It’s the first European show on the calendar year, the excitement and chatter is always heightened as a result, and so too are the great cars that go on show.
It’s a brilliant way to bridge that dull grey gap between January and spring.
So here are my five favourites from the show that will put a sunshine smile on your face!
OK, so not exactly fleet material, but I must admit I’ve been a fan of the original Audi R8 since its launch in 2007 – I think its supercar shape is timeless.However, when I saw the first pictures of the new car, I must admit to being a bit disappointed, as it looked virtually identical to the original.But, while the outside of the R8 looks the same, the big changes have taken place underneath. Now underpinned by Audi’s Multimaterial Space Frame construction, this has shaved an impressive 50kg off the weight. A bit like me in the gym. Ahem…On top of the weight loss, Audi has pumped up the performance. If you go for the Plus version, not only will you own the fastest ever Audi with a 205mph top speed, but also the quickest accelerating one too, with a 0-60 time of just 3.2 seconds! Whoo-hooh!
|BMW 2-Series Gran Tourer
I never thought I’d see the day when BMW offered a front-wheel drive MPV, but the 2-Series Active Tourer is fun to drive, has plenty of room for five and is fitted with efficient petrol or diesel engines. It certainly is a good way to attract new buyers to the German brand.But what do you do when five-seats in your 2-Series Active Tourer just aren’t enough for your growing family? Well, what you need is the 2-Series Gran Tourer, which was launched at the Geneva Show.Basically a longer, taller 2-Series Active Tourer, the Gran Tourer has two extra fold away seats, with two and four-wheel drive versions available. Likely to be a big fleet hit.Here’s our video review of the current BMW 2-Series Active Tourer.
The name might be the same, but be in no doubt, the all-new HR-V shares nothing with the 90s original.The new HR-V is smaller and now only available in two-wheel drive. Still, in the popular and ever-growing SUV market, I think the HR-V will stand out with its neat and distinctive exterior styling.Inside, the HR-V has a versatile interior with room for five, featuring the clever fold-flat ‘Magic seats’. Plus, there’s a practical 453-litre boot.On sale this summer, there will be the choice of a 128bhp, 1.5-litre petrol and a 118bhp 1.6-litre diesel.
Another new member of the growing mini SUV market is this sharp-looker from Mazda – the CX-3.
Underneath the distinctive metalwork, the CX-3 is loosely based on the also new Mazda2 supermini, with the choice of two 2.0-litre petrol and one 1.5-litre diesel engines.Available in five trim levels, the CX-3 is well-equipped with standard equipment including the seven-inch touch screen infotainment system. The CX-3 will also be a safe car, with curtain airbags, Hill Hold Assist, a Tyre Pressure Monitoring System and Dynamic Stability Control added on top of the expected safety kit.CX-3 prices will start at £17,595 and the compact SUV hits the UK in June.
|Porsche Cayman GT4
OK I topped this list with a sports car, and I think I should tail it with one…A new GT3 version of the legendary 911 would usually be top news of any Geneva Porsche stand, but not this year! Instead, its baby brother, the Cayman GT4, was making all the headlines and it’s not hard to see why.The sportiest Cayman ever, the GT4 boasts a 380bhp punch from the 3.8-litre flat-six and this fast Porsche bucks the trend of performance cars with automatic transmission – as it’s only available with six-speed manual.The Cayman GT4’s pumped-up performance is matched by the tougher bodykit and that large, adjustable rear wing. Lucky first buyers will get behind the wheel of this special car at the end of this month. Can’t wait. I’m on the phone to Porsche now…