Cheesy Swiss Holes: There’s A Lot Of Deceptive Exhausts In Geneva

In the early days of automotive design, tailpipes were probably an afterthought. That hasn’t been the case for awhile and automakers flaunt them as an indication of how powerful their vehicles are.

Also Read: The Fake Exhaust Holes Of The Paris Auto Show Floor

That trend continues today, but seeing shouldn’t necessarily result in believing. Case in point is this Mercedes-AMG GT 63 S. A quick look at the bumper shows what appears to be a four-tailpipe exhaust system, but a closer inspection reveals these are fakes which cover a dual exhaust.

Mercedes doesn’t just ‘lie’ in one direction either as a quick look at the AMG GT R Roadster suggests it has one massive central exhaust. However, a closer inspection reveals there are two additional exhaust tips on either side.

Of course, there are worse examples out there including the VW Golf Variant which has a faux dual exhaust system which is effectively black plastic surrounded by metallic trim. While it might look convincing at a distance, the actual exhaust is all on the driver’s and simply points down at the ground.

The downward facing exhaust is common on many VW models as it can be seen on the Arteon, Passat Variant and Tiguan Allspace. Even the Audi Q5 hasn’t been spared from the fakery.

While deceptive exhausts are hardly new, they might become less common in the future. A number of automakers are working on electric vehicles and these models won’t need an exhaust either real or fake.

Take a look below at all the cheesy exhaust holes our photographers nabbed in Geneva this year.

more photos...

Picture Credits: Stefan Baldauf / Guido ten Brink for Carscoops

  • MMNYC18

    Evolution cycle of the end of the combustion engine? I hate these and all the fake vents. Great gallery, Car Scoops!

  • TheBelltower

    I don’t care if the exhaust holes are connected to the exhaust pipe. As long as exhaust is coming through the holes, that okay with me. But I don’t think I could buy a car with a blank plate fake exhaust, while the real exhaust is a cut pipe pointing at the ground.

    • europeon

      Exactly. There is a night and day difference between what that Passat has, and the 8-series or the AMG-GT.

  • RDS Alphard

    In-case people didn’t know, apparently AMG GT R’s exhaust has 2 extra exit on two side, are for better sounds… that two exit has no muffler while the middle one has it.

    You can look up regular AMG GT, they have same system despite just 2 side exit (quad pipe, 2 muffled, 2 straight).


    • Six_Tymes

      and as laughable

    • Matt

      I know on the previous Mercedes C-Class for example, those rear vents near the taillights were functional.

  • Mr. EP9

    To be fair, this is nothing new. At least for the M850i, AMG GT-R, and GT-63S the exhaust outlets actually connect to where we expect them to be, even if the tips are much less appealing.

    • Momogg

      Yes but If I would like to have one of these, i should buy a full line stainless stell exhaust and that’s it.

  • Six_Tymes

    VW/AUDI started a Lame Trend. I personally would never buy that cheesy crap

    • Momogg

      Exactly. Same for me. 👍

    • Jason Panamera

      Wasn’t it Benz who started it ? O.o

  • Elpatore

    VW group cars are by far the worst offenders…

    • tseventy6

      So, let’s see some pics of the other manufacturers exhausts then…
      Ever had a look at Mercedes or the Lexus IS-F for example?

  • It looks like fake exhaust tips are becoming mandatory within the VW Group – I see a Skoda un the gallery, plus, not only the Audi Q5 has those blatant fake exhausts but many other new Audis too (A6, A7, A8, Q8…)
    It might be less contaminating that way, yet it looks pretty stupid.

  • Miknik

    Did anyone notice that this seems to be nearly exclusively German (premium) cars, incl. VAG brands? Is that the new definition of “German engineer cars”?

    • Matteo Tommasi

      German engeeniring has always been like this: fake

      • kimbentsen


      • Enter Ranting

        A catch phrase cooked up in a Madison Avenue advertising office.

  • StrangerGP

    As a car enthusiast I’d never buy a model with fake exhausts or fake cabin engine noises, but the majority of the customers like it so it’ll only get worse.

    • McFly

      But fake air intakes are ok?
      Just asking, because most people don’t seem to care when most of the details in the face of the car are fake, but go bananas when there’s a tiny fake detail in the rear.

      • exeptor

        Both are discussing.

