility vehicle than parent company, Ferrari. 

Following in the tracks of Bentley’s Bentayga, and beating Lamborghini’s Urus to the punch, the Levante, loosely translated, is Italian for Cayenne. Using the Ghibli as a donor, the Levante will be offered with a choice of three engines––the 3.0-litre turbo diesel V6,  and a pair of 3.0-litre V6 petrol models offering 344hp  and 423hp  outputs respectively, and can soar to 100km/ in 5.2 seconds before topping out at a top speed of 264km/h.

All three models will use the eight-speed automatic transmissions found in the Ghibli and will feature full time all-wheel-drive. 

Audi Q2

Born and bred to take the popular Mini Countryman head on, the new four-ringed five-seater slots in to the Audi line-up beneath the existing Q3.

There’s no word from PGA cars regarding which of the five engine variants that they will offer, but it would most likely be  the 1.4-litre and 190hp 2.0-litre direct injection petrol units with either a standard six-speed manual or optional seven-speed dual clutch S-Tronic gearbox.

Offered in front-wheel driver or four wheel drive models, the A2 may just be the urban hit that Audi is looking for to take the fight to the doorstep of BMW and Mercedes.

Honda Civic hatch

Described as a prototype, there’s very little to tell you here except: shut up and take my money. 

The Geneva International Motor show may have lacked some of the political correctness of other motor shows, but it was a huge shot in the arm for the aspirational car loving Joe and one of the few times that you were happy that it was greener on the other side.

 

 

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