4 March 2015

Geneva Motor Show 2015

Well, the Geneva Motor Show is going hot and heavy, with a lot of new models, upgrades, and a new optimism, writes Brian Byrne. Not everything is reported here, but we'll catch up later with what's left out. Meanwhile, it's the most comprehensive coverage on any Irish motoring website.

Renault's new Kadjar is aimed at capturing a share of the compact crossover market, following on from the success of the Captur in the small SUV area. Based on the Nissan Qashqai, it comes to Ireland in the autumn.

The powertrains will be familiar, medium output versions of the 1.2 turbocharged petrol and 1.5 diesels from the Renault-Nissan Alliance, and well proven they are too.

The DS premium brand by Citroen has its very own stand for the first time at this Geneva show, and in addition to showcasing a new logo, offers a new DS5, a show car called Moon Dust, and a homage to where the DS name comes from in a 2015 expression of the 1955 DS21 Pallas — still one of the classiest classics ever.

The new signature of DS is 'The Spirit of Avant-Garde', which seems pretty apt to us.

Citroen's off-roading concept based on the Berlingo Multispace was the Mountain Vibe, a name we could get fond of.

The car was tricked out in map terrain contours in pink against white, a pink anti scuff protection on the roof rail, and snow/mud chains with pink cross-links. Not sure who they were aiming it, but was eyecatching, and linked to the revised Multispace itself. The Grip Control traction management has already proved itself useful in other models from the PSA group.

Probably not to take the limelight from the DS brand liftoff, the company otherwise showed the upgraded C4 range, alongside the C4 Cactus, C1 and C4 Picassos.

A 2-seat sports car concept from Bentley could preview a fifth model in the brand's range. A production version of the EXP 10 Speed 6 would target 2-seat sports cars from Ferrari and Aston Martin.

No details of the powertrain have been released. Previous 'EXP' designated Bentley concepts have resulted in production vehicles. An SUV previously concepted will become the Benlay SUV next year.

Bentley currently sells the Continental Flying Spur four-door sedan, Continental GT coupe and the flagship Mulsanne sedan.

The production version of the Honda NSX supercar has made its European debut at the Geneva Motor Show, following its global debut as an Acura in the US in January. Deliveries of the mid-engined hybrid won't reach Europe until early next year, but Honda says the owners will be getting a car that 'puts the driver first in every aspect of its design'.

The twin turbocharged V6 engine is linked to three electric motors and has a 9-speed dual clutch transmission, and the overall powertrain is AWD. The body is a mix of modern advanced materials, including aluminium and composite on an aluminium space-frame.

The rear direct-drive electric motor, housed between the engine and transmission, supports acceleration, braking and transmission shifting performance. The NSX's front wheels are driven by twin independent high-output electric motors which deliver instantaneous torque response and dynamic left-to-right torque distribution.

The new Jazz also finally got rolled out in production form, and this is where Honda hope to really make an impact in sales in Europe. Call it a supermini with more, perhaps, more flexibility, more room, and more capable in a very competitive arena.

And then there is the much-anticipated Civic Type R, with a 310hp 2.0 turbocharged petrol engine, it has more power, torque and dynamic response than any previous production Honda car. A 0-100km/h performance of 5.7secs has been achieved.

Honda's City-Brake Active system will be fitted as standard on the Civic Type R, which goes on sale in its first European markets this summer.

Volkswagen's piece de resistance or whatever is the equivalent in German is the Sport Coupe Concept GTE, which not only proposes the successor to the Passat-based CC, but promises to lift the core Volkswagen Group brand into power and glory.

The style designs might well have the people at their Audi branch looking a little worried, while the inclusion of a PHEV powertrain with over 370hp across the 3.0 V6/two electric motors system suggests supercar ambition way beyond Golf GTI. With the equivalent of a claimed 118mpg equivalent in fuel consumption.

VW also showed the production version of the new Passat Alltrack estate, with up to 236hp available in its diesel engines, and looking very good in strong chrome/aluminium details.

The new Touran has that model catching up with its Golf cousin by being built on the MBQ platform. It will be available in 5- and 7-seat variants with lots to choose from in petrol and diesel power, and fuel economy up to 19 percent better than the car it replaces.

The CLA Shooting Brake will be available to order in Ireland in April, with first deliveries due in June. The 495L of boot space is a smallish gain on the saloon, but the advantage of the wagon style is that the rear seats can be folded to hold quite a lot more stuff, up to 1354L, in fact.

Power will be from a brace of 2.1 diesels, as well as petrol engine options, with a 130hp diesel being the most popular, and most frugal.

