For my money, the best thing at Geneva was on Ferrari’s stand. Not the intriguing FF, but the FF’s amazing four wheel drive system.

Designing an all-wheel drive system for a car with a transaxle gearbox is a very complex, probably thankless, task.

In fact, the only other car with such a layout is the Nissan GT-R, and Nissan’s solution is mighty complicated.  Because the propshaft of a transaxle car is driven directly by the engine, it spins at very high speed. You can’t drive the front wheels of a car from a propshaft turning at 4000rpm. You need a gearbox to slow the rotation so you can use the twist action to turn the wheels.

So the GT-R gets a set-up that uses a second propshaft, driven by the rear-mounted gearbox and running to the front of the car to drive the front wheels. If you ever see the running gear of a GT-R you can’t help but admire the effort that went into engineering, but you also boggle at the complexity and the madness of a car with two propshafts, running in opposite directions.

Even conventional longitudinally-engined, all-wheel drive cars have to use a clunky transfer case on the side of the transmission, with a propshaft running forward to the front of the car, where another gearbox splits the drive to the front wheels. Porsche’s version of this layout actually sees the driveshaft for the front left wheel running through the engine’s sump in order to allow the motor to be mounted low in the nose.