With spring fast approaching, that can only mean one thing for auto show fans: next week marks the start of the annual Geneva Motor Show.
The annual event is one of the automotive world’s most significant events, partly due to traditional Swiss neutrality encouraging major automakers from all over the world to weigh in with their latest wares. Better yet, Geneva has traditionally also given us a look at some of the industry’s more exotic – and wacky brands. Among the specialty marques coming to the Palexpo conventional center this year will be California-based Czinger debuting its 1,250-hp 21C hypercar.
But show-goers will quickly recognize that things will be a bit downsized at this year’s event, fully 13 different manufacturers deciding to sit out this year’s gathering, a list including some big names like: Cadillac, Citroen, Ford, Jaguar, Lamborghini, Land Rover, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Opel, Peugeot, Subaru, Tata and Volvo. Even with those no-shows, Geneva will be a big event and few expect it to fade away like the Frankfurt Motor Show which, due to the poor turnout last autumn, has been cancelled going forward.
Here’s an initial, alphabetical look at the key debuts we expect to see at the 2020 Geneva Motor Show, a list we’ll update as we learn more about planned introductions:
The Italian automaker has been surprisingly secretive about what it has coming to Geneva this year but it’s widely expected to add an even more sporty version of the now-familiar Giulia sedan that would revive the long dormant GTA badge. The Giulia GTA reportedly will be about 45 pounds lighter than the current Quadrifoglio model but deliver 114 hp more, at 612. With the U.S. so crazy for SUVs, unfortunately, we may not see the Giulia GTA make the jump across the Atlantic.
The British maker is finally getting ready to deliver its first-ever SUV, the new DBX. Geneva will see it introduce a special bespoke version from its customization arm, the Q branch. And yes, it’s named for the R&D chief in the 007 movie franchise. The DBX, in fact, will show up in the next cinematic installment due out in April. Along with the DBX by Q, Aston also will show off two open-top models, the Vantage Roadster and the V12 Speedster.
German automakers will flood the Palexpo convention center with new and updated models. Perhaps the most significant offering from Audi will be the next-generation A3 Sportback making its world debut. The new S3 should also roll out. We’ll also see a sportier –and possibly longer-range – version of the marque’s electric SUV, the e-tron S. Other debuts may include a new version of the RS5, as well as the Q5 SUV.
The Italian firm built plenty of buzz when it unveiled the all-electric Battista last year. It’s going to be back in Geneva next month with the Battista Anniversario, the special edition not only honoring the company’s founder but its 90th anniversary. All we know so far is that it will feature “heritage-inspired livery,” while also offering “enhanced dynamic abilities.” Considering the original version of the $2 million hypercar made 1,650 hp, we’re prepared to be impressed.
The British marque’s Mulliner division has been hard at work developing even more exclusive versions of key products, such as the Continental GT Convertible with new 22-inch wheels, a double-diamond front grille and unique side vents, among other details. Also in the works: a top secret project called the Bacalar GT, which could be the first custom coach model from Bentley in two decades. It is expected to borrow key design details from the brand’s EXP 100 GT concept marking its 100th anniversary.
BMW will show off the all-new i4, its first all-electric model in grand coupe form. A concept for now, a production model will soon follow. The automaker is betting big on electrification in all its forms and will show off the 330e plug-in hybrid sedan and coupe, as well as a PHEV version of its small crossover, the X2 xDrive25e. On the performance end it has confirmed the debut of the M340d xDrive while it’s widely expected we’ll also see the new 4-Series convertible and coupe with their controversial new grilles.
Volkswagen Group’s most exclusive brand has set a limit on production of its Chiron line and, having reached the halfway mark is rolling out new special editions including the Edition Noire Sportive debuting in Geneva. As the name suggests, it features a matte black carbon fiber body and matching black interior. The Swiss show may also bring the debut of a Chiron R which is expected to feature new aerodynamic design elements.
It’s become increasingly common for automakers to give new products special, one-off introductions, as Ferrari did last November for the new Roma. Geneva will mark the first public showing of the sports car. The Ferrari Roma was designed to evoke the look of a classic grand tourer, though it’s no retro-mobile, with its LED headlights and horizontal light strips. The 2+2 coupe is powered by a 612 hp V-8.
Fiat was an early entrant in the all-electric vehicle market – though you might recall former CEO, the late Sergio Marchionne, telling motorists not to buy the original 500e because the company lost so much money on each one. Fiat will introduce an all-new 500e city car at Palexpo but, with the standard 500 no longer being sold in the U.S., it is unlikely Americans will get a crack at the new electric model, either.
A pioneer in the electrified vehicle market with his original Fisker Karma PHEV, Danish designer-cum-entrepreneur watched that venture go up in smoke. But he’s back at it with an all-new company and, the new Ocean SUV has gone all-electric. We got a quick look at the battery-ute during the Consumer Electronics Show but Geneva will mark its first real public showing, as well as its European debut.
