A quick look at the Geneva Motor Show

The Geneva Motor Show is done and dusted for 2016. It was my second Geneva show, having first attended there as a ‘civilian’ in 2011, just before going to work for Saab Automobile. This time I was there as an employee of Koenigsegg Automotive AB. How times change.

Opinions here are my own, of course.

It was busy, as you might expect. I barely had any time to post things online as I was so busy talking to people from the press. It’s great to meet the press and it’s productive in the sense of relationships and setting future appointments for them to come and report on our company. But it also drains your productivity in terms of actually producing content.

And having a look around at everything else? Forget it. The photos you’re about to see of things-that-are-not-Koenigseggs were all taken in one 20 minute sprint around the show before I had to walk to the airport (next door) to fly back to Sweden.

First, the Koenigsegg stand.

It reminded me a lot of the Saab stands of old, to be honest. Very Scandi. Very white, with Koenigsegg highlights in copper. Uncluttered. Tasteful. All credit for this goes to Lisa, our Art Director, who worked her butt off to get the right look. It paid off in spades. The simplicity of the stand allowed our cars to shine. And boy, did they shine!

The Regera on show was our production spec car, painted in Candy Apple Red with a brave leather and cloth interior. It was arguably the star of the whole Geneva show in terms of the substance of reports. The Chiron took the award for the sheer volume of reports, which was to be expected, but we didn’t lose any respect at all with the tone of the reportage about the Regera.

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Car #2 was a car called the “One of 1”. It’s the first of a series of three vehicles to be built that will make up the last of the Agera series of cars. These cars will have no options list. Everything is available. They will also have completely unique and bespoke aerodynamic treatments. The aero you see on this car will only be used for this car. The next car in the ‘Final’ series will have different aero, which will be determined by the customer in conjunction with our engineers.

The paint on this car doesn’t shine as it should under show lights. Get this car in the daylight on a sunny day and the yellow undertones shine through and it looks like a fireball. It might just be my favourite Koenigsegg so far.

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The interior is also a first, being our first polished aluminium finish.

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Our third and final car was an Agera RS in bright yellow with red accents. The owner of the car saw it complete for the first time at the show and he was over the moon. He was taking photos of it on the stand for two full days. It was very rewarding to see the joy on his face and he’s a super-nice guy, to boot. He’s a multiple supercar owner so seeing his excitement over his Agera RS was very gratifying for us.

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The interior of the Agera ML – named using the owner’s initials – features yellow piping on the seats and black buttons on the control centre. Christian even autographed the carbon dashboard with a gold pen.

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Our three cars. Strong, clean and super fast.

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Porsche

This is the Porsche stand. Note that of the 12 cars Porsche had on display, 5 were SUVs or sedans. Nothing stays the same.

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This is the car that had EVERYONE talking: the Porsche 911 R.

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Why? Well……

It’s got a traditional 911 rear-engined layout with a 500hp flat six from the GT3 RS. It’s 110lbs lighter than the GT3 RS thanks to some carbon fibre panels and a magnesium roof. Those things are nice, but the big difference is in the number of pedals on the floor. Super hi-po Porsches haven’t come with a manual gearbox for years. They’ve all got the super-quick PDK automatic transmission. The 911 R changes all that.

A high spec Porsche with a stick shift? No wonder all 991 units are already spoken for.

Below is my personal favourite from the Porsche stand – the Cayman GT4. What a car! I’ll take mine in dark blue, thanks.

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A question to ponder – is Porsche in a state of denial over the Cayman? The 911 is the daddy because of 50 years of history but the Cayman lends itself to much better handling by default because of its mid-engined layout.

Put it this way – if Porsche went all-out on a Cayman, would it be a better car to drive than an all-out 911? I suspect so. And if that’s the case, Porsche is in denial.

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Porsche’s only splash of colour on the stand came courtesy of the newly-renamed 718 Boxster, above. The new mid-engined Porsche ragtops are notable for being the first Porsches since the 914 to use a flat-4 engine and the first Porsches ever to use a turbocharged flat-4 engine.

Who’d have thought this turbocharging thing would ever take off?

Bugatti

As mentioned above, the new Bugatti Chiron was always going to be the big news of this year’s Geneva show. And it was. 500 will be made and I think I’ve read some pundits saying that they’re all sold, which is ….. interesting.

The styling down the side of the car is very nice. I’m not so sure about the rear and the front doesn’t really feel like anything new. I got into the Bugatti stand and managed to snap off these two photos, but that’s all.

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The interior looked a little simple to me. I didn’t get into the car but I’m told by people who did that the interior execution is amazing. Yes, I was told this by people I work with (names withheld) but let’s just say we’re all in a position to care about the fact that we lift an already good level of execution to meet even higher standards.

By all reports, the Bugattis are amazing cars to drive. They’re obviously a great feat of engineering. Well done.

Spyker

How good was it to see Spyker back with a new car this year???

This is the C8 Preliator. It features the same Audi V8 from previous Spykers but this time it’s supercharged.

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The interior will be familiar to all Spyker fans with quilted leather, polished aluminium and the famous exposed gear linkage.

