A quick look at the Geneva Motor Show

The Geneva Motor Show is done and dusted for 2016. It was my second Geneva show, having first attended there as a ‘civilian’ in 2011, just before going to work for Saab Automobile. This time I was there as an employee of Koenigsegg Automotive AB. How times change.

Opinions here are my own, of course.

It was busy, as you might expect. I barely had any time to post things online as I was so busy talking to people from the press. It’s great to meet the press and it’s productive in the sense of relationships and setting future appointments for them to come and report on our company. But it also drains your productivity in terms of actually producing content.

And having a look around at everything else? Forget it. The photos you’re about to see of things-that-are-not-Koenigseggs were all taken in one 20 minute sprint around the show before I had to walk to the airport (next door) to fly back to Sweden.

First, the Koenigsegg stand.

It reminded me a lot of the Saab stands of old, to be honest. Very Scandi. Very white, with Koenigsegg highlights in copper. Uncluttered. Tasteful. All credit for this goes to Lisa, our Art Director, who worked her butt off to get the right look. It paid off in spades. The simplicity of the stand allowed our cars to shine. And boy, did they shine!

The Regera on show was our production spec car, painted in Candy Apple Red with a brave leather and cloth interior. It was arguably the star of the whole Geneva show in terms of the substance of reports. The Chiron took the award for the sheer volume of reports, which was to be expected, but we didn’t lose any respect at all with the tone of the reportage about the Regera.

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Car #2 was a car called the “One of 1”. It’s the first of a series of three vehicles to be built that will make up the last of the Agera series of cars. These cars will have no options list. Everything is available. They will also have completely unique and bespoke aerodynamic treatments. The aero you see on this car will only be used for this car. The next car in the ‘Final’ series will have different aero, which will be determined by the customer in conjunction with our engineers.

The paint on this car doesn’t shine as it should under show lights. Get this car in the daylight on a sunny day and the yellow undertones shine through and it looks like a fireball. It might just be my favourite Koenigsegg so far.

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The interior is also a first, being our first polished aluminium finish.

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Our third and final car was an Agera RS in bright yellow with red accents. The owner of the car saw it complete for the first time at the show and he was over the moon. He was taking photos of it on the stand for two full days. It was very rewarding to see the joy on his face and he’s a super-nice guy, to boot. He’s a multiple supercar owner so seeing his excitement over his Agera RS was very gratifying for us.

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The interior of the Agera ML – named using the owner’s initials – features yellow piping on the seats and black buttons on the control centre. Christian even autographed the carbon dashboard with a gold pen.

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Our three cars. Strong, clean and super fast.

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Porsche

This is the Porsche stand. Note that of the 12 cars Porsche had on display, 5 were SUVs or sedans. Nothing stays the same.

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This is the car that had EVERYONE talking: the Porsche 911 R.

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Why? Well……

It’s got a traditional 911 rear-engined layout with a 500hp flat six from the GT3 RS. It’s 110lbs lighter than the GT3 RS thanks to some carbon fibre panels and a magnesium roof. Those things are nice, but the big difference is in the number of pedals on the floor. Super hi-po Porsches haven’t come with a manual gearbox for years. They’ve all got the super-quick PDK automatic transmission. The 911 R changes all that.

A high spec Porsche with a stick shift? No wonder all 991 units are already spoken for.

Below is my personal favourite from the Porsche stand – the Cayman GT4. What a car! I’ll take mine in dark blue, thanks.

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A question to ponder – is Porsche in a state of denial over the Cayman? The 911 is the daddy because of 50 years of history but the Cayman lends itself to much better handling by default because of its mid-engined layout.

Put it this way – if Porsche went all-out on a Cayman, would it be a better car to drive than an all-out 911? I suspect so. And if that’s the case, Porsche is in denial.

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Porsche’s only splash of colour on the stand came courtesy of the newly-renamed 718 Boxster, above. The new mid-engined Porsche ragtops are notable for being the first Porsches since the 914 to use a flat-4 engine and the first Porsches ever to use a turbocharged flat-4 engine.

Who’d have thought this turbocharging thing would ever take off?

Bugatti

As mentioned above, the new Bugatti Chiron was always going to be the big news of this year’s Geneva show. And it was. 500 will be made and I think I’ve read some pundits saying that they’re all sold, which is ….. interesting.

The styling down the side of the car is very nice. I’m not so sure about the rear and the front doesn’t really feel like anything new. I got into the Bugatti stand and managed to snap off these two photos, but that’s all.

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The interior looked a little simple to me. I didn’t get into the car but I’m told by people who did that the interior execution is amazing. Yes, I was told this by people I work with (names withheld) but let’s just say we’re all in a position to care about the fact that we lift an already good level of execution to meet even higher standards.

By all reports, the Bugattis are amazing cars to drive. They’re obviously a great feat of engineering. Well done.

Spyker

How good was it to see Spyker back with a new car this year???

This is the C8 Preliator. It features the same Audi V8 from previous Spykers but this time it’s supercharged.

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The interior will be familiar to all Spyker fans with quilted leather, polished aluminium and the famous exposed gear linkage.

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Victor plans to build 50 of these new models and he took more than 20 orders during the Geneva show. The car is on its way to the New York Auto Show now, where he hopes to sell the rest. I hope he succeeds.

The world doesn’t need another generic car company but it could do with a few more Spykers.

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Victor actually spent an hour or so at the Koenigsegg stand and it was a real pleasure to catch up with him. He’s as supercharged as ever, just like the Preliator, and super-happy to be back making cars again.

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Lamborghini

Lambo released the ‘Centenario’ – a limited edition to mark Ferrucio Lamborghini’s 100th birthday. It’s got the usual madness-on-steroids design that we all love Lambo for and much was made of the exposed carbon fibre body, mostly because it’s Lamborghini’s first time doing this. Well done, Lamborghini.

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Well, almost.

I’ve googled around and nobody’s commented on the rather obvious flaw in the carbon. Can you see it? It’s just visible in one of these photos. The press corps mostly uses the photos that companies send them and I doubt the flaw is visible in those, but it’s visible on the real car. Just. If you enlarge the pic and look in just the right spot……

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Pagani

Pagani were directly opposite the Koenigsegg stand (along with Bugatti). Hypercar Row, we should call it.

Pagani’s big story was the Hyuara BC, a lightened edition created in memory of Horacio Pagani’s good friend and first ever customer, Benny Caiola.

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Touring Superleggera

Italian coachbuilder Superleggera stunned everyone with the Disco Volante coupe a few years ago. This year it was the Spyder’s turn.

Magnifico!

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It’s Superleggera’s 90th anniversary this year and the Spyder was created to celebrate the milestone. It was designed in consultation with Alfa Romeo and is built from hand-formed aluminium on an Alfa Romeo 8C rolling chassis.

