Our verdict: the Top Ten stars at the Geneva Motor Show 2014
As the Geneva motor show opens to the public - hoping to shift the smell of sweaty journalists - here is our top 10 cars from this year’s show
10. Skoda Vision C
The very idea could melt some motoring minds but a coupe Skoda is not as mad as you might think. The brand has made incredible leaps over the last decade and its market now is as middle-class and mainstream as any of the rest. Being a Skoda this concept comes with an enormous boot and practical rear seat legroom. Sadly, we suspect that this was created more out of a need to have something to talk about on the Skoda stand than any real intention to build it. Design departments are regularly asked to throw together something for motor show stands and this A7 lookalike may be yet another example of this. Pity.
9. Hyundai Intrado
It’s a great looking crossover from the soaring Korean car firm, even if it’s not going to make it into production in this guise. What you see here is a demonstration of the design language coming out of the Hyundai studios and also some of the fancy engineering being developed at the firm. For example the Intrado uses a series of carbonfibre weaves and resin for its skeletal structure. This means the basis of the car is extremely strong but also very light. That’s the future direction for vehicle production and Hyundai are very much part of that momentum.
8. Volkswagen T-Roc
VW hasn’t given this mini-SUV the green light as yet, but it was eagerly gauging opinions at the show, willing journalists to like the concept so they can justify their decision to build it. In reality one suspects it has already been signed off. It’s a Polo-sized SUV with a similar sort of interior space, despite its sizeable presence. For all the hype it’s a little traditional in its looks when pitched against the likes of the Nissan Juke, though the latter car’s facelift seems to have taken some of the fun away from that Japanese entry. Built on VW’s MQB platform - which is the basis for the Golf and several other of the VW Group’s cars - it shouldn’t be too hard to put into production and will fit just below the Tiguan. Don’t expect to see it out on the road before 2017.
7. Mercedes-Benz S-Class coupe
We have a soft spot for the S-Class, given its history of world firsts in the motoring world and the new saloon version is no different. This, however, marries the saloons tech advances with stunning good looks. No doubt it will come with a price tag that would make an Irish property tycoon think twice, but everything from the fit and feel of the cabin to those coupe lines makes a statement: “you’ve made it in life, well done”.
6. Audi TT
It might look little different from the current generation but this third take on the TT is significantly sharper, both in terms of its fit and finish and also its styling. Another car sitting on Volkswagen’s MQB platform (aka VW Golf underpinnings) the new cockpit grabbed most of the attention during the Geneva press days. Out goes the old analogue dials, replaced by a new screen that displays everything from SatNav to the speedo. As others were cosying up to Apple and its Carplay system, Audi last month announced it is working with Google on R&D.
5. Alfa Romeo 4C Spider
This car stole softened a lot of motoring cynics and even though it’s officially a concept, we expect it won’t differ much from the production version pencilled in for launch early next year. Again it features a carbon-fibre bodyframe to lighten the load, along with a light canvas roof. After that it’s much the same as the current hard-top 4C. A good looking car that will appeal to the many roadster fans who used to favour the likes of light and nimble Lotuses.
4. Maserati Alfiera concept
Sat on the corner of a row of stands that included Rolls Royce and Ferrari, with Aston Martin across the aisle, the Alfiera may have been missed by many but the 2+2 coupe is simply stunning. Named after the brother of founder of the Italian sports car firm, the Alfiera was built to mark the firm’s centenary this year.
3. Volvo Concept Estate
Suddenly the Volvo design department seems to have sprung to life and in the last two motor shows have come up with cars that seem to perfectly capture why people like the brand. With a well-managed nod to the past and the P1800, this Concept Estate also carries the more muscular lines of premium cars of the moment. It looks as good in the metal as it does in the photos and many journalists were beseeching Volvo executives to put either this or the earlier Coupe concept into production.
2. Lamborghini Huracan
This car flitted between our favourite and second favourite of the show, simply because it looks every bit the Lamborghini ready to be a petrolhead’s screensaver. The replacement for the Gallardo it doesn’t just survive on its good looks: power comes from a V10 610bhp that can throw the Huracan from a standstill to 100km/h in just 3.2 seconds. We can but dream.
1. Mazda Hakumi/Mazda2
Our star of the show, just pipping the Huracan based on the fact that most of us could one day manage to own a Mazda whereas the chances of Lambo ownership depend largely on the Lotto balls. This might officially be a concept but we’ve been told by those in the know that it’s effectively the new look of the Mazda supermini due for launch this summer. With this styling it will really put it up to the likes of the Ford Fiesta and Toyota Yaris, if - and it’s a big if - the firm can get its pricing right.