Nearly every car manufacturer in the world goes to the Geneva Motor Show. It's one of the largest events of its kind on the planet and represents a unique opportunity for automotive OEMs to showcase their latest products to an audience that cars. What's more, the Geneva Motor Show – or GIMS – serves as a sort of industry forum, where technology and regulations are discussed and debated.
We've been reporting live from the event. Tuesday March 6 was the first media day, which is when the majority of significant launches took place, and you can see some of our favourites below. You can also read our car-by-car guide to the 2018 GIMS here.
Read more from the 2018 Geneva Motor Show
- Volvo XC40 wins European Car of the Year award
- Bentley Bentayga gets plug-in hybrid option
- Honda ditches diesel for new CR-V
- Read our car-by-car event guide here
The hot topics at this year's Geneva Motor Show are autonomy and driverless cars, emissions and environmental regulations, and of course Brexit. Stay tuned as more stories emerge from the event over the next fortnight.
After two press preview days, the show opens to the public on Thursday March 8 and runs until March 18.
The end of the awful apostrophe (it's been known as the Cee'd since launch) and a new chassis platform for the South Korean firm's family hatchback we already knew about, but the news from Geneva was the debut of the estate (sorry, Sportwagon) version with a huge (600-litre) luggage capacity.
Standout features include an electrically powered tailgate and split seat folding to provide a totally flat floor.
With the front derived from the Ceed hatchback and the back from the larger Optima SW, this new family station wagon is on sale this autumn; hold the line if you've got a grandfather clock to shift.
Aston Martin reveals its Lagonda Vision
Part of a hat trick of reborn Lagonda model ideas, each powered by battery and destined for production as soon as 2021, the wardrobe-doored Vision concept is very similar to many other grand tourers we’ve seen over the years.
These range from Gerry McGovern’s work at Lincoln, to the same company’s Vignale concept tourer from the last century. In fact these doors present all sorts of technical difficulties including passing side impact tests in the US, which were once described by Aston Martin’s chief engineer as "picking the car up and throwing it at a telephone pole".
Other Lagonda concepts include an SUV and a coupe. I didn’t like them much, but one Aston I’m changing my mind about is the new Vantage which we are shortly going to be driving.
The press pictures of this car that Aston Martin showed us present a rather snouty beast, similar to the Valkyrie but without that car’s somewhat redeeming weirdness. In fact, on its stand in gunmetal grey, it looked a formidable road burner, with lovely short overhangs and a prominent – if very low-mounted grille.
We’ll be seeing it on the road in a week when we can change our minds all over again. You can read all about the new model here.
Mercedes-Benz C-class C300 de
Last year, its fourth on sale, the current C-class generation was Merc's best-selling model. That's 415,000 sold in estate and saloon forms and, with almost one-in-five Mercedes sold being a C-class, the task of bringing Benthamite economics to fuel savings means starting with this car.
And so it is with the new C300de, which seems to have slipped under the PR radar at Geneva. This is the diesel plug-in hybrid, which is the first use of the company's ultra-modern 194PS two-litre OM654 diesel unit in a plug-in configuration.
Ola Källenius, Mercedes's head of R&D, introduced the car, saying that he thought this first-ever Mercedes plug in "is more than just a bridging technology. After our €3 billion investment into these engines, they combine sustainability, practicality and performance...
"With the right technology, diesel has a future, improving it is better than banning it."
With 516lb ft of torque at just 1,400rpm, there's no shortage of go from this configuration. The 90kW electric driveline and 13.5kWh lithium-ion battery gives a claimed all-electric range of up to 31 miles.
Volvo's V60 is the Swedish estate we've been waiting for
The march of Volvo’s scalable platform architecture continues, with this new V60 mid-sized estate which goes on sale this September. This market is highly competitive with models such a BMW’s 3-series Touring, Audi’s A4 Avant and the Mercedes-Benz C-class estate.
Volvo's new car is longer with a more generous wheelbase and more space than it’s predecessor, which was based on a Ford Focus platform. In fact the car is transformed, with all the nice bits out of the XC90 facia including that portrait centre-mounted touchscreen.
Engines will be the company’s 2.0-litre turbo four-cylinder units in petrol and diesel guises with various power outputs, as well as a new plug-in hybrid with a three-cylinder petrol engine.
Lexus pretends young people will buy its new car
While Lexus has never been in the pile ‘em high and sell ‘em cheap game, the CT200h was the nearest it came to a mass-market automobile. Not any more, as the company has lofty hopes for its new UX SUV, which despite appearances is only just bigger than the CT200h.
Engines will be hybrid only (though there are petrol options for countries other than the UK) and Lexus is hoping that buyers will be a bit younger than its normally silver haired constituency. It goes on sale at the end of the year.
