The Geneva Motor Show opens to the public today, with a healthy dose of real-world excitement topping the bill in terms of new metal. Even the traditionally radical concept cars are almost without exception thinly-disguised production models – Honda’s Civic and Seat’s Leon prototypes give a brave and faithful impression of the future look of those mainstream models, and both will feature in next week's Autocar.
The new metal count was at exciting and almost unprecedented levels for a single motor show. The likes of the Bentley Continental Flying Spur, Ferrari F430 Spider, Aston Martin V8 Vantage and Lamborghini Concept S - previewing the Gallardo Roadster - meant there was plenty in the way of exotica, but accompanied by more affordable new cars that really drew the crowds.
The new Italian trio of Alfa Romeo Brera and 159, and the Fiat Croma, proved to be among the biggest attractions on press day, while the Mazda and Ford stands pulled in the crowds with the all-new MX-5 and Focus ST respectively. The Blue Oval also claimed to have discovered a new segment with the SAV concept, a car that will sit halfway between the Mondeo and Galaxy when concept gives way to a production version next year. Also in people-carrier mode was Vauxhall, whipping the sheet off the new Zafira midi-MPV, including a 240bhp VXR version.