Geneva 2018: The PH Verdict

The Geneva show is just beginning for the public, but motoring hacks the world over are returning home, their time at Palexpo having come to an end. So, with plenty to reflect on, and lots to look forward to as well, here is PH's take on the best and worst entries that this year's event offered up.

The Award For Doing An Exceptional Job

Ferrari 488 Pista
No hesitation required here: the 488 is already a wonderful supercar - arguably the finest - but the Pista will be better. It will assuredly be that way because all the previous lightweight iterations of Ferrari's mid-engined V8 cars (no matter what they've been called) have proven superior, with the last one - the staggering 458 Speciale - suggesting that Maranello takes few things more seriously. Also it will have 720hp and looks utterly tremendous, even in silver. NC

Rimac C_Two
After its very public fiery demise, Rimac is back with a new concept - the C_Two. And it is utterly mind blowing. 1,914hp and 1,696lb ft will get the driver to 60mph in less than two seconds. Some may say that electric performance cars will ruin the segment, but I think they're causing the rest of us not be happy with just a 20hp increase or a set of carbon-fibre windscreen wipers. Many may disagree, but the Rimac was the star of the show for me. NA

McLaren Senna GTR
McLaren sold every last Senna before a single customer had even laid eyes on the million pound hypercar. Then it made it even quicker, and even less practical, and at the time of writing has very nearly sold the full 75 car build run within 24 hours of launch. If that's not an exceptional job then I don't know what is. DW

Toyota Supra concept
To be fair, there's no evidence that Toyota has done an exceptional job yet, because this isn't a full production Supra. But, then, that's motor shows all round: they tease and tantalise, and Toyota is doing that with the Supra concept, whose architecture it'll share with the BMW Z4 replacement. Word has it the Supra will have a 3.0-litre straight six with about 340hp and be rear-drive. The chief engineer says he wants the 1,500kg car to be "like a GT86, only with more power", and that would be an exceptional job. MP

Yes, another mention for the little green 911, but what a car. Sure, it's €650,000, but some people still want £400k for 911 Rs, and this will be much rarer. And quicker. Plus it's small and dainty, like 911s used to be, so it wouldn't be taking up the whole road over here. Poking around the SCR at Geneva it felt impeccably well made, a beautiful product, and the pride from the team behind it is tangible - it's absolutely deserved, too. I think I'd have one over a Singer... MB

The Award For Being Totally On Message

Bentley Bentayga Hybrid
No, you may not necessary like the idea of a petrol-electric hybrid from Crewe - and personally I'm with you - but Bentley simply cannot be about large combustion engines forever. Failure to move energetically with the times was part of the firm's problem in its pre-VW Group days, and the option of buying one with 30-odd miles of zero-emission range will be useful in certain markets. Of course it'll be mediocre to drive compared with the W12 or V8 of either stripe. But that's life. NC

Last year RUF hadn't teased anything in the lead up to Geneva then whipped the covers off the CTR. This year the manufacturer did the same in revealing theproduction SCR. Using the same monocoque and carbon body as the CTR, the power comes from a naturally aspirated 4.0-litre flat-six providing a "characterful answer to the desire for a pure, undiluted driving pleasure in a world without compromises." NA

No matter what you may think of Mansory's products, clients, or legacy, it's impossible to deny that it has very much nailed its niche. Hear the name and outrageous body kits, gaudy paint schemes, and acres of carbon fibre immediately spring to mind. At Geneva, it brought more of the same, with the emphasis on more. Job done. DW

Volkswagen ID Vizzion
Diesels are bad, m'kay? There's a utopian future, and we can all be a part of it if only we're prepared to work together, says Volkswagen, as it shows a video of its ID Vizzion concept - promised for production in 2022 - driving a perfect family around by itself, picking up flowers, all cleanly, all silently, all in a perfect, peaceful future. Why can't we all embrace it? Why can't we all work towards it? Electric is good. Fossil is bad. The ID Vizzion is part of the future. It's part of the message. It couldn't be more part of the message. The sad, bitter irony is that it's a message Volkswagen largely created. MP

Ford Mustang Bullitt
As so many manufacturers discussed 'intelligent mobility solutions' at Geneva, Ford rolled a Highland Green Mustang onto its stand, revved the nuts off it (it has a new exhaust, so why not?) and elevated a group of world weary journalists to wannabe movie stars. Ford's message - that moodily specced Mustangs have been cool for 50 years - is pretty much the antithesis of the rest of the show, but even easier to support a result. It is big and it's not clever, but sometimes you don't need anything more to draw the people in. I can't wait to drive one. MB

The Award For Displaying Massive Ambition

Lagonda Vision Concept
Not so much for the car - although the concept could hardly aspire to be bolder - but rather for Gaydon's swing-for-the-fences strategic decision to relaunch Lagonda as an all-EV brand in the first place. The development and finessing of such a product will be wildly expensive and rather different to what Aston Martin has been doing thus far this decade. Succeed, and its status as a global luxury carmaker will be virtually future-proofed. Fail, and Lagonda will likely be gone for good. NC

Apollo decided against having a stand at the show, the manufacturer instead deciding to try and garner attention via the social campaign #FindTheIE asking fans to use the hashtag when they saw the car on the road. However, all the mainstream media were busy with multiple unveilings; maybe it will take off when the public are out in droves this week. NA

