All the cars that should've been at the 2020 Geneva motor show
A run down of everything interesting that...erm...wasn't revealed at Geneva...
It’s at this time of year that the world’s car enthusiasts descend upon Switzerland for the most prestigious event in the motor show calendar. But as a pesky new virus spreads itself around the globe, the very reasons you would initially imagine make the Geneva Motor Show immune from cancelation only heighten the importance of it not going ahead.
Happily however, all of the scheduled unveilings have gone ahead through the virtual lens of the internet; the car-owner virus definitely can’t stop that! And right here, I’ve compiled a list of all the great performance car debuts - with all of the information you need to know.
Alfa Romeo Giulia GTA & GTAm
Once Geneva was cancelled, the world was denied the opportunity to cough in wonderment over the latest soulful masterpiece from Alfa Romeo. Building on the foundations of the already brilliant Giulia QV, the GTA crams more horsepower into the 2.9L Twin-Turbo V6 - up from 503bhp to 533 thanks mostly to a lightweight Akrapovic exhaust. There’s also lighter bucket seats, along with a carbon fibre driveshaft, bonnet, front bumper, and front wheel arches. If all of that isn’t quite extreme enough for you however, there is the even more unhinged GTAm variant.
The GTAm inherits all of the aforementioned changes, along with a few others to set it apart. For a start, the GTAm uses lightweight Lexan Polycarbonate instead of glass for the rear window. Then, there’s the small matter of rear seats - because there aren’t any. The GTAm also brings a roll cage, race harnesses, and a spoiler unlike any other you’ll see on a saloon car - even in the world of infinite possibilities that is photoshop. Add in all of these changes, and the GTAm weighs in at just 3351lbs (1520kg) - 220lbs (100kg) lighter than the standard Giulia QV.
With the extra power and the removal of weight, the GTAm can thunder to 60mph from a standstill in just 3.5 seconds - which for a rear wheel drive saloon car is simply jaw-dropping! It is, in fact, broadly similar to the 4WD Jaguar Project 8 - which is the only other hyper-saloon on the market to adopt such an extreme recipe. Which would you rather have on your driveway? Let me know by voting below.
Bentley Mulliner Bacalar
If you’re currently looking at this Bentley wondering who it was that left a picture of a Continental in a room with a child and a box of crayons, you’d be thinking along very similar lines to myself. While the Bentley Mulliner Bacalar brings the spirit of coach building back to the brand, it appears to do so without the sense of class required to honour the tradition.
Thankfully, the 12 examples being made - at £1.5million a piece - will be available in many other colours, which does at least allow us to focus on what’s good about it. For a start, the 6L Twin-Turbo W12 engine has been uprated to produce 650bhp and 667lb-ft of torque - an increase of 24 horsepower and 3lb-ft respectively. While the enormous bulk of the car will never result in that extra power being all that noticeable, it is at least nice for owners to know that their stable is home to a few more ponies when compared to the peasants who drive lesser Continental GTCs.
Inside, it carries over the Continental’s interior - which is arguably the best interior of any car in the world right now. Beyond the thankfully changeable colour, the aesthetic differences result in this roofless Bentley being clearly distinguishable from a regular Continental. Yet despite all of this car’s merits, it’s destined to lay dormant under a dust sheet silently appreciating in value until the apocalypse.
Porsche 992 Turbo S
It’s been 16 months since the 8th generation Porsche 911 was officially revealed to the world - which by the calculations of anybody still in possession of some patients means we’re due to see one wearing the fabled Turbo moniker. Indeed, the premier Turbo S version of the 992 has been one of the main reveals from the canceled motor show.
Using a brand new 3.8L Twin-Turbo Flat-6, the 992 Turbo S produces 641bhp - 69 more than the outgoing 991.2 Turbo S. The extra power is mainly thanks to the implementation of larger turbochargers, and a more impassioned dedication to keeping the motor running cool. As a result, the 0-60mph time now sits at just 2.6 seconds - 0.2s faster than the old model. Not only that, but the 0-120mph time is now down to 8.9 seconds - a whole second faster than the car it replaces.
As is the tradition with 911 Turbos, the power is sent to all 4 wheels - this time, through an 8-speed PDK gearbox. Torque sits at 590lb-ft - which is available from 2,500 to 4,500rpm. The top speed remains the same as the old Turbo S, at 205mph. If, for some reason, you find this troublesome, may I recommend that you find yourself a new therapist. All in, the new 911 Turbo S will set customers back £156,000 - and that’s before glancing over the options list. Will it be worth it? I’ll leave that one up for you to decide in the comments.
