With the 2018 auto show season beginning to wrap up, automakers and automotive journalists have made their pilgrimage to Geneva.
The annual Geneva International Motor Show has carried on the Swiss tradition of neutrality, no national automotive industry dominating the floor at the sprawling PAL Expo Convention Center. GIMS has a reputation for revealing some while and wacky specialty products, in fact, but virtually every major manufacturer is there with something significant to introduce.
This year underscores the fragmentation of the global auto market, with those carmakers rolling out a raft of SUVs, as well as more traditional sedans, coupes and hatchbacks. And along with classic gas and diesel models, electrified offerings are filling the show’s stands – one marque unveiling a 2,000 hp electric hypercar. So, here’s a look at the most significant models on display at the 2018 Geneva show.
Aston Martin:The British automaker has been billing itself the “world’s fastest-growing automotive brand. While not everyone will buy that description there’s no question Aston’s line-up is growing fast, and there’s yet more debuting in Geneva this year, including the complete remake of the Vantage, along with the World Endurance Championship GTE Vantage race car. We’ll also get a first look at the track-only Aston Martin Valkyrie AMR Pro and the Electric Lagonda Vision Concept.
Audi: Determined to take on rivals BMW and Mercedes, Audi has rapidly expanded its line-up but now it’s focused on upgrading its core models. And for this year’s Geneva Motor Show the focus is on the debut of the fifth-generation A6. The 2019 remake gets a brand-new platform that shaves weight to improve performance as well as fuel economy. It also adds new mild hybrid technology to further enhance mileage, as well as a range of new advanced driver assistance systems.
Bentley: “The Bentayga Hybrid is our first step on the road to electrification,” said the British marque’s new chairman and CEO Adrian Hallmark. While it isn’t ready to release all the details, the combination of a turbo 3.0-liter six with an electric motor is believed to produce around 400 horsepower. The name is actually misleading, as the latest Bentley Bentayga variant is a plug-in hybrid with enough batteries to yield about 30 miles in electric mode.
BMW: There are a handful of mysteries in Geneva this year. One centers around the BMW stand where the Bavarians may roll out the next-generation Z4 roadster. It’s the product of an unusual joint venture pairing the Bavarians and Toyota – which will market its model as the reborn Supra. Don’t be surprised if the Z4 replaces its folding hardtop with a ragtop. Also on the stand; the new X4 Sport-Activity Vehicle and the 8-Series Gran Coupe, the four-door version of the flagship coupe revealed in 2017.
Ferrari: The prancing pony has some big changes in store, even promising its first-ever SUV. But it’s staying truer to form in Geneva with the debut of the sexy 488 Pista which aims to keep purist Ferraristas happy. The lightweight carbon fiber-bodied Pista is motivated by the most powerful V-8 the Italian maker has yet rolled out, making 711 horsepower, enough to push it to 210 mph. It also promises to be the most
technologically sophisticated Ferrari ever.
Hyundai: This is a big show for the Korean carmaker which is giving the first public preview of the Santa Fe crossover – which gets several new drivetrains, including a diesel and a hybrid. Hyundai will also put a premium on green car technology, showing off the new battery-electric Kona SUV, as well as its next-generation fuel-cell vehicle, the Nexo. It also gives us a look at its future designs with the ‘Le Fil Rouge’ Concept.
Jaguar: The British automaker spent years debating whether to add a station wagon to its line-up. These days, the now Indian-owned Jaguar (along with its Land Rover sibling) is anything but bound by tradition. It already has launched its second SUV, the E-Pace, and Geneva brings the official debut of the first all-electric Jaguar, the I-Pace. The ute not only makes 400 hp and gets 220 miles per charge but introduces a new design language boosting interior space by hiding its powertrain under the load floor.
Kia: Kia is seeding the European market with a new version of its popular Ceed model. Roughly the size of a Volkswagen Golf, it undergoes relatively minor changes for 2019. The Rio GT Line also makes its debut — the first time it gets GT packaging. Meanwhile, the Korean carmaker is also showing off the next-generation version of its big K900 luxury sedan which targets wannabe S-Class buyers on a tight budget.
Lamborghini: If you’ve already captured the Nurburgring record for fastest lap in a hardtop, well, you have to go back again with a convertible, right? Apparently, Lamborghini thinks so, the Italian marque rolling into Geneva with the Huracan Performante Spyder. It shares the same 631 horsepower 5.2-liter V-10 found in the original coupe.
Land Rover: Jaguar’s sibling brand remains focused on classic SUVs, but its finding ways to make them ever more powerful, luxurious — and expensive. We’ve seen a variety of special editions in recent years – with names like Land Rover Range Rover V8 Autobiography Black Edition – that have pushed up towards the $200,000 mark. The new three-row Range Rover Coupe SV coming to Geneva will serve as the brand’s flagship, though it’s expected to be produced in relatively limited numbers.
