Geneva 2014 Hits and Misses

The best motor show…. in the world …. is on right now in Geneva. The movers and shakers from the automotive world are all there, except for you and I. Sadly, I’m writing this from my sofa in Australia and you’re reading it when you should be working, wherever you are (other than Geneva) πŸ™‚

Here are the hits and misses from my point of view…..

Photos from Autoblog, Jalopnik, and Mark W from saabblog.net, who kindly sent me a few from his personal stash.

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HIT: Rear Driven Fun Frenchie

This is the Renault Twingo:

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And this is the back end of the Renault Twingo:

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The Twingo is a rear-engined, rear-wheel-drive 4-seater city car and people in certain markets will be able to buy it with a 90hp turbocharged engine (if they upgrade from the standard 70hp engine). Sadly, there are no plans for an RenaultSport version….. yet.

People are reportedly quite keen to drive it.

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MISS: Rumour Mongering

OK, so what do you think this Saab person* is doing checking out the Volvo stand at Geneva?

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OMG! There was someone from Saab at Geneva!!!

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HIT: Alfa Romeo 4C Spider

My goodness, it just gets better, doesn’t it? The bug-eyed but beautiful Alfa Romeo 4C has just taken its top off and the results are Alf-tacular. It even has non-buggish headlamps, which I sincerely hope make it to the production model.

Speaking of which, Alfa Romeo say they’ll make it in 2015, so I’ll be looking for one around 2025 when I can (hopefully) afford it.

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MISS: Alfa pass on the MX-5/Spider

Being a bit of an automotive nationalist, I can understand why Sergio Marchionne might decide to pass on using whatever it was they were co-developing with Mazda as an Alfa Romeo Spider. The word is that it might be used as a Fiat or Abarth product instead because Marchionne says that an Alfa Romeo should never be made outside of Italy.

But I think the collaboration with Mazda had the potential to make a very exciting Alfa Romeo that would have been reasonably accessible. It’s OK to move Alfa upmarket, but that shouldn’t rule out genuine opportunities to do great things in collaboration with others.

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HIT: Porsche 919 racing kit

This is Mark Webber’s new Le Mans ride, the Porsche 919 Hybrid racer – and as an aside, with Red Bull and golden child Sebby V struggling in early F1 practice, how happy do you reckon Webber is right now to be piloting this Porker?

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Those stripes look a little strange, don’t they? Well, check out this view of the car from above.

Cool.

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MISS: Silver Maserati Alfieri

The Maserati Alfieri concept car is pretty enough, but I wonder if it might have benefitted from a deep red, or a deep metallic brown.

Silver? Meh.

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HIT: Abarth 695 Biposto

I’ve only ever driven a regular Fiat 500 but I loved it. OK, it was a cabriolet. And I drove it around Mallorca, where I could have fallen in love with a Pontiac Aztec. But still, the little 500 does capture the heart.

The Abarth took the little 500 to another level. Now the Abarth 695 Biposto is coming to send it over the top – for a price, of course.

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  • 190hp
  • Under 1,000kg
  • Titanium roll cage
  • Brembo brakes
  • Sub-6 second 0-100 sprint

And it looks the business, too.

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MISS: Alfa Romeo Disco Volante in Green

No. Just no.

I don’t care that it’s gorgeous. It shouldn’t be green and gold. It should be either red, or white, or nothing.

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HIT: Pagani Potato Cutter

Interestingly, Pagani’s drawcard at Geneva isn’t a Hyuaphwooaaar, or whatever it’s called. It’s a Zonda, called the Zonda Revolucion.

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Even more interestingly, if you drive the front corner of the car into a bag of spuds at high speed, you can make chips for the whole neighbourhood.

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MISS: Ford Loses Focus

It might end up being a cracking drive for the money, but the 2015 Ford Focus doesn’t look anywhere near as nicely proportioned as previous generations. I guess we’ll have to see what they do with the hot versions.

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HIT: Koenigsegg One:1

Because it has a megawatt of power. Because it looks absolutely stunning inside and out and will drive even better than it looks. Because it’s made by the nicest bloke in motoring, Christian von Koenigsegg. It’s a hit.

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MISS: Audi Uglies

I’m sure that many will disagree, but the new Audi TT and S1 leave me colder than a mother-in-law’s kiss (sorry Maman, but it’s just a saying, aimed at those horrible mother-in-laws that everyone else seems to have πŸ™‚ )

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HIT: Mazda Hazumi

I was torn between showing this and the angry little Toyota city car. I chose this because the Toyota looks like it should be in a movie and then quickly forgotten. Plus, I like Mazda more than I like Toyota.

This concept is regarded as a preview of the next Mazda 2 and if the production version looks as good as this one, Mazda will be set to keep hold of their top-3 billing here in Australia.

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MISS: Melting Bugatti

Aren’t we all just a bit over the Bugatti Veyron? Wonderful piece of engineering, but it’s becoming a bit of a parody of itself, I think. In an effort to move the last ones off the lot, Bugatti keep coming up with special editions (like Koenigsegg, but with less sincerity and more arrogance).