Toyota GR Supra steals the show
All I want for Christmas... is one of these, writes Andrew English. The new Supra has been a motoring hot topic since the cooperation with BMW first started years ago. BMW needs a new Z4, Toyota, insiders tell us, wanted a full-on sports car that goes ‘BAAAAARGGH with flames that come out of the exhaust’...
This is it, and although the road car is a year away (we’ll see it in Detroit), what we can tell you is that if you strip off the more outrageous aerodynamic devices of this Gazoo Racing example, the road version will not be so very different.
It does share the basic platform with the BMW Z4, and while we were told only about seven other parts are shared between the two, I now understand that one of these 'parts' is the engine. Specifically, a six-cylinder.
It looks smaller and more compact than the old Supra which was a bit of a boulevardier in some versions; there’s nothing namby pamby about this little bolide.
Morgan Plus 8 50th 'auf wiedersehen' Anniversary edition
"We all want to build a timeless classic," mused JLR boss Ralf Speth at the launch of the new Jaguar I-Pace. But less than 50 yards away, there was one.
Morgan’s Plus 8 model was launched in 1968 when Peter Morgan ran the company on behalf of his family, only the second man to run Morgan, having taken over from his father. An essentially decent and thoroughly English man, Peter Morgan admitted he went through hoops with the design and final details of this extraordinary car. His time wasn’t wasted – those early Plus 8s look as clean and delightful as they did then and the market agrees with older models fetching eye-watering sums.
So 50 years on, Morgan is making 50 anniversary models which will also mark the end of its association with the BMW naturally-aspirated V8 engine. Weighing just 1,100kg, these back-to-basics cars will muster some 367bhp and are available in blue as a speedster or green as a convertible. Buyers will also get a Christopher Ward watch thrown in with a part of MMC 11, the most famous racing Morgan, incorporated into the back.
The price? Ah yes, well that’ll be £107,000 plus VAT and road taxes, which makes it a toy only for the very rich.
Toyota's Auris becomes the latest to quit diesel
This all-new, third-generation version of Toyota’s family hatchback is based on Toyota’s Toyota New Generation Architecture (TNGA) platform, which gives it better proportions and a bigger cabin, writes Andrew English. Not entirely sure about the two-tone black/grey paintwork, but, as we like to say, ‘other colours are available’. TNGA also means the car has a lower centre of gravity, which helps keep it on the road and should make it better to drive than the outgoing model.
Toyota says it’s stopping the production of diesel engines (though it’s an open secret that its diesels were never very good in the first place). This move will be fairly simple for the two cars which still burn the fuel, the Auris and the outgoing Verso, not so simple for the mighty Land Cruiser which is an all-diesel range.
Anyway, it means new Auris will have a choice of two different hybrid systems: a 1.8-litre based system using the Deeside built engine; or the 2.0-litre 180bhp based system which promises to be more sporty if less economical.
Thanks to last year’s investment in the company’s Burnaston plant, the new Auris will be built there in all its forms for the UK and Europe. It’ll be launched in early 2019.
Subaru 'Viziv' estate edges closer to production
It's getting there, writes Paul Hudson. Subaru has released a string of Viziv (standing for "vision for innovation") concepts over the past five years and the latest one is the most complete yet. There are few tech details, but the handsome estate-style body houses the Subaru trademarks of a horizontally-opposed boxer engine in the front and permanent all-wheel drive.
Subaru is to be applauded for championing driver involvement and enjoyment at a time when seemingly everyone else is looking at automated vehicles, though the Japanese firm's commitment to CVT gearboxes puts its cars at a dynamic disadvantage in Europe.
The front end more resembles origami than a car but it's a striking thing, with a large-Impreza-style scoop built into the bonnet that will satisfy any boy racer.
Could the Skoda Vision X fill a Yeti-shaped hole in our hearts?
This smashing little car is widely tipped to be the next and third SUV/crossover for the Czech marque, and perhaps a proper replacement for the much-missed Yeti, writes Andrew English.
What’s more, Skoda’s engineers have returned to their role as the James Garner 'scrounger' character from The Great Escape, just as they did with Yeti. So before building this concept they drove over to Wolfsburg in a couple of trucks, helping themselves to the new MQB AO platform (with some extra steel work) and whatever else took their fancy.
They then assembled a car with an electric motor in the rear axle to give it both hybrid and 4x4 capabilities. Don’t forget that early concept studies by Volvo and Land Rover showed this configuration to be an inherently balanced and capable 4x4 system.
As it appears at Geneva, the Vision X is designed to promote compressed natural gas (CNG) as a fuel, so the 130PS 1.5-litre engine burns this relatively niche fuel. There’s a mild hybrid system together with an all-electric mode (with a zero-emissions range of just 2km). For production – and surely this car will be made –however the full range of small petrol, diesel and hybrid systems will be pinched from the VW parts bin.