The Japanese automaker’s Geneva debuts will focus on a mix of global products including some, like the Jazz and all-electric E that we won’t get in the States. But we’ll also see facelifted versions of the Civic line-up, including the hot Type R which will lose the oversized wing as it reaches midcycle. There will, in fact, be new variants of the Type R including the track-ready Sport Line, as well as the more restrained Type R Limited Edition, both coming to the U.S.
From a global perspective, we expect to be wowed by the new Hyundai Prophecy concept which, as its name implies, will not only reveal a new all-electric drive platform but also give us a strong hint of where the automaker’s latest design language is heading. There are plenty of questions about the Prophecy drivetrain, its development thought to have been aided by Croatian EV supercar maker Rimac which has close ties to the Korean automaker. Separately, the i20 supermini will also debut in Geneva.
We got a hint of how Jeep will go electric at the 2019 Geneva Motor Show and got a first real look at its new 4xe line of plug-in hybrids at the Consumer Electronics Show last month. We’re expecting to see the plug-in Wrangler, Compass and Renegade models in Geneva and hope we’ll find out more about them, as Jeep officials declined to offer any insight at CES. It appears they all share a 1.3-liter gas engine and rear-mounted electric motor producing a combined 237 hp and through-the-road all-wheel-drive.
The reborn Fisker Motors is going global and will take both its Revero plug-in hybrid and the sportier Revero GT to a European auto show for the first time. We just might get to hear more about the new products the California-based, Chinese-owned automaker is working on, Karma expected to begin shifting to all-electric powertrains going forward.
The big news for Korea’s second-largest automaker is the global debut of the fourth-generation Sorento. The new look is more aggressive on the exterior, with a more lavishly executed cabin. We’ll likely have to wait for the Geneva debut to learn more from a technical standpoint, though there is widespread speculation that, along with a mix of inline-four and V-6 gas engines Kia will electrify the 2021 Sorento, as well. A hybrid is a certainty. We hope to hear more about a possible plug-in hybrid in Geneva.
We’re hearing a variety of stories about what Lexus will bring to this year’s Geneva Motor Show. Among the products reportedly on tap, expect to see the European debut of the electric, gull-winged LF-30 concept vehicle, as well as the UX300e, the Japanese luxury brand’s first all-electric model. With a mere 54 kWh battery pack, range will be limited. Also on tap: the European debut of the LC500 convertible.
The Japanese maker is another being especially secretive about its Geneva plans, confirming only that it will reveal an all-new SUV that it refers to as “the second model in its new-generation line-up.” It will be offered in various markets with a mix of the latest SkyActiv powertrains, including the new SkyActiv-X which, it says, “adopts a unique combustion method to combine the free-revving performance of a gasoline engine with the superior response of a diesel.”
Though there’s no clear confirmation, McLaren is reportedly going to show off its latest specialty edition, the BC-03, which is based on the Senna hypercar platform. It apparently adapts even more radical styling and a hybrid/4.0-liter twin-turbo drivetrain rated at an estimated 1,100 horsepower. The price tag is believed to reach somewhere around $3.5 million. There are rumors we could see a version of the McLaren 750LT, as well.
Stuttgart sends a broad array of new products to Geneva this year, including the second-generation Mercedes-AMG GLA 45 which, it boasts, features the most powerful production I-4 engine ever. Then there’s the mid-cycle makeover of the E-Class. Mercedes insists the update is “extensive.” Though the visual tweaks are modest it will get a lot of new technology, including an array of new plug-in hybrid variants. The hybrid AMG GT 73 also will debut, and Europeans will get to see the wild AVTR concept.
Volvo’s spinoff brand is slowly getting ramped up, with the PHEV Polestar One heading to production and all-electric Polestar Two to follow. The big Geneva news, however, focuses on Precept, a concept said to offer a look at the brand’s future design direction. There’s a hint of Tesla Model 3 in the design, though one might also see a bit of the Porsche Taycan. The automaker says Precept uses sustainable materials wherever possible. Rumors suggest we may also see the Polestar Three debut in Geneva.
Porsche is bringing to Geneva new versions of the Boxster and Cayman siblings. As their names suggest the 718 Boxster and Cayman GTS 4.0 models will get new 4.0-liter naturally aspirated inline-six engines. That replaces the current GTS models using a flat-four. With 394 hp and 309 lb-ft of torque, the 0-60 time is expected to hit 4.3 seconds. U.S. versions will reach showrooms late this year. We’ll also see the new Porsche 911 Turbo at Palexpo.
The Japanese giant is teasing us with hints of a Yaris-based SUV that will rely on a hybrid drivetrain and offer all-wheel-drive. If that system is anything like the e-Hybrid system in the Prius it will operate primarily at low to medium speeds and cut out on the highway. Also on tap, a new pocket rocket from Toyota’s Gazoo Racing unit, the Yaris GR.
VW will show off a variety of hot hatches. For one thing, look for the new Golf GTI, as well as the sporty diesel-powered Golf GTD. Unconfirmed reports have suggested we may see the Golf R, as well, along with new variants of the Tiguan. We hope to confirm that soon. But we have learned that VW also will debut the fifth-generation of its Caddy van in Geneva this year. Americans will want to check out the ID.4 Study signaling what the first VW long-range electric SUV will look like when it debuts later in 2020.