Seven of them will be made. Oh, to be one of those seven lucky people.

Honda NSX

After a decade or so wandering in a wilderness populated by sensible cars, Honda is trying to rediscover its mojo as a Japanese performance cult-car company.

The original NSX was a jaw dropper because it was sooooo different to anything the company had made before it. And it was so good. And Ayrton Senna.

Have they managed the same trick with the new NSX? I think the jury’s still out. It looks good, for sure, but it doesn’t look as radically different as the original car. It’ll all come down to what’s underneath, I guess.

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Mazda

So much has been made of the new MX-5 that I had to stop and take a quick look.

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A quick look was all I managed, though, because when I got to the Mazda stand I was instantly smitten with Mazda’s RX Vision concept car.

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The car made its global debut last year at the Tokyo Motor Show but I’m well pleased they decided to bring it to Geneva. It is pure automotive pornography (OK, aside from that distracting rear ‘spoiler’ and the faux carbon wheels)

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The spin says that Mazda are still looking at developing a rotary engine that can work in an emissions- and economy-conscious time and that the RX Vision is a car that’s intended to highlight both Mazda’s interest in a rotary of the future, as well as being a design statement for Mazda’s future looks. I think it has more to do with the latter than the former, but that’s just me.

Spin it however you like, Mazda. What you’ve built is truly beautiful. I wouldn’t change a thing.

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OK, I’d remove that rear spoiler. But other than that, I wouldn’t change a thing.

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Aston Martin

Martini drinking Bond wannabes would have been gushing at the Aston Martin stand this year as the company released the new DB11.

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Martin. Aston Martin.

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As an aside, one of the DB10s used in the latest Bond film, Spectre – and the only DB10 actually running – was sold at auction in London while the Geneva Motor Show was happening.

Rimac

It was interesting to see Rimac at Geneva. Their Concept One sports car looks absolutely fantastic.

Rimac are one of Koenigsegg’s partners in the development of the Regera’s powertrain so they know their electric stuff.

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Maserati

Good manners dictate that if you can’t say anything nice about someone (or something) then you shouldn’t say anything at all.

Witness my stone cold silence, then, as I show you these images of the latest sellout to SUV conventionalism, the Maserati Levante.

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Ferrari

They’re now calling this the GTC4 Lusso.

FFS Ferrari, FF is easier to remember.

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The Ferrari stand, for those who are interested.

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Fiat

The Fiat stand was a bit more interesting than the Fezza stand, to be honest. The reason? The new Fiat 124 Spider!

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If you think it looks familiar, that’s probably because of its Mazda MX-5 roots. This is the car that the Italians designed along with Mazda. It was originally going to be a new Alfa Romeo Spider but the powers-that-be decided Alfa had to go more upmarket, so it became a Fiat Spider instead.

And it works. It’s quite cute and it received a lot of attention. Its proportions are obviously the same as the MX-5 but it looks distinctly Fiat. If it drives like the MX-5 then they’re on to a winner.

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And speak of the devil…..

Alfa Romeo

Readers of this site know that Alfa Romeo is one of my favourite car companies. I’ve owned a bunch of them and I’m very interested in the company’s future. That future rests on a knife-edge at the moment as Sergio tries to take Alfa into the performance market alongside Maserati, Porsche, etc.

It’s a big gamble. The first shot was the luscious but slightly hamstrung 8C. Then came the equally luscious but better-received Alfa 4C (shown prominently this year at Geneva).

This year, it was the turn of the new Giulia. There have been rumours (vehemently denied by Alfa) that the Giulia was facing production delays due to safety concerns. Let’s hope they’re all untrue because Alfa needs a hit like Donald Trump needs an audience of braindead rednecks. They die without it.

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The Giulia is more handsome than beautiful. It won’t make your face melt like Alfas past, but that’s not the point with this car. This Alfa needs performance credentials and the early mail says it’s well sorted. Let’s hope so.

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The 4C was also prominent. I like the exposed carbon roof on this white model. Tasty.

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I’ve GOT to get some seat time in one of these. It’s one of the only modern cars on my realistic bucket list.

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RUF

A Porsche 911 used to be on my realistic bucket list, but then The Great Porsche 911 Inflation happened (2013-ongoing). The RUF stand is a good example of all those cars we mere mortals might have been able to afford a few years ago, but are now removed from arm’s reach.

So pretty.

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And finally……

Sow’s Ear, Silk Purse

A Panamera that actually looks good.

And it’s purple!! Mmmmmmmm. There aren’t enough purple cars in the world.

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Alfa Romeo 4C Launch Edition – Launched!

My most anticipated vehicle launch from the Geneva Motor Show has taken place – the Alfa Romeo 4C Launch Edition is now on show. I add ‘Launch Edition’ on the end there because Alfa have put together a special offering for the first buyers of the vehicle that’s intended to re-cast Alfa Romeo as a worldwide brand (see the Launch Edition press release, below).

There’s a lot to like about the Alfa Romeo 4C, but I want to finish this article on a positive note, so I’m going to start with something I don’t like – at all. Photo from Autoblog.

Alfa Romeo 4C

The eyes are the window to the soul and when it comes to cars, the eyes are the headlights. It’s hard to make headlights look outstanding but it’s really easy to %#$! them up. They didn’t look this prominent in the first press photos but they do here (admittedly, under a pretty severe camera flash). I don’t know who had this idea of encasing them in grey plasticky stuff but from all the live photos I’ve seen, they don’t look complimentary. They’re not getting many compliments, either.

Reading the press release, I gather these headlight surrounds might be unique to the Launch Edition. If not, then I hope either Alfa Romeo or some aftermarket company sees the light (pun intended) and develops a more traditional headlight assembly that surrounds the LED’s in mirror-finish backing and a glass covering. These headlight surrounds are, IMHO, a major detraction from what is an otherwise glorious design. With so much resting on this car – the much-promised reintroduction of Alfa Romeo into the US market – I have absolutely no idea why they would choose to do the headlights this way.

Alfa Romeo – FIX THIS PROBLEM!

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With that out of the way, it’s time to get to the good stuff……

An all-aluminium engine, carbonfibre tub and aluminium frame along with other weight saving measures mean the total vehicle weight of the Alfa Romeo 4C is just 895kg. That’s 1,973 lbs for you old-school types. The only way you’ll get a better power-to-weight ratio in your 4C will be diet and exercise.

The engine is a direct-injection 1750cc turbocharged petrol lump putting out 179kW (or 240hp) along with 350Nm of torque. It’s mid-mounted, just behind the seats for maximum stability and optimum handling.

