The motor industry is alive, well and about to shower a multitude of new models on the shores of Lake Geneva. Making up for lost time after a dreary 2018, the impending 89th Geneva International Motor Show promises to be as exciting as it will be significant when the doors to Palexpo open on 5th March.
Preview: Your guide to the Geneva Motor Show 2019
And electric cars and SUVs – inevitably the two dominant themes – won’t be the only machines to grab the spotlight. High performance, heritage, emotional design and driving fun are all on the agenda too, in everything from a reborn VW beach buggy to a Lagonda SUV to a mega-powerful Hispano-Suiza reborn 70 years after its heyday.
Here’s our whirlwind sneak peek at what’s to come…
Aston Martin AM-RB 003
A little brother to the Valkyrie, the AM-RB 003 is the fruit of a collaboration between Aston Martin and Red Bull Advanced Technologies. It has a turbocharged hybrid V6 powertrain compared to the Valkyrie’s naturally aspirated V12, and less extreme aerodynamics. Just 500 will be build, the first of which should arrive in 2021.
Aston Martin Vanquish Vision Concept
Aston Martin’s Geneva surprise, the Vanquish Vision Concept is Aston’s first attempt at a series production mid-engined supercar. Like the AM-RB 003 it’ll have a V6 engine, but unlike the AM-RB 003 it will do without the hybrid system. Think of it as a rival to the likes of the Ferrari F8 Tributo and McLaren 720S.
Audi Q4 e-tron
Set to launch in 2020 as the firms fifth electric model, the Audi Q4 e-tron is an SUV, slightly shorter and wider than the current Q5. It’s built on a bespoke all-electric VW platform, MEB, where the larger e-tron is built using the pre-existing MQ platform, modified to accommodate all the electric tech. The concept you see here has an electric motor at the rear producing 202bhp and 229lb ft of torque, and at the front you’ll find a smaller motor powering the front wheels; all in all you’re looking at 302bhp. The 82kWh battery can be charged to 80 per cent in just 30 minutes, while the total range is said to be 280 miles.
Audi TT RS
The Audi TT has come under fire at times for being a bit ordinary, a pretty, sporty-looking runabout that doesn’t quite deliver dynamically. The TT S pushed that reputation away somewhat, but the TT RS very quickly acquired a reputation as a fierce little sportscar. Now there’s a new TT RS for 2019, and once again it looks like a very serious package. It still has a beautifully vocal 2.5-litre, five-cylinder turbocharged engine, now with 400 horsepower and 355lb ft. 0-62mph takes just 3.7 seconds and the top speed is 174mph. A mini-R8? Quite possibly. It’ll be available to order from April and on the road by late Summer.
Bentley Continental Centenary
When you are Bentley and starting out on your centenary year, a celebratory model is essential… and this is it, or at least the grille of it. That you will note is a mesh grille with the number 9 painted on it, just like the iconic 4 1/2 Litre Blower Bentley that competed at Le Mans in 1930. The special Centenary edition Conti may not get a supercharger (the W12 has twin turbochargers of course) but you can bet it won’t be short of power…
Bentley Bentayga Speed
Crewe’s missile for the 2019 Geneva Show is the new Bentayga Speed, the most powerful and the fastest Bentayga yet. So fast in fact that Bentley claims the 635PS (626bhp) W12-engined machine is now the world’s fastest SUV, faster even than its cousin the Lamborghini Urus. Not by much though: the Bentayga Speed claims 190mph, the Urus 189.5mph! 0-62mph takes just 3.9 seconds (the Lambo is 3.6 seconds) and among other changes are a recalibrated Sport mode for a more dynamic drive, 22-inch wheels, dark body trim, a rear spoiler and Alcantara in the cabin. It’s on sale later in the year.
BMW 7 Series
The new 7 Series has taken up the mantle of BMW’s largest, most luxurious saloon, while the 8 Series has taken on a more dynamic role. At more than 3.3m long it’s quite a machine, but it features pretty much every piece of tech you could want. At the top of the range sits the M760Li xDrive, a luxurious missile with a 585 horsepower, 629lb ft, 6.6 litre turbocharged V12. You’ll need £138,935 to get behind the wheel.
