Geneva show 2010: the highlights - Andrew Noakes - Motoring Writer

Bentley Continental Flying Star concept


The reinvented Carrozzeria Touring displayed this estate version of the Bentley Continental GTC, which works rather well from this angle. Designed by a team led by Touring's Louis de Fabribeckers, the Bentley Flying Star has fully-folding rear seats and a practical load area more than 2m long. No doubt Bentley will take a long look at Touring's concept, but will it ever reach production? Time will tell.

Opel / Vauxhall Flextreme GT / E concept


The Opel / Vauxhall Flextreme concept seems to be a rare beast: a concept car with relatively understated looks, rather than one that's shouting for attention. It looks all the better for it, though I still can't help thinking the 'Aeroblade' side spoilers which appear from the rear wheel arches at speed are no more than a gimmick.

Audi RS5


As promised, Audi's RS5 coupe made its bow in Geneva – with, note, an original quattro rally car on the stand behind it to reflect the 30 years of quattro heritage behind the latest car.

Audi A1 e-tron concept


Audi's A1 has already been shown to the press and makes its public debut at the Geneva show, but Audi also showed this new e-tron concept – an electric city car with an internal combustion engine to recharge its batteries on longer journeys. The interesting part is the choice of range extender engine: instead of a conventional three- or four-cylinder engine Audi has chosen a small single-rotor Wankel rotary engine, which it says is ideal for the job because of its low vibration, compact size and light weight. The Volkswagen group has had little to do with rotaries since they bankrupted NSU back in the 1970s – is it time for a revival?

Subaru Hybrid Tourer concept


Subaru's Hybrid Tourer brings together the company's usual flat-four engine, here in 2.0-litre form, and a pair of electric motors powered by lithium ion batteries. The doors are the hightlight: massive gullwings which leave an unobstructed entrance to the front or rear of the cabin, with no central pillar to get in the way.

Skoda Fabia vRS


Skoda's Fabia vRS was launched in hatchback and estate form at Geneva. It's powered by a turbocharged and supercharged 1.4-litre four-cylinder engine – a version of the VW group 1.4 TSI motor – with 180bhp, giving it a top speed of 140mph and 0-62mph (100km/h) acceleration of 7.3 seconds.



Judging by other recent Mazdas, the Mazda5 MPV will be practical, reliable and decent to drive. Shame, then, that the looks don't quite hit the spot: those curved feature lines along the sides do little to liven up what is essentially a moribund shape.



Former Audi designer Erwin Himmel is behind this reinvention of the Hispano-Suiza marque. It's a reskinned, supercharged Audi R8, and there are plans to make a few dozen a year.

Citroën Survolt concept


Citroën says the electric Survolt combines 'elegance, sophisticated style and sporting passion'. Can't see the elegance or sophistication, myself. Parts of the shape work well – the relationship between the front wings, the splayed A-pillars and the cap roof, for instance – but the rest is a mish-mash of conflicting surfaces. It's trying too hard.

Mitsubishi ASX


Mitsubishi's ASX is the baby brother for the Outlander. It's a European version of the RSR, which went on sale in Japan in February.

Proton / ItalDesign hybrid


Proton and ItalDesign are developing a series of hybrids using Lotus technology, of which this is the first. It's a neat city car with a smiley face which I'm sure is no accident. Makes the brand new Micro look old hat – though this is a concept, not a production car, of course.

Opel / Vauxhall Meriva


Highlight of the new generation Meriva is the adoption of forward-facing rear doors, to make it easier to open a rear door to let the kids out without leaving the driver's seat. At least, that's why they had them on black cabs. Shame engineering out the B-pillar was too difficult or too expensive or too heavy – or maybe all three – as that would have given Meriva passengers easier access and the forward-opening rear doors a better reason to exist.

Hyundai i-flow concept


The i-flow concept car previews a Sonata replacement likely to be called i40, which is due next year. The glass roof seems unlikely to make it to the production car, though a lightweight plastic sunroof is a possibility.