To put that in perspective, here’s a comparison against one of my favourite all-time cars:

The Alfa Romeo 4C has (just) more power and torque than a Saab 9-3 Viggen – and yet the Alfa Romeo 4C weighs only 63% of what the Viggen weighed (510kg less than a 3-door Viggen and 530kg less than a 5-door). OK, you don’t get a hatchback and the practicality that a Viggen offered, but it gives you an idea of the driving experience on offer here – and driving experience is what the Alfa Romeo 4C is all about.

That power is sent to the rear wheels via a new TCT twin dry clutch transmission that comes with multiple modes and launch control. It’s good for a 0-100km/h sprint of just 4.5 seconds and it’ll pull 1.1g in the corners. The brakes are pretty decent, too – 4-piston Brembos on the front along with ventilated discs all-round that will pull 1.25g in deceleration force.

Interestingly, the Alfa Romeo 4C might just be the most expensive car ever (in nominal terms) to be offered without power steering. Given the vehicle’s emphasis on light weight, Alfa decided to leave power steering on the workshop floor. They promise it’s incredibly precise as a result, and the light weight of the car doesn’t make the task of turning it a difficult one.

The interior is totally driver focused. The carbonfibre tub (which weighs just 65kg, by the way) is left exposed and the dashboard has been given what Alfa Romeo call an ‘asphalt’ treatment to link the visual with the car’s intended purpose. Dials are all digital. The metal bits are all aluminium.

The best news is that all this beauty, technology and performance is going to be on offer for a starting price less than $80,000 here in Australia. For a car with a genuine carbonfibre tub construction, I’ve got to say that that’s outstanding!

All they have to do now is fix the headlights and I think this will quite likely be the target of my automotive existence for the next five years.

Here’s a quick gallery. The Alfa Romeo 4C Launch Edition press release is below. The Launch Edition will be available in either Red or White.

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World première: Alfa Romeo 4C Launch Edition

  • The exclusive ‘Launch Edition’ will make its début at the Geneva Motor Show. It will be produced as a numbered limited edition: 400 in Europe, Africa and the Middle East, 500 in North America and 100 in the rest of the world.
  • Dedicated to the host of fans throughout the world, the limited edition of the new Alfa Romeo compact supercar is distinguished by exclusive characteristics such as carbon fibre trim and the ‘Carrara White’ body colour.
  • The 4C ‘Launch Edition’ can be ordered straight away at a price which is almost the same throughout Europe, 60,000 euros including VAT (net of other local taxes).
  • A unique privilege exclusively for 4C ‘Launch Edition’ buyers: the chance to take part in an exclusive event in Italy which also includes an Advanced Driving session with Professional Driver-Instructors.
  • New all-aluminium engine: direct-injection 240 HP 1750 Turbo Petrol.
  • Top speed of more than 250 km/h and acceleration from 0 to 100 km/h in 4.5 seconds.
  • Alfa TCT twin clutch transmission with shift paddles at steering wheel and new Alfa DNA selector with additional ‘Race’ mode.

The global launch of the Alfa Romeo 4C marks the return of the brand to the world of lightweight sports coupés, an extraordinary event, awaited ever more eagerly by the host of fans throughout the world. The exclusive ‘Launch Edition’ was created just for them, a numbered limited edition of 400 in Europe with exclusive characteristics developed specifically for this unique version.

It makes its début today, at the 83rd Geneva International Motor Show, where orders officially opened for the ‘Launch Edition’ of the new 4C compact supercar at a price of 60,000 euros in most European markets (price including VAT net of other local taxes). What’s more, all buyers can take part in an exclusive event which will include an advanced driving course, to learn how to make the most of its potential in complete safety.

The new Launch Edition can ‘clothe’ its body with two liveries – Carrara White or Alfa Red – and is marked out by the distinctive badge, inlaid beneath the paintwork. The line of the special car is enhanced by the carbon aerodynamic kit (including spoiler and door mirror covers), the rear aluminium diffuser with dark finishing, Bi-LED headlights with dark surround and 18″ (front) and 19″ (rear) alloy wheels with burnishing treatment.

To accentuate the sports look still further, there are front air intakes, brake calipers in a specific colour, racing exhaust system with BMC air cleaner and suspension kit with specific calibration for shock absorbers and rear anti-roll bar.

The interior has the same sports feel, with highlights provided by the leather/fabric sports seats with parts in Alcantara, as well as the distinctive, numbered carbon badge. In the case of the red livery, the Alfa Romeo 4C Launch Edition has red stitching on the steering wheel trim, handbrake, mats, handles and sports seats.

Of course, the Alfa Romeo 4C Launch Edition offers all the winning characteristics of the model that represents the essential sportiness embedded in the ‘Alfa Romeo DNA’: Italian style, performance and technical excellence, for maximum driving pleasure in complete safety.

Designed by Alfa Romeo and produced in the Maserati plant in Modena, the new mid-engined rear-wheel drive coupé with two bucket seats will be become available for purchase in 2013 and will mark the return of the Italian brand to the United States, inaugurating Alfa Romeo’s global growth plan.

The Alfa Romeo 4C derives directly from the concept which raised many eyebrows in admiration at the Geneva Show in 2011, so much so that it won three prestigious awards: the ‘AutoBild Design Award’ (2011, Germany), the ‘Design Award for Concept Cars & Prototypes’ (2012, Italy) and the ‘Most Exciting Car of 2013’ – ‘What Car?’ (2013, Great Britain).

Acronym 4C

The acronym ‘4C’ draws its inspiration from the brand’s glorious past, projecting the values of technology and emotions into the future. Indeed, it refers to Alfa Romeo’s great sporting tradition: the acronyms 8C and 6C in the 1930s and 1940s distinguished cars – both racing and non – fitted with the powerful ‘eight cylinders’ and the innovative ‘six cylinders’, confirming in its design layout and construction the goal of achieving the weight/power ratio of an authentic supercar, less than 4 kg/HP, yet focusing not merely on the maximum power delivered, but on limiting the weight to guarantee maximum agility and top performance. To this end, the Alfa Romeo 4C uses state-of-the-art technologies and materials derived from super sports cars (including the Alfa Romeo 8C Competizione) – carbon fibre, aluminium, rear-wheel drive – and technologies from the latest standard models from Alfa Romeo, but updated to enhance the sports appeal of the new car even further. This is demonstrated by the new 1750 Turbo Petrol all-aluminium engine with direct injection, the sophisticated “Alfa TCT” twin dry clutch transmission and the Alfa DNA selector with the brand-new Race mode.

Exterior style

Designed by the Alfa Romeo Style Centre, the 4C immediately brings to mind some of the traditional iconic models which have left a significant mark in the history of the Brand. Above all others, in terms of dimensional and layout similarities, one stands out in particular: the 33 Stradale, a car that combined extreme mechanical and functional requirements with an essential style which “clothed” the engine and chassis appropriately with unmistakable Alfa Romeo treatments.

