15 of the Most Interesting Cars at the 2017 Geneva Auto Show
In a year that gave us notably unexciting auto shows from Detroit and Chicago, the Geneva Auto Show is the one that will be remembered in 2017. From wild concepts to real showroom models, here are a few of the cars in Geneva we’re most excited about.
15. Peugeot Instinct Concept
Peugeot has made a name for itself over the years for developing particularly crazy concept cars. In a show of restraint (but not too much) they’ve given us the new Instinct concept. The French automaker knows that autonomy is the future. The Instinct is meant to illustrate our transition into the autonomous future. That’s why they made it look like something that could realistically be seen on the road in the future. It’s a four-door wagon with suicide doors and a clean, cutting-edge interior. Peugeot did a nice job splitting the difference between futuristic and somewhat realistic in this intriguing concept.
Alpine is Renault’s baby that made sports cars as its own brand and later as Renaults with the Alpine name. We haven’t seen the name Alpine in a while and we finally got our first real look at their comeback in Geneva. The A110 is a mid-engine coupe with styling reminiscent of classic Alpine sports cars. This is a very exciting car because it’s competing with the Alfa Romeo 4C which has kind of been in a class of its own for a few years. This Alpine will make 252 horsepower which doesn’t sound like a lot, but it only weighs 2,381 lbs. This formula combined with a mid-engine layout is guaranteed to make a quick little sports car with phenomenal handling. Unfortunately it isn’t coming to the US, so yankees will have to settle for the Alfa.
Audi is stepping up their game in the increasingly competitive sport sedan/coupe market. Aimed squarely at the likes of the BMW M4 and Cadillac ATS-V, this Audi is ditching its old V8 for a new twin-turbo 2.9-liter V6 shared with the Porsche Panamera. Slightly less subdued styling makes way for something that’s more clearly a performance car than its somewhat vanilla predecessor. It has a sophisticated, yet aggressive look that’s become so popular and well executed in this segment. Horsepower is actually down at 444, but the torque is cranked up to 443 lb-ft. Power is delivered to all four wheels via Quattro through an eight-speed automatic transmission. Your decision for which German sports car to get just got a little tougher.
If the RS5 is a bit much, Audi’s more pedestrian relative Volkswagen has a new sedan coming. Replacing the aging CC, the Arteon is going play a very similar role. The CC has always been a near-luxury “four-door coupe” that’s something a little different than the competition. Think of it as a budget Audi. The Arteon borrows some styling cues from the CC like the sloping, not-quite-a-hatchback rear end and a long hood. They’re calling it a “Gran Turismo” because apparently VW has a problem with just calling a four-door car a sedan. Much like the CC, the Arteon should offer a lot of luxury for the money, now with a little more style and tech.
11.Ferrari 812 Superfast
A car with a startlingly accurate name, the extremely red Ferrari 812 Superfast sticks out like a sore thumb on the show floor. This is a revision of the mid-engine V12 F12 Berlinetta. The ridiculous “Superfast” moniker is actually a small part of Ferrari history. The man himself, Enzo Ferrari, put a 4.9 V12 in a car intended for a 3.0 back in the fifties and called it the Superfast. If the name was Enzo’s idea, we dare not question it. The car looks a bit bloated in the back, but it’s still somehow perfectly proportioned in all of its hyperbolic flow. Enjoy it while you can, there’s a good chance this will be the last naturally aspirated V12 Ferrari.
10.Ford Fiesta ST
We already had an idea of what this hot hatch was going to look like, but the Euro-spec 2018 Ford Fiesta ST debuted in the flesh at the Geneva auto show. A three-door hatch is what we saw, but expect more doors on the US version. This Fiesta isn’t a huge departure from the previous generation, but it has a few nice revisions. We’re actually kind of glad they didn’t change it too much since the current Fiesta ST is so close to perfection. The biggest difference is the subtraction of a cylinder under the hood. The delightful 1.8-liter turbo four is being replaced by a 1.5-liter three-cylinder from the same EcoBoost family. You won’t miss that fourth cylinder because the new one is making the same amount of horsepower and is actually up on torque. More torque from a lighter engine? Sign us up.
9.Honda Civic Type R
Everyone loves the humble new Honda Civic that debuted in late 2015. It’s humility is replaced with a menacing attitude in the demonic Type R. Eagerly awaited by Honda fanboys, we’re finally a step closer to this insane sport compact coming to showrooms. Making 306 horsepower out of just two turbocharged liters, Honda performance for the common man is back with a vengeance. Not surprisingly, it’s front-wheel drive with a six-speed manual transmission. Honda finally has some skin in the game they helped invent taking a bite out of the egos of the Ford Focus RS and VW Golf R. Look for it this Spring.
8.Mercedes-AMG GT Concept
Nothing but great things come out of MB’s AMG division and the new GT concept is no exception. It’s another sedan that insists on being called a coupe, but we’ll forgive its confusion because it’s spectacular. It’s a four-door version of the already amazing Mercedes-AMG GT. It will make 805 horsepower from a hybrid drivetrain called the EQ Power + with some Formula 1 car DNA. The hybrid system assists the 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 giving it immediate throttle response. Mercedes is claiming 0-60 in under 3 seconds. Hopefully it’s in production by the time you need an upgrade from your Dodge Charger Hellcat.
