A motor show wouldn’t be a motor show without all those fast, sexy cars on show – that you have absolutely no chance of buying. But as ever concept cars give the best guide to what we will be driving in the future. Here are our five favourites from the 2017 Geneva Motor Show…
MAR 09th 2017
Five fabulous concepts from Geneva 2017
Audi Q8 Sport
Crowning the seven-seat Q7 range with a more exclusive SUV flagship crammed with luxury and technology is an obvious move in a world crazy for ever more luxurious and hi-tech SUVs. Buyers, after all, are queueing up to spend £100,000-plus for them.
The Q8 Sport concept, based around the lightweight aluminium bones of the Q7/Bentley Bentayga, ramps up all the familiar Audi design cues, plus some tasty new ones, for an imposing if not exactly pretty result. It’s a big car for just four people but they will have room to stretch out in a beautifully-crafted, minimalist-look cabin equipped with all the must-have tech toys.
The driver meanwhile can enjoy 0-62mph in 4.7 seconds and 170mph, with a 745 mile range. That’s thanks to a new drivetrain that makes 469bhp by way of a 3.0-litre TFSI V6 and mild hybrid system. The clever thing is that the starter-generator motor and electric compressor rely on a 48-volt electrical system, the first time Audi has incorporated this in a petrol car.
THEY SAY: “The dynamic yet efficient SUV of tomorrow”.
WE SAY: Surely the only way for A-listers to arrive.
WILL THEY MAKE IT? The little-changed production version will be at Geneva in a year’s time, sales soon afterwards.
Bentley EXP 12 Speed 6e
Bentley persists in taunting us with one of motoring’s most tantalising prospects: what a smaller, lighter, two-seater Bentley sportscar could be like. Well, here it is: looking great and complete with a wealth of Bentley-style craftsmanship and refinements. Oh, and it’s battery powered.
The firm asserts that electric power is not at odds with marque attributes such as a large and anxiety-free touring range, though how this would be achieved is not specified. Still, if it looks this good, and is as easy to charge up as they say (via an inductive system), then watch this space. Meanwhile, Bentley’s commitment to a plug-in hybrid future, starting with the Bentayga in 2018, is reaffirmed.
THEY SAY: “Bentley is defining electric motoring in the luxury sector”.
WE SAY: We’ll take one whatever engine it’s got.
WILL THEY MAKE IT? The clue’s in the name: EXP, as in experimental.
Mercedes-AMG GT Concept
An AMG GT that accommodates four and their luggage and boasts anther 200bhp under the bonnet? Not much not to like here for what is undoubtedly one of the big stars of the Geneva show this year.
The GT Concept is significant in several ways, chiefly that the AMG go-faster division can increasingly do its own thing (this is only the third entire car that AMG has developed), and in previewing cleaner, simpler lines – which in our book look terrific. Then there’s the badge that says EQ Power+, like the Mercedes F1 car. And yes, like the racecar there’s an energy recovery system to provide a big kick up the rear via an electric motor on the back axle.
With the 4.0-litre biturbo V8 up front, the drivetrain boasts a total of 804bhp, distributed to all four torque-vectored wheels efficiently enough for 0-62mph in under 3 seconds. All this and an F1-powered hypercar for the road in September? AMG you spoil us!
THEY SAY: “We are defining performance of the future at AMG”.
WE SAY: Makes you feel better about that AMG-Line C-Class.
WILL THEY MAKE IT? You bet. On sale 2019.
It has been shown before – in Los Angeles in November 2016 – but Geneva is still the first opportunity for Europeans to get up close to Jaguar’s radical reinvention machine. And doesn’t the first all-electric cat look good, the shock of the new maybe less shocking six months on but in so many ways such a compelling prospect.
What makes it so interesting? The fact that it is so Jaguar-like despite its very un-Jaguar cab-forward proportions. The I-Pace is cleverly packaged, versatile, roomy, and offers a strong performance emphasis – 400bhp, 0-60mph in 4 seconds and a range of 310 miles on the European cycle.
The production version, to be made by Magna Steyr in Graz, Austria, won’t be exactly like this but neither should it be all that different. While the I-Pace will be the Jag early adopter’s choice, the firm confirmed at Geneva that it will offer the option of electrification (in one form or another) on all its models by 2020.
THEY SAY: “We will prove that a zero emissions vehicle can be a true driver's car.”
WE SAY: We can’t wait for this cat to pounce.
WILL THEY MAKE IT? We should see the production-ready version later in 2017.
Italdesign/Airbus Industries Pop.Up
To be a concept star at Geneva this year you really had to be electric, autonomous and a real high-flyer in the design and versatility stakes. Only one car at Geneva can really put a tick in all those boxes (especially the high-flying bit).
It’s this world premiere concept from Italdesign, called the Pop.Up (because, er, it really does pop up…) and it’s been developed with… Airbus. This is about as far as you can get from an A380, however. It’s a modular concept that comprises a two-seat passenger capsule that couples with a ground module (the “car”, electric, cute looks, 62mph) or an air module (the flying machine, four rotors, vertical take-off and landing, also 62mph). It is all electric and drives, and flies, itself to wherever you want via artificial intelligence, seamlessly linking with other modes of transport if your journey requires it.
THEY SAY: “A shared vision for seamless, multi-modal, fully electric urban mobility.”
WE SAY: Do they come round with pre-dinner drinks?
WILL THEY MAKE IT? Still a few things to iron out maybe, but “7-10 years” is the timeframe.
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