The 2002 Geneva Motor Show - March 2002
The Geneva Motor Show joins Detroit, Tokyo, Turin and Frankfurt in the elite club of motor shows as interesting for its concept cars as it is for its new car launches. The 2002 show is no different. Last year, we witnessed such gems as the Aston Martin 20/20 concept, the Bugatti Veyron, Citroen Osse concept, not to mention the Nissan Z car! What have we in store this year?
Of primary concept interest on the BMW stand is the CS1 concept. Obviously, BMW have taken cues from their 2001 X Coupe concept - the CS1 is a full four-seater convertible styling exercise. Sadly, it will remain a styling exercise. There is no room in the BMW line-up for another four-seat convertible, with the 3-series being a strong seller. Thankfully, BMW appear to be moving away from their conservative design of the last few generations. This was first seen in production in the radical new 7-series (which the CS1 shares it's iDrive control with) and we look set to see a new face on the next generation of 3 and 5-series. I like it. It is simple, yet stylish and with just the right amount of aggression to show BMW's sporting tendencies.
Chrysler has chosen not to show any new concept cars at Geneva this year, after an exciting Detroit show in January. However, Europe does get their first view of the Crossfire, which has made the move from potential concept to imminent production car. There have been subtle design changes in the translation, but the two-seat sports coupe retains the unique proportions and shape of the retrospective concept. The production car will be available in the UK in right hand drive late in 2003, powered by a 3.2-litre V6 engine. Drive is to the rear wheels, through either a six-speed manual or a five-speed automatic. It sounds to me as if Chrysler is gunning for a slice of the Audi TT market.
The Crossfire will be produced in Germany with the help of Karmann. As yet, prices and options have not yet been announced. We applaud DaimlerChrysler for the decision to make this car, and look forward to driving it.
Of more immediate interest is the special edition Chrysler PT Cruiser on display in Geneva. The Street Cruiser is the first in a series of factory-produced customised versions, which are to be introduced annually. The Street Cruiser is known as the Dream Cruiser in the States. It comes in one colour, which is exclusive to it - Inca Gold. Other distinguishing features include bespoke badging and 16 inch chrome wheels. If you like shiny things then this car is for you! The interior is similarly adorned, with special leather trim complementing the coloured accents. Other equipment matches the PT Cruiser Limited version, with the 2.0-litre petrol engine.
The Chrysler PT Street Cruiser will cost £17,775 on-the-road in the UK, and an additional £800 for an automatic gearbox. You may regard the PT Cruiser as a bit of an acquired taste, but get this - 310,000 have been sold world-wide since the car was launched.
Citroen - all-new MPV and super-mini
The exterior of Citroen's version of the all-new PSA MPV may not look as interesting on the outside as some of Citroen's latest offerings, but the C8 is a very serious stab at the full-size MPV market. The C8 replaces the dated Synergie later this year, with a larger body in all directions leading to much more space for passengers (up to eight) and luggage. The interior looks a lot more interesting than the drab exterior with the following features:
The UK engine range consists of a 138 bhp 2.0-litre, a 160 bhp 2.2-litre and two diesels: a 2.0-litre with 110 bhp and a 2.2-litre with 136 bhp. The diesels use the advanced HDi common-rail system. These can be allied to an automatic with sequential control or a traditional five-speed manual gearbox. The gear lever itself is mounted on the dashboard to ensure that the floor is completely flat, and the rear may be accessed by the front passengers allowing greater layout flexibility.
- Electric sliding rear doors.
- Sliding rear seats that can also be removed.
- A claimed 60 different stowage compartments!
- Air conditioning that splits the cabin into four distinct zones.
- Three electric sunroofs with blinds - one for each row of seats.
- Split-level dashboard.
As expected, safety is a built-in feature. The C8 comes standard with ESP, ABS, EBD and EBA, six airbags, tyre pressure monitors and automatic headlamps.
Alongside the new MPV is Citroen's eagerly awaited Saxo replacement, the curvy C3, which we reported on previously in The Car Enthusiast.
Ferrari 575M Maranello - revised supercar renamed
We have already reported the details of Ferrari's latest model, the stunning Ferrari 575M Maranello, which is an evolution of the beautiful 550 Maranello. That's no reason not to provide you with more pictures though! Click here for our earlier report on this car.
Hyundai Getz - new super-mini car
Hyundai launched the brand new Getz at the Geneva show. The new super-mini will be available in the UK in the autumn in three and five door guises. So far, the engine choice consists of 1.1, 1.3 and 1.6-litre DOHC petrol engines, and a 1.5 turbocharged diesel.
Maybach - super-brand re-launch
Perhaps this is not the best economic climate to launch a new super-luxury brand into, but DaimlerChrysler have gone ahead with the Maybach brand premiere (really a re-launch) in Geneva. The new Maybach saloon is absolutely huge, as was expected from the spy shot we showed you as far back as December 2000. Style, luxury, space and technology (even greater than the Mercedes-Benz S-class limousine range) are all being touted as unique brand identifiers. Thankfully, the car will get an all-new engine - the "Type 12" - which was also launched at Geneva. The figures are not to be sniffed at: 550 bhp and 900 Nm of torque! Then again, the car probably needs that to get on the move...