        • McFly

          I would also like to see articles about the fake DLO’s (windows) that almost all cars have.
          And the fake leather pattern that interior plastics has had for decades.
          And the fake carbon fibre, aluminium and tree trims.
          And the fake metal parts that are plastic.

          We’re so used to fake design elements in cars that we don’t even see them anymore.

          • exeptor

            All these are valid points. I might be speculating here, but I prefer to have simple (not to the extend of spartan) car, rather than something build just to give me some fake thrill. Of course this is valid with most of the things in life, yet we embrace many without complaining. It is quite a philosophical what’s right and what’s wrong.

          • McFly

            It’s a philosophical question indeed. I also prefer honest design. But sometimes we need “fake” design to help us understand the function of things, sometimes just to make us feel familiar, and sometimes it’s for more superficial reasons. The tricky part is were to draw the line, and why.

            Oh, I forgot one thing on my list: fake lamps. A lot of the surfaces that look like lamps, aren’t. 🙂

    • Toss

      Everything is about costs. Imagine that U go to service to change a rusty muffler. For the fake exhaust you’ll pay 100 euros/dollars workmanship, and for a real exhaust( incorporated in rear bumper) you’ll pay 300 euros/dollars workmanship to remove the rear bumper, etc.. See you than how swearing..

    • Stephen G

      What choice do you have? Just like everything else in life, car buying is a compromise.

  • McFly

    And again, for every square centimeter of fake exhaust you show me, I’ll show you a ten square meters of fake grilles. Let’s solve that problem first, and the fake exhausts will solve themselves in the process. 🙂

  • leray15

    One possible explanation: the fake exhausts are just to keep production cost of the parts low. e.g. the the top-model has the same bumper but with the “fake-exhaust-holes” opened while a lower/base model has them closed with the actual exhaust facing the ground. So the supplier/OEM can produce the same parts with little change in tools –> cost are lower, margin increases

    • Enter Ranting

      People paying extra for the top model should get their own special bumper. They’re not that expensive to design and manufacture.

  • exeptor

    I’ve read some of the possible explanations bellow and they seem legit, but I just wonder why not just put a small but well executed pipe – correct length, chrome, some tiny rounding at the edge, nice distance from the bumper, etc. Another example is the new one-off Bugatti – 6 pipes as the original, but the original are tiny. Yes, the new car has 8 liter engine and generate massive heat, but still I guess that the exhaust is too big. I can see that the rest – even AMG as example of a big engine cars, use a relatively small diameter pipes, but put a massive muffers. Why? In the past it wasn’t this way and cars looked aw good as they do nowdays.

  • Socarboy

    Looks like Volkwagen is the worst offender

  • Tan Lee

    How the world laughed when Lexus introduced the ISF with fake exhausts. Now every manufacture is doing it.

  • ErnieB

    Fake exhaust tips are just lame.. would never buy a car with fake exhaust tips!

  • Enter Ranting

    Not surprised that Volkswagen would lie. It’s kind of their thing. I’m more disgusted at Mercedes. Their design used to follow the “form follows function” dictum. Now their styling is ridiculous and gimmicky. MASSIVE fake grilles all over the place that are obviously not functional when viewed from 20 feet away.

    • Momogg

      Yes massive fake grill without exhaust. 😔

    • Momogg

      I understand your point. It’s even worse for AMG. I think when you have money for an AMG GT4 door, you have money for Akrapovič. 😇

  • Momogg

    I have the feeling it’s connected with ecology. When you see a dirty exhaust with smoke coming from inside (OMG This is awful)
    If it’s hidden, the fake exhausts are always shiny and beautiful, you don’t see the smoke coming from the exhaust. In the end, owner feel more green eco friendly.


  • KAG25

    The AMG GT sedan, for that price stick a muffler that has two pipes.

  • Joe E


  • Federico G.A. Gitto

    Fake exausts, fake grilles, unnecessary large rims, sport bumpers on basic engines… all part of the same problem: the vast majority of buyers want the looks but not the features of sport cars. To the point that we even get “sporty SUVs” and similar out-of-reality concepts.
    They’re all plain lies but it seems that everyone but petrolheads is fine with them.

    Producers are out of ideas, and buyers need to feel they’re young and cool.
    I just think they should make peace with their minds instead of turning our stuff into trash.

  • Infinite1

    This isn’t anything new, been around for quite some time since people want cars to look the part and not be the part

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