It looks much more, but this Concept XR-PHEV II from Mitsubishi is actually an exercise for a small crossover concept. Obviously the power is from a plug-in hybrid system like in the Outlander PHEV.

We wait with interest for the production derivative.

Good job it's the chauffeur's job to park this one ... the 6.5 metres of Mercedes Maybach Pullman is now the ultimate flagship of the three pointed star brand.

All home comforts — and many that nobody ever gets at home— are available to the pampered people in the back.

Opel's new baby car, the Karl, is a more practical looking car than the Adam that tilts at Mini and Fiat 500. In Britain it will resurrect the old Vauxhall name of Viva (this writer had two of them in the original).

The promise is of comfort too. Expect the 1.0 3-pot that works so well in the new Corsa. There's a lot of electronic technology options too. It arrives in Ireland in June.

The Israeli-Chinese company Qoros has been steady through a number of shows now, introducing a model at a time and, generally, getting the hang of improved quality.

This is their third production model, the 3 City, a small SUV/crossover with high ground clearance (to get through the rutted streets of the untended city streets, presumably).

Ford took on Geneva this year with an extensive lineup of performance cars from the past, today, and tomorrow.

Highlight is the new 600hp V6 Ford GT supercar, all carbon fibre and aluminium construction, which will be sold in unspecified limited volumes. It is flanked by the new 320hp Focus RS, the 250hp Fiesta ST now also with a 185hp diesel, and, of course, the new Mustang, coming to Europe officially this summer for the first time.

A 160hp Ford R2 rally car based on the Fiesta will be the first 1.0 vehicle to be homologated in its competition class. Ford plans to deliver 12 new performance vehicles through 2020.

Among the former performance Fords on the stand are Escort Mk 1 Mexico, the 1969 Ford GT40 Mk III, and Sierra RS Cosworth.

As promised, the 7-seat version of BMW's 2 Series Active Tourer, the Gran Tourer. Again an FWD, and aimed at moving the brand further into a fast-growing space where they haven't been before.

SEAT is pushing out the boat with its 20V20 (the V is for vision) concept of a medium SUV, with a further edginess over the current style from the Spanish subsidiary of Volkswagen.

Likely in some form by 2020, though probably sooner, it is bigger than the Leon-based crossover coming next year, aimed at Ford's Kuga, and has the prospect of some of the VW group's more powerful engine systems.

An edgy competitor for the Ford Edge, maybe?

This is SsangYong's competitor for the small SUV segment, the Tivoli, which was concepted at last autumn's Paris show, and is targeting the Renault Captur and similiar.

An FWD petrol version will launch in May, and a 1.6 diesel and an AWD variant will be introduced in July.

The third generation of Skoda's Superb was debuted two weeks ago in Prague, and in addition to getting the edgier styling which has been a feature of Skoda models for the last couple of years, technological improvements have resulted in fuel consumption emissions that are 30 percent better than in the previous model.

Audi is showcasing its first ever diesel plug-in hybrid at Geneva. The Q7 e-tron quattro hybrid is also the first PHEV with all wheel drive in its segment.

Power from the prime 3.0 diesel is 258hp, with a total system output of 373hp, and the vehicle can travel up to 50km on electric power, with a total range from the powertrain of some 1,400km.

The electric component can be fully charged in 2.5 hours, and the car will be available to order in RHD markets by the end of the year.

Official CO2 figures are less than 50g/km, and the car can accelerate to 100km/h in six seconds. In normal D mode in the tiptronic automatic, the Q7 e-tron will go into coast mode when the accelerator is lifted, but will slip to regenerative deceleration if the onboard radar detects a slower vehicle, a junction, or a city speed limit.

Most braking is by the electric motor, the hydraulics only coming into play under hard braking needs.

A revised Kia Picanto has redesigned bumpers front and rear and a revised grille, as well as some detail interior trim and materials changes.

The 1.0 petrol engine has also been tweaked so that it meets Euro 6 standards.

We still don't have the brand in Ireland, but Infiniti's concept QX30 crossover at Geneva shows that Nissan is still intent on getting its premium brand into a young demographic.

It is going into production and will be Infiniti's first entry in the growing compact crossover segment, targeting the Audi Q3, Mercedes-Benz GLA and BMW X3.

Power is from a 2.0 turbocharged petrol engine with a 7-speed transmission. For Europe, there will be a diesel.

The car is related to the Mercedes-Benz GLA in a platform sharing agreement between Daimler and Nissan.

