The beginning of March is an exciting time for the motor industry and its staff, as most jump on a plane and decamp to the home of expensive clocks – Geneva!
Why? Well, it’s the first European opportunity in 2017 for the car executives to show their new launches – and their concepts – which will define the important new cars of this year, and what we can look forward to in the future.
Here are 10 of my favourite newcomers from the Geneva Palexpo show hall this year.
It seems like the new A5 has only just been launched, yet we’ve already had the new Sportback five-door hatch and sleek drop-top convertible models. To complete the range, one of the highlights on Audi’s Geneva stand was this performance range-topper, the 444bhp RS5. If all that performance isn’t exciting enough, you certainly won’t miss the RS5 with its aggressive front air dam, honeycomb grille and those bolstered wheel arches. If you’re a fast Audi fan, you’ll be pleased to know the first cars will hit UK shores in the summer. (Raises hand for one…)
BMW 5 Series Touring
Like Audi, BMW hasn’t been slow to complete the range of its latest new model – a business favourite, the all-new 5 Series executive. On top of all the impressive tech that this BMW brings to the class, the Touring adds useful extra practicality in the form of its 570-litre boot – 10 more than the just launched saloon. Other useful Touring features include the 40:20:40 split rear seat which has seat backs that are electrically operated and the useful opening tailgate glass. The new Touring arrives summer, providing elegant carrying ability in its usual effortless manner.
Ferrari 612 Superfast
Oh wow! OK, not one for many fleets, but… Never was a car name so apt – but with 789bhp, 0-62mph acceleration in 2.9 seconds and a top speed of 211mph, surely ‘Insanelyfast’ would be more suitable. It’s not just about the performance with this new Ferrari – just look at it, the curvy coupe has to be the perfect mix of beauty and menace. I love it. But need to find the money to fund it! And build an extension on the garage.
Hyundai i30 Tourer
The new i30 is an attractive, high value hatch, but at Geneva it revealed its practical side with the elegant new Tourer estate. The big news is the extra space over the hatch, which now totals 602-litres and with all the seats folded increases to a massive 1,650-litres. The rest is as the hatch, with the choice of two petrol and three diesel engines plus a full suite of technology including five- or eight-inch infotainment screens with Apple or Android connectivity.
This car, the Stinger, could be the car to change brand perceptions at Kia. If that five-door GT styling doesn’t get you excited, the punch of the range-topping 3.0-litre twin-turbo V6 should! Don’t worry though, there’s more business-friendly 2.0-litre turbo petrol and diesel versions that are expected to be the top sellers. We haven’t got long to wait until it hits the UK either, as it’s launched by the end of the year.
If McLaren is going Ferrari-chasing, then the new 720S is a strong hand to play. The replacement for the 650S boasts 711bhp from a brand new 4.0-litre V8 twin-turbo, with a massive 770Nm of torque. With this McLaren it’s not just the torque from the engine that is impressive – the performance figures are enough to make you gasp too, with 62mph acceleration taking just 2.9 seconds, with a top speed of 212mph. The eye-less looks might divide opinion, but I reckon this new McLaren has all the right ingredients for my perfect supercar.
Porsche Panamera Sport Turismo
Like the idea of the latest four-seat Porsche Panamera, but need a touch more practicality? Well, Porsche revealed the solution in the form of the new Sport Turismo models launched at the show. Basically the production version of the 2012 concept, the Gran Turismo, it has a more upright, estate car-look, equalling a 520-litre boot and a third seat in the back. Available to order now, it is priced from £73,017 for the entry-level Panamera 4 Sport Turismo.
There’s no doubt that the outgoing SEAT Ibiza was a good car, but against more modern rivals it felt dated inside and out. No longer – here’s the all-new Ibiza supermini. Outside, the scaled-down Leon styling looks sharp. The interior is even more impressive, as the look and feel I’ve seen is more like a class above and spacious too. On sale by early summer, a choice of petrol and diesel engines will be available.
Vauxhall Insignia Grand Sport
Even the news of Vauxhall’s take over by PSA couldn’t overshadow the launch of the Insignia Grand Sport at Geneva. The replacement for the business favourite is even bigger and more upmarket. In five-door form, the wheelbase is lengthened by 92mm, with legroom to match the Skoda Superb (in other words, stretch out in the back and relax). Prices for the new fleet favourite are expected to start at around £17,000 and deliveries will start in the summer.
If like me you like the idea of a Volvo XC90, but don’t need all that space, then the new baby XC60 might appeal. Squint and it looks like an XC90, but look closer and the 60 has a lower roofline and more detail down the flanks. Inside, like its big brother, the touch-screen infotainment is carried over, along with the classy wood finishes. As you’d expect there’s the full set of Volvo safety kit included as standard. This new baby Volvo SUV will go on sale in the UK this summer and prices are expected to start at over £30,000. A sure winner for fleet user choosers.