Geneva Motor Show

78th International Geneva Motor Show 2008

Geneva, 4 – 16 March 2008

The Geneva Motor show is probably the major annual European car show, whose popularity seems to know no bounds, not only with the public, but with manufacturers large and small, who use it as a showcase to present new models, prototypes and concept cars. The 2008 edition was no exception, with numerous concept cars, many of which were ECO-friendly, and some quite radical in their design details.

Some of the world premieres amongst the mainstream manufacturers were the Alfa Romeo 8C Competizione Spider, although the car itself could hardly be described as mainstream! Their stand also featured a sixties Tipo 33 Stradale, from where the inspiration of the 8C can clearly be seen to have come. Then there were the Audi A4 Avant, BMW M3 Cabrio, Citroen Berlingo and C5 Break, Ford Fiesta and Focus Coupé/Cabriolet, Honda Accord, Mercedes CLC, Peugeot 308 SW Estate, Volkswagen Golf Variant 4Motion and Scirocco and the Volvo XC60. There were European premieres for the BMW 1 Series Cabrio, Chevrolet Corvette ZR 1 and Aveo, Mercedes-Benz SLK 350, Nissan GT-R, Nissan Murano and Volkswagen Passat CC. The specialist manufacturers and tuning houses also had some world premieres, Abarth showed their hot Fiat 500, BMW Alpina their 3 Series based D3 BiTurbo Coupe, then there was Fornasari with their Chevrolet V8 powered RR 600, and Koenigsegg showed their CCX and CCXR. Rinspeed showed their underwater car, the sQuba, which can submerge to a depth of 10 metres and be driven on the road, all with zero emission power. One of the largest new cars at the show was the third evolution of the Rolls Royce Phantom, the new model being the Drophead Coupé. Closely following it was the Maybach Laundelet, finished in brilliant white, with a white leather rear compartment and black leather finished driver’s section. Audi debuted the R8 TDI Le Mans, the 5.5 litre V12 diesel powered version of the R8, bringing diesel technology to the high end sports car market for the first time, while lower down the scale they showed a diesel version of the TT model.

Maserati débuted an evolution of the GranTurismo, the Granturismo S, featuring a larger 4.7 litre V8 engine coupled to a new paddle MC-Shift gearbox and some subtle body alterations. They also showed the limited edition Quattroporte “Collezione Cento” (100 examples), with luxurious Poltrona Frau leather interior featuring Wengé wood inserts to the steering wheel, mother of pearl inlays, a multimedia entertainment system for rear seat passengers housed in the central armrest, with touch screens in the rear faces of the front seats. Across the aisle, the impressive Ferrari stand featured the full current range, with the first floor dedicated to their new  ”Ferrari Atelier” personalisation programme, where clients have a vast array of combinations of accessories, including an extensive range of leather colours to make their acquisition truly individual. Thus we can expect to see some unusual interpretations of “taste”. Nearby the Lamborghini stand featured a trio of the latest version of the Gallardo, the LP560-4, where they held a fashion show on the press days to show their new range of clothing and accessories. Aston Martin showed their Vantage RS in a delicate shade of metallic pale blue, and also had a DBS, V8 Vantage Roadster, DB9 Coupe and DB9 Volante on their stand.

The range of concept cars was truly eclectic, with the wildest probably being the rotary engine Mazda Taiku, a spectacular two seat pale metallic blue creation with wildly sweeping curves, scissor doors and outrigger rear wheels. Dodge showed a spectacular chunky lurid burnt orange 2+2 coupe, the ZEO, standing for Zero Emissions Operation, an electric powered car with a range of 400km, and a 0-100kph time of under 4secs. Suzuki, normally best known for their small modes of transport, showed a pair of larger concept vehicles, the turbo diesel powered Kizashi in two and four door form, a really powerful fluid design in either form, with definitely non pedestrian friendly 21” alloy wheels. The major design houses also had new offerings, Pininfarina showed their Sintesi, a battery powered car with large glass volumes, four scissor doors and a novel semi-transparent dashboard. Fioravanti displayed their Xidra and Vola concept cars, Zagato showed their interpretation of the Bentley, Giugiaro’s offering featured a fighter plane type canopy, whilst at the opposite end of the spectrum Sbarro showed their interpretation of a town car, whilst next door there was E’mobiles electric town car, which bears a striking resemblance to Postman Pat’s van!

The tuning/conversion aspect of the show had well known names like Alpina Brabus, Irmscher and Rinspeed, together with offerings from a number of others like Fab Design and Mansory. The former showed a pair of luridly finished Mercedes Benz, whilst the latter displayed a wild trio comprising of a McLaren Mercdes SLR in gold, a Rolls Royce Phantom convertible with orange interior incorporating Ostrich skin, and a white Ferrari 599 GTB Fiorano with a red and white interior, and plenty of composite accessories. You pay your money and take your choice!

Keith Bluemel


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