Top 10 Cars of the Geneva Motor Show

Colum Wood
by Colum Wood

It certainly deserves a spot on the list of Top 10 Geneva Motor Show cars. Many would also agree it also deserves the last possible spot. And so here it is, the Bentley EXP 9 F concept.

Rather than a Continental GT styled swoopy looking crossover, Bentley’s SUV concept is big, bold and brutish, taking styling from the brand’s flagship Mulsanne, including a massive flat-fronted prow and some of the largest fog lights ever fitted to a vehicle.

Still, there’s little doubt that it’s excellently crafted and by all accounts appears near to production. Regardless of what it looks like, it’s what it is that makes the EXP so important. If Bentley is to grow as a brand, especially in emerging markets, an SUV is what it needs.

Despite criticism, don’t look for major changes to a production model. We overheard Bentley reps surveying numerous VIP guests about the car and all responded that they’d buy one right away.

Perhaps one of the few unveilings in Geneva that’s less beautiful than the Bentley is the Toyota FT-Bh. Another concept car, it’s at the exact opposite end of the automotive spectrum, putting the focus on compact size, high fuel efficiency and a low price.

While many years away from becoming a reality, the FT-Bh is a sign from Toyota that its serious about moving its hybrid tech down-market. Having recently launched the Prius c in North America and the Yaris Hybrid in Europe, the FT-Bh takes the brand’s Hybrid Synergy Drive into the mini-car category.

No powertrain details are available, but Toyota says it’s capable of a theoretical 112 mpg rating, while an optional plug-in hybrid version could do almost 300 miles to the gallon.

As for the pricing issue, Toyota wants this to be a realistic vehicle and so instead of high-tech and pricey materials like carbon fiber the FT-Bh makes use of conventional materials to reduce cost.

Each Geneva Motor Show, German tuner Mansory rolls out a collection of wildly modified vehicles more outrageous than the year before. This year’s collection includes a Bentley, a full carbon body Mercedes CLS, a Lamborghini Aventador and this car, a very wild McLaren MP4-12C.

The chrome orange version of the rather tame looking (for a supercar) MP4-12C, it’s roughly two inches wider than the factory model thanks to boxy flared fenders, which house some equally shocking 21-inch gold colored wheels.

Power has been increased as well, with the twin-turbo 3.8-liter V8 getting a power bump from 608 hp to 670 hp. Plus, Mansory claims a new top speed of 353 km/h (219 mph).

A custom creation of a different sort, the big news regarding this matte-blue Aston Martin Virage Volante is in the generalities, not the specifics. The car is the first to come from the brand’s new Q division of bespoke offerings, allowing clients a whole new level of personalization.

This particular customer opted for a rather wild treatment with the original blue paint, blue carbon fiber interior, yellow leather and matching yellow brake calipers.

Named after the Q Division from James Bond fame, Aston hasn’t said if you’ll be able to get rocket launchers hidden behind the headlights.

Another British model, though a most unconventional one, the Land Rover Range Rover Evoque Convertible concept is perhaps either pure genius or complete idiocy. Then again, perhaps it’s both.

While the idea of a convertible luxury crossover is certain to offend the tastes of any auto aficionado, it’s also certain to find a home in South Beach and Beverly Hills.

Range Rover isn’t the first to the party here, with the Nissan Murano CrossCabriolet taking that title. A much-maligned flop, perhaps with a more refined ride, interior and style – not to mention a badge that carries plenty of cache – Range Rover might just have a winner on its hands.

Mercedes normally takes the evolution over revolution approach to its models, but not here. The new 2013 A-Class is a massive departure from its successor, which was a tiny urban city car with dorky looks and lackluster performance.

Unveiled in Geneva, the A-Class now has plenty of style, a more premium interior and promises enjoyable driving dynamics. It’s now more of a true Mercedes, rather than a budget-first model.