Morgan Plus Four
It won’t be long now before Morgan unveils their first ever fully electric production car - but before they commit that act of apostasy, they have pulled the covers off this: the new Plus Four. Sitting below the car they revealed last year - the Plus Six - the Plus Four follows the tradition of using a BMW powertrain. While the Six uses the same unit found in the Z4 and Supra, the Four utilises a 2L turbocharged 4-cylinder with 255bhp, and 295lb-ft of torque. In a car weighing just 2224lbs (1009kg), that power results in rather alarming performance.
It’ll get to 60mph in just 4.7 seconds, and carry on accelerating until your face becomes bejewelled with insects at 150mph. This speed is achieved through an 8-speed automatic gearbox; whereas the 6-speed manual option sees the 0-60mph time impeded to 5.1 seconds thanks to it requiring torque to be limited to 258lb-ft. Even still, the manual is most probably the one to go for.
As is the way with Morgan, wood is laced through aluminium to create the chassis. Inside and out, every molecule radiates aesthetic qualities that can be associated with no other brand. Really and truly, the biggest downside is the price. At £62,000 for the manual, with the auto costing a further £2,000, it’s fair to say that it’s a particularly expensive way to get wood! Moving swiftly on...
Volkswagen Golf GTi (Mk8)
Ever since the new Mk8 Golf was revealed, everyone’s attention was suddenly drawn to the upcoming GTi version. And now the GTi is here, all everyone cares about is the imminent arrival of the R variant. Isn’t it a shame that people only focus on what’s to come, and what has been and gone, rather than what’s in the here and now?
The new Mk8 GTi uses a familiar 2L turbocharged 4-cylinder engine, sending all of its power to the front wheels via either a 6-speed manual or a 7-speed DSG gearbox. The engine now produces the same 242bhp as the outgoing GTi Performance, and 20 horsepower more than the old standard GTi. Put all that together, and you can probably predict the horsepower trajectory of future incarnations. While acceleration statistics are currently under wraps, we can expect a 0-60mph time of around 6 seconds, and a top speed just north of 150mph. And while that’s all well and good, and you’d have to put your money on the Mk8 being great to drive, you also have to say that the GTi treatment does little to enliven the dreary styling of the new Golf.
Along with the GTi, Volkswagen have also released the diesel GTD variant for those who think the Venus De Milo would look better with a beard. And, if that wasn’t enough, they’ve also released the hybrid GTE version. The GTE has the same amount of power as the GTi thanks to a 1.4L turbocharged engine augmented by electricity. Don’t however expect the GTE to perform like the GTi as the preceding model weighed a staggering 440lbs (200kg) heavier than its GTi brethren. Clearly, the only one worth looking at for serious petrolheads is the GTi. But with that being said, is it the car to buy out of the current range of hot hatchbacks? Let me know by voting below.
One of the biggest surprises from this year’s show came from Koenigsegg in the form of what they’re referring to as a “4-seater Mega-GT”. The Gemera is a hybrid unlike anything else the automotive world has ever seen before. For usually when a performance car adopts hybrid technology, the combustion engine provides the main bulk of power, with the electric motors being used to add mildly more flavour. The Gemera however is different.
Each rear wheel gets their own dedicated electric motor, with a third motor situated on the crankshaft. Add the power of these three motors together, and the electric horsepower of the Gemera totals 1100bhp!! Driven in EV mode, the car will reach a top speed of 186mph when the throttle’s on the floor, and be capable of 31 miles of range when it isn’t. That however is before we get to the engine - and my God, what an engine it is!
Powering the front wheels is an engine truly unique in the automotive realm. For behind the passengers sits a 2L Twin-Turbo 3-cylinder, which thanks to Koenigsegg’s Freevalve technology, revs to 8,500rpm, and produces 600bhp!! Add everything together, and the Gemera produces a simply inconceivable 1700bhp, and 2580lb-ft of torque - 443lb-ft of which comes from the internal combustion engine. Unleash all of this, and you’ll be catapulted from 0-60mph in 1.9 seconds, and onwards to a top speed of 250mph. Only 300 will be made, at the cost of €1.7million each. If you ask me however, it might just be worth every penny.
