By on March 1, 2016

2017 Chevrolet Corvette Grand-Sport overhead view

The Geneva Motor Show rolls out each year much like the Academy Awards — plenty of glitz and glamour, limited diversity, and most of the attendees are from the high end of the market.

This year’s show has seen a lot of range-topping models and an underlying theme of reinvention, which isn’t surprising given the current state of flux in the automobile industry. Utility-minded body styles are continuing to draw buyers away from traditional coupes and sedans, while electricity continues to grow as an alternate propulsion form.

Geneva also serves as a launching pad for vehicles bound for the New York International Auto Show, which takes place at the end of March.

2017 Volkswagen Phideon front 3/4

A Volkswagen you’ll probably never drive

Volkswagen took this opportunity to introduce the Phideon, a prestige luxury sedan bound only for the Chinese market.

Designed to be the best VW can offer, the sedan comes with standard all-wheel drive and is powered by a turbocharged 3.0-liter direct-injection V6, though a front-wheel drive version with a 2.0-liter four-cylinder turbo will bring the model downrange a bit.

While its stated goal is to appeal to chauffeured Chinese executives once it goes on sale in the third quarter of 2016, there’s already whispers that the Phideon might serve as the template for a resurrected Phaeton some beyond that date.

Despite the glamorous event, VW couldn’t step away from its ongoing diesel emissions scandal. The company’s marketing chief was forced to admit the company still has a target on its back after a press conference was interrupted by a wrench-wielding protester with a sense of humor.

2017 Fiat-124_Spider_Abarth front 3/4

This Spider has legs

Fiat handed its 124 Spider over to the Abarth Racing Team to wring better performance out of the Mazda Miata-based roadster.

The 124 Spider Abarth returned with a mechanical limited-slip rear differential, a suspension tuned for cornering ability, a Record Monza exhaust system and a 1.4-liter turbocharged engine massaged to deliver 10 extra horsepower (170, up from 160). Torque remains the same at 184 pounds-feet.

Buyers opting for an automatic will receive a performance-tuned Sequenziale Sportivo gearbox with paddle shifting, and all buyers can choose from five paint colors inspired by famous 1970s European rally races.

The Spider Abarth goes on sale in Europe this September, though there’s no word yet on when the model will cross the Atlantic.

2017-Chevrolet Corvette-Grand-Sport-front overhead view

American forces enter Europe

Chevrolet has crafted a new Corvette that honors the model’s very brief racing history while giving buyers access to gear sourced from the pricier Z06.

The 2017 Corvette Grand Sport is powered by the same 460 horsepower 6.2-liter LT1 V8 engine found in the Stingray, but can be optioned with the Z07 performance package, in addition to suspension upgrades, a heavier-duty cooling system and beefier brakes borrowed from its bigger brother.

Chevrolet will offer a number of packages to allow owners to personalize their Grand Sport, once the model goes on sale later this year, both in North America and Europe.

2017 Maserati Levante side view

If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em

Almost every ultra-luxury automaker is working on an SUV right now, and if they aren’t, they’ll likely wish they had.

Maserati came to Geneva with its very first utility vehicle in tow: the Levante. Looking something like a Quattroporte that can haul far more stuff, the Levante joins a crowded field that’s becoming even more competitive since the likes of Jaguar and Bentley joined the fray (Porsche started the trend, and Lamborghini is on the way).

The Levante — which, if you didn’t know already, is named after a warm sea breeze — is available with a 3.0-liter twin-turbo V6 making either 350 or 430 horsepower, or a 3.0-litre turbo diesel that makes 275 hp.

This warm breeze is expected to hit buyers, very appropriately, by spring.

Audi Q2 front 3/4

Go anywhere, do anything, live your life

Audi says the upcoming Q2 compact utility vehicle is designed around your lifestyle and signals the brand’s new design direction.

It’s small but spacious, high-tech but rugged, and efficient above all else, reads the corporate literature. Available in European markets initially (no word on North American sales yet), the Q2 comes with a three gas engines — a 1.0-liter turbocharged three-cylinder, 1.4-liter turbo four and 2.0-liter turbo four — as well as three four-cylinder turbo diesels.

The manual and dual-clutch automatic transmissions are both seven-speed units, and all-wheel drive is offered on higher-end models.

The lightweight vehicle has a surprising 7.9 inches of ground clearance (making rock-crawling with the kids an option), and comes with automatic emergency braking and electronic nannies that can take over the task of parking or navigating through low-speed traffic.

The Audi of the future comes first to Europe this fall. Time will stand still in North America in its absence.

2017 Toyota C-HR teased photo

A Toyota all the cool kids will talk about

Teased just a couple of days ago, the 2017 Toyota C-HR is the model that started life as a Scion concept vehicle.

It’s too late to save that brand, but the production-ready C-HR now resides in the Toyota stable. Smaller than a RAV4 and far funkier, the C-HR will be available in Europe with a hybrid drivetrain employing a 1.8-litre four-cylinder engine, and mated to a continuously-variable transmission.

