Words: Keith Adams Photographs: Headlineauto/Newspress
It’s that time of the year again. The first major European Motor Show of any New Year is always going to arouse plenty of interest – and 2011 is no different, with a huge manufacturer-fed, journalist-driven feeding frenzy now underway in Switzerland. Over the coming hours, you’re going to be inundated with information about every aspect of every car on display at the show – but here is the British selection.
The focus of the show for AROnline is the UK manufacturing contingent. Predictably, Jaguar is making much of the 50th Anniversary of the E-type’s unveiling at the show and Norman Dewis was on tap to recount his tales of driving down to the show in an era where crossing continents by car was still very much a novelty. Beyond that, the company’s XKR-S – the spiritual successor to that fine car – will uphold the honours in the new car sector.
The other British manufacturers’ wares on display are more of a mixed bag. Ferrari and Lamborghini are both revealing exciting new supercars but Aston Martin’s only new offering is yet another VH platform-based model, the Virage. Maybe the new – old – name is a little bit misleading, because the UK’s FF/Aventador rival appears to be the DB9’s GLS version to the DBS’s GTi, if you know what we mean. Shame, but that’s where we’re at, with the One-77 hype having long since shot its bolt.
Over at Land Rover, Europeans will, at long last, get their hands on the Evoque five-door, perhaps UK PLC’s most significant car at the show. Yes, it was shown to the press in Paris, but by the time the paying punters had arrived, it had long since been wheeled away. It’s this car that truly excites me, combining class, style and just a little hint of all-round usability. LR’s other new car – the £100K-plus Range Rover, the Autobiography Ultimate Edition – we’ll leave to the contracting number of people who can actually afford to run such a thing.
MINI has the Rocketman to show off as well as the new 2-litre Cooper DS – another significant car. The strangely named mini-MINI might not have Issigonis fans over-excited in terms of packaging, but it’s an exciting small car that should give the Toyota iQ (and the ridiculous Aston Martin Cygnet) a serious run for their money. The Cooper SD might well end up being the best hot diesel superhatch in the real world – we can’t wait to drive it.
Bentley and Rolls-Royce are at Geneva in force. The former is showing its Supersports ‘ISR’ edition Continental, celebrating the amazing 200mph-plus run on ice from a few weeks back; while the latter shows its electric powered 102EX concept, which somehow seems very right for the marque. Will it happen in production terms? We’ll see.
The Car of the Show for AROnline readers – certainly in terms of reader feedback – is the Morgan 3 Wheeler. Here’s a car that, at least in terms of style, captures the very essence of pre-war Morgan and brings it up to date, while leaving the amazing visuals untouched. We wish it well and wait, with interest, to see how quickly the production cars start to filter out.
AROnline’s Concept of the Show? Well, we can’t help but love the retro/modern Bertone Jaguar B99 Concept – whether Ian Callum feels the same way is open to debate…
Finally, we have MG. Well, actually, we don’t – they’re not there. Shame.
Geneva 2011: The opposition – a look at the overseas manufacturers