This year’s first major international show held on European ground was rather refreshing. In spite of being bombarded with autonomous driving that’s rapidly coming our way, the 2016 Geneva Motor Show was a sports car enthusiast’s heaven.
There’s too many to mention them all, and anyway you can read everything here in detail. We’ll keep it short and single out the ones that really made an impression on us.
The DB11 is not just the long overdue DB9 replacement, it’s also moving the elegant, but rather staid during the past 10 years, design to a new, edgy direction that’s still instantly recognizable as a true Aston Martin.
Porsche, for the second time after the Cayman GT4, did come up with what its customers cried out for. The 911 R lacks the prestigious GT badge but more than makes up for it with a manual transmission. Plus, losing all that add-ons is a good thing for those who want to be a bit more discreet. If you’re so inclined, make sure you don’t tick the “stripes” box, then.
Then there’s the megacar that promises to end all hypercars, the Chiron. Bugatti has kept the same recipe but honed it and added, oh, 300 hp more than the top Veyron to ensure it once again reigns supreme. A match-up with Koenigsegg’s Regera would be the “Rumble in the Jungle” of the car universe, and we can see it coming sometime in the future.
McLaren’s 570GT and Lamborghini’s Centenario really don’t bring much to the party, if you ask us. A more comfortable Sports Series and another Aventaror-based, mad-looking special are great, just not that much of a surprise, are they? The Huayra BC falls in the same category: it’s the first of special Huayras that will surely follow. Can’t wait for all three of them to hit the streets, though…
That’s in contrast to the Corvette Grand Sport, which no one had seen coming prior to its show premiere. It’s a 911 R in reverse: take the best bits out of the Z06, keep the engine of the stock Stingray (460hp is 40 hp less than the Porsche), slap the Z07 handling package and you get a serious piece of kit for a fraction of the money. Nice one, GM.
Mind you, the General had one other sports car to show. A puny 1.0-liter turbo doesn’t compare to the V8 iron for grunt and it’s all the better for it, for we know that driving thrills don’t necessarily equal huge power. A finely tuned chassis, rear-wheel drive and a fresh design will do. The Opel GT has them all and we hope GM is sandbagging naming it “just a study”.
On the more practical side, the Renault Scenic is a good-looking mix between an MPV and a crossover and the Giulia looks composed and (dare we say it?) more elegant than the overwrought QV, which bodes well for Alfa Romeo’s future. Benz pulled a nice one with the C-Class Cabriolet, too, a case study in elegant open-top motoring.
A station wagon is as far removed from a convertible as possible, yes? Still, elegance is the V90’s middle name. Kudos to Volvo for, a. going from strength to strength and, b. transforming the S90 saloon into a seriously attractive estate.
Speaking of styling, the jury is still out on the Maserati Levante SUV. Could it be that we've seen it paraded one time too many as a concept, or perhaps the images don't do it justice? Design-wise, the Civic concept is not exactly what we expected from Honda. Making the next-gen a global car apparently comes with compromises.
Toyota made a fashionably late entry in the subcompact crossover segment with the cheeky C-HR and so did Audi with the Q2 that’s much more conservative and yet a step forward from the cookie cutter styling of the rest of the range. Expect sales of both to hit the sky.
Those are our picks from the 86th Salon International de l’automobile. Scroll down to ogle a gazillion pics. Well, 430, actually; we think they should do.