The Truth About Cars » Geneva Auto Show The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Sat, 26 Jul 2014 01:30:09 +0000 en-US hourly 1 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars » Geneva Auto Show Ford Calls For Harmonized US-EU Vehicle Standards, Will Help Niche Vehicles Thu, 07 Mar 2013 21:12:05 +0000

With a US-EU free trade agreement looming on the horizon, Ford is calling for a harmonization between the US and EU vehicle standards, as well as a removal of tariffs on vehicles between the two entities.

Automotive News reports on some of the positives; niche vehicles could be imported without the expensive homologation process, and production flexibility would be drastically increased if the US accepted vehicles that adhered to the ECE standard as well as America’s own FMVSS regulations. Ford’s Wolfgang Schneider told Automotive News

“It will allow us far more flexibility to produce in the best place,” Wolfgang Schneider, Ford’s European vice president for governmental affairs, told Automotive News Europe in an interview. “Do we need this when we sell 500,000 units of a particular model in a country? No. But you are talking about 20,000 or 30,000, yes, because it enables you to bring in niche products.”

While European car makers and EU officials have expressed reservations about FTAs with Japan and South Korean, the US-EU deal has won widespread support. Ford in particular would stand to benefit, as its “One Ford” plan for a single, harmonized lineup could then be fully integrated (global Ranger and Focus RS, perhaps?).

Worth noting is that Ford stopped short of calling for true harmonization. The level of minutiae that would have to be agreed upon is apparently too daunting for either party to consider, and a likely stumbling block to reform. Instead, Ford suggested “mutual recognition”, which would ostensibly be some kind of reciprocity agreement whereby the US and EU would accept vehicle’s built to either standard.

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Up Close And Personal With The Verano ‘Vert Wed, 06 Mar 2013 20:23:38 +0000

The Geneva Auto Show gave us our first look at the Opel Cascada, aka the future Buick Verano Convertible. The Cascada is a four-seat, front-drive convertible in the vein of the Audi A5, the kind of car enthusiasts turn their noses up at, but regular consumers tend to gravitate towards. Besides, something has to compete with the Chrysler 200 Convertible.

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Soft Top Stingray Surfaces Mon, 04 Mar 2013 08:44:00 +0000

Prior to its reveal at the Geneva Auto Show, Chevrolet released a couple of renderings of the new Corvette Stingray Convertible. From the angles shown by Chevy, the Stingray looks a bit more elegant without a roof – the various louvers and vents don’t seem as prominent. Unfortunately, the wheels look like they were taken from an aborted Cruze SS concept.

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2013: A Ssangyong Oddity Fri, 01 Mar 2013 17:40:27 +0000

The world’s ugliest car, the Ssangyong Rodius, has gotten a new mug for 2013. Possibly the least anticipated debut at next week’s Geneva Auto Show, the pedestrian-friendly front end takes away some of the visual harshness of the former Middle Eastern minicab of choice, but the trademark inverted-triangle rear window remains. There’s plenty of forbidden fruit available elsewhere that we are not privy to. Some are worth coveting. This product isn’t one of them.


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Hachi Roku Drops The Top Fri, 01 Mar 2013 16:54:04 +0000

Ever try and play a round of golf as a Miata driver? From first hand experience, I can tell you it doesn’t work well. If you are lucky at manipulating large objects and have nothing else in the trunk, your golf bag might fit. God help you if you are giving a friend a lift to the course. One golf bag will go in the passenger footwell, the other will likely have to sit on the folded soft top, with the passenger’s arm holding the golf bag. Ask me how I know.

The long-rumored Toyota FT-86 convertible, seen here in concept form solves that problem. The hachi roku’s back seats aren’t really suitable for a full-size adult, let alone two of them, but like the Porsche 911, they can store golf clubs (or a helmet bag if you’re so inclined) with easy. Mechanically, the drop top Toyobaru is the same I think it looks fantastic, and I’d really like the iPhone holder shaped like two pistons. I’m allowed to have that in my Miata, right?