This one – named Rembrant – is very chocolatey. They should have called it Homer. Whatever you call it, just don’t park it in the sun, OK?

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*No, that wasn’t really a Saab person at Geneva. It was a friend of Mark W, who supplied the photo.

Gotcha πŸ™‚

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22 Comments

  1. That Renault is very cool and innovative, although I think that people who expect the RWD to make a difference will be disappointed.
    On the other hand, the Peugeot/Citroen/Toyota triplets are just a re-hash of what the 500 has been doing for years, with few noticeable improvements. One innovation is that the Citroen version (and perhaps the others) can mirror any Android/iOS phone’s screen with a cable connection. A consumer-friendly alternative to the Apple-only system that you wrote about yesterday. Too bad they can’t do this over bluetooth yet, but I’m sure someone is working on it.
    Agree with you about the Audis. They remind me of older men who still wear whatever was in fashion when they were in high school. They hit their peak long ago and now they are just hitting the same marks while everyone else is evolving.

  2. Like the Mazda. Love the way Mazdo go from astoundingly dull Euro-clones to really cool and Japanese-looking automotive trendsetters. Whether boring or beautiful, have Mazda ever made an actual dud in their entire history?

    Impossible to judge Audi fairly. New ones still tend to come with a tool behind the wheel that shuts off my appreciation valve.

    Fiat: brilliant. Titanium roll cage will be reassuring for all the boy racer girlfriends out there.

    Focus: the profile is its best angle!

    Pagani, Veyron, Disco Volante: who cares. Potato-cutter gag is genius. And yes, puke is not a great colour scheme.

    Koenigsegg. A wonderful machine, made by an endearing and profoundly creative manufacturer, and an obscene waste of money. CvK should channel his talents and sincerity into something more worthwhile. Like a collaboration with Saab on a new generation of family and business cars that are spectacularly fuel efficient and environmentally sound.

    1. Well, the Volvo got it’s own post a few days ago….

      I know the Koenigsegg did, too, but I have a bit more connection with them.

  3. Great send-up with the potato-cutter joke. Next to the refined and polished Koenigsegg, the Pagini certainly suffers in the looks department, yes? More camp than cool in my opinion.

    I don’t like the Alfieri at all. It looks like a blind cave fish to me. On the other hand, I do like the Disco Volante in green, it’s just the gold wheels and trim that do it in.

  4. VW’s Das Boring theme does seem to have worked its way upmarket into Audi.

    I would be perfectly happy with a Fiat or Abarthed badged MX-5 as long as it didn’t look just like an MX-5. That would be rather redundant and unnecessary. Of course I would be ecstatic if any of them chose to resurrect the JDM-only coupe version from years ago.

  5. Steven, I have to respectfully disagree with you on the Alfieri. I wouldn’t care if it was painted Plaid! I think it is absolutely gorgeous. Sure hope it makes it to the US.

  6. Fun read, Steven!

    “…I drove it around Mallorca, where I could have fallen in love with a Pontiac Aztec.”

    I doubt it. The ugly power of the Aztec cannot be overcome by beautiful scenery. In fact, beautiful scenery just accentuates the ugliness of the Aztec. πŸ˜‰

    And agreed, that green and gold on the Disco Volante makes it look like it was designed to be a special event car with some sports team with those colors. That color combination does not belong on a car for any other reason.

      1. Ah, but at some point you have to get out of the Aztec for sight-seeing, biology break, or to get something to eat. Then you must avert your eyes. πŸ˜‰ Why ruin your day? Just say “no” to Aztec.

  7. ha, told you so: Alfa is still dead. No spider.

    And how do they want to build an executive car in rather small numbers in Italy, the platform of which is developed at Chrysler, and also mostly build there? Then, lots of the scaling effect is lost. The only thing they could do is build the Alfa together with ist sister Chrysler in Italy. Let’s wait and see.

    Very frustrating. Fiat should have sold the brand to Volkswagen. Or some angel should have combined Alfa with Saab. Quite some synergies possible.

    1. The Gumpert Explosion certainly isn’t a great design. It looks like a bunch of design themes thrown together, like a “what could have been” replacement for the 2006 Celica.

      I strongly suspect that this new generation of 350+ hp 2.0 liter engines (AMG has one as well) take advantage of the fact that you can’t lay down that amount of power for more than a few seconds at a time. Even running at 150 mph on the autobahn will only use a fraction of that power: the Viggen could do it with 230, and the CLA has a much better drag coefficient.

  8. “They hit their peak long ago and now they are just hitting the same marks while everyone else is evolving.”

    Huh? What about the SQ5 BiTurbo Diesel? What about the RSQ3? What about the RS7? RS6? The new technology, sat nav display for example in the new TT? I’d say Audi were pushing the boundaries of performance.

  9. I quite liked the design. It avoids most of the dramatizing gadgets so many sportscars have to assure that passers by will really understand the importance of the car and its owner as a racing driver. There are compromises of course, in order to achieve down pressure, but they are not over the top. The drag coefficient has to be higher, in order to provide that down pressure. This is not a fast motorway car, it is a racing car for high speeds through narrow turns.

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