Geneva Motor Show 2011 preview
The 2011 Geneva Motor Show is fast approaching and excitement is building already.
Tickets for the show are already on sale and we're thrilled to be going along to the press days before the main event so we can bring you all the news and photos as early as possible.
The 81st Salon De L'Automobile opens to the public on 3 March and from what we know already it's likely to be one of the most exciting shows ever. After a succession of motor shows dominated by the recession, it looks like car makers have rediscovered the motivation to show a bit of glamour and give us something to dream over.
Yes, the supercar is back at Geneva 2011 with exciting all-new cars debuting from Ferrari, Lamborghini and Pagani. Smaller players on the supercar scene will also be looking to steal some of the limelight too.
It's not all million-dollar playthings for those still with the money in the bank though - all sorts of cars will be debuting at Geneva. Here are some we're especially excited about. Keep checking - we'll be updating this list as we find out more.
Dates and opening times for the Geneva show are as follows: 3-13 March 2011, open Monday-Friday 10am to 8pm, and Saturday-Sunday 9am to 7pm.
Regardless of the cars on show the Alfa Romeo stand is always a centre of beauty and glamour at Geneva.
But rumours of a new, lightweight Boxster-chasing sports car persist and, if true, could inject some much-needed sportiness to the range.
Main unveil from Aston Martin will be the new Virage (right), a new 490bhp derivative of the DB9 platform that exactly splits the difference between the 470bhp DB9 itself and the 510bhp DBS.
Otherwise, the new 430hp Aston Martin Vantage S is a little more modest in terms of cost and performance but that isn't to belittle the first public appearance of this new, hardcore V8 Vantage variant.
A harder look inspired by the GT4 race car, faster steering, revised suspension and a 10hp power hike are combined with a new, faster automated gearbox, turning the Vantage into a true 911 GT3 chaser.
At the other end of the scale the production version of the controversial Cygnet will also be on show. Are buyers ready for a baby Aston city car? We'll soon be finding out for real.
Audi will unveil a concept car (sketch on the right) that will preview the next A3, which suggests the car will be available as a saloon for the first time. This exemplifies the downsizing theme that luxury car markers are focusing on today in order to reduce emissions but preserve quality and comfort.
It will also show the RS3 pocket-rocket hatchback. Audi can usually be relied on to come up with a surprise or two as well so stay tuned to our coverage on the first press day of the show on Tuesday, 1 March.
Main even on the BMW stand will be the arrival of its new new sub-brand for ultra-efficient vehicles: BMW i.
Under the banner of 'Born Electric,' the brand will focus on 'sustainability and premium mobility solutions' (as was heavily reinforced by BMW's PR people), whilst standing for innovation, integration and inspiration by generating a new design language, yet still retaining key elements from its sibling brand.
It won't be quite wall-to-wall supercars at Geneva, more real-world products like the hatchback version of the Chevrolet Cruze also making their debuts. OK, it's no Ferrari FF but, in its way, the Cruze hatchback is an important new model.
The saloon version has already impressed, especially in America. Motorsport success in touring cars hasn't hurt, this more Euro-friendly hatchback version likely to broaden its appeal this side of the pond considerably.
Sure to be one of the most talked about cars when Geneva opens its doors, the 660hp Ferrari FF is a thrilling new direction for Ferrari and one that's caught everyone by surprise. After all, a four-seat shooting brake? Nope, nobody saw that coming!
Intended as a replacement for the 612 Scaglietti, the FF will be the first four-wheel-drive Ferrari and though intended as a luxury four-seat coupé, it hasn't been dumbed down in performance - try 0-62mph in 3.7 seconds and 208mph for size.
Fiat's transatlantic tie-up with Chrysler has resulted in the unlikely rebranding of the Dodge Journey as the Fiat Freemont, a large, seven-seater MPV crossover apparently heavily revised for its arrival into the Fiat range.
Fiat's Multijet diesel engines are among the Euro-friendly modifications made for the journey into Fiat dealerships although there are currently no plans to offer the Freemont to the UK market.
The quirky Veloster impressed at the Detroit show in January but Hyundai isn't slackening the pace one bit and will be bringing a new Mondeo-rivalling i40 to make its world debut at the show.
To be unveiled in estate form - a saloon will follow - the i40 is intended to raise Hyundai's status and push it into a new sector. It's proven itself in the supermini, hatch and crossover markets. Now it wants a share of the fleet-friendly D-segment.
Main unveiling by Jaguar at the show will be the new XKR-S (right), which is already claiming the title of most powerful series Jaguar ever.
The Jaguar XKR-S has grabbed the title thanks to a power boost of the 5.0-litre V8 supercharged engine - to a full 550hp. It also produces a staggering 501lb ft of torque.