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Vaffanculo! Alfa Romeo 4c è Stupendo Tue, 12 Feb 2013 15:51:45 +0000

The first shots of the Alfa Romeo 4C have been released, and it’s just as gorgeous as one would expect a mid-engined Alfa to be. A 1.75L turbocharged 4-cylinder and a 6-speed twin-clutch gearbox motivate the 4C. No horsepower rating has been released, but in current Alfas, the same engine makes 232 horsepower.  We’ll have to wait for the car’s debut at the Geneva Auto Salon for more details.

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Suzuki Death Watch 17: This Is The Suzuki That’ll Never Arrive In North America Wed, 06 Feb 2013 16:03:22 +0000

It must be Suzuki Day. Fresh off pictures from our resident Chinese spy, Suzuki has released some pictures of the upcoming S-Cross C-segment all-wheel-driver.

The S-Cross, first previewed in Paris last September, looks to feature some LED eyeliner and a new corporate grille up front, similar to the refreshed Grand Vitara. It does stay fairly faithful to the concept, which itself looked almost production ready.

No other details have been provided at this point, but expect the new Suzuki to lull you into a false sense of security before pulling out of the marketplace when it’s released later this year.

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Geneva 2012: Volvo V40 Debuts Gets Multiple Gas, Diesel Engines Wed, 07 Mar 2012 15:22:26 +0000

Of all the new debuts at the Geneva Auto Show, this would probably be what I’d like to own the most; the Volvo V40 T5. With a 256 horsepower turbocharged 5-cylinder engine making 295 lb-ft , I’d have plenty of performance on tap, and the knowledge that Volvo’s safety features would keep me unharmed when I inevitably did something stupid.

The V40 won’t just be available in performance trim. A pair of 1.6L 4-cylinder engines will also be offered – with 1.6L diesel, which makes 115 horsepower and over 200 lb-ft of torque, emits less than 100 grams of CO2 per kilometer, an important number in countries where vehicles face an emissions tax. A more powerful diesel will also be available. A start-stop system, regenerative braking andVolvo’s CitySafe collision avoidance system will be standard throughout the range. Other features, like a self-parking system, will be available on certain models. Volvo apparently won’t be selling the V40 in the U.S., despite Mercedes and Audi offering competitive vehicles in the near future – maybe they’ll have a change of heart?

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Geneva 2012: 2013 BMW M6 “Fat Elvis” Edition Tue, 06 Mar 2012 20:44:38 +0000

BMW unveiled what is surely going to be the American Dental Association’s Car of the Year, the 2013 BMW M6, at the Geneva Auto Show. Sporting the fat, bloated body of the 6-Series, along with the M5′s turbocharged 560 horsepower V8, we can only await the arrival of an M6 Gran Coupe now that this anticlimactic coupe has revealed itself.

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Geneva 2012: 2013 Porsche Boxster, Now With 991 Percent More Brand Identity Tue, 06 Mar 2012 19:19:11 +0000

The newest Porsche Boxster is here, with lots more aluminum, some new engines and styling cues derived from the 991-chassis Porsche 911 that has just launched in North America.

The base engine, a 2.7L flat-six, makes 265 horsepower, while the 3.4L in the Boxster S makes 315. A 6-speed manual and 7-speed PDK gearbox are both available. A Sport Chrono Package with Dynamic Transmission Mounts and a Porsche Torque Vectoring (PTV) mechanical differential are also available, at an exorbitant markup no doubt. The 2013 Boxster will be on sale this summer, and Jack Baruth will not be testing one.

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Lamborghini Aventador J Will Disturb Luxurious Hairdos Across The Globe Tue, 06 Mar 2012 16:45:41 +0000

Everyone expecting there would be some kind of droptop Aventador – after all, what’s the point of a supercar if the people who bullied you in high school can’t see how rich and successful you are? But we weren’t expecting this.