Citroën Ami One Concept
Another big brand celebrating its centenary this year is Citroën, and it too is looking back into its past for inspiration for its forthcoming electric C1 model, or “urban mobility solution”. That sounds dull but the car itself is anything but - funky would be an understatement. According to Citroën, the Ami One Concept is “a disruptive all-electric ‘object’ that places digital technology at the heart of a new urban mobility experience, offering more freedom and peace of mind.”
Cupra Formentor Concept
Cupra’s first standalone vehicle, the Formentor Concept, is a very interesting proposition. On face value it’s a quick SUV, but dig a little deeper and its clear to see Cupra is trying to balance performance and economy, with the Formentor Concept powered by a petrol-electric hybrid powertrain producing a total of 242bhp. Crucially, though, it has an EV range of around 30 miles. The rise of the everyday hot-hybrid?
It’s a first time at the Geneva Show for Ginetta, showing just how serious it is about the most ambitious road car in its 61-year history – a 600bhp V8 carbon-fibre coupe that wants to muscle its way into the 200mph supercar club. A race-bred giant-killer from Ginetta? There have been a few of those in the firm’s past.
Hispano Suiza Carmen
Famous for its ultra-grand tourers of the 1930s, the latest attempt to revive this Spanish marque revolves around a carbon-fibre tub, an all-electric running gear using technology from Formula E, and a “classically-inspired” grand tourer body. So it should be strong, light, shapely and fast, with the promise of plenty of luxury too. The car is named after Carmen Mateu, granddaughter of Hispano Suiza’s founder.
Honda Urban EV
Honda says the Geneva show car is still a prototype, but with production due to kick off within months this is pretty much what we’ll be getting. That includes what promises to be a revolution in dashboard displays for mainstream cars, as shown by the latest teaser pic of the full-width display screen. There’s a suggestion the car might even bring digital cameras instead of rear-view mirrors to the masses. Compact, all-electric, and cute looking, this could be an electric winner if the price is right.
Koenigsegg Agera RS replacement
Koenigsegg will bring its successor to the Agera RS to Geneva this year, exactly nine years after the original Agera was shown to the world for the very first time. The RS broke five speed records in 2017, including highest top speed for a production car, measured in two directions (277.87mph), the highest top speed in a single direction, a new 0-400-0kph record (36.44 seconds), the quickest flying kilometre and the quickest flying mile. Whatever car replaces the RS will have to be very special indeed, and knowing Koenigsegg it’ll be something pretty and technically fascinating.
Lagonda All-Terrain Concept
The reinvention of Lagonda as an all-electric super-luxury brand continues apace with a concept of what will become the first model to go on sale in 2021: a Lagonda SUV. Aiming to compete at the very top of the market, the All-Terrain Concept, like the electric saloon shown in Geneva a year ago, eschews anything retro in design or engineering to be instead radically contemporary. What would you choose: this or a Rolls-Royce Cullinan?
Lamborghini Huracan Evo
The latest Huracan might not be the most focussed or the loudest, but arguably it’s the most competent and capable. Using knowhow from the Performante projects, the Evo is the replacement for the standard Huracan, a car that is now five years old. The 640bhp V10 engine has been pulled directly from the Performante, and elsewhere you’ll find four-wheel-steering, torque vectoring, Lamborghini Dinamica Veicolo Integrata (LDVI), a predicative driving assistance system, updated steering, and a refreshed body and interior to name just a few changes. The first Huracan Evos will be delivered in Spring this year, with prices starting at £165,256, excluding tax.
Tipped to be called CX-4 and – naturally – fit in Mazda’s SUV range between the compact CX-3 and larger CX-5, the star of Mazda’s display this year will be this production-ready machine, the second model in Mazda’s new-generation line-up. The teaser image of its rear end gives a flavour of its latest Kodo design language while a trick new engine will be the firm’s advanced compression-ignition petrol unit. And for non-SUV fans: it was 30 years ago this year that Mazda gave the world the MX-5, and there will be a 30th Anniversary Edition to mark the occasion.
