This year’s biggest news has been the arrival of three massive hypercars. Of course, we all knew the McLaren P1 and the LaFerrari (incidentally, yes, ‘the LaFerrari’, chiefly because that’s how Ferrari itself referred to it in their literature) would make their big debuts, but the best-kept secret was Lamborghini’s Veneno, which trumped both of them on cost and exclusivity, by quite some margin. That said, the general feeling on the forum was that many would prefer to own either the McLaren or the Ferrari, both more conventionally pretty designs. Of course, it’ll be the former two that snaffle the most headlines over the coming months as the most epic hypercar battle we’ve seen for many a year hots up; with similar performance figures, similarly hybridised drivetrains and the classic McLaren vs Ferrari rivalry we’ve already seen both on and off the track, the battle for hearts and minds has just begun.
The 911 GT3 was at least revealed at Geneva, with Porsche confirming that which had long been speculated: the next GT3 will have a PDK gearbox. It’ll also get four-wheel-steer, though, and the Mezger powerplant’s also been replaced by an S-derived 3.8-litre flat-six with forged pistons, titanium con rods, and a host of other changes that’ll have engineering buffs drooling. 475hp is the headline power figure, though of more note is the 9,250rpm redline. And while the PDK will be a sticking point for some, Porsche has at least made the point that it’s been tweaked, giving lower ratios to make seventh into a proper gear and even a ‘clutch neutral’ mode that’ll allow clutch kicks.
We’d hoped the show debut of the 4C would at last clear up the debate about where the 4C would sit in the market and what its eventual final form would be. Well, we know more, but not as much as we’d like to. We’ve had an EU-market price of around £51,600, but no UK-market price as yet, and that’s only for the 1000-strong ‘Launch Edition’, 400 of which will make it to the EU. Still, at least we now know that the new car will hit 60mph in 4.5 seconds, and that it’ll be powered by a 240hp 1.75-litre engine based on that in the Giulietta; Alfa tells us that it’s also hoping to sell 3,500 in a normal year, and that the car will be built in Maseratis’s factory. Expect to see a proper launch in Autumn.
Power – and lots of it – was in evidence this year, most notably with Rolls Royce unveiling its most powerful production car yet. The Wraith, a rather smooth-looking two-door fastback, will feature a 624hp, 590lb ft V12, which will push that bluff front end through the air to 60mph in 4.4 seconds. Rolls is promising it’ll be more driver-focussed than the Ghost saloon on which it’s based, and of course, there’s as much finery inside as you could hope for from a Roller.
Bentley, too, had their own big unveil – that of the Continental Flying Spur, which was making its international debut. 625hp is on offer here – coincidence that that’s exactly one more than Rolls’s most powerful, perhaps? – as well as the obscenely luxurious interior you’d expect.
RS6 and RS7 made their European debuts – although strangely, the talk was of less of the stuff, as the ‘downsized’ 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 fitted to both cars can ‘only’ boast 560hp, as opposed to the 579hp of the previous RS6. Thanks to a variety of weight-saving measures, though, the new model will still be quicker, with a 0-62mph figure of 3.9 seconds.
And more power was the main attraction of Maserati’s new GranTurismo MC Stradale. While it’s gained two rear seats, it’s also gained 10hp, bringing it into line with the rest of the range. A host of weight-saving measures have also been added, allowing the car to reach a usefully enjoyable top speed of 188mph.
VW’s Golf GTI is back for another round, in Mk7 form: it’s official. Well, to be honest we always knew it was on its way, but VW’s now taken the wraps off the finished production car for the first time. The good? There’ll be a new twist on a limited-slip diff in the form of VW’s VAQ system, and we’ll also get a 220hp, 258lb ft powerplant matched to your choice of manual or DSG gearbox. The bad? It’s a conservative looker, and down on power compared with similarly-priced rivals. It’ll have to be good, too, what with the arrival of the somewhat more eyecatching Pro_cee’d GT that’s set to shake the hot hatch market up a bit, and increased competition at the top end of the market from Merc’s new A45 AMG hyper-hatch.
Three new convertibles have had a notable presence at Geneva, two of which have been shown to the public for the first time. We were given the first shots of the FT-86 Open before the show, so we already had an idea of its proportions, but we were pleased to note that in the flesh it looks every bit as good as we’d hoped – even with the roof up. The other big convertible reveal came from Chevrolet, with the arrival of the C7 Corvette convertible. It’ll share its hardware with the coupe, and Chevy’s promising that it’ll be every bit as sharp and involving to drive, too. Meanwhile, over on Jaguar’s stand the F-Type isn’t exactly new news, but the chance to gawp anew at its lovely lines wasn’t to be missed.
Behind The Scenes
Of course, there's naught more fascinating than a look behind the scenes at any motor show, so be sure to check out Dan's liveblog of the event, featuring some superb insights from between the lines.