The 4C has followed suit, and thus completes a journey which was embarked upon with the 8C Competizione, emphasising some particular concepts of the brand, such as compact size, dynamism and agility.
The development of the 4C’s exterior was characterised from the start by the need to enhance the style of the car and the technical characteristics both from a dynamic and aerodynamic point of view. For this reason, all the style solutions adopted have been optimised in accordance with the ultimate goal of the car: performance.

The rear volume, sinuous and enveloping, simultaneously encloses and embraces the beating heart of the car: the mechanics and the engine, visible through the rear window.
All this, thanks to the development of marked musculature above the wheels, lends strength and power to the rear end.

The rear musculature supports its structure on round rear light clusters and on the side air intakes necessary to cool the intercooler and the air intake for engine aspiration.

From this energy-charged rear volume and the two side air intakes spring the two long muscles which lend speed and dynamism to the side, generating the necessary volume at the front end to house the headlights and, on the central part, the two robust ribs running along the bonnet, tracing the unmistakable “V” and coming to their natural conclusion around the shield.

This, together with the two side intakes, forms the famous “Trefoil”, a substantial facet of Alfa Romeo’s profile.

Interior design

The elemental design and essential materials also distinguish the interior, which is all designed and built for maximum driving satisfaction.

Specifically, the carbon fibre of the central cell immediately stands out in the interior, left in full view to enhance the sense of low weight, technology and uniqueness of the car.

The dashboard and door panels have an “asphalt ” treatment to recall the vocation of the Alfa Romeo 4C, conceived to convey maximum driving sensation from the road.

The seats ensure dedicated sports posture, favouring the driver’s contact with the road without, however, compromising the comfort required for everyday use of the car.

The dashboard, simple and designed to make using functions simple too, reaches its zenith in the concept of extreme driver-orientation, thanks to digital instruments and gear shift controls located on the appropriately shaped steering wheel.

The cockpit, which powerfully suggests the world of motorcycle racing and race cars, brings together all information necessary to drive and control the car.

The information, which is rendered captivating through powerful, high-impact graphics, allows the driver to keep everything under control without distractions from controls that would be superfluous on this type of car.

The pedal unit and footboards for driver and passenger are all made of aluminium and embellish the lower part under the dashboard, highlighting sports character down to the smallest detail.

Dimensions and aerodynamics

The compact dimensions make this car with 2 bucket seats truly unique among its competitors: 399 cm long, 200 cm wide, 118 cm high and with a wheelbase of 238 cm. These dimensions serve both to emphasise the car’s “supercar proportions” and to accentuate its agility. What’s more, owing to the designers’ excellent work, the car achieves maximum aerodynamic efficiency levels, guaranteeing a negative Cz which, as in racing cars, contributes towards achieving increased stability at higher speeds thanks to the aerodynamic downforce.

New direct-injection 240 HP 1750 Turbo Petrol engine

The engine is the beating “heart” of an Alfa Romeo. In this case, it’s the new direct-injection 240 HP 4-cylinder 1750 Turbo Petrol, which was designed with a precise objective: to ensure exceptional performance without sacrificing driving fluidity and use in any circumstances, from the racetrack to the city streets. The Alfa Romeo 4C’s new mid-engine, all-aluminium power unit adopts specific optimised intake and exhaust systems, to enhance both response at low speeds and extension, with the assistance of a crankshaft with eight counterweights. In addition, it boasts cutting-edge technical solutions including direct petrol injection, dual (intake and exhaust) continuous variable valve timing, a turbocharger and a revolutionary scavenging control system that eliminates turbo lag. Torque delivery is generous, with a peak of 350 Nm, 80% of which is available at only 1700 rpm.

Alfa TCT twin dry clutch transmission

The 1750 Turbo Petrol engine is teamed with the Alfa TCT twin dry clutch transmission, which is a genuine benchmark in the category due to its limited weight and extreme speed of activation. The gears can be changed in sequential mode using the “shift paddles” located behind the steering wheel. Compared to the version already adopted on the Giulietta and MiTo models, the TCT on the Alfa Romeo 4C implements next-generation software and features the new ‘Launch Control’ function that optimises all car systems to provide the utmost acceleration possible. What’s more, to ensure the best performance in accordance with the road conditions and driving style, the Alfa TCT adopts optimised operating logic, interacting with the Alfa DNA selector, the braking system, the engine management system and the vehicle stability control system. For example, in automatic mode, the shifting logic differs according to the Alfa DNA setting.

The new Alfa DNA selector with ‘Race’ mode

A specific evolution of the Alfa DNA selector has been developed for Alfa Romeo 4C, which not only features the three standard settings available on other models in the range – Dynamic, Natural and All Weather – but also a fourth mode: ‘Race’, designed to enhance the driving experience on a racetrack even further. It only takes a long press of the selector in Dynamic position to activate it: in this mode, the Alfa DNA deactivates the stability control and anti-slip systems, leaving the driver in full, exciting control. Finally, the full-digital instrument panel with TFT display changes configuration – showing only information relevant to the chosen mode – and colour in line with the Alfa DNA setting: yellow for Race, red for Dynamic, grey for Natural and blue for All Weather.

Solid but lightweight structure

A stiff, strong but light structure is an essential pre-requisite for a high-performance sports car. The same principle inspired the creation of the Alfa Romeo 4C. A state-of-the-art combination of hi-tech materials of extraordinary stiffness and strength, together with a very low specific weight, was selected to achieve this result. In particular, the chassis is a monocoque made entirely of carbon fibre with ‘pre-preg’ technology derived from Formula 1 and adopted only by the most advanced supercars, which weighs only 65 kilograms, inside which a space is formed for the driver and passenger. The front and rear structures of the chassis and the roof reinforcements are made entirely of aluminium.

Additionally, the car’s bodywork is made entirely of low-density, high-strength composite material. Benefits of using this material include lighter weight (it is 20% lighter than steel) and resistance to corrosion. Dimensional stability is comparable to steel and better than aluminium.

Finally, the seats have a mixed carbon fibre and fibreglass structure which guarantees high resistance to stresses and a particularly low weight at the same time.

The final result is a significant reduction in overall weight (the dry weight is just 895 kg) combined with the best possible torsional stiffness and strength characteristics, as well as the optimisation of the car’s centre of gravity, which gives the advantage of increased agility and drivability on the most challenging roads.

Suspension

The Alfa Romeo 4C has an extremely sophisticated suspension layout – ‘superimposed wishbones’ at the front, development of MacPherson at the rear – to ensure maximum agility and road holding. This solution, along with the rear-wheel drive and the extraordinary weight to power ratio, ensures Alfa Romeo driving pleasure, enhanced even further by the weight distribution (40% on the front axle and 60% on the rear axle). What’s more, for those wanting the maximum in terms of handling, a complete suspension kit will be available with a specific calibration of the shock absorbers and rear anti-roll bar.

