Welcome to Autocar’s extended coverage of the Geneva motor show, one of Europe’s premier motoring events and the stage for a long list of new car debuts.
Geneva is an institution, having been held annually for more than 100 years. It has always been held up alongside Frankfurt as a priority show for manufacturers looking to unveil their latest concepts and production models for the first time.
Unlike the exodus of last year's Paris motor show, there were only a few big names that wouldn't be appearing with new models in Switzerland this year, with Ford and Jaguar Land Rover being the most prominent no-shows.
That still left plenty of manufacturers primed to reveal new metal, and we’re here to bring you every single one. Matt Prior, Jim Holder, Mark Tisshaw, Rachel Burgess and Lawrence Allan are on the ground in Switzerland, while James Attwood, Tom Morgan and Felix Page are supporting from the UK.
Geneva motor show 2019: Full show report
Well, we knew from the start this show would be about ever more practical and enticing electric cars, and about older school supercar manufacturers starting to fight for their relevance. They’re not in trouble, mind. Far from it.
But there was the definite overtone in Switzerland this week that they’ll be the place where a spare-me-that-electric-nonsense attitude lasts longest among customers.
As McLaren’s Mike Flewitt told Autocar recently, customers never ask Woking for electric supercars, even though they’ll be getting hybrids soon, and all-electric McLaren models are definitely on the agenda. For now, McLaren revealed news of a more spacious but conventionally power “even more considered” Grand Tourer car later this year.
Aston Martin showed how electrification will flow into the upper echelons with its spectacular, battery-only Lagonda All-Terrain Concept. In an outlandish display of ambition it also had the four-wheel-drive, limited edition hybrid AM-RB 003 ‘son of Valkyrie’ and the two-wheel-drive hybrid Vanquish Vision (whose styling some of us preferred), the latter intended to take on whatever the Ferrari mid-engined offering has become by 2022.
There’s an air of profound impatience at Aston, driven to some extent by bearish forecasts of its share price trajectory in some financial media. The will to ‘prove ‘em wrong’ is strong indeed. Here and now, the best-known Italian supercar makers did what they do: Lamborghini cut the top off two V12 models to create the Huracan Evo Spyder and Aventador SVJ Roadster, while Ferrari did a relatively light refresh of the 488 and called it the F8 Tributo.
A French firm but with Italian supercar sensibilities, Bugatti (almost predictably) stretched our already overloaded capacity for amazement by showing the £14m ‘Voiture Noire’, a one-off coupe modelled on the mid-‘30s Type 57 Atlantic and rumoured to be for VW patriarch, Ferdinand Piech, though in familiar Piech style the matter wasn’t quite confirmed.
More supercars? Leeds-based millionaire engineer Lawrence Tomlinson unwrapped his track-based front mid-engined supercar and named it Akula. That’s the Russian word for shark — and a name so cool and well-aimed that we all wondered how the platoons of nomenclature experts who get drafted in to name Fords, Volkswagens and Peugeots could possibly have missed it.