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Geneva Salon, 03 – 15 March, 2015

The 85th Geneva International Motor Show attracted star studded displays from manufacturers both large and small. There were around 75 World Premieres and 40 European Premieres through the seven exhibition halls of Geneva’s Palexpo exhibition complex adjacent to the international airport. The close proximity of the airport makes it the easiest show in the world to get to for foreign visitors, whilst the adjacent railway station makes for easy access for home visitors, without the hassle of urban traffic. It is not only the manufacturers that display their latest offerings at Geneva, as there is always a hall dedicated to the support trade, like accessories, parts, tools and garage equipment. Then there are the many tuning houses or personalisation businesses like ABT, Brabus, DMC, Mansory and Ruf, plus specialist design houses like Giugiaro, Pininfarina, Sbarro and Touring Superleggera, who use the show to highlight there latest offerings or concepts.

... MediaCenter Gallery in alphabetic order >>>

Amongst the latter group, Pininfarina displayed the production version of the Sergio, of which they first showed the concept of this Ferrari 458 Spider based limited production model in Geneva in 2013. Sbarro had their usual eclectic mix of designs ranging from a V8 mid engine three seat track day car called the F-Triple, through a retro style 5 litre V12 BMW powered track car called the Grand Prix, a nod to the Ferrari 250 GTO with the Ferrari 400i based Memory, and the Subaru Impreza based Aria concept car. Touring Superleggera were another design house to use a Ferrari as a base for their offering, this being the F12 based Berlinetta Lusso, with even a Ferrari name from the past, for a very smooth and elegant study in pale metallic blue. Also within this genre was the new company Scuderia Cameron Glickenhaus, the latter name probably being familiar to most car enthusiasts through his Pininfarina designed P4/5 based on a Ferrari Enzo a few years ago. The company’s new offering, the Honda V6 powered SCG003C, was shown in both bare carbon “street” form and in racing trim, which it is understood is planned to debut in the Nurburgring 24 Hour Race in the middle of the year.

Of the tuning houses or personalisation houses, Mansory had a broad selection of their craft, ranging from a wild Bentley Continental GT based offering in metallic green over white called the GT Race, to a Mercedes-Benz G-Class in camouflage paint finish called the Sahara Edition. Ruf are traditionally a Porsche based tuning specialist/manufacturer, and they showed a quartet of offerings, including a wild “psychedelic” painted offering called the CTR3, and the wonderfully named Turbo Florio, a Targa roof variant, hence the play on words with the name.

The major manufacturers also had their fare share of new sporting models and concepts on display, ranging from the “pocket rocket” Honda Civic Type R, boasting a 2 litre turbocharged engine pushing out 306bhp, and propelling the car to a claimed top speed of 167mph (267kph), to the McLaren P1 GTR, resplendent in yellow and green, harking back to the “Harrods” livery on the F1 GTR model at Le Mans in 1995. Honda also debuted the new NSX model and their FCV Concept, whilst McLaren also presented the 675LT. Along the way there was the Aston Martin Vulcan, a track day car presented in a lurid metallic lime green, plus their crossover concept, the DBX, and tucked away in its own showroom, the Lagonda luxury saloon. Over at Audi there was the Q7 e-tron, and the new R8, in e-tron concept form, together with V10, V10 Plus and LMS (race) versions, Lamborghini presented the Aventador LP 750-4 Superveloce together with a special Pirelli Edition of the same model. Koenigsegg had a trio of models on display, comprising of the new Regera, a CC8 S and an Agera RS, the latter looking particularly aggressive in carbon fibre with orange accents. Bentley presented their EXP 10 concept coupe, along with new versions of their range, including the GT Speed, and the Mulsanne Speed. Bugatti showed a pair of Veyrons, although no more orders are being taken, the production run having been completed, with a new model slated for next year, which is rumoured to be even more outrageous, and probably at the same time even more expensive! A car that seemed to “Wow” everybody was the new Ford GT, a stunning example of what a mainstream manufacturer can produce, with hints of the last Ford GT, it looked stunning in metallic blue, featuring a twin turbocharged V6 engine producing around 600bhp, it should be a force to be reckoned with. As a nod to its heritage, there was also an original roadgoing GT40 on display, together with an original Mexico as a nod to the heritage of the new Focus RS, which was another prominent part of the Ford stand.

With the plethora of new high performance models, it was only natural that Ferrari would be in there with the mix, and their 488 GTB was the star of their display. Although they had released images of the car prior to the show, and there had been private client viewings, this was the first time that it had been shown to the masses in the metal. Two examples sat under red shrouds until the official unveiling at 1.00pm on the first press day, by which time the area surrounding the Ferrari stand was a seething mass of humanity, such is the allure of the announcement of a new Ferrari model. It was worth the wait, as the new model looked as good in the metal as it did in the pictures, a clear development of the 458 model which it replaces, with hints of the LaFerrari in the sculpting of the sides, and a new 4 litre twin turbo engine to provide the motive power. When the new model name was announced I was at a loss to understand where the “488” came from, but I was advised to look at Ferrari history to understand it, but being an unusual number it still didn’t register, so it had to be explained, it is the swept volume of a single cylinder!

It wasn’t all high performance cars for the few, as noted there was the Honda Civic Type R, then Alfa Romeo presented the spider version of the 4C, whilst in the more everyday genre, Nissan showed the Sway Concept, which could pave the way to a Micra replacement, Tata showed their Concept Connected, a novel take on the town car, with the four seats suspended from a central spine. Then at the other extreme, there was the ultimate in luxury, personified by the Mercedes-Benz S600 Maybach Limousine, and the Rolls Royce Bespoke Division’s Phantom Serenity, featuring unique to this car embroidered floral silk trim, and white mother of pearl paintwork. Truly there was something for virtually every taste and every pocket.

Keith Bluemel