McLaren 600LT Spider by McLaren Special Operations
Just as the dust settles post-600LT Spider launch (you can read our review here), McLaren has announced it will be bringing a 600LT Spider by McLaren Special Operations to the Geneva show. Think of this not as a special edition 600LT Spider but rather a showcase for MSO design. According to McLaren, “combines colours, finishes and materials that express in heightened form the drama of the 600LT’s aerodynamically-optimised body”. So, if you’re interested in a 600LT Spider but want yours to look a little more unique, give MSO a call.
McLaren Senna GTR
McLaren unveiled the Senna GTR Concept at Geneva in 2018, but now it’s time for the real deal. It’ll have the same 4.0-litre, twin-turbo V8 engine but with more power and torque than the road-going Senna; McLaren has said “at least 825PS”. It’ll be lighter, too, feature wilder aerodynamics and more aggressive cooling.
Mercedes CLA Shooting Brake
The new CLA Shooting Brake will be just one of the Mercedes reveals at Geneva, featuring the same new platform, technology and engines as the new A Class. The CLA 35 AMG Shooting Brake will sit at the top of the range until a CLA 45 AMG appears later in the year.
Mercedes GLC facelift
A refreshed GLC will make an appearance at Geneva, complete with updated bodywork and an updated interior, as well as more tech.
Mercedes G-Class Diesel
Normally a diesel version of a car that already exists wouldn’t seem all that exciting, but when it’s the Mercedes G Glass, the mighty G Wagon, we can’t help but get excited. Yes, the spec of the all-new diesel G Wagon has been released already but Geneva will be the first opportunity we’ve had to get up close and personal. The G 350 d has a 3.0-litre, turbocharged diesel engine with 286 horsepower and 444lb ft of torque, and slots into the range alongside the G63 AMG launched in 2018. That car has a 4.0-litre, twin-turbo V8 with 577 horsepower and 627lb ft…
With its distinctive blue LED light signature, and more lights on the roof, you should see this SUV tourer concept coming. Named after a Swiss ski resort, the Engelberg aims to cash in on the popularity of the Outlander SUV, though whether the new one is a plug-in hybrid (PHEV) like the Outlander or the brand’s first fully electric SUV remains to be seen. Mitsubishi just says it’s an EV with a “focus on next-generation technology.”
The ASX compact SUV gets a big overhaul in the looks department but stays entirely petrol-conventional under the bonnet. Affordability and versatility in a small package are what makes the ASX one of Mitsubishi’s biggest global sellers.
Nissan IMQ Concept
Nissan is holding its cards close to its chest, but has said Geneva will show “the debut of an all-new concept, highlighting further developments in our Nissan Intelligent Mobility strategy”. Whether that’s a beautiful SUV or a strange, hydrogen-powered micro car with six wheels we don’t know yet.
Peugeot 508 Sport Engineered Concept
Something of a surprise announcement, Peugeot has created a 508 Peugeot Sport Engineered Concept. A development of the soon-to-be-launched 508 Hybrid, the powertrain “combines performance and efficiency”, supposedly delivering 0-62mph in 4.3 seconds and CO2 emissions of 49g/km. Underneath the sleek 508 body you’ll find a 200bhp turbocharged petrol engine and a 110bhp electric motor powering the front wheels, and a 200bhp electric motor powering the rear wheels. An 11.8kWh battery means an all-electric range of 31 miles. A sporty 508 isn’t a guarantee, but we’d be very excited to see this on the road.
Peugeot 208 and e-208
The Peugeot 208 is being replaced by… The 208. That’s right, Peugeot has dropped its old naming strategy (we’ve had the 205, 206, 207, 208 and were expecting the 209) in favour of familiarity. Rest assured, this is an all new car, and alongside the usual range of petrol and diesel models there will be an all-electric e-208 as well. Peugeot will launch a 208 GTi in due course, but for the time being the most powerful 208 will have a 1.2-litre, turbocharged three-cylinder with 130bhp and an eight-speed automatic gearbox… If you want a manual gearbox you’ll have to stick with a 100bhp petrol or a 75bhp diesel.
Automobili Pininfarina Battista
Here’s an electric hypercar not just designed by Pininfarina but, for the first time, to be made and sold as a Pininfarina, in line with the famous Italian design house founder’s dream to make a car bearing his own name. The Battista is an incredibly beautiful 1,900bhp all-electric supercar, and only 150 will be built, the first arriving some time in 2020 or 2021.
