#NotGeneva2020: Cars you can’t, or probably won’t, buy

Continuing our coverage of the not-happening 2020 Geneva motor show, here’s the fun stuff

Even without a show stage upon which to prance, there are plenty of show-pony cars being unveiled this week. From ultra-high performance supercars to intriguing concept models, there’s lots here to fire the imagination, even if you’re unlikely (or, indeed, unable) to actually open your wallet for one.

First up, and arguably the most intriguing, is Hyundai's Prophecy concept. Now, this is an all-electric, high-performance, four-door coupe that looks like the love-child of a Porsche Panamera and a 1950s Saab. And we mean that in the best way possible.

We've been used to neat designs from Hyundai in the past, maybe even a little OTT stuff too (the Kona, anyone?) but this Prophecy, pared back and as minimalist as you can get, is really quite striking. It has virtually a teardrop shape, and the rear-end — with a spoiler made of transparent acrylic — has more than a hint of old 911 Turbos about it.

Underneath is a new electric platform, which is very likely the one that Hyundai has been co-developing with Californian EV startup Canoo. That said, the Koreans are also working closely with Croatian electric hypercar maker Rimac, so there could be some serious high-performance intent under that aerodynamic body. Hyundai hasn't issued any specific performance data for the Prophecy, so we can speculate at will.


Inside, the cabin is designed for autonomous driving, with a steering wheel replaced by a pair of joysticks, one either side of the driving seat. The seats are designed to recline for maximum relaxation when the computer’s in charge, while the wing-shaped dashboard can fold away for improved space.

Tantalisingly, Hyundai says that for all the show-car pizzaz on show, there’s serious intent behind the Prophecy’s styling, and that we can expect to see some of the elements of the design showing up on production models in the future. Frankly, they should just make it now.

Meanwhile, Bugatti has shown off a sharper, lighter version of its 1,500hp Chiron hypercar, which benefits from improvements to the aerodynamics, chassis, and suspension as well as an updated gearbox. Only 16 of these 'Pur Sport' models will be built, priced from €3.35 million (before taxes) and frankly we couldn't care less.

We’re much more excited by the new Porsche 911 Turbo. Okay, so technically all non-GT versions of the 911 are turbocharged now, but this is Turbo with a capital T which means 650hp and 800Nm of torque for the headlining Turbo S model.

Porsche claims that, thanks to the Turbo’s four-wheel drive, it’ll bash past 100km/h in just 2.7secs — and that that is a conservative estimate. Gulp. Top speed is limited to 330km/h in the interests of general sanity, while the Turbo will come with active adaptive suspension and four-wheel steering as standard. The ideal car for running away from the coronavirus? Very probably.

Bentley, meanwhile, is showing off its Mulliner Bacalar convertible. Based on the Continental GT and named for a lake in Mexico (no, we don't know either) the Bacalar is unique amongst current Bentleys in that it's a two-seater. In fact, Bentley hasn't had a factory-built two-seater since the 1930s. It gets unique body-styling inspired by the EXP 100 GT concept car, and a unique cockpit design including wood trim taken from sustainable, naturally-fallen trees. The 6.0-litre turbo W12 engine has 650hp, though so maybe trying to claim that  this is a more sustainable car is a bit much. Only 12 of these will be built, and they're all already sold.

McLaren, meanwhile, is showing off its own new supercar and it’s the 765LT. LT means ‘longtail’ — a name inspired by McLaren Le Mans racing cars from the 1990s, and as with the old 675LT, this one gets a more aggressive aerodynamic setup than the 720S on which it’s based, including a fully active rear wing. It also weighs 79kg less than rthe 720S, and gets a power upgrade to 765hp, which McLaren says means it can sprint to 100mk/h in just 2.7secs, with a top speed of 330km/h. 765 of these will be built, and get your name down fast as production begins in September.

Renault wowed us the day before this virtual show started with the Morphoz concept, which — Transformer-like — can actually stretch or shrink depending on what you need your car to do on a given day while Volvo's Polsetar spinoff brand is showing off an all-electric concept car that (gasp!) does away with the traditional Volvo grille, instead having a dramatic, low-set, 'shovel' nose.

Citroen's DS luxury brand has shown us a super-luxury SUV called the Aero Sport Lounge that looks like Picasso painted a Rolls-Royce Cullinan, and which has a 617hp electric powertrain. Oh, and a cabin that turns the entire dashboard into a gigantic gesture-controlled screen, and which has wicker weave for the seatbacks. Yes, honestly.

Rimac (see the Hyundai Prophecy, above) is also showing off its C_Two electric hypercar which boasts 1,900hp and which is claimed to be able to hit 160km/h from a standing start in just four seconds. The 0-100km/h time is expected to be less than two seconds…

Of all the cars appearing in the #NotGeneva2020 space which you’re unlikely to buy, though, our favourite is probably the new Morgan Plus Four. Yes, we said new — in spite of the Agatha Christie styling up top, Morgan says that its new four-cylinder sports car is 97 per cent new, and gets the high-tech bonded aluminium chassis from the six-cylinder Plus Six.

As with the bigger model, power comes from BMW, thanks to a turbo four-cylinder petrol engine with 255hp, and Morgan claims that the whole car weighs just 1,009kg. Best of all, upon hearing that the Geneva show was to be cancelled, in light the coronavirus outbreak, Morgan didn't simply ship its show car back to its Malvern HQ for the official reveal — oh no. It actually flew people out to Geneva with trade-plates, unpacked the Plus Four from its crate, and drove it all the way back through Switzerland, France, and the south-eastern end of England. Now that's how you launch a new car with no motor show…

Neil Briscoe

Neil Briscoe

Neil Briscoe, a contributor to The Irish Times, specialises in motoring