An A-to-Z of the biggest motor show of the year
Published 26/02/2012 | 05:00
The Geneva Motor Show gets under way soon. Shane O'Donoghue tells us about some of what we can expect to find in Switzerland
Bizarre as it may seem, the most important motor show in the world is held in Switzerland every year. The 2012 edition is the 82nd and promises to be as packed with new cars and wacky concepts as ever.
Here's a rundown of what to expect, though there are always plenty of surprises too.
Fiat's devilish brand, Abarth, will bring along the 695 Tributo Maserati -- a 500C modified with inspiration taken from the sports car maker. It boasts a sumptuous interior, wheels with the trident shape in them and paint stolen from the Maserati factory. There'll also be a new model based on the refreshed Fiat Punto.
We know that Alfa Romeo has nothing completely new due until next year, but it's unlikely to let the Geneva Show slip by without doing anything. Perhaps a concept previewing next year's new Alfa SUV?
Bond's favourite automotive brand will have a presence in Geneva, and the size of the stand will be the only modest thing about it.
The stunning V12 Zagato makes its debut in ready-to-sell format, though we suspect the likely €600,000 or so cost may put off more Irish buyers than the limited run of just 150 cars. Relatively speaking, the updated V8 Vantage line-up sharing space with the Zagato looks good value.
At the time of writing four debutantes have been confirmed for the Audi stand in Geneva. They include the all-new Audi A3 (in three-door format), the A6 allroad quattro, the RS 4 Avant and the TT RS plus. The first of those needs no introduction and is by far the most important model on the stand. Meanwhile, the A6 allroad quattro retains a loyal band of followers that love its SUV ability alongside its elegant estate car looks. The RS 4 Avant pushes the estate car to the limits thanks to its 450hp V8 engine. You'll see all of those on Irish roads before the end of the year, though a lot more of the A3. The TT RS plus is an even more hardcore version of the fastest Audi TT. We suspect it signals the end of the current generation.
Looks like BMW is focusing on high-performance models in Geneva. A large display will include the new 560hp BMW M6 Coupe and Convertible and the very first diesel 'M' models. The same tri-turbocharged (that's right, three turbochargers) diesel engine powers the M550d and the X6/X5 50d twins. Sadly, only the latter are suitable for right-hand drive.
Alongside all that, BMW will launch its answer to the Mercedes-Benz CLS. The 6 Series Gran Coupe is a four-door version of the 6 Series and we expect it to spawn an M6 derivative in time.
It's expected that the Ford Focus-sized Chevrolet Cruze will eventually be sold in Ireland. When that does happen, the station wagon debuting in Geneva will no doubt become available too.
Nothing official from Citroen as yet, and given that its home show in Paris is at the end of the year it may keep its big guns until then. Still, we expect to see the latest DS model, the DS1, based on the recently face-lifted C1.
It seems we've been waiting an age for it, but Renault's budget brand is set to come to Ireland and the Lodgy MPV taking its bow at the Geneva Show is likely to spearhead the line-up.
Big news from Fiat in Geneva is the launch of its new mini-MPV called the 500L. The name ensures you associate the small family car with the highly successful Fiat 500, though the L is much larger and not quite as cute looking. We expect that it will go on sale in Ireland before the end of 2012.
The B-MAX is another compact MPV, this time based on the Ford Fiesta. Its party trick is rear sliding doors that incorporate the B-pillar, leaving a massive opening for loading kids/people/stuff through.
It doesn't look too bad either, though it's not a patch on the sharp new Mondeo -- another car that's reckoned to be making its European debut in Geneva.
The Japanese carmaker has guaranteed itself a full stand for the whole week courtesy of its NSX supercar concept. Although this was wheeled out in Detroit, its European debut is likely to cause just as much of a stir -- especially as Honda has confirmed that it will make it into production. Honda must be hoping that, while the crowd fights its way to get close to the NSX, they will also notice its clean new 120hp 1.6-litre diesel engine and a prototype of the next generation Honda CR-V.
We're intrigued by the Hyundai i-oniq concept car, mostly because all we have of it is a tantalising designer sketch. Is it a sports coupe? Is it an SUV? Is it both? We'll know in just a few days.
Other than that, Hyundai will launch a neat looking estate version of the new i30.
Glossing over the fact that Infinitis are not yet sold in Ireland, we're very excited about the Infiniti Emerg-e. Word is that it has just a 1.2-litre petrol engine, but thanks to a powerful electric motor, it's fast, yet economical. Best of both worlds.
Someone's brother's girlfriend's cousin heard from their neighbour's babysitter's husband that Jaguar is bringing along an estate version of its XF saloon to Geneva, and that it might be called the Sportbrake. Would make an interesting alternative to the Mercedes-Benz E-Class Estate and BMW 5 Series Touring.
Strange punctuation and capitalisation aside, the Kia cee'd is a massively important car for the Korean brand. The current model cemented Kia's reputation for decent cars that no longer trade on value alone. Given Kia's recent form, we expect this to be a belter.
Forget everything you know about the A-Class. Mercedes has started with a fresh sheet of paper and aims to tackle the new Audi A3 and BMW 1 Series head-on with a conventionally shaped three-door hatchback. It promises to look good as well. At the other end of the scale will be the new 564hp SL 63 AMG roadster.
Although the new Outlander -- which is making its world debut in Geneva -- will arrive in Ireland before the end of 2012, the big news is that there'll be a plug-in hybrid variant on sale in 2013 with CO2 emissions of just 50g/km. Yet it's a large crossover with four-wheel drive. Astounding.
While Abarth will have its own tribute to the mighty Italian sports car maker in the form of the 695 Tributo Maserati, the company itself has announced that it'll launch an updated version of its two-door GT, called the GranTurismo Sport.
We suspect MINI has another concept planned, but for now all we've been told is that it'll show a van based on the Clubman. Naturally it's called... the Clubvan.
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