Rimac C_Two
This would have gone to the Lagonda Vision Concept had Nic not... nicked it first. Instead it'll have to go to the Rimac C_Two. The super and hyper car market is more saturated than ever these days, with old favourites Ferrari, Lamborghini and Aston Martin joined by now well-established (re-)emerging brands like McLaren and Bugatti. With Pagani and Koenigsegg challenging from above and the skyrocketing performance of AMGs, M-cars etc. from below, it's a harder time than ever to find a foothold. Let alone using new technologies and rapidly evolving power sources. Rimac is doing a decent job of keeping its plates spinning thus far, though, not least with the 1,914hp C-Two. Hopefully it avoids any of them coming crashing to the ground this time... DW

AMG GT 4-door
It's rare, though not unheard of, for a big brand's performance arm to create its own sports car. To create your own saloon car, though, is something else again. Sure, theAMG GT4 is based on an existing platform, but this will never be a volume proposition: it's only ever a high performance car in an area of the market where none sells in particularly high volumes. It's a bold move, and I love it. MP

Alpine has only just delivered its first customer car in France, and yet here we are already with a fully fledged GT4 racing car that will be seen on racetracks later this year. That it looks superb may have influenced my judgement slightly, but any manufacturer that places an emphasis on the value and relevance of motorsport should be applauded. That this car has been created so quickly, and will be offered as a range of upgrades for Cup customers as well, shows Alpine has considerable ambition when it comes to re-establishing itself in the world sportscar scene. And who doesn't want that? MB

The Award For Not Really Trying Hard Enough

Porsche Mission E Cross Turismo
There's a hint of the underachiever about the Turismo. Sure, it's the sort of thing that Porsche probably needs to be doing (or at least seen to be doing) but the 'Cross-Utility Vehicle' concept managed to be neither one thing nor the other. Certainly it is a dog's dinner to look at and all the strained on-stage talk about potential production simply worked as a reminder that even the car it is based on - the Mission E - won't be seen anytime soon. The half-heartedness will have delighted Jaguar. NC

Alfa Romeo
Alfa Romeo's efforts at the Nordschleife are something that only an Italian can pull off. A driver throwing the Giulia around the track in a t-shirt and jeans is a video that needs to be watched over and over. But coming to Geneva with the record cars painted in circuit grey and chucking some options at them isn't really doing them justice. Okay, 108 are going to be made and they'll all have a plaque, but come on Alfa, more was expected this year. NA

Sure, the GR Supra Racing Concept is great and all, but it's also not what anyone is waiting to see. A new production Supra has been in the pipeline for so long now that the car is in serious danger of NSXing itself, getting caught in its own riptide instead of riding a wave of hype into the hearts and minds of enthusiasts and owners alike. DW

Range Rover SV Coupe
I like the idea of a two-door Range Rover. And here, although it might not look like it, only two of the Range Rover SV Coupe's body panels are the same as the four-door Range Rover. So it's got a bit of bespokeness. And the interior has been trimmed in ways that Range Rover's SVO department has never finished trims before. It's just that it feels like Land Rover has woken up to the fact that there are really wealthy people who don't want to drive a supercar all the time, and has decided the Range Rover might be persuaded to almost, perhaps, if you don't ask too hard, be a car that's worth the kind of money they're prepared to drop. I'm not sure it is. MP

Bugatti Chiron Sport
A new Bugatti without any extra power - what's the point of that? Sure, the Chiron sounds like a much more complete and engaging car than the Veyron, but for more than a decade now the 21st century Bugatti has been about going tremendously fast in total luxury. Which undoubtedly has its appeal. Nobody takes a Chiron to a circuit, and nobody cares about carbon bloody wipers - set a new speed record (easier said than done, granted), make a few road cars off the back of it and, boom, Bugatti's back. Again. MB

P.H. O'meter

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Comments (40) Join the discussion on the forum

  • wab172uk 07 Mar 2018

    Looking at most of the cars being highlighted on here, the world must have plenty of money, as very few cars come in under £100k

    Nice if you can afford them though .....

  • Mercury00 07 Mar 2018

    Any cars for normal people? Was the new Focus there?

  • jm28 07 Mar 2018

    Was there anything there? The I-Pace stands out, other than that we had a few half-arsed big hybrids, mildly exciting but unobtainable stuff from BMW and AMG and a Toyota that seems to have been due since I was in sixth form. Oh and a resto-mod 911.

  • DiscoColin 07 Mar 2018

    Once upon a time a motor show was about the trade wheeling out their latest and greatest and trying to persuade the public to buy it. Now it would appear that it is a showcase for cars that you cannot buy unless in the public eye or worth an 8 figure sum (as even if you can afford the latest 6-7 figure creations, they are all reserved exclusively for "special" customers and not available to the un-annointed).

    Basically, unless you are a plutocrat or a journalist then it has all gotten a bit irrelevant hasn't it?

  • PSB1967 07 Mar 2018

    I love PH normally but this feature would be better published in Tatler or other print aimed at the wealthy. Or am I the poorest reader on PH with my modest mortgage free income?
    Come on PH show me cars I can aspire to! Topg**r already do this borefest rather fancily.

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