On a Swiss roll with swish and smart ve­hi­cles

GENEVA MO­TOR SHOW/ Mark Smyth re­ports on some of the high­lights of this week’s Geneva Mo­tor Show

Business Day - Motor News - - MOTOR NEWS -

Switzer­land likes to keep ev­ery­one happy with its neu­tral­ity and while this week’s Geneva Mo­tor Show might not be what you would call neu­tral, its diver­sity meant ev­ery­one would find some­thing to make them happy.

Car­mak­ers used it to re­veal a range of new prod­ucts, from fu­ture ur­ban smart pods to elec­tric lux­ury cars, su­per­cars and ev­ery­thing in be­tween.

Next week we will look at some of the stars in de­tail but here is our run­down of some of the new models and con­cepts that grabbed our at­ten­tion.

At the lux­ury end of the scale, the Mercedes-AMG GT con­cept de­serves at­ten­tion. It makes its de­but in the year AMG cel­e­brates its 50th an­niver­sary and the com­pany is promis­ing more to come.

“With the Mercedes-AMG GT con­cept, we are giv­ing a pre­view of our third com­pletely au­tonomously de­vel­oped sports car and ex­tend­ing the at­trac­tive AMG GT fam­ily to in­clude a four-door vari­ant.

“Plus the GT con­cept — like the AMG Hy­per­car, which we are pre­sent­ing at the In­ter­na­tional Mo­tor Show in Frankfurt (Septem­ber 2017) — il­lus­trates how we are defin­ing per­for­mance of the fu­ture at AMG,” says To­bias Mo­ers, chair­man of Mercedes-AMG.

AMG claims the new hy­brid — due to launch in 2019 — will have 600kW and hit 100km/h in un­der three sec­onds.

Stay­ing with four doors (tech­ni­cally five), but mov­ing from con­cept to re­al­ity, Volk­swa­gen (VW) un­veiled the pro­duc­tion ver­sion of the Ar­teon, its four-door coupe which re­places the Pas­sat CC.

VW says it is po­si­tion­ing the Ar­teon above the Pas­sat, which means a more pre­mium feel — and prob­a­bly a more pre­mium price.

“The Ar­teon com­bines the de­sign el­e­ments of a clas­sic sports car with the el­e­gance and space of a fast­back. An avant­garde busi­ness-class gran turismo, it speaks to the heart and the head alike,” says Klaus Bischoff, Volk­swa­gen head of de­sign.

Four passenger doors also pro­vide prac­ti­cal­ity in the new Porsche Panam­era Sport Turismo, which could eas­ily be re­ferred to as a Panam­era sta­tion wagon. It prom­ises more lug­gage space than the regular model — in­creased by 20l to 520 and is also billed as a four-plus-one-seater, although the mid­dle seat at the rear lacks legroom due to the in­trud­ing cen­tre con­sole. Expect it in SA early in 2018.

Porsche also un­veiled the new 911 GT3 which has im­pres­sive per­for­mance num­bers, a man­ual gear­box and revs to a heady 9,000r/min.

Honda re­vealed the pro­duc­tion ver­sion of its dra­matic Civic Type-R, which will go on sale in in­ter­na­tional mar­kets mid-year. The new ver­sion uses a 2.0l Vtec turbo to pro­duce 235kW and 400Nm.

Audi re­vealed its Q8 sport coupe con­cept, fol­low­ing the Q8 at Detroit, as well as its per­for­mance star, the mighty RS5. It prom­ises a 0-100km/h time of 3.9 sec­onds.

SUVs were not as com­mon at the show as usual, although there were a few ex­cep­tions, in­clud­ing the Range Rover Ve­lar and up­dated Nis­san Qashqai.

One that was ea­gerly an­tic­i­pated, how­ever, was the Volvo XC60, which will go into pro­duc­tion in Swe­den next month. Fea­tur­ing the new de­sign theme that be­gan with the XC90, it has an el­e­gant in­te­rior as well as tech­nol­ogy such as Pi­lot As­sist. It will launch with a range of petrol and diesel en­gines as well as a plug-in hy­brid ver­sion.

A num­ber of elec­tric ve­hi­cles were re­vealed at the show. Volk­swa­gen is ex­cited about its con­cept for fu­ture ur­ban mo­bil­ity, demon­strat­ing that pods need not be bor­ing.

More ex­cit­ing was the re­veal of Bent­ley’s EXP 12 Speed 6e con­cept. Not only is it a beau­ti­ful and fully elec­tric two-seater, but it had the best in­te­rior on show.

“The EXP 12 Speed 6e is a con­cept to show that Bent­ley is defin­ing elec­tric mo­tor­ing in the lux­ury sec­tor, with the ap­pro­pri­ate tech­nol­ogy, high-qual­ity ma­te­ri­als and re­fine­ment lev­els you’d expect from a true Bent­ley,” says Wolfgang Dürheimer, chair­man and CEO of Bent­ley Mo­tors. “This con­cept en­ables us to en­gage with lux­ury cus­tomers and gather feed­back on our ap­proach. Bent­ley is com­mit­ted to of­fer­ing an elec­tric model in its fu­ture port­fo­lio and we are in­ter­ested to re­ceive feed­back on this con­cept.”

Other elec­tric models in­cluded the pro­duc­tion ver­sion of the Jaguar I-Pace and a num­ber of cars from Honda.

Other new models at the show in­cluded the next gen­er­a­tion of the Suzuki Swift, the Mit­subishi Eclipse and the McLaren 720S, which you can lust over on page 8.

The Geneva stars in de­tail

Left: The Porsche Panam­era Sport Turismo adds space to the Panam­era. Right: Volk­swa­gen demon­strated that ur­ban mo­bil­ity pods don’t have to be bor­ing.

Left: The Mercedes-AMG GT con­cept. Above: Honda un­veiled the pro­duc­tion ver­sion of the dra­matic Civic Type-R.

Volvo un­veiled its new XC60, above. The VW CC has evolved into the Ar­teon, be­low.

Bent­ley showed its EXP 12 Speed 6e elec­tric ve­hi­cle con­cept.

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