A smaller-displacement gas-only drivetrain is also available on that side of the pond. What isn’t available in Europe is a 2.0-litre engine of undetermined power that’s sure to be offered in North America.

Details are still lacking with the C-HR, but perhaps Toyota representatives will have more to say at the New York show later this month.

[Photos courtesy of the manufacturers]

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46 Comments on “2016 Geneva Motor Show – Only the Best and Brightest...”


  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    I thought the GS was always sort of the base model Corvette? The blue and white C4 GS was the one I could afford in Gran Turismo. The ZR1 and the others were out of reach (Ligenfelter?).

    • 0 avatar
      derekson

      Compared to a ZR1 or a Z06, yes, but it’s always been a semi-track ready model with the standard engine (at least since they revived it with the C4 model).

      • 0 avatar
        ajla

        The C4 Grand Sport didn’t use the standard Corvette engine.

        • 0 avatar
          j3studio

          The C4 Grand Sport used the same engine (LT4 rated at 330 bhp) as any 1996 Corvette with a manual transmission.

          By the way, it looks like Jack already got one of his holiday wishes.

          • 0 avatar
            ajla

            The LT4 was available on the nonGS Corvettes, but it was a $1490 option to get it and the 6M.

            The *standard* engine on the nonGS 1996 Corvette was still the LT1, but every GS came with the optional LT4.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            How much better is the LT4 than the LT1? Does it suffer from OptiSpark also?

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        Ah ha, so Stingray is base model. This was flipped in my mind, and Stingray was something special.

        • 0 avatar
          j3studio

          Chevrolet got smart with branding the entry-level C7. Instead of not really branding it at all, like with the C6 (our 2012 is a “base” or “narrow body” coupe), they branded the lowest-end C7 model as the Stingray.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    The rear end styling of the Levante puts me in mind of something. What is that something, you ask?

    http://images.gtcarlot.com/gtgallery/photo.php?id=46937916

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    The Q2 picture was poorly selected by Audi, as the rear side window looks like it’s made of poster board.

    But what’s that, a shrinking grille aperture??!

    • 0 avatar
      mason

      Smaller opening = more down force!

      Tape ‘er up!

    • 0 avatar
      Richard Chen

      Looking at other pictures, the Q2’s got a rather large opaque c-pillar, and it comes in silver (above) or black (the now ubiquitous floating roof look). IIRC the R8 has a side panel color that could be selected.

      I see that the Astra (EU COTY) and C-HR also have the shiny black c-pillar preceded by a rising beltline. Mr. Mehta, a follow-up Vellum Venom about these Sable wannabes, please?

  • avatar
    Noble713

    Re: C7 GS

    So this is basically “Z06 w/o supercharger”?

    Given the initial quality control issues with the LT4, I could see how this would be desirable. All the handling/aero parts you desire above the Z51 package, but none of the forced induction problems.

    Oh, and the 124 Spider Abarth is really aggressive and sexy. I’ve never liked the Miata before the current ND model largely because of its soft styling. But give this Abarth a hardtop and I wouldn’t mind being seen in it at all.

  • avatar
    319583076

    What are the chances that the LSD and suspension on the Fiat-branded Miata are the same as those available on the Mazda version?

  • avatar
    daniel g.

    If you tink vw = stupid
    http://autoblog.com.ar/2016/03/01/la-suv-chica-de-vw-sale-taigun-entra-t-cross/
    Same platform of Q2.

    And you tink the nissan murano cabriolet was something funny…was avant-garde, ahead of their time

    • 0 avatar
      derekson

      It’s way smaller than the Q2. It’s MQB, but the Q2 is the size of a Golf and that VW thing is the size of a Polo.

      MQB comes in plenty of different sizes, from Polo-sized to Passat-sized. Technically they’re all the same platform, but when it’s that extensible it doesn’t really say too much to just say two cars both use it.

  • avatar
    22_RE_Speedwagon

    Phideon sounds like something one is accused of being.

    • 0 avatar
      Lou_BC

      Maybe the Chinese can’t pronounce Phaeton?

      “named after the Roman goddess of fidelity—sort of. She was actually called Fides. “Phideon” is a Volkswagenized version of her name.”

      “Volkswagenized version”

      Kinda like a Volkswagenized version of emissions testing and durability?

  • avatar

    So every single company, including Bentley and Lamborghini have given up on big cars and will produce crossovers from now on.

  • avatar
    BoogerROTN

    “That’s a Buick? I thought it was that Maserati named after a French nudist island.”

  • avatar
    Lou_BC

    These rules could apply to convertibles.

    1
    Tops On or Off. Generally speaking, going topless on any beach in France is seen as more than acceptable, though there are exceptions so be sure to follow the rules.

    2
    Bottoms Up. In terms of underwear, there’s no law that says you can or cannot go fully nude in French beaches, but it is of course considered acceptable on some and not on others, so be sure to check up first.

