The Geneva Motor Show will be remembered as the show of few surprises this year – chiefly, thanks to the lack of outrageous concept cars. Skoda was showing a thinly-veiled teaser for its very own Discovery Sport rival, the Kodiak – and very pleasant it is, too. Citroen debuted a modern Mehari – except its pedal-car/Suzuki SJ mashup didn’t seem to feature any actual Mehari DNA in it.
Poor old Lancia and MINI didn’t even get a show stand. With Lancia’s slow protracted death, this didn’t surprise, but MINI’s disappearing act was a very curious omission. Every other stand had a hypercar on show, of course, but it takes a brave billionaire to get their cheque book out, when our very own McLaren will sell you the (potentially) formidable MP570 GT for just £154,000. That’s loose change in the hypercar club.
Luckily our friends in Malvern saved the day, with their all-new (well in Morgan terms anyway) model, the EV3. Launched by Managing Director Steve Morris at the show, you can lay down a deposit today for the company’s first Zero Emission Vehicle.
Based on the existing 3 Wheeler, as well as a steel chassis and ash frame, the EV3 features carbon fibre bonnet, tonneau cover and side pods (via aluminium), and the lovely machined brass electrical heat sink instead of a traditional radiator grille. Performance is comparable to the petrol 3 Wheeler, but limited to a 150 mile range. Technically the 46kW (4600 watts) motor direct drives the rear axle, powered by a 20KWh lithium battery. Under braking the regenerative system supplies charge this battery pack too. Uniquely, the EV3 will also be sold through retailer Selfridges – one might wonder if delivery comes in the famous bright yellow bag!
At Jaguar Land Rover, John Edwards proudly waxed lyrical about the F-Type SV-R – 575bhp, 0-60 in 3.5 seconds, 200 mph… Just £110,000 (or two thirds of a McLaren) and distinguished visually by a naked carbon fibre front splitter and rear wing, SVR badging and a quilted leather boudoir. Jaguar also displayed its first-ever crossover, the F-Pace, and, of all the cars on the company’s stand, it seemed to be the one which everyone wanted a piece of on Press Day, continuously being clambered upon.
Missing this year was the humble Defender – if you needed a Defender fix, only Project Kahn could help with its six-wheel boulevard cruiser. Hiding at the back of the stand, the Discovery Landmark Edition (a sumptuously optioned HSE model) seemed to be the only link to Land Rover’s go anywhere heritage.
Adjacent to Jaguar Land Rover, Aston-Martin seemed to be stealing Geneva. With James Bond’s £2.4 million DB10 a distant memory, the DB11 hogged the limelight. A side step from existing Aston family styling, the DB11 is still obviously an Aston. With an all aluminium 600bhp V12, we expect it still drives and sounds like an Aston.
In the metal, the DB11 really is a crisp delicate shape, despite its huge footprint. The thing most noticeable is the clarity of the interior, not traditionally an Aston strong point. Beautifully stitched waterfall leather trim is very easy on the eye, but look closely and you will start to spot the Mercedes switch gear in the DB11. However, the jury’s out on the ‘bowling ball’ finish dash trim – make your own mind up below.
AROnline‘s secret favourites came from Italy in the form of an affordable hatch and saloon. FIAT’s new Tipo is a very cleanly styled traditional hatch in the Peugeot 308 mould. A nicely screwed together old-style family car, if priced correctly (a €11,999 stickered Tipo was seen cruising the streets of Geneva), FIAT might have a mid-sized Dacia style hit on their hands.
The other thumbs up from pullover loving FIAT group boss Sergio Marchionne is the Alfa Romeo Guilia. Like a Jaguar XE, it is very pretty, very pert but also very colour dependant. Not since the Rover 75 has a saloon verged from stylish executive to Werther’s Original dependant on the spin of the colour wheel (as the picture below illustrates, I couldn’t get near the red or blue examples for a shot). Choose the colour well, though, and the Guilia has real ‘I want one’ qualities, coupled with a very good driving position. Only the Audi 80-style postbox boot opening lets it down. Stick it on your list.
So, what would I take home from the show? Well, if the Editor lends me £30,000 I will take home the MX-5’s evil twin: the Abarth Spider. Whether it’s worth another £10,000 over a regular 124 Spider (or an MX-5) is debatable for just a few more horsepower, but just look at it! If that doesn’t get you excited call an ambulance!