The Lamborghini Aventador J is actually a one-off, already spoken-for model that will doubtlessly end up somewhere where an Emir makes the laws of the land. It’s fast. There’s no radio, nav system, roof or windows. You will have to wear a helmet to keep the sandstorms out of your face. There will be a proper Aventador roadster coming at some point. The asking price of $2.1 million USD has already been paid for, so that’s it for the Aventador J, until we find it on the internet, wrapped around a lamp post., in addition to graciously providing photography for the Geneva coverage, has a great video of the Aventador J, which you can check out here

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Geneva Auto Show: Daimler Attacks With New A-Class Tue, 06 Mar 2012 15:42:23 +0000 “A stands for attack,” pronounced  Dieter Zetsche, CEO of Daimler Benz, in Geneva, With a quivering stach, Dr. Z unveiled Daimler’s new attack dog, the new A-Klasse.

It will be a trans-atlantic attack: The new A class hatchback will Daimler’s  first compact sold in the United States, Automotive News [sub]  says.

The A class should be at dealers in Europe by September. It is expected to go on sale in the United States in 2014.

The car will be sent to attack the BMW 1 series and the Audi A3. Picture courtesy Daimler Picture courtesy Daimler MPicture courtesy Daimler Picture courtesy Daimler Picture courtesy Daimler Picture courtesy Daimler Picture courtesy Daimler


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Geneva Auto Show: The Men Of Volkswagen Strut Their Cars Tue, 06 Mar 2012 14:27:11 +0000 The Volkswagen Group Night may sound like a swing party holdover from the good old days at VW, but it’s not. It’s the Geneva Motor Show pre-party. Everybody who is somebody must be seen at this event. Cars are also shown. Here they are.

Martin Winterkorn, CEO of Volkswagen of Volkswagen, was the showmaster.

Ulrich Hackenberg, R&D Chief at Volkswagen, showed the Volkswagen study “Cross Coupé with TDI plug-in hybrid”.

Matthias Müller, CEO of Porsche AG, showed the new Boxter.

Picture courtesy Volkswagen

James Muir, CEO of Seat, showed the Toledo Concept.

Stephan Winkelmann, CEO of Lamborghini, showed the new Aventador J.

Wolfgang Dürheimer, CEO of Bentley and Bugatti, showed the new Bugatti Veyron Grand Sport Vitesse.

Dürheimer also showed the new Bentley EXP 9 F.

Winfried Vahland, CEO of Skoda, showed the new Citigo.

Rupert Stadler, CEO of AUDI, showed the new Audi A3.

Wolfgang Schreiber, CEO of Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles, showed the Amarok Canyon concept.

Walter de Silva, design chief and Giorgetto Giugiaro, Head of Italdesign, showed the Brivido.

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2012 Geneva Motor Show Preview Mon, 05 Mar 2012 19:38:15 +0000

TTAC was all set to depart for Switzerland to cover the 82nd Geneva Motor Show when tragedy befell us. My usual suite at the Hotel d’Angleterre (with a view of Lac Léman) was occupied by one B. McAleer during press days, and upon arriving at the airport, our corporate-owned Falcon 7X was padlocked, the plane saddled with a lien from a Columbus-area guitar dealer alleging non-payment by an employee of our fair publication. Nevertheless, we will be covering the show somehow. Here’s what to expect from all the big players.

Audi: The four-ringer brand will have a number of debuts at Geneva, and all of them will be locked to keep out the tract-house dwelling riff-raff. On the performance end, an A1 Quattro, featuring all-wheel drive and Volkswagen’s venerable 2.0T engine will debut, but production will be limited to 333 units it’s supposed to have 250 horsepower and cost $71,000 USD, so it will never come to North America. Also expected to never make it here are the RS4 Avant and the TT-RS Plus. What we may get is the new A6 allroad wagon (a bit of a longshot) and the new Audi A3, which will get its debut one year after the A3 concept sedan launched in Geneva. Despite slotting under the current A4, it’s about the size of the B5 A4, the car that saved Audi from obscurity in America.

BMW: The theme of BMW’s stand should be “brand dilution”, since everything on display is essentially an exercise in lifestyle branding or buzzwords. Most nauseating at the BMW 6-Series Gran Coupe, which is an utterly pointless exercise in the very German field of occupying every possible niche (really, it’s halfway between a 5-Series and a 7-Series and looks indistinguishable from anything else in the lineup), followed by the M-Performance cars, which are kind of cool in a euro-diesel way, but also spit in the face of the once great M brand. A facelifted X6, new four-cylinder diesels for the 3-Series and an M135i Concept, based on the euro-only hatchback, will also compete for attention. The 116d EfficientDynamics, with its ultra-low emissions diesel and start-stop system is very cool.