Braking system, wheels and steering

To ensure decisive braking even under the most intensive conditions, the braking system has four self-ventilating perforated discs, with Brembo four-piston aluminium calipers on the front axle. In addition, to “stick” the car firmly onto the road surface, tyres with a different diameter and width depending on whether they are fitted at the front or rear have been fitted (two variants possible, either 17″-18″ or 18″-19″) which were developed especially to guarantee excellent performance (a kit of tyres with a softer mix is also provided for optimised grip). In line with the car’s setup, the steering system of the 4C does not feature power steering, to save weight but above all to secure a superlative driving feel. An appropriate steering wheel load is maintained thanks to the low overall weight of the car.

Real supercar performance

The implemented state-of-the-art technical and technological solutions drive the Alfa Romeo 4C to reach real supercar performance with a unique driving feel. This is demonstrated by a top speed in excess of 250 km/h, only 4.5 seconds to accelerate from 0 to 100 km/h, 1.1 of side acceleration on corners and 1.25 g of maximum braking deceleration.

Excellence made in Italy

The very best technical and industrial expertise of the Alfa Romeo and Maserati brands was used to develop the Alfa Romeo 4C. Specifically, the teamwork between the two brands was aimed at the integration of the Alfa Romeo design department with the Maserati production plant. This was boosted by the technical and technological contribution of other Italian companies, international leaders in the sector of high-performance sports car components. In short, this too is a distinguishing trait of Alfa Romeo, a brand with a century of history that continues to be one of the most famous and popular ambassadors of Italian products across the world.

Turin, 5 March 2013

Spyker B6 Venator – Wow Factor 10!

Holy schmozzoli. Victor Muller’s done it!

I thought the first rendering we saw of the new Spyker B6 Venator Concept looked pretty nice. Now that we can see the car in the metal at the Geneva show, it looks like the real deal. It’s been built, it’s intended for production next year and most importantly, it looks absolutely sensational.

Spyker B6 Venator

Here’s the thing that most people don’t get about Spyker cars until they look into them. This is not a pure sports car. It’s a very sporting luxury car. The motoring press was talking up the Spyker B6 Venator as a Porsche 911 competitor prior to the Geneva Motor Show, which Victor Muller went to some lengths to play down. The Spyker will never take on a 911 in a performance battle. It has a V6 engine that puts out a very decent 345hp and I have no doubt you can get more than just a few thrills carving up the curly bits. This is no Porsche-killer, however. This is a luxury car in a sports car body. People who shop this car are going to know that, or find it out pretty soon.

What do I like?

I like the fact that it’s more compact than Spyker C8 vehicles. The proportions suit my own personal tastes a bit better.

I like the fact that the lines flow. It doesn’t have the vulgar piecemeal style that seems to be emerging in luxury sportscar design right at the moment.

I really like the fact that it doesn’t have a big vent protruding from its roof a-la previous Spykers.

And I love, love, love the interior. Check out the close up shots in the gallery below. The workmanship and luxury on show here is what Spyker cars are all about.

The full press release is below the gallery. If you’re interested in Muller’s work post-Saab then you’ll want to read it. I think this car’s looking great and it’s due in European and Asian markets in early 2014. The US will take a few months longer and it’s expected to cost between $125K and $150K depending on spec.

Click to enlarge.

SPYKER UNVEILS NEW B6 VENATOR CONCEPT AT THE 83RD GENEVA INTERNATIONAL MOTOR SHOW, SIGNALING THE SUPERCAR BRAND’S GLOBAL RESURGENCE

ZEEWOLDE, THE NETHERLANDS, 5 MARCH 2013 — Spyker N.V. (“Spyker”) today revealed a new exotic compact, 2-door, mid-engine sports car at a press conference in Geneva. 2013 marks the global resurgence of Spyker as a creator of meticulously built automobiles whose beauty is equaled by their unrivaled craftsmanship. The brand’s revival is heralded by the introduction of the SPYKER B6 VENATOR CONCEPT, a unique alternative in the High Luxury Sports sector, at the 83rd Geneva International Motor Show. The SPYKER B6 VENATOR CONCEPT is a compact, 2-door mid-engine sports car that will offer the discerning driver of the highest standards a new choice, delivering a rare combination of heritage, design, performance and exclusivity.

Designed by Victor R. Muller, Chief Executive Officer of Spyker N.V., the SPYKER B6 VENATOR CONCEPT makes a defiantly contemporary statement whilst paying homage to its past, making it instantly recognizable as a Spyker. Highly detailed design, bespoke materials and aviation-inspired elements are a core part of the Spyker DNA. With the announcement of the SPYKER B6 VENATOR CONCEPT, the company once again proves its Latin axiom: “Nulla tenaci invia est via” – “For the tenacious no road is impassable.” The name “Venator” is Latin as well, meaning “Hunter” – a nod back to Spyker’s “Hunter” fighter aircraft of the early 20th
century.

Exterior highlights:

  • The trademark radiator grille’s mesh is V-shaped, referencing Spyker models of the previous century. The 1903 Spyker logo harkens back to an era when Spyker built racers such as the amazing 60HP.
  • The new headlights, equipped with LED light rails, give the car an aggressive stance.
  • The aerodynamically shaped glass aircraft canopy extends rearwards to minimize drag, optimizing performance.
  • The 3D LED rear lights are akin to the iris-type after burners of a jet engine from a modern fighter aircraft.
  • The brake light has been sculpted into the rear panel design to ensure smooth, flowing design lines.
  • Elegantly aggressive 19” Turbofan™ wheels are shown in mirror polish finish.

Interior highlights:

  • Interior surroundings crafted from the finest materials are unusually open and airy for a sports car, the light and glass akin to an aeroplane cockpit. The leather is sourced from the Litano range produced by the Royal Hulshof Dutch Tanneries in Lichtenvoorde. Hulshof uses only West European first choice bull hides and a special tanning process that produces the beautifully rich colour palette.
  • The red cover on the ignition switch evokes the spirit of starting an aeroplane, as does the dashboard that lights up as part of the ‘pre-flight check.’ The dashboard is shown with a turned aluminium fascia, similar to those seen on Spykers of the 1920s.
  • Pressing the engine start button brings to life a powerful V6 engine that delivers 375+ bhp.
  • The trademark exposed gear change mechanism was inspired by early aircraft controls from Spyker’s aviation heritage.

