2017 Geneva Motor Show Recap

2017 Civic Type R
2017 Civic Type R

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 avant-garde 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 520l — 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. – Mark Smyth