Chevrolet: The Cruze station wagon debuts just in time for a mild facelift and some new engines for Europe, including a 1.7L diesel engine.

Dacia: The Dacia Lodgy is a boring car with some interesting implications for the industry. Dacia cars are replacing lower-end Renaults in certain markets (notably England, as well as other developing countries). Some observers in France aren’t too happy, since they are watching a famous marque get supplanted by a once-destitute Romanian automaker, while cushy factory jobs in France (protected by powerful unions) are being shipped to former colonies like Morocco, where wages are a fraction of what they are in France.

Ferrari: The F12berlinetta will make you feel like a man. The female-oriented California goes on Atkins, loses 66 pounds and gains 30 horsepower. That’s performance improvements we can believe in.

Fiat: The 500L debuts; not such a significant car in Fiat’s other markets (where the lineup includes the much-loved Panda) but a big deal for North American dealers who are starving for another product larger than the 500.

Ford: The B-Max MPV debuts alongside a Fiesta ST (powered by a 1.6L Ecoboost 4-cylinder), the new Kuga (aka our 2013 Escape) and the Tourneo, a replacement for the Transit commercial van.

Honda: The new CR-V, optimized for the European market, will bow.


Infiniti: The brand’s EMERG-E concept car, a range-extended electric supercar will debut on Infiniti’s stand. Check back at TTAC tomorrow for an exclusive story on the car.

Jaguar: The XF Sportbrake will take on the BMW 5-Series and Mercedes E-Class wagons, but only in Europe and select world markets. The car has not been homologated for North America and will only feature diesel engines.

Kia: Kia’s Volkswagen Golf rival will hopefully be the next Forte in North America – the Cee’d has won praise from many magazines in Europe, and the new car looks even better than its Hyundai i30 twin.

Land Rover:  Ugh.

Lexus: The RX gets a Predator-like facelift for 2013 to match the rest of the lineup.

Lotus: A super-secret roadster, possibly based on the Evora will debut. Armchair industry mavens will no doubt moan about the loss of “brand identity”.

Maserati: A new special edition GranTurismo Sport replaces the GranTurismo S, which is yet another plaything for hairy-chested types to throw away after two years.

Mercedes-Benz: A new A-Class and a new SL63 AMG will debut – the A-Class details are still murky, while the SL63 jettisons the demonic 6.2L V8 in favor of the more efficient 5.5L twin-turbo V8.

MINI: The Clubvan commercial van and a John Cooper Works version of the Countryman S ALL4 will debut.

Mitsubishi: An all-new Outlander will launch, much to the delight of nobody, as Mitsubishi attempts to fend off clergymen attempting to administer the Last Rites – and bankruptcy.

Nissan: Two concepts, one designed to replace the Note mini-MPV, and another dubbed the Hi-Cross, will debut at the Nissan booth. Little has been revealed so far.

Opel: A big performance for GM’s Sick Man of Europe, with no less than four debuts. The Astra OPC, aka the Verano that Buick fans dream about, will debut in 3-door hatchback form, packing a 2.0L 280 horsepower turbocharged 4-cylinder, the same engine used in the Buick Regal GS. Also launching are a twin-turbo diesel Insignia, the Mokka crossover (aka the Buick Encore) and an electric bicycle.

Peugeot: The 208 hatchback will debut in barely disguised “concept” form. The power and equipment levels look similar to most major compacts, but the big news is that the 208 is as much as 380 lbs lighter than the outgoing 207.

Porsche: The all-new Boxster, with electro-mechanical steering and 991-esque styling gets its first public showing.

SEAT: Volkswagen’s bastard child will show off its new range of re-badged VW iron; the Mii city car, with its pop-out rear windows and 140 inch overall length, will be on display as a cheaper version of the Up! The new Toledo, essentially a re-badged Jetta, finally sheds its awkward hatchback proportions for the three-box shillouette of previous generations. No word on how Israeli cab drivers, the Toledo hatchback’s biggest fans, will react.

