Andrew Elphick reports back from the 2018 Geneva Motor Show, and gives this not-so-vintage show both barrels. There were some highlights, but only if you looked hard enough.
I will be straight: the 2018 Geneva Salon will not be remembered as a vintage one.
PSA launched its Rifter/Berlingo (below) to the world – Postman Pat gets a new van which is surprisingly well thought out and pleasantly airy, it harks back to 20 years ago when the Renault Scenic and GM Zafira were acceptable driveway furniture. The original mini-MPVs had plenty of space, a low-waisted glasshouse and plenty of scrub absorbing unpainted grey exterior plastic – in general, they were cars that could absorb a young, busy family. They grew fat and unpractical – well, PSA has the latest solution.
Starting at an achievable £17,000, it’s a value for money wagon. Just don’t buy a red one. However, PSA’s accountants deprived us of a third sibling – the Combo. Vauxhall/Opel’s stand sadly met the PSA knife and along with ’DS’ didn’t get any floor space at Geneva. However, put your hand over the 508’s Lion emblem – squint – and you have the Insignia.
Okay, they are totally different cars (platform, drivetrain, IP rights), yet some how they look the same. The new 508 does have lovely frameless glass with a beautiful cabin that gives a nod too the Jaguar XE and the BMW 3-Series (a wonderful matt veneered dash and no rear legroom). It’s quite a nice saloon which you will barely see on British highways.
The stars of the show?
Audi launched a new A6 which even the most hardened car spotter will struggle with. It did come with a nifty autonomous-ready double radar in the grill which will have you flustered deciding whether its future tech or an unmarked police car lights you can see in your mirrors.
Best of the Brits? David Brown or Morgan. With David Brown re-engineering the Jaguar XK-R structure to make the quite glamourous Speedback, the same skill has been bestowed on the humble Mini. For the price of four Peugeot Rifters (!) you can have 1400 hours’ worth of labour bestowed upon a worn-out Mini to create the Mini Remastered, a ground-up rebuild on a new shell packed with 21st century tech. Think Wood & Pickett 40 years on.
Morgan had its last hurrah for the V8 engine with the Plus 8 50th Anniversary edition. The last naturally-aspirated BMW-engined Morgan (is there turbo BMW propulsion on the horizon we ask?) is good for 155mph and 0-60 in 4.5 seconds. Only available in Speedster Blue or Roadster Green, you have 50 chances to buy one – you will, though, also gain a Christopher Ward C1 Morgan Plus 8 Chronometer for your wrist.
At the opposite end of the scale traditional supercars were well represented with Porsche’s 911 GT3, the Ferrari Pista 488, rival Lamborghini’s Huracán Performante Spyder, whilst Aston showed off a racing GT which will actually grace a racetrack and not an Instagram account – the DB11.
However… Morgan too bracing? GT3 too brash? Well, Felix Eaton can help. A modern-day Tony Crook, his debut at the 2017 show with the behemoth Black Cuillin surprised many. His return surprised even more.
Felix Eaton admitted than, so far, only one Black Cuillin had been built, though, if you have a spare £2 million, he will build you another. For the 2018 show, Felix launched his Zeclat grand tourer (below) – largely a Corvette with bespoke coachwork. Despite the gait, the Zeclat works in the metal (it shouldn’t), but it does. With small-scale production in the pipeline, we wish him well.
Geneva 2018: Our friends electric
So what was the best of British technology? I’m split. Twice the price of Washington’s Leaf is a hard sell for effectively the same thing, prestigious or not. Half the price of (Volvo’s hybrid) Polestar 1 is a significant discount. A tenth of the Lagonda price is a bargain.
We needed a modern-day Renault Avantime to fight Tesla – shame then Jaguar made the I-Pace look like a car, not an experience. (A crime Tesla is also guilty of). Once taxation benefits evaporate for EVs, the Jaguar I-Pace will resemble a very expensive Austrian hatchback. Why not make the E and V in VELAR mean something? The chassis structure is very impressive – look in the I-Pace gallery below yourself.
Elsewhere, JLR launched the already spoken for Range Rover SV coupe. All 999 are sold at £240,000 each (That’s £18 million, folks). Like a giant Range Stormer, the imposing SV coupe is beautifully finished if a little ill-proportioned, with the long flanks. Maybe it requires a cut in the wheelbase to visibly work. Think Marina coupe!