Here’s the impressive fresh metal unveiled in Geneva
The covers were removed and the lights flashed as the latest and greatest machines where revealed at the Geneva Motor Show.
Hordes of press moved through the halls like a pack of wildebeest running from predators in the Serengeti. They wanted to get up close and personal with the latest Lambos and Ferraris.
But underneath all the glitz and glamour, there was a real optimism being shown by the car manufacturers, and you can see with the new cars that things are looking up.
I got a look at the new products from the Volkswagen group the night before the big show, and they continue to produce some of the finest machines on our roads. And, it’s not just Bentleys and Lamborghinis the VW brand are putting their efforts behind – with more than 10 million vehicles sold from the VW family last year, new additions to all the brands will help the group record even higher sales in 2015 and beyond.
The SEAT brand revealed their latest family member, the 20v20 crossover, which is due towards the end of next year. It’s a big attention-grabbing crossover that will compete well in a highly-lucrative market. The Leon has just eclipsed the Ibiza on worldwide sales, and with the Leon family now offers everything from a coupe to a high-performance estate.
Another exciting concept and one of the stars of the show was the Volkswagen Concept Coupe, or new CC, as it’s likely to be. We feared that the new Passat was so heavily styled that it would take away from its coupe sibling, but if VW can get close to this shape, then bravo, it is stunning to look at and it is much bigger than expected.
The Touran has been given an overhaul, and the boxy MPV now fits into the stylish outlook VW has for all their models. It will only be available in Ireland as a seven seater (5+2).
Audi has a new R8, and the V10 monster is a supercar for the masses. It hasn’t changed drastically, which is frustrating for some, but the interior is top notch and, the engine is a thing of beauty. The Germans also rolled out the new Porsche Cayman GT4 and Bentley Continental GT Speed.
It was clear that the power players in VW are painting a bright future for years ahead, they continue to make exotic motors and cars for families worldwide.
They keep meeting the stringent EU emissions targets and have the biggest range of alternative fuel vehicles.
The VW group were a real presence at Geneva, but they were joined by some exciting new concepts, and more importantly, new motors that we’ll see on our roads this year ahead. Here we bring you all the latest metal making its way to our shores.
Alfa Romeo: The 4C Spider made its European debut. Ready for some summer fun, the ‘affordable’ supercar will be a blast with the top down.
Aston Martin: With 592bhp from its V12, the Vantage GT3 is the most powerful Aston to date. The Vulcan, track-only hypercar was on show with 800bhp+ from seven-litre V12.
Audi: The future for Audi was shown in their Prologue Avant concept, but for the here and now, they showed off a new R8, Q7 (and an e-tron version, the first plug-in hybrid in the Q series) and the RS3 Sportback attracted large crowds.
BMW: The seven-seater 2-series Active Tourer takes practical to a new level for BMW. Although, the extra two seats in the rear are tiny. The 1-series got a facelift and the 2-series convertible looked well on stand.
Citroen: The revised DS5 will go on sale as a ‘pure’ DS model. It benefits from new generation BlueHDI diesels. An updated Berlingo Multispace and the C4 Cactus Airflow were shown.
Dacia: I searched high and low on the Dacia stand for something new – nothing. The big news here is most models get updated engines.
FIAT: The 500X was on show, but we’ve seen it for the last few months.
Ford: There was a lot of sporty stuff on the Ford stand including the Focus RS, which doesn’t look mean enough to me, but 320bhp from the 2.3-litre EcoBoost should put a smile on your face. The new GT looks sensational and will sold in limited numbers. There is a new S-MAX and a seven-seater Galaxy MPV is due in May. The Mustang is due later this year, but the stand lacked the presence of a Mondeo, very strange.
Honda: This was the busiest stand of the day with the new Jazz, HR-V, Civic Type R and NSX really giving the show a buzz. The Type R is my kind of car and with 310bhp from the two-litre front-wheel-drive hot hatch; it can hit 100kph in just 5.7secs. The Jazz looks really well and is very spacious. It has a new 1.3-litre petrol engine and should prove a hit.
Hyundai: The Tucson replaces the current ix35 and is due later in the year. It continues Hyundai’s form of producing very good cars.
Jaguar/Land Rover: The gorgeous F-TYPE R AWD and XJ facelift were worth a look, but Range Rover is going to make the Evoque convertible – interesting.
Kia: The new Sportspace (above) is a sleek estate version of the Optima. I can’t see it looking anything like this in production form, but let’s hope Kia gets close to it.
Lexus: Their higher performance GS F was here (5-litre V8, 477bhp). And a roadster concept (LF C2). But the LF-SA city car concept was a big disappointment. It looked like a child’s transformer toy.
Mazda: The new CX-3 was a big highlight and looks really well in the metal. A sporty cabin and slick design will appeal to many new buyers.
Mercedes: The luxury Maybach S-Class Pullman is just opulence on wheels. The GLE AMG Coupe is fast and spacious but we can’t live with the looks.
Mitsubishi: Their new high-performance SUV, the XR-PHEV II drew a lot of attention. It probably previews a new motor, smaller than the Outlander. A more stylish L200 made its debut and the Concept AX, the next ASX was on show.
Nissan: The Sway concept is a look towards the new Micra and it looked excellent.
Opel: Their Karl city car is a clever package. The five-door is due this summer with a specially-derived one-litre three-cylinder petrol (75bhp). Also on show was the aggressively-styled Corsa OPC, a fine hot hatch.
Peugeot: Lot of Peugeot’s models have been revised, including the 208 supermini, which has been given a ‘substantial upgrade’ for 2015.
The Porche Caymen
Renault: Their Kadjar was the star, as the Qashqai rival looks to help boost Renault sales. We’re disappointed that the new Espace won’t be built in right hand drive, as finally, Renault has made a good looking people carrier.
SEAT: The new SEAT crossover – called the 20v20 for now – is due in 2016, and it can’t come soon enough for SEAT. It looks stunning in the flesh.
Skoda: The new Superb was the main event for Skoda. On sale in August, it is better looking, more spacious and comes with better engines. The Octavia RS 230 (227bhp, two-litre) has the wow factor.
SsangYong: Showed its new Tivoli SUV – yet another rival for the Nissan Qashqai. Not the best looking but should provide value for money.
Subaru: A new Levorg estate was the main attraction for Subaru.
Suzuki: It was all about the concepts on the Suzuki stand with their iK2, a small-family car, and iM4 mini 4x4 concept. The new Vitara, here in April, looks well.
Toyota: The Avensis and Auris look much better now after an extensive facelift. The cabin has been improved but I feel this is the area that lets Toyota down. It still looks like it is year behind rivals when it comes to interior design.
Volkswagen: The new European Car of the Year 2015 took centre stage as the Passat celebrated the success in style. But the star on the VW stand for me was the new Concept Coupe, or new CC, which was simply stunning. The Touran MPV is a lot different to the old one, sleeker and far more stylish, more Golf-like styling. It will only be available as a seven seater in Ireland.
Volvo: The S60 and V60 Cross Country models on show, but I just love the new XC90. All the practicality you’ll need from a big SUV with stunning design inside and out.