Nissan Micra


The new Nissan Micra may not be as flash as a green Ferrari or even as exciting as its stablemate the Juke, but it's one of the key new cars at Geneva in 2010. It's a more sober, conservative design than its predecessor and perhaps a less distinctive one. That might reflect a market which has moved on since the previous Micra was introduced, fragmenting into dozens of niches – which Nissan is targeting with new cars like the Juke. The Micra concentrates on low costs and practical interior space, the latter improved by a longer wheelbase than the outgoing car. Power for the Micra comes from 1.2-litre three-cylinder engines which are related to the HR16 four-cylinder in the Note and Qashqai. One is a normally-aspirated 80ps unit, the other a supercharged 98ps motor with direct injection. Curiously, the more powerful engine is quoted as having the lower CO2 emissions, at 95g/km. Both engines are available with a five-speed manual gearbox or Nissan's new wide-ratio CVT.

5 by Peugeot concept


Peugeot is heading back into the executive saloon market with a production version of this concept, likely to be badged 508.

Peugeot SR1


Pretty Peugeot SR1 is apparently not destined for production, which is a shame – but we might see styling elements from this car make their way onto future Peugeot production models.

Porsche 918 Spyder concept


Unveiled the day before Geneva (see below), the hybrid Porsche 918 Spyder concept is bound to be the star of the show for many people. Unlike the 911 GT3 R Hybrid also unveiled in Geneva, which uses a flywheel energy storage system, the 918 Spyder is a plug-in electric hybrid with a lithium ion battery pack. It has drive motors front and rear and electric-only range of up to 16 miles.

Aston Martin Cygnet


Aston Martin's Toyota iQ-based Cygnet. Do Aston owners buy the car or the brand? This suggests they're buying the brand and the image, and Aston reckon they'll buy anything with that brand attached. I'm not so sure: I think they buy Astons because they're great sports cars, and if they want a great city car they'll go to a brand that makes great city cars.

Lamborghini Gallardo LP570-4 Superleggera


New lightweight Gallardo is the lightest roadgoing Lamborghini on offer. At 1340kg it shaves 70kg off the weight of the standard LP570-4, largely through the use of carbon fibre exterior panels and interior trim components. Power from the mid-mounted 5.2-litre V10 engine remains at 570ps, giving the Gallardo Superleggera a 0-62mph (100km/h) sprint time of 3.4 seconds, 0-124mph (200km/h) in 13.6 seconds and a top speed of 202mph.

Sbarro Autobau


This is the answer to a question absolutely nobody is asking, the Sbarro Autobau. Unusually for a concept car it's better looking than its design rendering – though in this case that isn't saying much. For a much better job of much the same shape see the 1970 Pininfarina Modulo.

Saab 9-5


Almost stillborn, the 9-5 instead becomes the first new car to be launched in Saab's new independent era. Spyker CEO Victor Muller has said the company needs 100,000 sales a year to be viable, and this new executive-class car has to provide the bulk of those for the next few years.

Lotus Evora 414E hybrid concept


The hybrid Lotus Evora 414E is driven by the Lotus Range Extender three-cylinder engine and a pair of electric motors – each of which generates up to 152kW (207ps) for a total of 304kW or 414ps. Each motor drives a single rear wheel, which means torque biasing – sending more torque to one wheel than the other – is easy. That can be used to quell wheelspin and to actively manage the Evora's attitude in corners. It would be interesting if that system was provided with a driver-selectable handling balance control: it could provide any desired balance from super-safe understeer to wild oversteer at the touch of a button.

Nissan Juke


Nissan's compact crossover, the oddly-named Juke, makes its first public appearance. Styling polarizes opinion. From this angle it looks like it might be a bit of a squeeze in the rear seats – though the Mini has the same problem, and it's sales don't seem to have suffered.

Tata Aria


Indian manufacturer Tata is gunning for European sales with the Aria, a 2.2-litre diesel SUV with full-time four-wheel drive. As Kia and Hyundai become ever more credible and established as 'mainstream' choices, a gap opens up for a bargain brand: expect Tata to come in with keen prices.

