For a while, with about a week to go, the pundits were saying the dominating feature of this year's Geneva motor show would be the debut of a bevy of gently desirable new B-segment SUVs, coming to boost the only healthily expanding market class in Europe from around 150,000 sales last year to upwards of 400,000 in 2014.
This expansion and its impressive scale is real, and indeed big news, especially if you're a mainstream manufacturer with factories to fill or a dealer who urgently needs more buying customers. But in the event, the debut of this gently appealing clutch of suburban favourites was trashed, binned, flattened and soundly stamped upon by something much, much bigger in headline terms — the powerful debut of the most extraordinary collection of super-performance cars ever seen at a single motor show.
Everyone knew the finished version of the McLaren P1 would be in Geneva's Palexpo exhibition hall, just as everyone was pretty sure about the arrival of Ferrari's "new Enzo", though no-one knew its name would be the quixotic "LaFerrari", whose naming difficulty was foreshadowed 10 years ago when Ferrari dubbed its then top-end supercar Enzo.
How will they ever top that, we wondered, and now its clear that they can't. Anyway, the mighty Macca-Fandango duet was joined this year by the new Porsche 911 GT3, the super-exclusive Lamborghini Veneno and several more developments of the perennial Bugatti Veyron, to complete a big-name quintet. This was starting to look like a Turin Show from the good old days 20 years ago, when exotic cars ruled the earth.
Then when you stirred in quality supporting ingredients like the Koenigsegg Hundra (surely this bizarre name holds a decent car back), the latest Pagani, the Spyker B6 Venator concept, the Pininfarina Sergio concept, the handsome Chevy Corvette convertible - and spiced it further with some super-powerful luxury cars such as the 624bhp Rolls-Royce Wraith and the revised (with 17 per cent more power) Aston Rapide S, this Geneva '13 looked principally like a horsepower parade of epic proportions.
The junior SUVs were indeed there in force. The quirky Peugeot 2008 is tipped as Europe's market leader, with the Renault Captur and Ford EcoSport as its wingmen. These will be joining the Vauxhall Mokka and Chevy Traxx (shown last October) to challenge the former leader, Nissan Juke, before the Honda Urban (a concept today) and the Fiat 500X wade in. So large and so abrupt is the big manufacturers' migration to this sector, that the experts say its likely no one model will sell more than current models do now, and base superminis such as the Ford Fiesta, Renault Clio and Peugeot 208 are likely to be cannibalised.
Ofher stuff? The pick for me was the exquisite Volkswagen XL1 super-economy car, shown in production form and cleared for manufacture in two batches, but still without a price. We speculated on £40k, and decided there'd still be a market.
Also impressive as eye-pullers were the fastest-ever Jag saloon, the XJR-S, and the Vauxhall-Adam-on-steroids concept, called Adam Rocks. The rest were worthy, rather than lustrous. Various Ssangyongs, the four-cylinder Infiniti Q50, Golf and Toyota Auris estates - none of these were given much attention. People just continued to battle to view the Ferrari, McLaren and Lamborghini, and given the novelty of this occasion, they were right to do so.
Click the image above to launch the exclusive motor show gallery.