RE: Prior Convictions: Swiss time is running out

RE: Prior Convictions: Swiss time is running out

Saturday 3rd March

Prior Convictions: Swiss time is running out

But will the Japanese lose the race to an exciting sports car future?

We are still, as I understand it, a wee way away from seeing production versions of the Toyota Supra and whatever BMW calls its version - Z5, Z4, whatever - of their joint ventured sports car, despite the likelihood of one, the other, or both appearing in concept form at the Geneva motor show next week.

And I wonder how much the prospect of a new sports car does for the reputation and perception of a company, even before it's launched.

OK, BMW makes sports cars all the time, but Toyota doesn't always, and that whole 'ooh, new Supra' vibe might already be rubbing off on the company (GT86 and Gazoo racing stuff maybe assisting, obvs).

But perhaps that's why some companies in general, and Japanese carmakers in particular, are happy to leave hiatuses between performance models.

I think that kind of transience appeals to Japanese culture too, but maybe the marketing and 'brand awareness' or whatever they dress that fuzzy feeling you have about a carmaker extends each side of a production run. Perhaps it's better to wait, the thinking maybe goes, until you've got a sports car you really want to make, rather than just replacing one because a spreadsheet suggest you'll make a few bob that way?

How far can you push that? Dunno. Last I heard, Mazda still retained about 30 staff working on rotary engines, but the last RX- coupe was discontinued in 2012. The Honda NSX disappeared for a decade. And they just don't seem to mind.

Geneva, though, is as good as any a place to launch a new sports car. Better than most others, in fact. The global motor show might have waved cheerio to the time when it was the only place a carmaker would consider revealing an all-new model, thanks to the internet and that, but still, if you're thinking of buying, or just browsing, and you want to see everything under one roof, Geneva is the one. It's compact, all of the important stuff is there and, should you want, you can go in and out in a day thanks it being in a building next to the airport.

So what's there? I want to see the MAT Stratos as much as I want to see the Ferrari 488 Pista. And I'm intrigued to see the AMG GT4 - based, as it'll be, on the big regular Mercedes platform, rather than an AMG-specific all aluminium one. It could have extended the AMG GT architecture, but that has its gearbox at the back, while the E-Class platform has the gearbox at the front; and a front-mounted gearbox is the best way to offer the 4WD that AMG thinks it can't do without. I want to see a Range Rover with two doors and wonder who buys one. I want to bask in the niceness of a Volvo V60's rear seats, prod around a McLaren Senna, and be surprised by a few cool, and a few hideous things, too.

I once read a column which said that, if you didn't like motor shows, you weren't a real car enthusiast. It was total nonsense then and remains total nonsense now: cars are meant to be driven, not sit on carpet beneath a high intensity light, and if you don't like seeing them there, with a five-deep crowd around them, I'm on your side. But I'll make an exception for Geneva.




Original Poster:

728 posts

101 months

Saturday 3rd March
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Prior Convictions is fast becoming one of the best parts of PH, well written, well informed and with interesting subject matter. Well done!


38 posts

101 months

Saturday 3rd March
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My ticket is booked and can’t wait...
Have to admit though little disappointed the full road going version of the Supra won’t be there.. I used to have a 370z and loved it think this could be the next step!
But I have to confess I am more than tempted by the new mustang GT (guilty pleasure) think the prices may well be similar...
Not two cars that you would probably compare but interested to know other members thoughts!!!
Will know more after seeing them in the flesh of course but is keeping me up at night!!!


101 posts

50 months

Sunday 4th March
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So, is Mr Prior a Pistonhead or a Machine Head? getmecoat


9,912 posts

45 months

Sunday 4th March
quotequote all
I'd love to do Geneva one year. But seeing concept cars isn't my idea of fun tbh.

I'd love even more to do SEMA but apparently its only open to pubic on one day?