Suzuki G70: Now re-named from the super-awkward “Regina” to the alphanumeric “G70″, this concept is a little gawky but far more interesting than anything sold by Suzuki right now.

Volkswagen: A little known fact – VW’s impressive debut schedule is merely a front to force assembled journalists listen to a long, detailed and pedantic press conference outlining various industry minutiae. This, much like Ferrari’s F1 team, is the company’s true passion, while auto sales are an afterthought. To that end, VW will show off the production 5-door up!, three up! concepts, the new GTI cabriolet and the CrossCoupe concept, which now features a diesel engine.

Volvo V40: Despite the initially tepid reception, once the media and enthusiasts learned of the V40′s 250+ horsepower turbocharged 5-cylinder engine, the tide of opinion rapidly changed. A start-stop system, regenerative braking and a whole host of safety features make this one pretty enticing as a sort of 21st century hot hatch.



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Kia Procee’ds With New Cee’d. Puns Are Not Our Forte. Wed, 15 Feb 2012 22:04:28 +0000

The new Kia Cee’d may have a stupid name, but everything else about the car looks pretty attractive. Well, maybe not the grille. They also refrained from releasing any specs at all alongside these photos, so you’ll have to wait until March’s Auto Show to get the scoop. The Forte is a little dated by now, to the point where it’s hard to justify buying one over a Rio, let alone an Elantra – how about it, Kia?

Press release and gallery below


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(15/02/12) — Kia’s all-European cee’d stunned audiences when it was revealed at the Geneva Motor Show just six years ago and at Geneva this year the all-new version is set to repeat that feat thanks to its elegant lines – heralding an even more successful future for the company’s bed-rock C-segment model.

Combining dynamic, sophisticated styling with maturity and prestige, the all-new cee’d five-door hatchback the new cee’d is longer, wider and lower than its predecessor, with the same long wheelbase. The elegant simplicity of its coupe-like proportions is emphasised by a steeply raked A-pillar, a very low belt-line in the front and lengthened side windows.

The front of the new cee’d is dominated by the latest interpretation of Kia’s trademark ‘tiger-nose’ grille and aggressive, wraparound headlamp clusters housing signature LED daytime running lights.

Wide track and solid stance
In profile the pronounced front and rear wings emphasise the car’s wide track and solid stance whilst above the taut, strongly sculpted door surfaces, the steeply raked A-pillar, sweeping roofline and integral rear spoiler accentuate the sporting aesthetics of the new model’s generous glasshouse.

The entire exterior is accented by numerous small yet highly significant detail touches which add to the prestige and premium feel of the new cee’d without detracting from the purity and elegance of the overall design.

These include a new, bolder, more sophisticated Kia badge, the indicator blade protrusion in the front headlamps, the Kia-signature windscreen head castellations, the chrome side glazing surround and the cee’d-unique, aerodynamic shaping of the tail lamp which extends into the adjacent bodywork.

New premium interior
The new cee’d features a completely new interior hallmarked by a more premium look and feel, higher perceived quality, improved switchgear, touch-screen technology and enhanced driving position ergonomics.

The dashboard layout features a cockpit-like design with an aircraft-themed, driver-oriented fascia. The main control panel wraps around the steering wheel, placing all switchgear within easy reach of the driver, and the main control groups such as audio and air-conditioning have been segregated to bring a more premium, luxurious, big car feel to the interior.

Carefully considered precision detailing gives the cabin a more prestigious look and feel than that of the current generation model. Soft touch materials add a new tactility to the driving environment. Instruments and switchgear are picked out in very thin chrome, the door handles are built up in a layered sandwich of high quality materials and the door opener itself has a sculpted, one-piece, shell-like quality reflecting the premium values of the new interior design.


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Suzuki Displaying 1600 Pound Booger At Geneva Auto Show Wed, 01 Feb 2012 17:46:08 +0000

Now, this isn’t something I picked out of my nose. This is Suzuki’s new A-segment concept, a car that weighs a mere 1600 lbs.

