Sunday 25 September 2016

Supercars and huge engines dominate with the Geneva Motor Show

Supercars and huge engines dominate with the Geneva Motor Show back to its best

Published 06/03/2016 | 02:30

Dazzling: The Bugatti Chiron Photo: Jakob Ebrey
Dazzling: The Bugatti Chiron Photo: Jakob Ebrey
More than 120 premieres were made at the show

The recession seems to be finally over for car manufacturers and a supercar renaissance is afoot. As the doors of Europe's most important motor show of the year opened in Geneva, a new batch of supercars with no thoughts of austerity and the environmental impact was unleashed.

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This was also the first European car show since Volkswagen's diesel scandal engulfed the automotive world last September. But there was little to suggest any sackcloth and ashes as Volkswagen-owned Bugatti and Lamborghini led the supercar charge. The successor to the world's fastest production car, the Bugatti Chiron was unveiled.

It can reach 100km/h in an incredible 2.5 seconds and has a top speed in excess of 420km/h. The Chiron replaces the Veyron which set the record and is expected to eclipse the 431km/h record with an even more powerful model next year.

In fact, it is so quick, Michelin had to create special tyres designed to cope with such high speeds. The W16 engine has almost 1,500 horsepower and a staggering 1,600Nm of torque. The new model will cost an estimated €2.4m and just 500 will be made.

Not to be outdone over on the Koenigsegg stand, the Swedish car maker revealed the Regera, a car almost as powerful as the La Ferrari and Porsche 918 combined. It is powered by a 1,100bhp 5.0-litre V8 along with three electric motors, one on each rear wheel and one on the crankshaft, generating an extra 700bhp. The Regera will go from 0 to 100 in 2.8 seconds, but even more impressively, it will hit 298km/h in around 11 seconds.

With more luggage space and practicality than we might expect from a McLaren, the 570 GT uses a carbon fibre chassis and reaches 0 to 100 in 3.4 seconds. It has a top speed of 386km/h. The luxury car marque also revealed plans to invest €1.3bn developing 15 vehicles over the next six years, including its first electric vehicle. Mike Flewitt, chief executive, said the company would double in size by 2022.

The Italians also had fiery new motors to show off. A grand tourer with an astonishing top speed of almost 335km/h was launched by Ferrari, the GTC4Lusso.

Ferrari executives were keen to stress that this is more than just a face-lifted FF. Powered by a 6.2 litre V12 engine developing 680bhp, the GTC4Lusso has a zero to 100 time of 3.4 seconds. Pricing has yet to be confirmed, though it's expected to cost more than the FF, so more than €295k (ex taxes).

Not to be outdone, Lamborghini's Centenario commemorated the centenary of the birth of Ferruccio Lamborghini. The new supercar produces 770 horsepower from a naturally aspirated V12 engine and is made almost entirely of carbon fibre. It goes from 0 to 100km/h in just 2.8 seconds. Priced at an estimated €1.75m, all 40 Lamborghini Centenarios produced, - 20 coupes and 20 roadsters - have already been sold.

Aston Martin's DB11 made its debut, the first remake of the DB model in 13 years. The 5.2 litre, twin-turbocharged V-12 engine puts out 600 horsepower and sprints from 0 to 100 in 3.9 seconds. The top speed is 322km/h.

According to Aston Martin, the new car is not only the most important car the company has launched in recent history, but also in its 103-year existence.

Bentley's first bespoke stretch limousine was revealed at the show and now brings to three the number of distinct models in the Mulsanne range.

At 6.57 metres, the new model is just longer than Mercedes' Maybach and is the world's longest passenger car. It is also 100cm longer than a standard Mulsanne and the roof has also been raised by 79mm. No one does interiors quite like Bentley and inside is an opulent blend of modernity and old-world craftsmanship.

Finally, Porsche has a new 911 R. Powered by the same 493bhp 4.0 litre flat six as the RS, it is 50kg lighter than the GT3 RS and is the lightest 911 in the range. Designed for the ultimate stripped-out driving experience, for many Porsche fans this is the car they have wanted for a long time.

Elsewhere, carmakers are still betting on new SUVs and crossovers in a bid to secure their share of the market and outshine each other. Maserati's most important new model in decades, the Levante, also debuted. The first SUV from the century-old Italian brand is designed to compete with Bentley's Bentayga, the Porsche Cayenne and Jaguar's F-Pace.

Audi unveiled its new Q2 small SUV, while Opel displayed the Mokka X, an updated version of the existing model. Ford showed off new Vignale versions of the Kuga and its flagship SUV Edge, but neither is likely to be in Ireland until next year. Volkswagen's T-Cross Breeze is a small crossover that will slot into the range below the Tiguan. Skoda also revealed its new seven-seat SUV concept. One of the most stylish cars of the show, Toyota's C-HR crossover coupe is a mid-size compact SUV due here before the end of the year.

Other stars of the show included the Ford Fiesta ST200, a more powerful version of the Fiesta ST. Under the bonnet is a tuned version of the standard ST's 1.6-litre turbocharged Ecoboost engine. Power has risen from 180bhp to 197bhp and production begins in June, with first deliveries expected soon after.

Honda gave us a glimpse of what the 10th generation Civic hatchback is likely to look like with a close-to production concept car and the Mercedes-Benz C-Class Cabriolet made its world debut.

Over at the Subaru stand was the next production XV, along with a crossover concept that is shorter and wider than the current XV, but retains the same wheelbase. The new Renault Scenic was unveiled at the show, along with new Megane Sport Tourer. Suzuki's new Baleno, due in Ireland in time for summer, debuted with a one litre Boosterjet engine.

Toyota's Proace, the Citroen Spacetourer and the Peugeot Traveller are three large MPVs that share the same platform and all offer a huge amount of space. While over at the Volvo stand, the new flagship S90 saloon and estate version, the V90, took centre stage.

Finally, Geneva gave us two interesting visions of the future; the E-Tense Concept, a carbon fibre-bodied electric supercar concept from PSA Peugeot Citroen's DS, which promises 0 to 100km/h in 4.5 seconds, a maximum speed of 250km/h and a 322km range. Opel's template for future sports cars came in the form of its GT Concept, a small, three-cylinder car inspired by the Opel show cars of the 1960s.

Sunday Independent

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