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Victor plans to build 50 of these new models and he took more than 20 orders during the Geneva show. The car is on its way to the New York Auto Show now, where he hopes to sell the rest. I hope he succeeds.

The world doesn’t need another generic car company but it could do with a few more Spykers.

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Victor actually spent an hour or so at the Koenigsegg stand and it was a real pleasure to catch up with him. He’s as supercharged as ever, just like the Preliator, and super-happy to be back making cars again.

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Lamborghini

Lambo released the ‘Centenario’ – a limited edition to mark Ferrucio Lamborghini’s 100th birthday. It’s got the usual madness-on-steroids design that we all love Lambo for and much was made of the exposed carbon fibre body, mostly because it’s Lamborghini’s first time doing this. Well done, Lamborghini.

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Well, almost.

I’ve googled around and nobody’s commented on the rather obvious flaw in the carbon. Can you see it? It’s just visible in one of these photos. The press corps mostly uses the photos that companies send them and I doubt the flaw is visible in those, but it’s visible on the real car. Just. If you enlarge the pic and look in just the right spot……

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Pagani

Pagani were directly opposite the Koenigsegg stand (along with Bugatti). Hypercar Row, we should call it.

Pagani’s big story was the Hyuara BC, a lightened edition created in memory of Horacio Pagani’s good friend and first ever customer, Benny Caiola.

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Touring Superleggera

Italian coachbuilder Superleggera stunned everyone with the Disco Volante coupe a few years ago. This year it was the Spyder’s turn.

Magnifico!

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It’s Superleggera’s 90th anniversary this year and the Spyder was created to celebrate the milestone. It was designed in consultation with Alfa Romeo and is built from hand-formed aluminium on an Alfa Romeo 8C rolling chassis.

Seven of them will be made. Oh, to be one of those seven lucky people.

Honda NSX

After a decade or so wandering in a wilderness populated by sensible cars, Honda is trying to rediscover its mojo as a Japanese performance cult-car company.

The original NSX was a jaw dropper because it was sooooo different to anything the company had made before it. And it was so good. And Ayrton Senna.

Have they managed the same trick with the new NSX? I think the jury’s still out. It looks good, for sure, but it doesn’t look as radically different as the original car. It’ll all come down to what’s underneath, I guess.

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Mazda

So much has been made of the new MX-5 that I had to stop and take a quick look.

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A quick look was all I managed, though, because when I got to the Mazda stand I was instantly smitten with Mazda’s RX Vision concept car.

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The car made its global debut last year at the Tokyo Motor Show but I’m well pleased they decided to bring it to Geneva. It is pure automotive pornography (OK, aside from that distracting rear ‘spoiler’ and the faux carbon wheels)

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The spin says that Mazda are still looking at developing a rotary engine that can work in an emissions- and economy-conscious time and that the RX Vision is a car that’s intended to highlight both Mazda’s interest in a rotary of the future, as well as being a design statement for Mazda’s future looks. I think it has more to do with the latter than the former, but that’s just me.

Spin it however you like, Mazda. What you’ve built is truly beautiful. I wouldn’t change a thing.

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OK, I’d remove that rear spoiler. But other than that, I wouldn’t change a thing.

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Aston Martin

Martini drinking Bond wannabes would have been gushing at the Aston Martin stand this year as the company released the new DB11.

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Martin. Aston Martin.

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As an aside, one of the DB10s used in the latest Bond film, Spectre – and the only DB10 actually running – was sold at auction in London while the Geneva Motor Show was happening.

Rimac

It was interesting to see Rimac at Geneva. Their Concept One sports car looks absolutely fantastic.

Rimac are one of Koenigsegg’s partners in the development of the Regera’s powertrain so they know their electric stuff.

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Maserati

Good manners dictate that if you can’t say anything nice about someone (or something) then you shouldn’t say anything at all.

Witness my stone cold silence, then, as I show you these images of the latest sellout to SUV conventionalism, the Maserati Levante.

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Ferrari

They’re now calling this the GTC4 Lusso.

FFS Ferrari, FF is easier to remember.

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The Ferrari stand, for those who are interested.

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Fiat

The Fiat stand was a bit more interesting than the Fezza stand, to be honest. The reason? The new Fiat 124 Spider!

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If you think it looks familiar, that’s probably because of its Mazda MX-5 roots. This is the car that the Italians designed along with Mazda. It was originally going to be a new Alfa Romeo Spider but the powers-that-be decided Alfa had to go more upmarket, so it became a Fiat Spider instead.

And it works. It’s quite cute and it received a lot of attention. Its proportions are obviously the same as the MX-5 but it looks distinctly Fiat. If it drives like the MX-5 then they’re on to a winner.

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And speak of the devil…..

Alfa Romeo

Readers of this site know that Alfa Romeo is one of my favourite car companies. I’ve owned a bunch of them and I’m very interested in the company’s future. That future rests on a knife-edge at the moment as Sergio tries to take Alfa into the performance market alongside Maserati, Porsche, etc.

It’s a big gamble. The first shot was the luscious but slightly hamstrung 8C. Then came the equally luscious but better-received Alfa 4C (shown prominently this year at Geneva).

