Where supercars and the latest speed machines mingle with autonomous tech and upcoming family run-arounds
This year’s Geneva Motor Show is arguably the most tech-heavy to date, with the eye-watering performance figures traditionally touted by internal combustion engine supercars replaced by stats from vehicles sporting batteries and electric motors.
Granted, the likes of Ferrari, Aston Martin and McLaren continue to fly the flag for pistons and petrol, but 2018 could be seen as the turning point when more efficient machines attracted the most attention in the vast halls of the Palexpo Congress Centre.
From turbine recharging electric vehicles to cars that give a little power back to society, we take a look at the most eye-catching cars in Geneva.
Mercedes-AMG GT four-door
What do you do if you have a young family but you still like to pull a few donuts in the Waitrose car park? You speak to a Mercedes-Benz dealer and demand a spot on the AMG GT four-door list.
This is officially the first four-door sports car from the guys at Mercedes’ revered tuning arm and it features the same 4.0-litre twin-turbo found in the two-door Coupe and the convertible Roadster.
That means five occupants can happily clamber into the machine and enjoy the full blow of 630bhp and 900Nm of torque (or 577bhp and 800Nm in non-S variants), as well as a raucous 3.2 seconds blast from 0-62mph (3.4 seconds for lower-powered models).
It’s a slightly bizarre thing to behold in the flesh, with an impressive resemblance to its handsome Coupe and Roadster cousins at the front but a slightly awkward and stretched appearance from side and three-quarter angles.
Certainly not unpleasant, as AMG has gouged deep aerodynamic lines into the flanks and bonnet, as well as opened up gaping air scoops in the grille and introduced heavily blistered wheel arches for a menacing presence.
It’s due to go on sale later this year with performance-orientated parents receiving their first deliveries early 2019.
Italdesign Zerouno Duerta
This year’s show seemed to be a hotbed of small manufacturers revealing low volume bespoke machines with seemingly baffling performance figures and cutting-edge design.
Nestled between the batty Rimac C_Two and the 800hp W Motors Fenyr Supersport was Italdesign’s targa-topped Zerouna Duerta, which has been created to cater for demand after all five of its £1.3million Zerouno coupes sold out.
Equally limited in run, the Duerta features the same 610hp 5.2-litre V10 engine as its fixed-top sibling and is claimed to be able to reach a top speed of 199mph… with the top down.
Pretty much every surface on the eye-catching car is fashioned from carbon fibre, while even the removable roof is intricately whittled from the lightweight material.
There is no official word on price, nor how many Zerounos will actually put into production but you can bet your bottom dollar it will be mighty expensive.
Lamborghini Huracan Performante Spyder
The sound of the mid-mounted naturally aspirated 5.2-litre V10 is very difficult to ignore, but the fact Lamborghini decided to pump it out of a PA system that would make Iron Maiden blush made it impossible not to admire.
Said engine will sit in the most track-focussed Huracan to date, which features forged carbon fibre technology that reduces the overall weight of the machine by 35kg over its standard drop-top sibling.
Performance figures are understandably impressive, with the 0-62mph dash taking 3.1 seconds and a top speed of 202mph on offer for those brave enough to push it.
Arguably the most pertinent additions include Aerodinamica Lamborghini Attiva – Lamborghini’s active area system that increases or decreases downforce automatically depending on the requirements – and a new electromechanically folding soft top roof.
When stowed (which takes 17 seconds), the roof couples with the active aero design to cleverly funnel air over the cockpit to reduce drag and manage the airflow for improved stability.
This kind of think will likely only matter to those looking to shave seconds from lap times but then these are the kind of people willing to pay around £240,000 for the privilege.
Audi A6 Saloon
As with much of Audi’s cutting-edge technology, all of the fantastic toys from the ultra-premium A8 have now filtered down to the smaller A6. That means the rotary dials from the old MMI system have been replaced with two touch-screen display – the uppermost of which controls infotainment, while the lower deals with air conditioning, seats and other comfort features.
Haptic feedback has been introduced for the first time on an A6 model, offering a tangible sensation when interacting with the displays, while the Virtual Cockpit display (that replaces analogue instrument binnacles) is now sharper, faster and easier to use.
Audi’s SAE Level 3 Traffic Jam Pilot system, which allows drivers to relinquish control of the car in crawling traffic and partake in videos and emails via the infotainment system, is also present.
Finally, it has illuminated seatbelt clips, which is one of the coolest things we’ve seen in a long time.
Jaguar revealed full details of the I-Pace just before the kerfuffle of Geneva, but that didn’t prevent the crowds from pressing their faces against windows on this year’s stand.