    3
    Tact. There are some things you just should not be doing on any nudist beach, which include staring, taking photographs or making fun of others. And for gentlemen that for one reason or another become ‘excited’, this should also be kept hidden.

    4
    Nude or Nothing. Be sure to check the rules as to whether clothing is accepted, mandatory or banned as there are different rules for each beach. Some you must go nude, some you must not go nude and with some it’s your own choice.

    5
    Walking Rules. There are plenty of nude beaches in France that allow and encourage naked hiking across nearby trails. However, you need to check where the limits of the nudist resort lie in order to avoid giving passers-by a bit of a shock.

    6
    Sunburn. Don’t forget that the fewer items of clothing you wear, the more chance you have of taking home horrible sunburn. And as sunburn is way more painful on some parts of the body than others, be sure to add a liberal dose and keep topping up.

    7
    Trunks. For men, swimming trunks are fine when heading into the sea and some actually salute the use of such garments for helping to keep the water clean. So if you feel the need, don’t be afraid to don a Speedo.

    8
    City Rules. When you come across one of those lovely fake beaches built in any given city across France, be sure to remember that the same rules don’t apply. In fact, take your top off here or go nude and you’ll be in for a hefty fine.

    9
    Children. Whether or not to take along children is a bit of a sticky subject, though there are in fact no rules with regard to their being allowed on the beach or the ages they should or shouldn’t be…it’s all up to their parents or guardians.

    10
    Shelter. Last but not least, be sure to take along sufficient clothing or blankets to cover yourself up when the sun is at its strongest. Going nude often means falling for the trap of taking little to nothing to cover up with at all, which can of course be a rather painful mistake.

  • avatar
    make_light

    I know discussing the absurdity of car names has been done many times, but who in their right mind decided to call this ugly vehicle a C-HR when both the HRV and CRV already exist?!?!

  • avatar
    Hummer

    ” surprising 7.9 inches of ground clearance”
    My ruler must be off today, I’m not impressed.

    Else wise I see a lot of small engines and one expensive car with a decent sized engine, whole lotta meh.

  • avatar
    davefromcalgary

    Only 10 more hp than base for an Abarth version seems pointless.

    • 0 avatar
      derekson

      Yeah it’s a big letdown that they didn’t drop the 1.75L MultiAir turbo into that Abarth 124.

    • 0 avatar
      moff90

      It’s actually a 30 hp bump, since the euro-spec 124 spider makes 140 hp.

    • 0 avatar
      energetik9

      Fiat seems to have a trend of special editions. There are 500 Abath models not sold here. I bet this is just the start. I’m more interested in the suspension tuning…

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        500 Retro Edition
        500L Ugly Edition (All of them)
        500 Gucci Pure Class Edition

        • 0 avatar
          energetik9

          Just for the record, I am not a fanatic of the 500 and am not interested in shopping in this class. I am however, always interested in high performance models. The Ferrari Tributo Edition, Abarth 595, Abarth 695 Biposto, Abarth 50th anniversario, and especially the Abarth Assetto Corse just to name a few.

          Not claiming any of these are on my list.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Are all of those available in the US as well?

          • 0 avatar
            heavy handle

            The US version is equivalent to the 595 in terms of horsepower. The EU base Abarth has 140 HP, which isn’t much more than our 135 HP 500 Turbo.

            On a related note, the 500 Gucci had really good leather. The kind you won’t even find in cars costing 3 times as much. People here will claim they don’t care, but I’m sure many customers were happy to find an $80,000 interior in a $22,000 car. Too bad it was automatic-only.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            It’s nice leather, but it’s still in a little tiny Fiat with gauche branding all over it.

            I think Gucci worked better on the Seville in the 80s, where it belonged.

          • 0 avatar
            heavy handle

            Gucci was an upmarket brand in the 1980s. The 500 Gucci is a fair representation of where they stand these days.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Hahah, ouch. I thought they were doing fine since Tom Ford restored the brand in the late 90s. My fashion knowledge on this is lacking.

          • 0 avatar
            energetik9

            CoreyDL: No, those models are not available in the US. I just remembered watching a TV show at some point and they were discussing the 500 models not available here. It was just a curiosity for me.

            To tie it all back together. As I shared, Fiat does seem to make other (and some higher performance) variants. This 124 Spider just might have some higher performance models or special editions in the works and that could get interesting.

          • 0 avatar
            heavy handle

            They can charge a premium, but their stuff isn’t at the very high end anymore. You can find Gucci products at every major mall in the US.

            If you are not fashion-savvy, have a look at their watches and glasses. They are obviously a cut below the very best in terms of finish, technology, and materials (but still well above store-brand, no-name and counterfeit stuff).

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            I suppose I only really paid attention to their glasses. The watches have always looked cheap, and I don’t think I’d want to be seen wearing a vulgar Gucci watch.

            I’d rather have a Dunhill – but they don’t make those anymore.


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