This year, it was the turn of the new Giulia. There have been rumours (vehemently denied by Alfa) that the Giulia was facing production delays due to safety concerns. Let’s hope they’re all untrue because Alfa needs a hit like Donald Trump needs an audience of braindead rednecks. They die without it.

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The Giulia is more handsome than beautiful. It won’t make your face melt like Alfas past, but that’s not the point with this car. This Alfa needs performance credentials and the early mail says it’s well sorted. Let’s hope so.

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The 4C was also prominent. I like the exposed carbon roof on this white model. Tasty.

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I’ve GOT to get some seat time in one of these. It’s one of the only modern cars on my realistic bucket list.

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RUF

A Porsche 911 used to be on my realistic bucket list, but then The Great Porsche 911 Inflation happened (2013-ongoing). The RUF stand is a good example of all those cars we mere mortals might have been able to afford a few years ago, but are now removed from arm’s reach.

So pretty.

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And finally……

Sow’s Ear, Silk Purse

A Panamera that actually looks good.

And it’s purple!! Mmmmmmmm. There aren’t enough purple cars in the world.

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17 Comments

  1. Great write up, Swade! Geneva sounded awesome. Good to see VM back, and yes, there aren’t enough purple cars in the world. I had a 9000 CSE 2.3t Anniversary in “Amethyst” with cream leather – superb car, superb colour. Unfortunately I emulated Eric “on the roof” Carlsson with it.

    All the best!

    1. I could have bought a purple Saab Sonett III from the US back around 2009 or so. Needed lots of work. I should have pulled the trigger on that one as they only made the purple ones for one year and they look great.

    2. Oh, an Amethyst 9000! (I always wanted to see one of the very few Amethyst Violet Aeros with the optional Wool interior. I read about the options somewhere, but I’ve never seen one!)

      Other rad purple cars: e36 BMW M3 in either Daytona Violet, or Techno Violet. Always like those.

      Swade, thanks for the photos and commentary. Always love it.

      ~Peter

  2. Nice review Swade, the only one I bothered to read because I knew it would be good and concise, and you are a skilled photographer. Exterior Koenigsegg style beats the Chiron hands down in my opinion, not sure about the interior. I have to admit though that Victor Muller’s designs are my hands down favorite; I can literally stare at that interior for hours.
    And hey, that rough and stubborn beard style makes you better looking than Brad Pitt!

  3. With my SAAB world getting more quiet, it sure was a welcome joy to read your latest entry — as always, an excellent write up and pictorial!!

    It is good to hear that VM is still in the game, what a ball of abundant energy and passion he is. The C8 looks good, I have always loved the Spyker interiors.

    I’m really happy for you. It appears you have landed in a truly win-win situation, with whom I consider an engineering genius in CVK!!!

  4. Impossibly impressive photos for a 20-minute tour Steve. Very well reported indeed!

    1. That may just happen. One of the guys at work has a Roadster. I’ll pinch the keys of him when the weather gets better.

      I think I’ll always be an internal combustion guy, but electric’s going to be more and more common in the very near future.

  5. Swade….great report. You are FAST to do those photos in 20 minutes!

    I am so glad you had any time to send a great report to your faithful worldwide following!

    Porsche IS in Denial……you are so right. The Cayman is a stunner for sure. Interesting that the new 911s are all turbos! Thanks for posting the RUF RS 911 photo THAT is a beautiful car. I need to go for spirited mountain drive today!

    We had a wonderful hypercar show here on USA TV that featured the Koenisegg. I am sure you know all about it. Loved it……so happy you are relishing your dream job…..could not happen to a more deserving chap.

    I am restoring a RED 2000 Saab 9-5 Aero wagon 5 speed stick. Will put my 300HP 2.3 motor in it along with lots of other goodies…..will send you photos when it is done…..current count is 5 9-5 Aeros in our family. 2 saloons and 3 wagons!!

    Cheers, Dick

  6. Wow. I agree with your disdain of the Porsche and Maserati SUV models. Does the world really need another one of those? Let Range Rover and Mercedes own that market and move on.

    I agree with your assessment of the Cayman/Boxster relative value. What a comparative bargain!

    Love the Kseggs. Such high-end thinking and execution. So few companies out there like that. You are lucky to work with them.

    Finally, I don’t see the flaw in the Ferrari, but I didn’t look that hard. Enlighten us, if you please.

  7. Swade does the one of your guys at work ( with the Tesla ) have an engine & 4 wheels ? You said you were going to pinch his keys ( keys of him ) when the weather gets better !!

  8. Great ‘quicky ‘ post, Swade! And I totally agree with your 911 v Caymann comments. How anyone can think that dangling that much grunt out back behind the rear wheels is a good idea defies all logic. The Caymann’s the clear evolution (just a decade or two late).

  9. That’s a great and rather fitting picture with yourself, VM, and CVK. Like you, I was really pleased to see the new Spyker – and even more pleased to hear of those orders coming in! Great stuff! 124 looks good, too!

  10. Wow, Steven thanks!
    What a beautiful reportage from Geneva.
    The Mazda is beautiful!
    ca