Other neat stuff includes a smart parking app, which uses an algorithm to predict where parking spaces will be when you arrive at the car park/city/town. There’s also a travel app, which plots congestion against time and sometimes recommends parking up and walking instead.
Most of all, though, it’s a good looking little thing, much more characterful than the Karoq and also Seat’s candidate, the marginally less bland Arona. And there’s room in the rear seats, along with a decent sized boot. If the dimensions aren’t perfectly suited for off road use, the four-wheel-drive system should allow you to at least escape an icy car park in safety. And in reality, that’s all the modern Yeti is ever asked to do.
Jaguar I-Pace laid bare
Jaguar's unveiling of the all-electric I-Pace SUV took place several days ago and is therefore a distant memory in the collective consciousness of motoring journalism. But to hammer home the point about their new (and ostensibly very impressive) product, they've brought a stripped down version.
This really highlights both the similarities and differences between EV and ICE car design. We're pretty intrigued by this car and are eager to test it on UK roads later in the year. Billed by its manufacturer as "the electric car drivers have been waiting for", the £60,000 I-Pace SUV has a 0-60mph time of 4.5 seconds and a claimed range of 298 miles.
The Geneva Motor Show has also given us a glimpse inside the inside of the car. Jaguar has bleated on about the unique exterior design of the I-Pace, but if you think that's a bit ordinary then you're going to be doubly disappointed with the cabin. Grey and almost generic, it fails to capture any of the progressive styling alluded to in the press release.
Bentley unveils plug-in hybrid Bentayga
In a bizarre reflection of our current attitudes to emissions, Bentley has installed an electric motor alongside a 3.0-litre V6 in its enormous Bentayga SUV, writes Ed Wiseman. The 2.5-tonne luxo-barge is far from the greenest thing on four wheels, and it will be interesting to see what effect a hybrid powertrain has on its gas-guzzling image.
That's not to say the plug-in Bentley will be a bad car, however. It's already an incredibly stable, comfortable, refined machine, and the addition of a hybrid system will only improve that – not least because of the 31-mile all-electric range claimed by Bentley.
"It gives customers the best of both worlds – engaging, effortless performance on the open road and silent, emission-free driving in the city, which will become increasingly important with the ever-changing regulations around the world," gushed new CEO Adrian Hallmark.
“Following Bentley tradition, the Bentayga Hybrid pioneers a new automotive sector – the luxury hybrid – and sets Bentley on the path towards a sustainable electrified future.”
As with all electric and hybrid cars, we'll believe the figures when we see them. But if this Bentayga comes with even 20 miles of reliable battery power, it will be – for short journeys at least – probably the most serene car in the world.
Audi shows of its new mild hybrid A6 executive saloon
While VW Group boss Matthias Muller spoke at length about personal mobility drones on the eve of the show, Audi had its feet on the ground in more ways than one, writes Andrew English.
The A6, already one of my favourites from Geneva, will go on sale in the UK late this summer with prices starting at around £38,000. The A6 is a big exec hauler and, as befits its status, the first engines will be V6s; a 286PS diesel and a 340PS petrol, both powering all four wheels using Audi’s geared quattro system, via seven-speed DSG twin clutch gearboxes. They also use a 48-volt mild hybrid system.
It’s Marc Lichte’s second proper piece of work for the four rings and very handsome it is, too. Even better looking in my opinion is the estate version, which we’ll see officially before the Paris show this autumn.
What we haven’t got confirmation on is the two-litre, four-cylinder engines, which use Audi’s Haldex clutch based 4x4 system which disengages the rear axle and prop shaft when not required. A 204PS four cylinder diesel is expected soon after launch, which has a 12-volt mild hybrid system and we understand there’s also a 231PS version of the V6 diesel on the way along with a range of four-cylinder petrol models.
Of course the cabin’s lovely, it’s also big. We’re mourning the loss of Audi’s MMI control system, but need more time with it’s new touchscreens which seem a little confusing at present.
Meanwhile outside the show, while Land Rover is allowing hacks a jaunt round the car park in the i-Pace, Audi is driving its new e-Tron battery electric SUV in barely disguised trim on the public roads of Switzerland. The future moves ever closer.
Honda electric concept returns... with an on-sale date
Honda's Urban EV and Sports EV battery-electric concepts are the stars of the show here at Geneva, just as they were in Frankfurt in 2017,writes Paul Hudson. But now, Philip Ross, senior vice-president of Honda Europe, promises that the Urban EV will be on sale in Europe late next year (2019).
At the moment we don't have any real figures for the car, but we're told that the production vehicle will closely resemble the concept that's been turning heads at motor shows for months.