Lexus:A slightly toned-down version of the show car unveiled at the Paris Motor Show in autumn 2016, the production Lexus UX enters one of the world’s fastest-growing luxury niches and takes aim at products like the Volvo XC40 and Audi Q2. It retains the controversial “spindle grille” found on other Lexus products, including the slightly bigger NX SUV. Expect to see the Toyota luxury brand offer several different powertrain options, including a hybrid dubbed the UX 250h.
McLaren: The ultimate tease, McLaren is bringing its most daunting new model yet, the Senna, to Geneva this year. There’s just one problem: it says it has already sold out the entire run of 500 of the hypercars. That includes the special Senna MSO Carbon edition. In case you still need to know, the $1 million Senna makes 789 hp out of its twin-turbo 4.0-liter V-8, a jaw-dropping number when you consider it weighs in at less than 2,500 pounds.
Mercedes-Benz:As always seems to be the case, Mercedes came to Geneva with a handful of new products to preview. That includes an updated version of the C43, as well as the most powerful version of its G-Class, the G63 SUV. There’s also a production battery-electric vehicle. But the show-stopper is the four-door version of the Mercedes-AMG GT Coupe. That may sound confusing, but the new model manages to add two more doors while maintaining the slick lines of the original.
Polestar: Volvo’s long-time racing partner is now a limited-edition sub-brand focusing specifically on performance electric models, and Geneva will see the formal European debut of the new Polestar 1, its flagship coupe. (It was first shown in China last year.) And, yes, any resemblance to the classic Volvo P1800 is purely intentional. The 600-horsepower GT will soon be followed by two more all-electric performance models, logically named Polestar 2 and 3.
Porsche: When it comes to building expectations, perhaps no new model from Porsche is more eagerly awaited than the all-electric Mission E, but the German maker’s spotlight in Geneva is on the more traditionally powered 911 GT3 RS, the most powerful version of the GT3 ever offered. It adds another 20 horsepower, boosting top speed to 194 mph, while cutting the coupe’s 0 to 60 time down to a mere 3.2 seconds.
Rimac: A Croatian hypercar? Yep, and it continues to push into territory few could have imagined just a few years ago as it launches its third electric rocket. Following the debut of the Rimac Concept One it returned last year with the Concept S. Now, Rimac Automobili is launching the Concept Two and it will boast nearly 2,000 horsepower and virtually instantaneous torque.
Rinspeed:We actually got a first look at the Rinspeed Snap early this year at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. Now, the Swiss think tank known for coming up with creative – and sometimes wacky – concept vehicles is giving this motorized Legomobile a public debut. Snap’s multi-function passenger compartment can separate from its electrified, autonomous platform and be used for other purposes, “from a variable shopping pod or a spacious camping pod to a cozy cuddling pod.”
Smart: Daimler’s little city car brand is undergoing some major changes as it shifts to an all-electric drivetrain strategy. Now, it is also getting a new name, the Smart ForTwo Electric Drive being rebadged as the Smart EQ Fortwo. If that provokes a sense of deja vu, no surprise. EQ is the same name that will be used for a new Mercedes electric vehicle sub-brand set to debut by the end of the decade.
Subaru: If it’s Geneva, it must be time for another Viziv concept vehicle. Past versions have previewed new production models, such as the new three-row Ascent coming to market next year. What’s unusual about the new Viziv Tourer debuting this year is that it harkens back to the Japanese automaker’s roots as a wagon brand. We’ll have to wait to see if it’s also the progenitor of some future model, but tradition says it will be.
Toyota: Perhaps the biggest mystery in Geneva has been solved. Well, almost. Toyota has taken the wraps off the long-awaited Supra — sort of. What it rolled out Tuesday morning was a “concept” version that will wind up being campaigned by its motorsports arm, Gazoo racing. We’ll have to hang on until sometime in the coming months to finally see the street version. What we’ve picked up is that it will feature a 330-hp BMW V-6, and the German maker will offer its version of the joint project as the next Z4.
Volkswagen: The centerpiece of the VW stand in Geneva is the I.D. Vizzion, the fourth in a series of concept vehicles meant to preview the all-electric I.D. family it will launch by the end of this decade. As with earlier models like the Crozz and Buzz, you can expect to see the big I.D. Vizzion sedan roll into showrooms “by 2022 at the latest,” the automaker said. Look for its U.S. range to push north of 300 miles per charge while Vizzion will also be a showcase for VW’s evolving autonomous technology.
Volvo: While the Swedes have fallen in love with SUVs, the now Chinese-owned brand isn’t walking away from its roots. And so, just as the award-winning XC90 SUV has its companion sedan and wagon models, so the pattern goes with the all-new 60-series. But where we saw the bigger ute followed by the sedan and then the wagon, the two-box V60 is second up and coming to market just in time for Geneva. The look is familiar, including the oversized “iron mark” logo and Thor’s Hammer headlamps.