Along with its looks, the A-Class gets a range of 1.6-liter and 1.8-liter diesel engines varying in power from just over 100 hp to around 160 hp.

Targeted at young singles and couples, the car also fully integrates Apple technology. Along with an iPad-like display screen, once synced with an iPhone the phone’s full features can be access using the car’s controls, while SIRI can also be used to operate the car’s systems with voice controls.

The most important part about the new A-Class, however, is that it’s no longer going to be just a Euro-only model and is scheduled to go on sale in North America soon.

Another small car and one that’s also likely destined for our shores is the Ford Fiesta ST. We’ve seen concept versions before, but in Geneva the Blue Oval first revealed the full production version.

Hot hatches are anything but new, but generally they’ve all been compact cars. The Fiesta, however, is a sub-compact, and the thought of a turbocharged 1.6-liter 4-cylinder with 180 hp and 177 lb-ft of torque in that little package is enticing.

Other upgrades include a stylish body kit, larger 17-inch wheels and a lowered suspension, plus some custom interior trim.

Unveiled in a 3-door version for Europe, with Ford having already shown a 5-door Fiesta ST concept at the LA Auto Show, cross your finders for that model to arrive here soon.

It could have been the star of the show, if this had been any other auto show. Infiniti‘s Emerg-E range-extended electric car is fast, sexy and high-tech, but at a venue that also saw the launch of a new Ferrari and Lamborghini, the competition for the most impressive machine is intense.

With this concept car Infiniti is going public with plans to offer a halo model for the growing brand. Using twin electric motors and a 3-cylinder gasoline range extender, the Emerg-E is capable of 30 miles of emission free range, while it can also hit 60 mph in just 4.0 seconds.

Perhaps most exciting is news that Infiniti has already built two of them for preliminary testing.

Lamborghini continues to define exactly what an extreme vehicle is. The latest chapter in that book has been written at the Geneva Motor Show with the introduction of the Aventador J, a completely topless version of the Aventador coupe.

There’s no soft-top, there isn’t even a windshield; instead the Aventador J gets two tiny wind deflectors meaning that if you are going to drive it on the street, you’ll need to wear a full-face helmet. Still, Lambo insists you can drive the carbon chassis, 700 horsepower exotic on the road.

Well, you can’t… only it’s owner can. Making the Aventador J even more ridiculous is the fact that only one has been made, and only one ever will be. The owner hasn’t been named, but he (we’re assuming its a he) paid dearly, forking over $2.1 million.

It’s not as wild as a completely topless Lamborghini supercar. Then again, the F12 Berlinetta, the newest Ferrari in the exotic Italian automaker’s lineup is in every way an extreme machine – it even make 30 hp more than the Lambo for an almost unbelievable total output of 730 hp.

It’s also achingly beautiful, with incredible lines are make the car look sculpted from a single block of metal. The wild shape of the front splitter, hood and even the doors is more than just cosmetic, directing air around the car for added downforce without added drag.

Get more on all these cars, plus the rest of the debuts with AutoGuide’s 2012 Geneva Motor Show coverage here.

Colum Wood
Colum Wood

With AutoGuide from its launch, Colum previously acted as Editor-in-Chief of Modified Luxury & Exotics magazine where he became a certifiable car snob driving supercars like the Koenigsegg CCX and racing down the autobahn in anything over 500 hp. He has won numerous automotive journalism awards including the Best Video Journalism Award in 2014 and 2015 from the Automotive Journalists Association of Canada (AJAC). Colum founded Geared Content Studios, VerticalScope's in-house branded content division and works to find ways to integrate brands organically into content.

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  • Andy Andy on Mar 31, 2012

    I'd drive my Kia Sportage anyday over that big fat Bentley. Suits American gangsters and old men in England with hairy backs.

  • Francis Stringer Francis Stringer on Apr 24, 2012

    Despite criticism, dont look for major changes to a production model. We overheard Bentley reps surveying numerous VIP guests about the car and all responded that theyd buy one right away.