Geneva Motor Show: Ferrari and Lambo bring the super, but Bugatti has the hyper

Bugatti’s ‘La Voiture Noire’ is most expensive car ever, but will the mysterious Piech concept eventually out-do them all?

 

In spite of Switzerland’s incredibly strict speed regulations, the Geneva show is always a happy hunting ground for new supercars, and this year the three biggest guns of all are out and firing.

You would expect a new Ferrari to be the biggest news of the day, but actually there’s a faint whiff of disappointment about the new F8 Tributo, largely because it’s not all that new. It is instead a thorough re-working of the outgoing 488, which itself was a car based heavily on the 2009 458 Italia. Is Ferrari trying to claim a ten-year old design is a new car?

Not quite — much of the Tributo is in fact new, including a more aggressive body style with clever aerodynamics that produce 15 per cent more downforce at speed than that of the old 488 GTB. Little details, such as slimmer LED headlights, have also allowed Ferrari’s designers to make bigger holes in the front of the car for improved cooling, while the slatted rear screen is a clear nod of the Italian head to the classic F40 of the 1980s.

A tribute

The Tributo is also packing some serious firepower, gaining an extra 50hp over its predecessor from the same basic 3.9-litre twin-turbo engine. It now has 720hp, to allow it to match McLaren’s much-lauded 720S, and Ferrari says it will obliterate the 100km/h sprint in just 2.9secs. Top speed is 340km/h — faster than the F40 to which its styling alludes.

Also not entirely new, but arguably a little more exciting than the Tributo, is Lamborghini’s Aventador SVJ Roadster. An Aventador with monster power and a lift-off roof is never going to be dull, now is it, and there are consistent rumours that this will be one of the last cars to usze Lamborghini’s amazing 6.5-litre V12 engine. Here in the SVJ, it has 770hp, and thanks to four-wheel drive, it can match the smaller, lighter Ferrari Tributo’s 2.9sec 0-100km/h run. If your hairdo can stand it, top speed is 350km/h.

Unusually, though, this is a big Lambo designed to be more nimble in the corners, thanks to a fully active aerodynamic package that can actually tweak the front and rear wings on either side of the car to help adjust its cornering attitude. It also gets rear-wheel steering and magnetic suspension damper tech. Don’t expect much change from €400,000 and that’s before Irish VRT and VAT.

Bugatti black

However, if you think that’s pricey, you ain’t seen nothing yet. Bugatti has developed a special  version of its already-pretty-special Chiron hypercar, and it’s the most expensive new car ever offered for sale. Called ‘La Voiture Noire’, it’s a one-off designed to be a tribute to the none-more-black Bugatti Type 57 SC Atlantic owned by son of the founder Jean Bugatti. It wears a new set of carbon-fibre clothes, with far more aggressive, sharp-edged styling than that seen on the standard Chiron, although the 1,500hp V16 engine is more or less the same. “The true form of luxury is individuality,” said Stephan Winkelmann, president of Bugatti. “La Voiture Noire’ is now at the cutting edge of automobile production. It is a sculptural beauty with unique technology, the ideal grand tourisme. With ‘La Voiture Noire’, we are paying homage to our heritage and bringing speed, technology, luxury and aesthetics forward to a new era. With our automotive haute couture, we have shown what Bugatti is capable of.”

What it’s largely capable of is charging you a lot of money. The price tag for this black-painted one-off? €11-million, and again that’s before local taxes and VAT. Imagine dropping into your local NCT centre to inquire about the VRT charge on that? They’d probably combust from the shock…

Piech is back

Rather less heralded than any of those, but potentially a very significant car, is the Piech Mark Zero Electric GT. Looking at its swoopy styling and glancing at its spec sheet might lead you to think that it’s yet another no-hoper motor show star; a car no-one wants to buy from a car maker of which no-one has ever heard. It uses three electric motors, each with 150kW, to generate a combined 600hp, which gives a claimed 3.2sec 0-100km/h run, and with a claimed range of 500km on a full charge. Piech claims that the massive battery has been specially designed to resist heating up when charging, which means it can be charged more quickly and that the car’s chassis (much of which is apparently based on the old Aston Martin DB9’s ‘VH’ chassis) can be modified to accept electric, petrol, or hybrid powertrains.

So far, so typical motor show. But the name of the car makes you sit up and take notice. The Piech in the badge is the surname of Toni Piech, the car’s creator and he’s the son of none other than Ferdinand Piech, he of Porsche family and VW Group overlordship fame. Given that the Piech family is largely behind the enormous financial success of both Porsche and the wider VW Group, would you now bet against the potential success of this electric supercar you’ve never heard of?