The Polestar 2 is a Swedish-designed, electric five-door with a 310-mile range and a price of £35,000. Polestar’s first fully electric car, and its most mainstream offering, it’s aimed squarely at the Model 3, Tesla’s more compact and affordable electric car for the masses.
Porsche 992 Cabriolet
Hot on the heels of the new 992 comes the 992 cabriolet, the drop-top version of the standard 911. Fitted with a folding soft-top that’ll fold away in 12 seconds at speeds of up to 30mph, it’s available in Carrera S and Carrera 4S form from launch, the former rear-wheel-drive and the latter four-wheel-drive. Both have eight-speed PDK gearboxes and the same 3.0-litre, twin-turbo flat-six engine.
Range Rover Velar SVAutobiography Dynamic Edition
No, there’s nothing new to learn here, as Range Rover revealed the specs at the beginning of February, but it’ll be the first time the catchily named Velar SVAutobiography Dynamic Edition has been seen in the metal. Not only is it incredibly good looking but it’s the fastest and most powerful Velar yet, with a 5.0-litre supercharged V8 and 550bhp.
The latest Clio hasn’t morphed into an SUV or gained an electric motor, it’s just stayed a little petrol hatchback like all big-selling cars used to be. Hooray for that! The new model is one of the most important mainstream premieres at this year’s Geneva Show. France’s biggest selling car, and Europe’s most popular small hatchback, the Clio seems to be maturing well – it’s better connected and more premium-feeling inside – with pleasing evolutionary looks.
SEAT Leon Concept
The third-generation Leon has been with us since 2012 and is due a refresh - Geneva will provide the stage. There are no photos, no specs and, in truth, no real information yet, but the new car will be revealed in full, in concept form at least, in Geneva.
The Kamiq is the smaller brother to the Kodiaq and Karoq, a compact crossover in the shops soon with distinctive looks and a big-screen dashboard. It could give the Nissan Juke a hard time…
Škoda Vision iV Concept
Being well on its way to cracking the SUV nut – its third and latest high-rider, the Kamiq, is making its debut in Geneva this year – Škoda is now turning its attention to electricity. Handily parent group VW has just the thing in the form of its MEB modular electric car architecture, and it is this which underpins the Vision iV Concept. Škoda says we can expect what it calls “a four-door crossover coupé” around 2020, after Škoda’s electrification first gets under way with a plug-in hybrid version of the Superb.
Ssangyong was an unfamiliar name to many several years ago, but an expanding range and a reputation for improving quality and durability has done the brand wonders. At this year’s Geneva show Ssangyong will showcase an all-new Korando, a mid-sized SUV to compete with the likes of the Nissan Qashqai.
Ah, the new Supra, a car that has caused quite a few arguments since it was revealed to the world in production form in January. Sharing a platform with the new BMW Z4, the Supra slots above the GT86 in Toyota’s sports efforts. A worthy successor to the original Supra?...
Volkswagen ID Buggy
The VW stand will also feature two extremes in the form of a reborn electric Beach Buggy – a fun concept to show off just how flexible the group’s ubiquitous MEB electric platform can be – and the super-sober new Passat, making its European debut and complete with “partial” automated driving ability. The reinvented icon from ‘60s California is doorless and roofless like the original Bug and brilliantly suggests just how much fun an electric car can be. You never know, they might even make it. VW probably wouldn’t sell 30 million of them, though, like the Passat…
Volkswagen T-Roc R
VW’s attempt at making a swift and rewarding driver’s car out of its funky T-Roc compact SUV doesn’t mean GTi badges… it means R for Racing badges. And with plenty of work done – to the body, engine and suspension – this could be a real hoot among compact crossovers. The car is the work of subsidiary company Volkswagen R, home of the Golf R32 among other great cars, which says the new machine has been fettled by world rally champion Petter Solberg at the Nürburgring. Want one? It’s a concept but, says VW, “close-to-production,” with a 2.0-litre turbocharged engine with 296bhp, a seven-speed double-cutch gearbox and launch control.
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