There's no word yet on a production version of the Sports EV coupe, which has a much lower centre of gravity and which is clearly more 'sporty', but as with the Urban EV, if we make enough positive noises there is a good chance it will see the light of day.
Honda's first hybrid SUV comes to Europe
All the attention on Honda's stand have been on these retro-futuristic electric cars, despite the unveiling of the European version of the comparatively normal new CR-V, the company's first hybrid SUV.
As CO2 levels rise as a result of a rush away from diesel, the new Honda's aerodynamic eficiency – claimed to be best in class, naturally – is to be welcomed.
Talking of which, there's no diesel CR-V. The hybrid has Honda's now familiar set-up of a 2.0-litre petrol engine combined with two electric motors - one to provide propulsion, the other to charge the lithium-ion battery.
The other engine is a conventional 1.5-litre turbocharged petrol unit. Most models will be front-wheel drive, although an updated of Honda's four-wheel-drive system that delivers up to 40 per cent more torque to the rear axle if required, will be also be available.
There's also a seven-seat option with the 1.5 turbo petrol engine, with three full-size seats in the middle row and a folding pair in the very back. As with most such set-ups, the extra seating is for occasional use only but it supports Honda's claim to produce one of the most versatile SUVs around.
Inside, it's a huge improvement on the current version, less space-age and more sober in design, with higher quality materials. And although it looks familiar in silhouette, the new CR-V has a much bolder look front and rear, and sits on a longer wheelbase.
It goes on sale in the UK this autumn, although prices and final UK specifications won't be announced until the launch.
Parents unconvinced by Volkswagen's driverless school bus
Volkswagen showed the results of its collaboration with Berlin-based, ride-sharing start up Moia, which is actually the return of the 2017 self-driving battery-electric-powered Sedric with elements of the Crafter van.
Two hundred examples of this six-passenger vehicles will go on trial in Hamburg from next year, though the ride sharing algorithms that electronically mimic the role of Cuban taxis, in which rides are shared with routes decided in a democratic process between existing passengers and the driver, is the really clever stuff here.
Sedric was also shown as an autonomous school bus concept, which while also clever, tempted very few of the eve-of-show press conference attendees to volunteer their own children as guinea pigs.
The first one tipped over when it saw a moose in 1997, writes Andrew English. The second one, in 2004, sorted all that out, and the third was launched by Merc chairman Dieter Zetsche as "A is for attack!". So perhaps this, the fourth-generation, strong-and-stable A-class is aimed at winning the peace in the premium front-drive hatchback market.
The new A goes on sale in the UK this June and, with prices starting at £25,800 for the A180d SE, it's a step up financially as well as in class from the non-premium equivalent Focus/Astra rivals.
You can see what you get behind the three-pointed star yourself, but in the cabin the dash has a couple of seven-inch screens including a central touchscreen (a first for Mercedes which has traditionally eschewed such finger-marking technology) and a multi-media system, which includes voice activation and an optional virtual reality-augmented navigation system.
There are three trim levels: SE; Sport; and AMG Line, with three engines, a 114bhp, 1.5-litre diesel from the Renault/Nissan Alliance in the A 180, a 161bhp, 1.4-litre turbo petrol in A 200, and a 221bhp, 2.0-litre turbo petrol in the A 250. All the cars come with a seven-speed automatic transmission, with further engine choices and a manual transmission option to follow.
This is the first of a seven-model A-class range, which comprises this car, the hatchback, the larger B-class multi-purpose vehicle, the GLA SUV, the CLA coupé, a couple of saloons (one for China and one for Europe and North America), the GLB, which will be a sort of extended wheelbase estate SUV and possibly a GLA coupé, though that is as yet unconfirmed.
Volvo XC40 wins European Car of the Year
Volvo's XC40 SUV has won this year's Car of the Year award with a resounding 83-point margin against the second-placed Seat Ibiza, writes Andrew English.
The prestigious award was announced on the eve of the Geneva Motor Show and showed the 60 judges across 23 European countries had awarded the attractive Swedish mid-sized utility 325 points against the Seat's 242 and the third-placed BMW 5-series with 226 points. It was a hard-fought battle for the seven-strong shortlist with driving tests in Italy, Denmark, England and France, where the cars were tested and retested against each other and other rivals in their market groups.
Fourth place went to Kia's new Stinger coupé which polled 204 points, Citroën's C3 Aircross with 171 points, Audi's A8 with 169 and Alfa Romeo's Stelvio with 163.
With 25 points to allocated across the seven shortlisted cars, each jury member has to judge each of the cars against the following criteria: design; comfort; safety, handling; economy; performance; functionality; environmental requirements; driver satisfaction; and price, with technical innovation and value for money seen as particularly important attributes.
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