The British marque’s first all-electric car packs a 90kWh battery that is capable of a claimed range of up to 298 miles, while the two permanent synchronous motors develop 400hp that propel the sporty SUV from 0-60mph in4.5 seconds.
On the inside, the dual stacked infotainment screens are similar to those found in the Rang Rover Velar, while six USB ports and 4G Wi-Fi connectivity for up to eight devices keep all connected inside.
Further proof that the race for all-electric greatness is really hotting up.
Citroen Berlingo Multispace
Proof that the more mundane models can mix it with the big guns could be found on Citroen’s stand, which proudly displayed its latest van-based MPV that is set to take over from one of the French marque’s best-selling vehicles.
Styled to bring it more in line with its C3 Cactus and C4 Picasso, the upcoming Berlingo Multispace is all about the roominess and as such, comes with seven seats as standard and two differing wheelbases.
In a move that will have BMW 3 Series Touring owners nodding knowingly, opening the rear windscreen independently of the boot now offers access to the cavernous rear load space for nonchalantly tossing in bags of shopping, baby paraphernalia and small dogs.
Bentley Bentayga PHEV
There arguably hasn’t been a more ‘Marmite’ car than the Bentayga since the launch of the original Renault Espace, but Bentley has enjoyed strong sales that will likely only get stronger with the release of a plug-in hybrid variant.
Sporting no visual exterior changes apart a hole in which to plug it in, the Bentayga PHEV features a supercharged 3.0-litre V6 petrol engine that’s paired with an electric motor and Lithium-ion battery pack.
It’s similar to the tech found in the Porsche Cayenne S E-Hybrid and is slated to develop an impressive 412hp, while providing a full-electric mode for limited zero-emissions motoring.
If there were a prize for the most aerodynamically insane car at Geneva, it would be a toss-up between the McLaren Senna and this, the Danish Zenovo TSR-S.
Pitched as an extreme road-going version of its TSR racer, the TSR-S not only has a twin-supercharged V8 engine, which was surprisingly developed in-house, it also sports one of the most complex rear wings in recent history.
Dubbed the Zenvo Centripetal Wing, this rear-mounted slab acts as both an air brake (to slow the car down) and as a tool to create an exceptional amount of downforce for high-speed cornering.
The secret lies in the fact that it has two rotational axis, which see the wing rotate relative to the car’s longitudinal axis. According to its maker, the high pivot point of the wing allows it to act as an additional rear anti-roll bar for improved stiffness.
There is also myriad Le Mans-inspired air scoops, diffusers and other advanced aerodynamic touches, plus a dual gearbox set-up means drivers can easily swap between a standard road configuration or an aggressive motorsports-derived seven-speed paddle shift dog box for neck-snapping cog swaps.
It looks set to be a truly savage beast, with the ludicrously tuned V8 engine developing 1177bhp and ushering in a 0-62mph sprint of 2.8 seconds, but only five will be built and allocated each year, so good luck getting hold of one.
Ferrari 488 Pista
Ferrari turned things up to eleven this year with the unveiling of the 488 Pista, which also happens to house the most powerful V8 engine the Italian firm has ever produced.
Face-melting figures read like this: 720hp, a dry weight of 1,280kg (90kg less than the standard 488), 0-62mph in 2.85 seconds and a top speed of 211mph. Those stats are near identical to those touted by the new Porsche GT3 RS, which lurked menacingly at the other end of the Palexpo.
Pista, which means ‘track’ in Italian, has its roots firmly in motorsport, which is why there has been a 20 per cent improvement in aerodynamic downforce, as well as the introduction of the Ferrari Dynamic Enhancer, which uses software to micro-adjust the brake pressure at the calipers to improve handling.
Further software tweaks see the introduction of a Sideslip Angle Control system (read ‘Drift Mode’) and a new ‘ magnetorheological’ suspension system that uses magnetic fluid to electronically adjust the damping characteristics.
Techrules Ren RS
Techrules tucked itself away from the hustle and bustle of the 2017 Geneva Motor Show, struggling to make a noise about its Turbine-Recharging Electric Vehicle (TREV) technology above the din of McLaren’s 720S and a new Honda Civic Type-R. However, the Chinese firm returns this year with a stripped-back, single-seat racecar that pushes the limits of its proposed technology.
In short, six motors (two at the front wheels and four at the rear) combine to develop a staggering 1,287bhp, enabling a claimed 0-62mph acceleration figure of three seconds and a top speed of 205mph.
Better still, a diesel-driven on-board turbine keeps the batteries topped up and is said to offer a range of 727 miles from just 80 litres of fuel. Alternatively, users can plug in to a DC fast charger and enjoy an 80 percent battery top-up in just 15 minutes. Time will tell if the technology works but if it does, it could be very exciting.