Already unveiled as the Suzuki Regina at the 2011 Tokyo Auto Show, the car will now be dubbed the G70 when it gets its second showing at Geneva. The G70 is about the size of a Fiat 500 and uses an 800cc gasoline engine, a CVT gearbox, regenerative braking and a start-stop feature to achieve 75 mpg. You’ve got to hand it to Suzuki…it’s certainly different.

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Mitsubishi To Show New Product, Styling Direction At Geneva Auto Show Thu, 19 Jan 2012 21:26:19 +0000

Many of us consider Mitsubishi to be on its deathbed (as an automaker – they still make TVs and cell phones, right?), but the brand is apparently showing an all-new car at the Geneva Auto Show, destined to be the new face of the brand. But nobody knows what the hell it’s going to be.

Mitsubishi wouldn’t confirm that the new car is a replacement for the Outlander SUV, only that it was “strategic and innovative premium vehicle.” The company is said to be focusing more on environmentally friendly vehicles after years of making vehicles like the Lancer Evolution and Pajero SUV. The company said that 20 percent of its sales would come from plug-in hybrids in 2020. A plug-in Outlander will apparently arrive by 2013.

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Geneva Day One: Attempting to Grasp the Concept of Concept Wed, 03 Mar 2010 00:33:10 +0000
At the Geneva car show, this year’s bon mot among the journos is: there are two kinds of auto companies, those with problems and those that will have problems in the future. That’s one of the many reasons to take interest in the latest crop of concept cars: today’s concept could just be tomorrow’s catastrophe. Look past the bright lights and posed displays, and you can see visions of designers gone mad, branding gone astray, and a complete lack of any managerial imagination. Luckily, not all is dark on the horizon…

When I first heard of the Mercedes F800 Style I was reminded of the Mitsubishi Charisma: a car likely to have nothing of what it is named after. But up close, it’s not quite so bad. Mercedes’ designers are expressing themselves rather defensively, and they say future Benzes will no longer have ‘additive’ shapes. In other words, none of the ungainly, almost tacked-on looking fenders and trunk lids that the present S-class has.

The F800 sports lines that begin somewhere near the radiator and end… somewhere else. I don’t really understand all this sculpting, all these creases; just look at Mazda’s concepts from 2007 and then at the new Mazda 5 to see how much can go wrong in translation between crazy-fantastic wavy concepts and real-life cars. (More about the 5 tomorrow). To Mercedes’ benefit, this rendition of what the next C-class is likely to look like has short overhangs, a thoughtful snout, and no really ugly elements.

That’s more than you can say about the Hyundai i-flow. This looked good on paper but I am sorry to say it is truly ghastly in the flesh. A German, Thomas Buerkle, designed it, and it’s totally overwrought, with an oddly aggressive shark’s-mouth front and all kinds of lines that go nowhere fast. Clean sculpture is one thing; sedans are not supposed to look evil/nightmarish. One has to assume that Hyundai’s management already knows this, and just wanted to show they are able to do something daring.

Speaking of nightmarish. I don’t know how to say this after Bertone’s personable head stylist spent several minutes with me, trying to explain the Alfa Romeo Pandion concept’s styling language to me, but I fear I will sleep badly after seeing the Pandion. It has a HR Giger interior and an absolutely atrocious rear full of metal flaps that would doubtlessly command respect at any traffic light. Google ‘Indonesian tree man’ if you want to know what it makes me think of.

There are several concepts on display in Geneva that would properly be called ‘teasers’ because they are near-identical to upcoming cars. The Peugeot 5 is full of copycat elements (S-class trunk lid, Hofmeister kink, S80 shoulders) that somehow manage to gel. The Citroen DS High Rider is basically the upcoming DS4, and can be considered bizarre, because it is a coupe-SUV-hardtop. Who the hell needs that? My take is that the design works well enough to be interesting, nevertheless. If Peugeot’s HYbrid4 Diesel-electric system (which the DS4 will employ) turns out to be a technological success, then why shouldn’t the DS4? Speaking of Peugeot: the droptop concept they are showing in Geneva is, in my mind, Aston-Martin-league beautiful. Not that anybody was asking for a French competitor to Aston.