Body:

  • All carbon fibre

Chassis:

  • All aluminium platform

Engine:

  • Engine mount position: rear-mid
  • Engine orientation: transverse mounted V6
  • Max power: 375+ bhp

Drivetrain:

  • Drivetrain type: RWD
  • Transmission: 6-spd automatic

Dimensions:

  • Overall length: 4347 mm
  • Width (ex mirrors): 1882 mm
  • Wheelbase: 2500 mm
  • Kerb weight: ﹤ 1400 kg

The SPYKER B6 VENATOR CONCEPT will begin production in early 2014 for key markets including Europe, the Middle East, Asia Pacific and India, followed by the US in autumn 2014.

The SPYKER B6 VENATOR CONCEPT is being shown for the first time at the 83rd Geneva International Motor Show alongside the Spyker C8 Aileron that was first introduced at the 2009 Geneva International Motor Show. The design of the Spyker C8 Aileron represented another significant step in the evolution of Spyker, shifting from propeller to turbine inspired design.

The introduction of the SPYKER B6 VENATOR CONCEPT marks the beginning of a new era for the brand, one that will include a significant increase in production led by a management team that has never been stronger. Last year Spyker expanded its global leadership with the appointment of John Walton as Chief Commercial Officer. Together, Muller and Walton are leading a passionate team that is supremely dedicated to creating unique and beautiful high performance sports luxury cars.

Since the brand’s rebirth in 2000, the company has lived its motto – “for the tenacious no road is impassable” – making bold moves to ensure that Spyker will continue to be a viable, no-compromise brand. The company was taken public in 2004 in order to fund product development and growth. After a few bleak years and newfound partnerships, the momentum is all in the right direction. The financial standing of Spyker N.V. is strong, thanks to the recent conversion of all shareholder debt into equity and a €10M share issue to Youngman.

The result: in 2012, Spyker N.V. recorded a €125M profit, laying the foundation for brand’s global resurgence that is signaled today by the introduction of the SPYKER B6 VENATOR CONCEPT.

Victor R. Muller, Spyker’s CEO said, “There is no denying that Spyker went through a very rough period in recent years. However, today we prove the truth of our motto since 1914, ‘Nulla tenaci invia est via’ – ‘For the tenacious no road is impassable.’ Our dealer body and prospective clients have been asking us to make a more affordable car for everyday use. The SPYKER B6 VENATOR CONCEPT is that car and more: it is the highlight of our hard work to create a viable future for our company. By offering an exquisite, hand-crafted, exclusive car at a more accessible price point of approximately $125,000 / $150,000, more of those discerning drivers who have aspired to own a Spyker will be able to achieve that dream. The SPYKER B6 VENATOR CONCEPT represents our view of the future, the beginning of an exciting new chapter in our history.”

Are Supercars Getting Too Vulgar?

I hate being Mr Negative-Pants, but some of the images I’m seeing at the start at the Geneva Motor Show are making me a little uneasy. I subscribe to the Richard Hammond theory that supercars are meant to be stupendous, they’re meant to be an event. But isn’t this going a little too far?

This is the new Ferrari, which is officially referred to simply as LaFerrari. True. I don’t mind the name at all, actually. What I’m having trouble with is the compartmentalised design:

LaFerrari

What am I talking about, you say?

It looks like the car has been designed in bits and then those bits have been added together, or something. The design doesn’t flow. It doesn’t lead your eye from one place to another in a ordered way. It’s like there are 10 different design elements screaming “Look at me!” all at once.

The front wheel arches, which house but seem to be a different element from the healamps. The V shape on the hood. The deep vented doors. That crease before the rear vents. It’s like the Mr Potato Head of supercars – all stuck together.

Here’s how a Ferrari should look:

FerrariF12

To me, the F12 Berlinetta flows. It’s got presence and power but it’s also got elegance. Maybe the LaFerrari needed a touch of madness in its design in order to command the crazy price they’ll as for what’s being talked of as their Enzo successor, their fastest car ever.

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Another offender, in my books – and I’m really loathe to say this because I know a lot of people already love this car – is the Lamborghini Veneno.

The looks aren’t the only thing that are slightly offensive with this car, but let’s start there:

Lamborghini Veneno Top

This is even more disjointed than the LaFerrari! It’s as if it’s made from smoothed-over Lego. There are just way too many hard edges and holes in this design.

Here’s another view. Is this a car or a super-expensive, giant cheese grater?

Lamborghini Veneno

Here’s what else is vulgar about this car. Ferrari have been mocked from pillar to post about their brand building and merchandising but Lamborghini deserve to steal their position as the #1 over-hyped supercar maker – and it’s all because of the Veneno.

They’re only making four of them and they’re only selling three of the four. They’ll keep the first one for themselves. They’re asking 3 MILLION EUROS for the car. Three-freaking-million and yet it’s only got just over 70% of the power of a Veyron or Koenigsegg.

Let me say this plainly – I don’t think it can do what a three-million-Euro car should do in terms of actually being a car. It’s theatrical, but it’s not a patch on some cars that sell for a third of the price.

That Lamborghini have sold all three of these is a masterclass in marketing, or suckerteering (a word I just made up).

But back to the looks – can you really say that you love this automotive version of Predator? Does it fill you with automotive passion or simply juice you up because you might induce some fear into some lowly Porsche driver? There’s a massive difference there.

Lamborghini Veneno

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I’m a little less sure about including this third car because I actually quite like it. However, this photo of the McLaren P1 in yellow has not done it any favours.

McLaren P1

Is it just me or does that look a little like a flouro basketball shoe from the mid-2000’s?

I’ll take mine in metallic grey, please.

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A supercar’s allure should be in its sense of theatre, not in its costume. The costume should add to the sense of theatre but it shouldn’t be the whole show. It’s up to the engine, the handling and the interior to add to that external design and complete the package.

I’m quite sure that all of these supercars are extraordinary to drive, but there’s something that’s just a little too brash about the way they present themselves. The most alluring always manage to hold something back.

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And yes, in a statement that people who know me will think is totally predictable, let me just say that Koenigsegg have got it just right with Agera. It’s a beautiful design that states its intent with purpose but also flows and is completely functional. The same goes for the Pagani Hayauararauyirara.

Here’s an example of Koenigsegg handing Lamborghini their own arse in terms of hyper/supercar vehicle design. The Koenigsegg Hundra has wheels made of carbonfibre – an industry first. The front wheels weigh just 4.5 kilos each (the rears weigh 6.5 kilos). The Hundra has been sold to an owner in Hong Kong. It’s a one-of-a-kind vehicle with over 1,100hp and it has been sold for less than half the price of the Veneno.

If you can sort out some logic amongst all that, please let me know.

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How do you think a supercar should look? I know that people paying this sort of money want to stand out from the crowd, but aren’t some of these taking things just a little too far?

Damn, I Miss The Car Industry!!

The Geneva Motor Show has begun with a few early reveals, mostly courtesy of the VW-owned group of companies. Pictures of the new Lamborghini Veneno are already online from Lambo’s press presentation. The same hall shows an Audi RS6 Avant and the space-age Volkswagen XL1 eco-mobile as well (just say no).

