This month’s Geneva Motor Show has proved nothing if not glamorous. And, like the lady serving $40 hamburgers at a roadside diner put it, “Life in Geneva is expensive.” She might have been talking about the burgers, but the statement applies to the cars here, too.
Amid a flurry of quirky electric concepts and people-movers from primarily European brands, big-brand names in the hypercar world — Koenigsegg, Bugatti — have produced multimillion-dollar production-ready cars to bolster their street cred.
Meanwhile, storied brands like Aston Martin and Rolls-Royce, Lamborghini and Ferrari delivered next-generation and upgraded models of surefire hits: The Vanquish Concept, the Cullinan SUV, the Huracan Evo Spyder, and the F8 Tributo, respectively.
And two newcomers with long histories — Pininfarina and Hispano-Suiza — joined the fray as well, each bringing electric supercars costing roughly $2 million and a lot of patience before they are actually built.
Of course, Audi, BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Porsche were there. too, in full force. Most of theirs even dipped below the six-figure mark.
In short, where the auto shows in Detroit, New York and Los Angeles have felt shallow and empty lately, Geneva was anything but. Here is a look at the most interesting things we saw.
Bugatti La Voiture Noire: Difficult for nonFrench speakers to say, the name simply means “The Black Car” in French. It’s meant to be a modern take on the Bugatti 57 SC Atlantic from the mid-1930s. (Fashion designer Ralph Lauren has famously owned one or two.)
Only one of the new ones was made, and yes, it’s been sold, reportedly to Ferdinand Piech, the former CEO of Volkswagen Group. It’s valued at more than 16 million euros, or $18 million, with a base price of $12.5 million.
Koenigsegg Jesko: Named after the beloved father of Koenigsegg founder and CEO, Christian von Koenigsegg, the Jesko combines 1,280 horsepower (or 1,600 horsepower when fueled on biofuel, as customers may choose) with a new nine-speed transmission and a top speed of 300 miles per hour, the company says. Inside is a cabin for two with creature comforts like parking cameras, infotainment, and power-automatic seats. (These are big luxury gets for a car so focused on basic speed.) Look for it to start production in 2021.
Hispano-Suiza Carmen: Based on the 1938 Hispano-Suiza H6C Dubonnet Xenia, and named in honor of the granddaughter of Damián Mateu, the founder of Hispano-Suiza, the Carmen is an all-electric car that has more than 1,000 horsepower and a $1.7 million (1.5 million euros) price tag.
While its numbers aren’t stellar compared to the super-electric car debuted by Pininfarina, it will still do 0-to-60 mph in just under three seconds, with a top speed of 155 mph. With 503 bhp and a range of roughly 250 miles on one charge, it still promises top-end performance, reliable electric power and an unconventional design — all built in Barcelona, Spain. Look for production of the Carmen to start in June 2020. Nineteen of them will be made.
Ginetta Akula: Not very reserved for a car made by an old British company, the $532,000 Ginetta Akula screams for attention at any angle. Its V8 engine is mounted in the middle of the car and paired with a six-speed transmission with rear-wheel drive.
Plus, it boasts 600 horsepower and a 200 mph top speed. It’s all very extreme-legal to drive on the street but made for the track. Ginetta, which is based in Leeds, England, says it will build 20 of them in 2020.
Ferrari F8 Tributo: This is the new mid-engine V8 from Ferrari, replacing the stellar 488 GTB and 458 Italia models. Among its subtle new styling cues are fresh headlights, big round tail lights, and updated aerodynamics. Better yet, it has an exciting clear engine cover on that mid-mounted engine.
Performance numbers are roughly the same as before, with 720 horsepower and 568 pound-feet of torque that get it to 60 mph in 2.9 seconds. Top speed is expected to be well over 200 mph-after all, the 488 Pista can do 211 mph without breaking a sweat. Pricing has yet to be announced, but deliveries begin early next year.
Pininfarina Battista: This is the first production model from the newly formed Automobili Pininfarina, the car-making entity that shares branding with the classic design house founded in 1930. It’s named after the company founder, Battista “Pinin” Farina, and packs a wallop: All-electric with zero emissions; 1,900 horsepower, 0 to 60 mph in less than two seconds, and able to charge to 80 percent in 40 minutes on a supercharger outlet.
Look for it to join the crew of hypercars from Koenigsegg, Ferrari, Bugatti and Lamborghini that attract the world’s wealthiest connoisseurs. Only 150 of them will be made; half are already sold. Production begins in 2020. Pricing starts at $2.2 million.
Aston Martin Vanquish Vision Concept: As Aston Martin’s first mid-engined supercar, the Vanquish Vision Concept joins the likes of Ferrari’s new F8 Tributo as gorgeous high-performance vehicles sold for what will be highly expensive prices.
It’s the latest of many concepts and “visions” the recently public automaker has debuted, though few of them have yet to make it to full production. Exact MSRP has yet to be announced, as do many engine and performance specs, but it will contain an aluminum chassis and the same Formula 1-inspired V6 engine found in the AM-RB 003 turbo-hybrid. A production version may be debuted by early next year.
Lamborghini Huracan Evo Spyder: The 630-horsepower Huracan Evo Spyder continues the excellent Huracan line with a 631bhp 5.2-liter naturally aspirated V10 engine and a 0 to 62 mph time in 3.1 seconds (that’s just 0.2 sec slower than the hard-top model).
Top speeds are the same between the coupe and spyder version as well, at 202 mph. The main difference here is that the Huracan Evo Spyder comes with a power automatic top that deploys in 17 seconds. With myriad traction and stability controls including a rear-wheel steering, all-wheel-drive system and adaptive dampers, plus multiple drive modes for street, sport or track, the new drop-top Lambo promises the kind of extreme driving thrill that only an old Italian exotic brand can give. It’s nearly a dying breed.