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PH Preview: 2019 Geneva Motor Show

With less than a month to go till Europe's biggest car show opens its doors, these are PH's movers and shakers

By Sam Sheehan / Saturday, February 09, 2019

Aston Martin - Lagonda All-Terrain Concept
Jaguar and Land Rover aren't attending the show this year so it's left to Aston Martin to fly the Gaydon flag in Switzerland. Of course when we say 'Aston Martin', we actually mean 'Lagonda' because it's going to be all about the firm's luxury sub brand this year as it previews its first production model. Yes, as the name suggests, it's an SUV - but expect the manufacturer to have retained the properly out-there design language that made the Vision Concept such a hit last year. Andy Palmer says the car will offer "explicit clues" as to what will follow it onto a production line. Here's hoping.

Audi - electric SUV concept
Yes, this is also a concept previewing an electric SUV, but Audi's likely show car is expected to be hugely significant as it will preview a downsized e-Tron model that the manufacturer expects to bring to market in 2021. Why should you care about that? Well, the speculation is that such a car would immediately romp its way to best-selling status among EVs, and - should that happen - herald all manner of other dominoes to fall; not least the prospect of an all-electric supercar. But if that's all too pie-in-the-sky, the updated TT RS ought to be on the stand, too, as well as the latest A6 Allroad.

Bentley - Continental GT Centenary Edition
Fear not, this one drinks from the petrol pump. Bentley's teased the front grille of what looks to be a Conti GT sporting a number nine. That ties the car to the iconic Le Mans racers of the Bentley Boys - just the thing for celebrating the marque's one hundredth year. Expect such a model to come in a colour harking back to the vintage years of Bentley's racing, probably British Racing Green, and sport all manner of other expensive luxuries, including the possibility of yet more power from the 6.0-litre W12. Lovely.

BMW - 3 Series Touring, X3 M and X4 M
It's not every manufacturer that gets us excited about the prospect of an incoming wagon, but there are few things in life as complete and as life-affirming as the prospect of a big-booted 3 Series. It helps of course that the latest G20 model is already being heralded - dynamically speaking - as one of the best generations ever. Expect its engine line-up to mirror that of the saloon, with petrol and diesel turbocharged four-pots forming the breadth of the range, but sixes should sneak in too to create the sort of fast wagons we like to blast across the continent in. Still no sign of an M3 version though. There will be M versions of both the latest X3 and X4 however, if that makes anyone feel better.

Cupra - 'Terramar'
Just getting to grips with the idea of a standalone Cupra brand? Well, hold onto your hat because SEAT's performance off-shoot is not slowing down, and already has model number two lined up for debut at Geneva. A 300hp Ibiza, you ask expectantly? Well, no, it's another compact SUV; one largely based on the Ateca it's already got, apparently. The difference is that this one - the Terramar, according to the rumour mill - will get an entirely bespoke exterior to differentiate it from the rest of the manufacturer's lineup. Good for Cupra, obviously. But not as good as road-going Cupra TCR would be.

Ginetta - 'Supercar'
There's no name for this car yet nor any official confirmation that it will be at Geneva - but Ginetta is listed among the exhibitors for this year's show and we don't imagine they've gone to the trouble of attending without some big news in their back pocket. Certainly the 600hp carbon-fibre tub supercar qualifies as that, with the firm promising a bonafide fusion of motorsport tech with on-road smarts, not to mention an in-house developed V8. Lawrence Tomlinson is adamant Ginetta has "great untapped potential" - we're about to find out if that's true.

Hispano Suiza - Carmen
Don't fret if the name Hispano Suiza has dropped off your radar; the Spanish firm sold off its automotive division after the war and apart from showing a concept in 2010, it has mostly concerned itself with the aviation industry. Until now that is. Next month it will reveal the 'Carmen' - an all-electric hypercar built around a carbon fibre monocoque which it is pitching as a grand tourer. We should expect, "exceptional luxury, comfort, innovation and attention to detail" according to its maker.

Honda - Urban EV
If there were a car from recent times that proves the importance of design, it's the Honda EV. When the first concept was revealed, it was praised on PH for its retro styling and taut dimensions, despite being what might otherwise be described as a city ecobox. But a recently released preview image of the production version has left us a little concerned. Hopefully, this image is just an unflattering angle and not evidence that the boxy shape of the concept has been softened. Because that would be a massive shame.

McLaren - 720S Spider and 600LT Spider
Obviously we've seen these - up close, in fact - but it's worth reiterating just how good McLaren's stand is going to be this year with two of its most desirable models ever parked on it. Last year, of course, it had the Senna (and we'd be surprised if the production-ready GTR version didn't make an appearance this time round) but as extravagantly good as that car is, it really needs to be in motion for it to be appreciated properly. Woking's brace of Spiders on the other hand are perfect for the automotive catwalk, and you can bet your bottom dollar that - as far as the 720S is concerned - it will be treating Geneva as a sales event as much as anything.

Morgan - 'Wide Body'
Malvern's finest has a long history with Geneva, but it's probably fair to say that this will be the firm's most important show since it launched the 3-Wheeler there in 2011. Certainly its new 'wide body' model has all the hallmarks of a hugely significant car - not least because Morgan has invested heavily in an all-new bonded aluminium platform to underpin it. Its expected to be powered by an all-new (to Morgan at least) turbocharged straight-six. Its appearance will be more familiar, of course - but that remains at the cornerstone of the firm's charm, along with a good many other things.

Pininfarina - Battista
Introducing your upcoming model as "the most powerful Italian performance car ever" is quite a strong statement of intent. And now we know that Pininfarina's first standalone model will have 1,925hp from a powertrain developed with Rimac and be capable of a sub two second sprint to 62mph, which is quite quick. It'll also cost more than two million pounds and be limited to just 150 cars worldwide, so don't expect to see one charging up in a Moto services car park anytime soon.

Polestar 2
Volvo's 2017 40.1 concept was a handsome thing, and it's expected to provide most influence to Polestar's second model, named, erm, the 2. Following the hybrid coupe 1, this car will take the form of a four-door coupe (obvs) and be all-electric - something all following Polestars will be. The key figures are predicted to be a combined 400hp from a twin motor setup and, if you're delicate with the right-hand pedal, a 300-mile range.

Porsche - 911 Cabriolet, Cayman GT4
It's possible that Porsche will simply rock up to Geneva with the new 911 Cabriolet and 718 Boxster/Cayman T and leave it at that. However, given that we know the new GT4 is due for reveal ahead of its dynamic debut at the Festival of Speed, and the manufacturer chose Switzerland for the last model's premiere in 2015, it's also perfectly possible that next month will see the covers removed from one of the industry's most desirable sports cars. What are we expecting? Nothing less than that 4.0-litre flat-six plumbed into the 718, with a manual 'box and all the lightweight trimmings. Pinch us.

Volkswagen ID Beach Buggy
Another EV, but this one's quirky and therefore quite lovable. The VW ID's latest spin-off will take inspiration from the original Beetle-based Buggy, mixing the open-top styling of that car with the ID's cleaner, more simplistic shape. But while an electric beach buggy might actually be a quite fun thing to use, the chances of VW putting this one into production are probably quite low. Then again, we said that before the Beetle Dune came out. The debut of the new Passat ought to keep everyone's feet on the ground.

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