Honda 3R-C


Honda's battery electric three-wheeler concept was designed at the company's Milan R&D centre.

Honda EV-N


First seen at the Tokyo show, the EV-N electric city car concept makes its European debut in Geneva. Shame that Honda, like so many other car makers, insists on reworking its styling back catalogue instead of coming up with fresh designs – this is 'inspired by' the 1967 N360.

Lexus CT200h


Key new model for Lexus, the hybrid CT200h takes on BMW's 1-series and should become the brands best seller in Europe. Disappointingly derivative styling: there's Auris and Fiat Punto in here, plus that 1-series-esque rising sill line.

Renault Wind


Renault's Wind compact roadster is an interesting idea with a daft name. It's based on the Twingo platform and has a Ferrari-style folding roof which stows in a rapid 12 seconds.

Renault Megane Coupe Cabriolet


Megane Coupe Cabriolet is the sixth bodystyle in the Megane range, and has a full-length folding glass roof. Renault's new EDC dual-clutch transmission makes it debut on this car, too.

Toyota Auris HSD


Auris HSD takes Toyota's hybrid technology into a more mainstream market than the Prius. The company is aiming to have hybrid versions of all its cars available in the next 10 years. Built at Toyota's plant in Burnaston, Derbyshire, this will be the first mass-market hybrid to be made in the UK.


Alfa Romeo Giulietta


Alfa's latest make-or-break car: Giulietta aims to woo style-conscious Focus/Astra/Golf class customers. Two turbo petrol engines and two turbo diesels, all of them fitted with a start-stop system. Giulietta is built on a new Fiat group platform which will also form the basis for the next Fiat Brava and a new generation of Chryslers.

Ford C-MAX


Sharing a platform and engines with the new Focus, the C-MAX and seven-seat Grand C-MAX are Ford's mid-size MPVs for 2011.

Ford Focus estate


Ford's new Focus 'world car' made its European debut in Geneva, and the Focus Estate (above) was seen for the first time. The design incoporates full-length roof rails and a self-closing tailgate, and it shares a range of new and revised engines with the rest of the Focus range. Ford expects the estate to win around 10% of Focus sales.

Ferrari 599 GTB Fiorano HY-KERS


Ferrari unveiled this hybrid research car, a 599 Fiorano fitted with a system called HY-KERS. Flat lithium ion batteries are mounted under the car and power a rear-mounted 40kg electric motor which can deliver over 100hp through one clutch of the dual-clutch transmission, which means it operates only in the 'odd' gears. The normal battery and starter motor are eliminated. The hybrid Ferrari can run in electric-only mode a low speeds, and for maximum acceleration both the electric motor and the front-mounted V12 operate together.

Seat IBE


Seat's IBE concept is an electric city car, nearly a foot shorter than an Ibiza but lower and wider – giving it a dynamic, youthful appeal. It's powered by a front-mounted electric motor with a maximum output of 75kW (102ps), which is fed from a fairly small 18kWh lithium ion battery pack at the rear. It's Seat's essential electric concept, the car they had to display to show they were keeping up with tomorrow – but it doesn't appear to break any new ground: this is simply a stylish modern supermini with an electric drivetrain. Where are the wheel motors, the innovative battery technology, and the new-era packaging they could make possible?

Porsche 918 Spyder concept


Before the show opened for the press preview, let alone the public days, Porsche revealed its 918 Spyder concept car – here in the hands of Porsche CEO Michael Macht and champion driver Walter Röhrl. It is a mid-engined two-seater with plug-in hybrid drivetrain, using a 500bhp V8 and three electric motors with a total output of 160kW – yet Porsche says it delivers CO2 emissions of just 70g/km and fuel consumption of as little as 3.0 litres/100 kilometres (94mpg). It's said to be capable of a 7m30s Nürburgring lap – quicker than a Carrera GT.

Geneva show official website

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