This is good enough to see it hit 186mph (and this 300km/h maximum sounds, to us, like an electronically-limited figure). The 0-60mph dash takes just 4.2 seconds. Even more impressively, it can reach 100mph from rest in 8.6 seconds!
Otherwise, Jaguar will be marking the 50th anniversary of the Geneva show debut of the legendary E-Type, and some are betting on the appearance of a suitable concept car to mark this event...
If you want a glimpse at the difference between new-school Kia and old-school Kia the dumpy current Rio neatly underlines how far the brand has come recently. But an all-new Rio will be making its debut at Geneva.
Given what Kia has achieved with the Cee'd, Soul and new Sportage supermini rivals deserve to be worried too, this new compact Kia promising a new, stylish look and much improved quality - not to mention trademark extended warranties.
Ahead of its glitzy debut at Geneva Lamborghini isn't revealing the name for its new Murciélago replacement. But we know plenty about it, even what it looks like, albeit still under its pre-launch disguise.
This flagship Lambo boasts a new 700hp 6.5-litre V12 engine, F1 style pushrod suspension and a host of weight-saving tech. Will it be enough to outshine the new Pagani though? We won't have long to wait before we find out.
Mazda loves its buzzwords and the new ones for Geneva are Skyactiv, a range of new eco technologies, and Kodo, its latest 'soul of motion' design language. Both will be presented in one package with the Minagi concept - effectively a next-gen CX-7.
The Shinari concept will also be there making its European debut, technical displays explaining the Skyactiv technology like direct-injection petrol engines, clean diesels and more besides - underlining quite how seriously Mazda will pursue this new mantra.
Geneva is going to be a big show for Mercedes. The all-new SLK will be making its public debut, this third-generation roadster staking a claim on genuine junior SL status and offering fresh competition for the BMW Z4.
BMW has been accused over the years of making Minis well... a bit maxi in size. But few will complain on this score about the Rocketman concept car (right) that it will unveil at the show: it is just 30cm larger than the glorious Issigonis original.
While this car does not herald a production version, many of its features such as its very cool headlights will make it to a real car sooner or later.
Kia isn't the only one bringing a new supermini to Geneva - Mitsubishi will also be using the show for the world premiere of its Concept Global Small, a new supermini due to enter production next March.
Efficiency is high on the agenda, Mitsubishi targeting sub-100g/km CO2 with a combination of class-leading aerodynamics, start-stop, weight saving and a 1.0-1.2-litre engine with regenerative braking and a new generation CVT gearbox.
It wasn't long ago that it seemed supercars were going the way of the dinosaurs but the new Pagani Huayra is one of several big-hitters making their world debuts at the Geneva show.
Is the new Huayra enough to steal the thunder of Lamborghini's new Murciélago replacement? Quite possibly, the exquisite detailing, engineering-as-art build quality and 700hp Merc-sourced V12 all combining to breathtaking effect.
With a new 911 due later in the year 2011 promises to be a big year for Porsche. Geneva will, if the reports are correct, have its fair share of debuts from Porsche including the recently announced Black Edition Boxster and 911 variants.
More significant is an expansion in the Panamera range to bring it into line with the Cayenne. As such expect to see hybrid and diesel versions of the Panamera making their debuts on the stand.
Not to be left behind by the electric revolution, Rolls has developed an electric version of its Phantom limousine, the 102EX, and this will be unveiled at the show.
Following the show the car will head off into a world tour to gauge owner reaction; if positive, then a production version could follow.
Saab is still struggling to find its feet in its newly independent state, the new 9-5 being promising but lacking the fine details to really make it a contender. Saab remains committed to bringing new models though and will debut a new estate version.
The Saab 9-5 Sportwagon will share the same engines and drivetrain options as the existing saloon, the swoopy styling far sexier than traditional estates and, as ever, boasting class-leading safety features.
The story of Toyota's Celica replacement - known officially as the FT-86 - has been rumbling along for some time now but Toyota is promising a close to production concept for Geneva ahead of the car actually made a reality.
A teaser image already released shows a sleek looking front end with a hint of Lexus LFA. Will it have the Subaru-derived drivetrain from the apparent shared development programme? Expect news from the showfloor.
Described as "virtually production ready" the new V60 Hybrid will, Volvo claims, be the first plug-in hybrid on the market when it goes on sale next year. How does it differ from other hybrids? Well, a 32-mile range on electric only is the main selling point.
A conventional front-driven diesel drivetrain is paired with electric motors in the rear axle, the result being a claimed 150mpg and CO2 emissions of just 50g/km - all this in a full-sized family estate car.
Which of these endangered 1970s and 80s cars would you be saddest to see become extinct?
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- Austin Allegro
- Austin Maxi
- Austin Montego
- Austin Princess
- Hillman Avenger
- Morris Marina
- Morris Ital
- Vauxhall Viva