7.Bentley Continental Supersports
With 700 horsepower, 0-60 in 3.4 seconds, and a top speed of 209 mph, the Bentley Continental Supersports breaks several brand records with one car. It’s the quickest, fastest, and most powerful Continental ever. It’s powered by a twin-turbo 6.0-liter W-12 engine. Starting at just under $300,000, this Bentley powers its way past the GT Speed to the very top of the Continental food chain. Straight-line performance isn’t the only thing the Supersports is good at. Bentley managed to make it the lightest car in the Continental lineup by using various weight-saving tricks like lightweight wheels and titanium exhaust. Weight saving continues to the interior with some carbon fiber trim along with faux-suede and all of the panache you’d expect from Bentley. The one on display in Geneva is a convertible.
6.Bentley EXP 12 Speed 6e Concept
A concept with a name not quite as cool as “Supersports”, Bentley brought another impressive convertible to Geneva. Not only was the roof missing on this concept, but the engine was missing too! This is an EV that brings ultra-luxury to the slowly growing market of electric cars. If a Tesla is too dull and too cheap for you, then cross your fingers that this Bentley makes it into production. The interior is stuffed with as much luxury as Bentley could cram into it with quilted leather, a bright OLED screen, and an unconventional steering wheel with the top cut off (like the car itself). We don’t know much about the specs and production is unlikely, but it does give us a peek into the future of high-end electric cars.
5.Porsche Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid
Another environmentally friendly luxury car, this Porsche hybrid is as impressive as it is complex. After the 918 hypercar, this sedan is the second most powerful production Porsche of all time. It takes the twin-turbo 4.0-liter V8 from the Panamera Turbo S and adds an electric motor to make a total of 680 horsepower. Electric-only range comes in at 31 miles and a full charge takes about six hours with a standard charger or under three hours with the optional, faster charger. This range-topping Panamera will also come in an Executive version with a longer wheelbase, rear-wheel steering, and power rear seats. It’s not cheap starting at $182,450, but at least you’ll be saving on gas!
4.Porsche Panamera Sport Turismo
Yes, we have two Porsches to talk about and yes, they’re both Panameras. However, they aren’t both sedans because the Panamera Sport Turismo is the first ever Porsche wagon. If that very idea doesn’t excite you, you may never understand. As true station wagons die off and car enthusiasts long for their useful utility and sedan-like driving dynamics, Porsche hears the call of the car nut. We knew it was coming, but this is the first time it’s been on display for the public. The wagon shape lends itself very well to the all-new Panamera design and arguably looks better than the sedan it’s based on. Sitting atop the lovely rear roofline is a new active spoiler that adjusts itself at speed. Finally, a Porsche you can take camping that isn’t an SUV!
3.Range Rover Velar
Land Rover has been hustling through a big overhaul of their line of small-medium sized SUVs. They’ve just killed off the old-school LR4 in favor of the all-new Discovery and this future addition to the family looks promising. Land Rover is finally realizing what Jeep realized a while ago. Most of their customers don’t do any off-roading. You’re much more likely to see a Land Rover in a mall parking lot than climbing mountains. With that in mind, the Velar was designed for road manners as a priority over off-road chops. Riding on the same platform as its corporate cousin, the Jaguar F-Pace, the Velar fills a sweet spot for Land Rover in a rapidly growing segment.
2.Volkswagen Sedric Concept
The Volkswagen Sedric (an amalgamation of “self-driving car”) is VW’s first fully autonomous car concept. That is, if you can call this thing a car. It’s more like a living room on wheels that drives itself. This takes car automation to its ultimate end with full automation. That means zero human involvement is needed and it isn’t even an option. It’s truly a robot for transportation more than it is a car. Its boxy shape maximizes interior space and the seats face each other which makes perfect sense in a fully autonomous vehicle. It’s clear that this was designed from the inside out. To keep it from being too robotic, it has a cute little garden in the dashboard. This is a concept in its truest form and one of the most realistic ideas we’ve seen for a car needing no human input.
1.Lexus LS 500h
We saw the all-new Lexus LS at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit back in January, but in Geneva we got to meet its hybrid counterpart. It has a lot in common with the all-new 2018 LS except for the obvious powertrain difference. Gone is the old nickel battery of the previous LX 600h as a more compact lithium-ion battery pack powers two electric motors assisting a 3.5-liter V6. The LS continues the radical new design language of Lexus including a huge spindle grille. Power is good, but nothing crazy at 354 horsepower moving this big luxury sedan 0-60 in 5.4 seconds. For powerful, efficient luxury cruising, you could do a lot worse than the LS 500h as long as you’re on the “love it” side of the love-it-or-hate-it styling. Surrounded by outrageous ultra-luxury concepts, this Lexus helped bring the Geneva Auto Show back down to Earth.