Lamborghini Veneno TopRight: The crystal meth at Lamborghini’s design studio has had the desired effect.

A number of former Saab colleagues and friends are at Geneva this year. Of course, my former boss Victor Muller will be showing a new concept – the Spyker B6 Venator, which I’d love to see up close. I emailed Jason Castriota yesterday and he was on his way to Geneva, too. A bunch of the guys from Saab PR will be at the Qoros stand and a few others might be there with Volvo and Jaguar Land Rover, too.

Then there are the most interesting cars at the Geneva Show this year. The Alfa Romeo 4C will be shown. The new Rolls Royce Wraith looks absolutely amazing (see below) and I’d love to see that Kia Provo concept for myself, too. The ultimate car – anything this company makes is always the ultimate car – will be the Koenigsegg Hundra and that’ll be at Geneva, too.

It’s times like this when I really, REALLY miss my short time in the industry. It’s wonderful being back home with family and we do live in a special part of the world, but your vocation should be a big part in your life and let’s face it – mine isn’t.

I love cars and I love what the automotive industry offers to people of the world – independence, style, a real and physical connection with each other over vast distances. The pleasure of the road trip.

I love the people in the industry, people who are so passionate about what they do. There’s good reason for that, too, because often what they do is at the cutting edge of industrial technology. On an individual vehicle level, vehicle development can be a slow process (there are no finger-snap solutions, remember). On an industry level, though, things are constantly developing and one company or another has always got something new that pushes the envelope that little bit further. It’s exciting to watch.

I don’t know how I’m going to do this but I’ve GOT to get back into the business of writing about cars. I feel like I’ve got something genuine to share. I care about what people drive, the choices they make. I care about the integrity and creativity of the industry. There are so many wonderful stories to tell about this business – the technology, the experiences people have with their vehicles, the way collectors and enthusiasts can be so dedicated to the vehicles and brands that they love.

I’ve GOT to get back to Geneva next year. I don’t know whether to start following a particular brand closely or a genre of vehicles, but I’ve got to find a way of providing some interesting news and effective coverage of it.

An Australian automotive journalist – one who I had a bit to do with during the Saab years – just announced his retirement today after 43 years in the industry. Oh, the things he must have seen and the good fortune he’s had to cover this industry for so long through both newsprint and online. I should be so lucky.

I bought a URL a few years ago that I thought would be a good one for a wider-perspective look at the industry from an Australian point of view. Maybe it’s time to break that out and spend a year or so building up a proper foundation for it?

Life’s too short to work crap jobs that you hate, isn’t it?

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Rolls Royce Wraith

Kia Provo Looks Kind Of Saabish

Remember that Saab 9x that Saab fans got soooooooo excited about a decade+ ago only to have our hopes snuffed out by the realities of the automotive business?

The Saab 9x had 4WD, a potent turbocharged engine, a wedgy SUV-style body (well before small SUV’s were seriously considered anything other than utilitarian) and a futuristic interior. We drooled over the body shape and the promise of comfort, sporty driving and practicality. We got excited at the massive leap the Saab 9x would have represented not just for Saab, but for the automotive industry in general.

Small premium coupe SUV’s aren’t so unusual anymore, but the market is a long, long way from being saturated.

Kia has plans to get into the small-performance game: their production version Pro_Cee’d GT will show at Geneva. They will also show a concept car at Geneva that hints at what they’d like to do in the small SUV/lifestyle segment. It’s distinctly futuristic and decidedly upmarket. It wouldn’t look like this in production form, of course (850 LED’s per headlamp!), but the intention is pretty self-evident: Mini Paceman – we have an eye on you.

The car is called the Kia Provo and this is what it looks like. Click to enlarge.

Ok, so the nose is quite a bit smaller than the Saab 9x but the general shape is there, as is the futuristic styling (albeit in a much busier fashion) and it has a massive tip to Saab in the form of the wraparound windscreen.

It uses the same 1.6 litre turbo engine as the Hyundai Veloster Turbo to pump out just over 200hp to the front wheels but it complements this with a 45hp rear-wheel electric motor that can be called to action in corners, or allow an electric-only ‘creep mode’ for shorter distances. You can make your own jokes about putting your Kia into creep mode…….. now.

It’s not a Saab by any means, even if it reminds me of one (that admittedly, never actually existed in production form). What it is, though, is hope for those who really liked some of what the Saab 9x represented. In fact, one could argue that by using a 4-cylinder turbo to put out more than 100hp per litre it’s being more Saabish than the 9x’s proposed 100hp per litre 3.0l V6. Not only does it have more power per unit of displacement, it would also have much lighter weight which leads to greater agility.

Yes, it looks too fussy and sharp and yes it’s only a concept, but it’s a concept that I like. Hyundai might be the better selling Korean but sister company Kia is turning out to be the more interesting Korean. If they have to adopt some Saabish design cues and principles to do it, then all the better.

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A final question – if I’d airbrushed the Kia badge off the rear and off the steering wheel, who would you think had made this car? Would it change what might have been a negative opinion simply because it’s a Kia?

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Spyker B6 Venator – New at Geneva

Spyker missed the Geneva Motor Show in 2012 due to upheaval caused by the Saab bankruptcy. Spyker chief Victor Muller was busy enough trying to keep the company afloat, let along preparing for a motor show. This year, Spyker are back. They’ve got something new to show, too – the Spyker B6 Venator concept car.

Spyker have so far just teased the press with a few abstract images showing the upper shape and the tail lights of the car. Victor Muller spoke with the Wall Street Journal over the weekend, however, and let a few more clues out – along with a full color image of the car (my guess is it’s a decent CGI).

The Venator (latin for “hunter”) will be about the size of a Porsche Boxster. It will combine both aluminium and carbonfibre construction so as to tip the scales at just under 1,400kg (3080 lbs). Power will be provided by a mid-position 375hp V6 engine of unknown origin run through a six-speed automatic transmission. The usual Spyker interior appointments will make an appearance with plenty of leather, aluminium and of course Spyker’s signature exposed gear linkage.

News outlets have been talking about this car for a few weeks, calling it a rival for the Porsche 911. I asked Victor about that a few weeks ago and he denied it straight-up. He mentions it to the Wall St Journal, too.

“….anybody who says [we’re] going to build a Porsche killer is crazy,” Mr. Muller emphasized.

That’s pretty consistent with Spyker’s brand positioning. They’ve never tried to take on the established supercars in performance terms. They cars are intended more as a high-speed luxury lounge. A well appointed gentleman’s cruiser. BYO smoking jacket for when you exit the car.

Full details about the Spyker B6 Venator will come later this week as the press corp wanders through the halls at Geneva.