It will be built alongside the Q30 hatchback sibling at Nissan’s Sunderland factory in England. Half of the production will be sold in Europe, from the summer. The Q30 is due near the end of the year.

Previewed as a concept before, the production version of the Aston Martin Vulcan makes its debut at Geneva.

It's not for the road, will be seen only at the kind of track meets where very wealthy sports car people play with their toys.

A 7.0 V12 pumps the car along with 800hp, the very light carbon fibre chassis and body making the best use of the power.

The fifth generation of Mitsubishi's iconic L200 pickup continues the highly stylised theme of its predecessor, moving even further away from the more basic look of most competitors.

Apart from the style, there's a brand new 2.4 diesel engine with lots of pulling power, but with a 17 percent better fuel consumption than the power unit in the outgoing model.

One of Land Rover's howling successes, the Range Rover Evoque in mid-life gets detail changes that include full LED adaptive headlights, a first for the brand.

More important, the Evoque is now getting the first versions of the new 2.0 engines developed by Land Rover themselves under the Ingenium name.

The car also gets some interior revamping.

Land Rover also confirmed the Evoque Convertible at the show. It will go on sale in 2016, and the project was confirmed by releasing a film that showed the vehicle driving below the streets of London in the 26-mile network of Crossrail tunnels.

Mazda's new CX-3 is the company's first small SUV, scheduled for a European launch in mid-summer. The style elements are all familiar now from the more recent other model updates in the brand's portfolio, and it should do well in what has become a crowded market.

Power will be from 1.5 and 2.0 diesels, the larger one for the AWD cars. Transmission options are 6-speed manual or automatic.

This very limited production version of the Ferrari Pininfarina Sergio concept which was first shown two years ago will no doubt gain buyers for the six that are going to be sold. It is based on the 458 Spider.

The car is designed to represent 60 years of cooperation between the famous design house and the equally famous supercar makers.

The raw power people will drool over this McLaren P1 GTR, which has 1,000hp and is designed purely for track use. A 3.8 V8 with a hybrid system delivers. The livery is from McLaren's Le Mans days two decades ago.

Hyundai's new Tucson has a much stronger look than the ix35 it's replacing. The return of the Tucson name to Europe is an interesting development, and we wonder if we're also going to see some of the i-cars getting back proper names at some stage?

There's a hybrid version of the new SUV too.

The WRC version of the i20 is also a big attraction here for the rallyheads

A 1.6 diesel for an updated Avensis is the biggest of the changes of the brand's mid-size car at Geneva. The result of a cooperation with BMW, it should help to bring the offering more in line with the recent technical advances of its main competitors.

There's also a refined styling up front, and improved interior.

The Auris also gets some style changes, mostly to lights and bumpers front and rear. But a new 1.2 turbocharged petrol engine provides impressive performance with CO2 down to just 109g/km, while the car also gets the option of that 1.6 diesel. The car shown is the hybrid.

We've been seeing this a lot coming too, the Toyota Mirai fuel cell car production version. We won't be seeing that many of them, though, as there's a very limited number going on sale initially.

For those of you who are confirmed Defender buffs, look at this and weep. It's the last special edition of the iconic off-roader we'll see before they build a brand new version.

This is the 'Adventure' edition, in G4 Phoenix Orange, a special black grille, leather upholstery and a whole lot of other goodies. All hail the offroad king!

Showing an even wilder front look than current Lexus production styles, this LF C2 Concept was first revealed at Los Angeles in late 2014. There is speculation that it may preview a convertible version of the IS, though convertibles in general are very much in decline across all markets.

Kia's cee'd GT Line, seen here in SW format, will go on sale in Europe towards the end of this year. Key style details include ice-cube LED daytime running lights and deeper bumpers surrounding Kia's hallmark 'tiger-nose' grille. Wider GT rear bumpers and twin exhausts, and a new 17-inch alloy wheel design complete the car's sporty looks.

The GT-inspired cabin features a higher quality, sportier ambience, with its own unique black, white and grey upholstery. Power will come from the brand's all-new 1.0 'T-GDI' turbocharged petrol engine, producing 120hp as well as an upgraded version of the cee'd's existing 1.6 CRDi diesel engine, with power increased from 128hp to 133hp.

Long teased in concept form, the European spec Alfa Romeo 4C Spider production car is the star of the Alfa Romeo stand at Geneva.

Built in light carbon fibre, it wasn't a difficult engineering job to form the open-top from the beautiful coupe. The results, though, are outstanding.

Different lights are another distinguishing feature from the coupe.