The Opel Flextreme GT/E is an expanded, faster, uprated, nicer Volt. There is nothing wrong with its styling; as a matter of fact it’s downright impressive. It would be nice to know that GM has enough money to design luxury cars for markets in which it hasn’t had a successful luxury car in decades — if it wasn’t taxpayer money they were spending.

Fisker doesn’t have much of a heritage either, and there’s a certain taxpayer element to the company too (but isn’t that the case everywhere nowadays?). They didn’t show a concept car in Geneva but they did display the space frame of the upcoming Karma series hybrid. A Fisker guy who prefers to remain unnamed after having experienced many a tussle with a certain Robert Farago, said the space frame is way more rigid than the frame of just about any other car you could think of. Of course, I couldn’t confirm that, but I did have a sit inside a Karma and it is without doubt a totally gorgeous and cool interior design. The rest, as the joke goes, is a “mere matter of implementation”.

A major qualm one might have with concept cars is the problem of what is left after you subtract the gull-wing doors and the 22″ wheels. Happily, there are some truly innovative ideas on display in Geneva. Famed designer Giorgio Giugiaro joined forces with Malysia’s Proton and England’s Lotus to design the car, as he says, he’s been thinking about for five years. His concept has enormous interior space for four (I sat in it, so I know) on a tiny, 3.5 meter footprint. And his concept is a series hybrid, meaning it has a gas engine in the front, batteries in the middle under the seats, and an electric range-extender motor in the back. And it even looks good — not at all tippy-narrow like other sandwich-layout concepts tend to be. Proton wants to bring this car to international markets within a year, and since they are known to bite off more than they can chew, I’d be sceptical. Still, this is a fantastic concept that gives hope to those who are dismayed at the news of Mercedes giving up the sandwich concept for the upcoming A-class.

The Heuliez Mia is another intruiging yet ambitious project. France’s Heuliez has a new Turkish investor, so the Mia’s designer, Murat Guenak of Passat CC and Mindset fame has hopes of bringing it to market soon. Here’s what makes this electric car special: a tiny footprint yet space for three; easy entry via sliding doors; Lithium-Phosphate batteries that don’t have the range of Li-Ion but need no cooling, as they are less thermally temperamental. Heuliez makes the batteries themselves; Guenak says the first 1,500 Mias will be built already in 2010, and sold at the highly competitive price of 15,000 Euros.

Have I overlooked anything? Oh yes, the Rinspeed UC? (you see?), a shortened, electric Fiat 500, is cute but crazy — too crazy, I fear, with joystick controls and a Tonka-toy interior. The Honda 3R-C is pretty good looking for a three-wheeler, offers a modicum of side impact protection, and is weather-proof, so one can expect the likes of it to be a solid contender in the electric-micro-city-vehicle market, if such a market should ever begin to exist. The Toyota FT-86 is either boring or I don’t get it. On paper, I thought the Subaru Hybrid Tourer was boring too, but in the flesh, it looked like a remarkably clean and pretty design. After all the convoluted, pretentious, super-wavy designs, after all the crazy “look at me” concept cars, the Subi looked sane, solid, sweet and yes, sexy. Will something like it survive market research and the heavy hand of niche marketing? Don’t hold your breath.

Bertone Alfa Romeo Pandion Concept Citroen Highrider Concept Fisker Karma Spaceframe Five By Peugeot. And why not? Get the concept? (Martin Schwoerer) Giugiaro Proton Lotus Concept Honda's distant future and reimagined past Hyundai i-flow Concept. Got an iPad? Mazda5. Can't wait for the production version, can you? Mercedes F800 Style Concept (courtesy: Motor Trend) Murat Gunak and his Heuliez Mia Opel Flextreme. Ich bin ein Ruesselsheimer! Peugeot SR-1 Cabrio Concept. A production version based on the Twingo platform is not being considered. Rinspeed UC? and Frank Rinderknecht Subaru Hybrid Tourer Concept thinks upscale Toyota FT-86 Concept Zemanta Related Posts Thumbnail ]]> 9