Spyker B6 Venator

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Koenigsegg Hundra celebrates 100th Koenigsegg at Geneva Motor Show

Koenigsegg has teased its 2013 Geneva Motor Show entry with a few photos and a press release. The Koenigsegg Hundra is an Agera that’s been custom built with 24-carat gold inlay, clear-coat carbonfibre, Koenigsegg’s own revolutionary carbonfibre wheels and a host of other goodies.

The good news for me is that there’s some small, teeny-tiny chance of owning it one day (if I win some humungous lottery) – because it’s right hand drive 🙂

The press release and images:

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Koenigsegg from 0-100 in 10 Years

2002 – After eight painstaking years of constant development, the small striving Koenigsegg team delivered the first production cars to anticipating customers.

10 years later, in September 2012, the first carbon prepreg pieces were cut on the routing machine for Koenigesgg’s 100th production car. The car was duly named “Hundra” (Swedish for 100) – a unique one-off Agera S being built for an excited car collector.

Fast forward to March 2013 – The Hundra is finished in time for the 2013 Geneva Auto Salon. A beautiful clear carbon right hand drive Agera S with celebratory, artisan hand-laid and swirled, 24 carat gold leaf inlays, creating an intriguing mix of traditional and hi-tech craftsmanship.

A lot has happened in the past 10 years. Koenigsegg has evolved from being a small and unknown car developer, to becoming a household name, revered for excellence and performance – competing head to head with the strongest brands in the industry.

What a fantastic 10 years it has been:

  • Four Guinness World records
  • Forbes award for one of the ten most beautiful cars ever made
  • Prestigious Red Dot design award
  • Top Gear Hypercar of the Year award
  • Longest lasting Top Gear Power Lap record ever
  • Entrepreneur of the Year – Ernst & Young
  • Worlds Top 100 Luxury Brands award
  • And the list goes on

Most importantly, the Koenigsegg family has grown from a handful of dedicated craftsmen and engineers, to over 50 full-time employees and more than hundred proud caretakers of precious Koenigsegg cars.

All these individuals share the same passion and goal: to carry the Koenigsegg brand, experience and philosophy steadfast into the future.

Given the success, has Koenigsegg become relaxed and rests on its laurels? On the contrary. The Koenigsegg range still stands proud – head to head against the greatest new car onslaught in hypercar history.

In fact, the Koenigsegg team can’t even wait to get their creation of passion measured against all the latest and greatest hypercars currently being launched. Prepare to be surprised – again!

New Koenigsegg book and prints:

To commemorate this historic occasion, a book has been created – “0 to 100 in 10 Years”. Through the remembrances and voices of drivers, owners and key persons that helped Christian create the cars they love, the story of Koenigsegg is being told, in words and pictures.

The limited edition coffee table book, features 300 pages of exiting and beautiful material, never shown before.

Furthermore, a very limited series of 10 photographs, only printed in 10 pieces each, signed by Christian von Koenigsegg, are being made available. The prints are created to capture the soul of Koenigsegg´s unique automobiles.

To pre-order the book and express your interest in the limited prints – send your contact details to: zerotohundred@koenigsegg.com

The Most Interesting Cars of the 2013 Geneva Motor Show

The most interesting motor show of any given year – the Geneva Motor Show – is almost upon us. These are the cars from the debut list maintained by Just Auto that have got my motor running. Some are genuine interest and some are passing interest, but all have something interesting about them.

Sorry Volvo, I just couldn’t get you on the list. Something new from Polestar might have been good.

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Alfa Romeo 4C: carbon components, 1.7 turbo, to be built by Maserati in Modena

Alfa Romeo 4C - front view
Alfa Romeo 4C – front view

Alfa Romeo Gloria concept: full scale model created by I.E.D. students

Alfa Romeo Gloria

Aston Martin Rapide S: Could James Bond go four-door in his next film? 5.9-litre V12. Woof.

Aston Martin Rapide S

Audi RS Q3: – I’m not sure what to say. It’s a small, hotted up SUV that’s absolutely useless in my eyes but will sell like hot cakes.

Audi RS Q3

Audi S3 Sportback: same 221kW (300hp) engine as S3

Audi A3 Sport Back

BMW 3 Series GT: five-door hatchback, 200mm longer than a 3 Series Touring

BMW 3series GT 8

Citroën C3 Hybrid Air: – Compressed air technology isn’t just Koenigsegg’s realm. It’ll be interesting to see how this stuff progresses.

Citroen C3 Hybrid Air

Ferrari Enzo successor: – this isn’t it, just a fanboy’s admirable attempt to draw what’s billed as their fastest ever supercar. Are new Ferraris still interesting given that they’re mostly pretty much just a variation on previous one and marketed with all sorts of kitsch goods? Yes, they are.

Ferrari Rendering

Kia Pro_cee’d GT: powered by a 150kW 1.6-litre turbo – the car with the most annoying name in autodom is getting more interesting. KIA are hitting their straps and show no sign of slowing down. Interesting that they’ve got several ‘production’ concepts but sister Hyundai has none of any note.

Kia Pro-Cee'd GT

McLaren P1: – it’s a McLaren. ’nuff said. This is the production-ready version of the car we’ve seen previously as a concept.

McLaren P1

Mercedes-Benz A 45 AMG: 265kW (360hp) 2.0-litre turbo and standard 4MATIC. Most hype surrounding a Merc in years. Reminds me of the BMW 135i hype a few years ago.

Mercedes A45 AMG

Peugeot 2008 HYbrid Air: compressed air tech – I guess if it’s OK for Citroen….. this is the 2008 in basic form and I’m guessing the Hybrid Air version that’ll show in Geneva won’t differ from this except from a badge (maybe)

Peugeot 2008

Pininfarina Sergio concept: anything from Pininfarina is at the least, interesting to see. This is a tribute to Sergio, the boss, who passed away last year. This is all we’ve seen so far.

Pininfarina Sergio Concept

Qoros 3: C-segment sedan – launch vehicle for Qoros’ emergence into the automotive world with a focus on Europe.

Qoros 3 Sedan - front qtr wheels turned

Qoros Cross Hybrid concept: petrol-electric version of a 3-based five-door hatch

Qoros 3 Cross Hybrid Concept - rear qtr

Qoros Estate concept: previews a future 3 wagon

Qoros 3 Estate Concept - front qtr

Rolls-Royce Wraith: the coupe version of Ghost. I’ll never get one. I’ll probably never physically get close one, but it’s a new Roller and this shaded image looks AMAZING.

Rolls Royce Wraith

Spyker B6 concept: how could one not be interested in what Spyker and Victor Muller are doing now?

Spyke rB6 teaser

Toyota FT-86 Open concept: the much rumoured convertible of the 86 appears for the first time in Geneva (aside from this spy pic from a few days ago)

Toyota GT86 Convertible

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