The Maybach saloon will be built next door to the S-class production line, though emphasis will be placed on bespoke options and craftsmanship. This car is intended to be a direct competitor for Rolls Royce and Bentley. In the UK, a Maybach sales team is taking deposits of £25,000 to reserve right-hand drive versions. You can call them on +441675 445900 for more information. Let them know who sent you...
Mazda MX Sport Runabout - production car disguised as a concept
I fully expect a version of this concept to be brought into production. There is nothing radical about the design. It amalgamates a sporty look with practicality and should replace the Japan-only Demio mini-MPV. This means that it will be in direct competition with the clever (and stylish) Honda Jazz. The Runabout has a compact body, measuring just 3.9 m long and 1.72 m wide, yet has been designed to accommodate four adults (or two adults and their mountain bikes). The overall height is 1.55 m, adding to the overall spacious feel.
Fuelling the non-concept fire is the debut in the Runabout of a new 1.5-litre DOHC engine mated to a four-speed automatic. Mazda have also announced production of a new small car in Valencia in Spain, beginning in 2003...
Star of Peugeot's stand this year is a pair of distinctive coupes - the RC Spades and RC Diamonds. Strange titles apart, stylistically, the cars are ready for production in my opinion, though the exotic materials used in their construction may prohibit that. Other than the colour schemes, the major difference between the concepts lies in the engine bay. The Spades has a 2.0-litre, 180 bhp, petrol engine, where as the Diamonds is powered by a 2.2-litre common-rail diesel unit. Interestingly, the claimed performance figures are identical.
Also on show is the new Peugeot 807 MPV and the stylish 206 SW (station-wagon).
Exclusive video footage:
1) The Peugeot 206 SW - this video is more or less an advert, but at least gives you the feel for the car's dimensions and style.
2) The Peugeot RC concept cars - entertaining track shots of the RC cars against each other - not really racing, but fun.
Pride of place on the MG Rover stand at Geneva is the TCV concept car. The TCV (Tourer Concept Vehicle) is an indication at future model plans within the small British company, and an exciting indication at that. Although the model on display is just that, MG Rover are claiming that it has been designed for production feasibility. You will not be surprised to hear that the car is a crossover concept, mixing off-road abilities with luxury and versatility. Apparently, the TCV will "spawn a new generation of MG and Rover products", and we are promised the first one in 2004.
So, from a functionality perspective, the concept scores highly. The versatility of the interior, and the rear luggage compartment in particular see to that. Aesthetically, some angles work, others do not. Head-on for instance, has a bit too much old Rover in it. The high rear three-quarter view is my favourite though. The car does manage to appear sporting from this angle. It remains to be seen how much Rover will bring to production.
The name "Vanden Plas" should have luxurious connotations, but I feel too many people will be reminded of some terrible '80s Rovers when they read the name of Rover's new stretched 75. The car is only to be launched in right hand drive to begin with (presumably for the British government), and appears to be a bargain at only £27,995. I can't see the rest of the European governments giving up their cars for it...
The only new production car on the Saab stand at Geneva is the 9-5 2.2 TiD, housing a new 120 bhp turbo diesel power plant. The four-cylinder car will go on sale in only a few weeks, starting at under £20,000 on-the-road in the UK.
Of interest to us European concept car lovers though is the pair of concepts on show - the lovely 9-3X and the older 9X. We are certain to get styling cues from this pair in forthcoming new Saabs, but sadly it is not likely that either will be produced as they are. Nothing new there then.
The Geneva show will allow many buyers their first glimpse of the all-new Ibiza, as it is currently only on sale in Italy and Spain. Click here for our previous article on this car.
Of more interest is the exciting new Leon Cupra R - SEAT's fastest and most powerful road car to date. The turbocharged 1.8-litre engine produced 210 bhp and a whopping 270 Nm of torque. This is coupled to a close-ratio six-speed gearbox to shoot the hatch to 62 mph in 7.2 seconds. The list of kit is extensive: ABS, TCS, ESP, HBA emergency braking, Brembo disc brakes, red four-pot callipers, lovely 5-spoke, 18 inch alloy wheels, a lowered and stiffened suspension set-up, a new body kit, Recaro seats, air conditioning, a six-CD player, bespoke leather trim and even front and side airbags. It should be a great value car.
Vauxhall / Opel / GM
Sales-wise, the most important car on the Vauxhall/Opel stand is the all-new Vectra. GM has finally broken the old Vectra/Cavalier mould on this version, and we hope they will be rewarded by an increase in sales. The Vauxhall Vectra goes on sale in the UK in June 2002 as a hatch or saloon. In 2003 we will also receive an estate and a crossover, in the form of the Signum - a practical coupe.
Two concept cars are on show - the near-to-production Concept M and the forward thinking GM AUTOnomy first seen in Detroit. The Concept M is GM's answer to the current crop of mini-MPVs, with a tall spacious body on a 2.63 m wheelbase. It is powered by a 1.6-litre turbocharged engine running on natural gas. 150 mph is claimed.
The AUTOnomy is designed around a fuel cell system as opposed to squeezing a fuel cell into a traditional car structure. It certainly is radical, though will have to wait for changed (read modernised) legislation to allow full drive-by-wire functionality.
The Astra Convertible is boosted (ahem) by the introduction of the powerful turbocharged engine from the Coupe, now producing 192 PS. Click here to read our views after driving the Coupe.
Just click on the thumbnails to view a high-resolution image. More details and pictures will be added as they come to hand.