Geneva is one of the industry's favourite motor shows and certainly Europe's most important one. It hosts some important world premieres but small enough to get around in a day. This year did not disappoint with a new V12 Ferrari, a show stopping special Lamborghini, upgraded Rolls Royce, a concept Bentley SUV, new models from Porsche, Pagani, BMW and Mercedes to mention just a few. Not forgetting of course yet another special edition Bugatti.
Geneva also hosts a number of specialist coachbuilders and tuners and this year there were displays from Hamman, Mansory, Superleggera, Techart and Ruf. Legendary designer Guigario showed what looked like a modern day Lamborghini Espada.
Bentley was a very busy stand at this year's show with much interest in their smaller engine and more fuel efficient V8 Continental GT models, but capturing most of the attention was their new SUV concept, the EXP 9 F. This urban Range Rover style vehicle divided opinion on exterior styling with a range of opinions from ‘the business' to ‘just plain vulgar'. Unmistakably a Bentley, yet a Bentley like none before it – the EXP 9 F could become a third Bentley model-line alongside the Mulsanne and the Continental GT, GTC and Flying Spur. Equally at home on the streets of Dohar as Old Trafford, I hope the production version will be less over the top will smaller than 23” alloys and more original manufacturer looking rather than a custom tuner version.
The unveiling of the Phantom Series II maintained Rolls Royce's status as the pinnacle of luxury motoring. The three on display included the Phantom Saloon, Phantom Drophead Coupé and Phantom Coupé. All had been thoughtfully updated with contemporary yet timeless design enhancements and significant improvements to the car's drive-train, ease-of-use and connectivity. Aside from the headlining Phantom's, a very special Rolls-Royce Ghost was also winning admirers in the company's exclusive on-stand guest lounge. Clients, dealers and media guests were treated to a presentation of one of the first examples of a two-tone Rolls-Royce Ghost, a bespoke option being offered for the first time this year, following the immense popularity of two-tone Phantom models.
There was also most certainly no shortage of Hyper-cars out on display; including the world's fastest roadster, the Bugatti Grand Sport Vittesse, the difficult to pronounce Pagani ‘Huayra,' the obscenely radical looking Lamborghini Aventador J and the latest incarnation of the Koenigsegg Agera-R.
Lamborghini Aventador Jota
Whilst most of us were expecting an LP700 Spider, Lamborghini surprised all with the Aventador Jota. The disappointing lack of a roadster was more than compensated by the apparently road legal one off Lambo's equivalent of an upscale Aerial Atom. Without conventional windscreens the metallic red automotive missile more than upstaged anything else at Geneva,. Already sold ‘off plans' for £2.0M to an annonymous buyer. The most significant new Lambo was not at Geneva . Now inside sources claim that there will be a Lamborghini SUV concept at the forthcoming Bejing motor Show. The certainly would make sense to share the platform for this Bentley EXP 9F!
The all-new Porsche Boxster isn't exactly a visual revolution compared to the old car but it does look absolutely fantastic. It should drive well too, with Porsche promising this car will lap the Nurburgring 12 seconds faster than the Boxster it replaces. Standard cars come with a 2.7-litre flat-six with 261bhp, while the Boxster S gets a 3.4-litre unit with 311bhp.
One of my personal favourites is the new style 911, which regardless of the controversial electrically assisted steering system, is living proof that subtle refinement has proven to be one of the most successful automotive business strategies Evolution has preserved this latest edition in the Porsche 911.
If customization is your thing then there were also plenty of professional modification outfits exhibiting, this Lumma designs BMW 3series winning our vote of appreciate amongst the countless others.
Bugatti Grand Sport Vitesse
The Geneva motor show has a reveal of Bugatti's latest special edition Veyron, the Grand Sport Vitesse. It becomes the most powerful production roadster ever. Bugatti claims that it was the 'rapid success' of the Super Sport that convinced it to create a Grand Sport with even more power ! With 1183bhp and 1106 lb ft, it is equivalent to the Super Sport. The gains over a regular, 1001bhp Grand Sport are achieved by fitting four upgraded turbochargers and bigger intercoolers.The chassis has also been upgraded to handle the extra power..While the Grand Sport Vitesse misses out on the Super Sport coupe's world-leading 268mph top speed, it 'makes do' with a 255mph vmax
One of the first tuned editions of the McLaren MP4-12C, was shown by Porsche specialists Gemballa, which had superb 5 spoke wheels and body mods that make the standard version look tame. Besides this, I was very pleased to see that BMW have launched a saloon version of their popular 6-series, Named the 6 series Gran Coupe this takes on the Mercedes Benz CLS head on.
The new Mercedes A-Class really pulled the crowds as the first A class that looks fantastic. The design really does enable the small Benz to take the premier slot in this market segment over and above the BMW, Audi and VW competitors The body creases and detailed lights and grille on the AMG model look modern and clean. A large range of options and engines make this the small car to have this year.
Ferarri F12 Berlinetta
If you were ever under any doubt about how significant a new Ferrari launch is, the amount of attention the F12 Berlinetta got at the show will convince you it's definitely a major event. It replaces the 599 and produces 730bhp from a 6.3-litre V12, which is enough for 0-124mph in 8.5 seconds. It's faster than any other Ferrari road car around the Fiorano track - and it looks amazing too.
Pagani confirmed at the Geneva motor show that it has 85 confirmed orders for the new Pagani Huayra. And with Huayra production now under way (the first car is going to a well-known buyer in Hong Kong), Pagani's expecting to deliver 25 examples in 2012 and a further 40 cars in 2013. Demand has been particularly strong in the emerging markets, including China, India, Japan and Taiwan. The more established markets are also doing well and over the last 12 months, Pagani has opened official dealerships in the UK (London), the US (Los Angeles, Miami, San Francisco), Chile, Saudi Arabia, Singapore and Thailand. The Huayra is priced ex-factory at 849,500 euros, plus taxes, which for the UK gives an on the road price of £850,800.
Mini Countryman John Cooper works
A well predicted extreme Countryman John Cooper Works has been unveiled at the Geneva motor show. It's the sixth JCW model, joining the existing range of hatchback, convertible, Coupe, Roadster and Clubman, and is the most powerful production Mini to be produced. With 215bhp and 221ft/lb of torque this hot Mini will top 140 mph and do 0-62 mph in 7 secs.