Aston Martin V12 Speedster
It was last year that Aston announced their ambitions to follow the Speedster trend, and now, their entry into this particular domain is here! Based on the Vantage, the V12 Speedster uses a variant of the 5.2L Twin-Turbo V12 - producing 691bhp, and 555lb-ft of torque. While that’s not that much less power than the DBS Superleggera, the torque is considerably lower than the big GT’s 664lb-ft. In a car of this nature however, I think that’s a very wise decision on Aston’s part indeed.
If you feel so inclined, 0-60mph in 3.4 seconds and a limited top speed of 186mph is achievable - as is wind-based plastic surgery, I’m sure. For everything about it however that you could interpret as a plus point, all seems rather insignificant when you realise that it’s merely a means of making the hyper rich even richer.
Only 88 will be made, and they’ll cost £765,000 each - which in comparison to other Speedsters, is actually rather good value. I can tell from this side of the computer that you’re panting desperately to get your hands on one (!) Unfortunately however, they’re all sold.
The lightweight, “long-tail” version of McLaren’s rocket-ship supercar has been rumoured for a while now, with the covers finally being pulled off over the internet. As the name would suggest, power has risen from 720 to 765 metric horsepower - which translates to 754 brake-horsepower. In order to complete the lightweight transition, a look inside hints at where McLaren found some of the 176lbs (80kg) the 765LT has shed over the 720S.
The first thing your eyes are drawn to are the seats that come straight out of the Senna. Then, you may notice that the carbon tub is bereft of any sound-muting carpets. The other dietary touches are ones that will grab the attention of your ears rather than your eyes, for thinner glass has been implemented, as well as a lightweight titanium exhaust. All in, the 765LT weighs just 2952lbs (1339kg), resulting in a power-to-weight ratio of 563bhp-per tonne - more than a Bugatti Veyron.
Factor in the shortened gear ratios for the benefit of acceleration, and the performance statistics are now even more ballistic than before. A tenth has been shaved from the 0-60mph time - down to just 2.7 seconds - while the 0-124mph time has decreased down to 7.2 seconds. Not only is that six tenths faster than the 720S, it’s only four tenths slower than either a P1 or Senna! Make absolutely no mistake about it, the 765LT is a car that convincingly straddles the division belt between supercars and hypercars. But, if you had to choose between this and the other lightweight supercars it’ll be competing against, which one would you have? Let me know by voting below.
Bugatti Chiron Pur Sport
When you think of Bugattis in the modern era, a racetrack is not an environment that you immediately envisage them in. But with the latest iteration of the Chiron - the Pur Sport - Bugatti has built it for the purposes of handling excellence on the road, and on circuit.
While the original Chiron is a car thats handling frequently gets undermined, the Pur Sport is clearly taking the task that it has been trusted with very seriously indeed. For a start, 110lbs (50kg) has been shed from the Chiron’s 4398lbs (1995kg) bulk. While this may inspire you to scoff at what would appear to be an insignificant saving, given that some of the lost weight was unsprung, the impact of its removal is heightened. A fixed rear wing also helps get the weight down, as does the use of Alcantara as opposed to leather.
Gear ratios in the 7-speed DSG transmission have been shortened to improve acceleration; although Bugatti has not released any official performance statistics other than the top speed of 217mph, limited by the increased downforce. Spring rates are up 33% at the front, and 65% at the rear, aiding stability and keeping the inertia from that monster 1500 horsepower W16 in check. There is no doubt in my eyes that this is a Bugatti for those who enjoy driving. Only 60 will ever be made, at the cost of €3million each. If you have the means, there would be no reason not to.
Koenigsegg Jesko Absolut
Original Jesko on the right; Absolut on the left.
It was at last year’s Geneva motor show that Koenigsegg revealed their replacement for the legendary Agera - the Jesko. Named after Christian Von Koenigsegg’s father in honour of the sacrifices he made in order to help his son achieve his car company, the Jesko was one of the most epic ways you could ever express your thanks. Last year’s car however was very much downforce orientated, and well suited for track work in the hands of the brave - but not so much for an assault on the production car speed record. That’s where the Absolut comes in.
The removal of the gigantic rear wing enables the car and all its 1600 horsepower the potential to achieve other-worldly speeds. While Bugatti’s 304mph record in the Chiron SuperSport 300+ may not be official, it is what Koenigsegg is taking aim at. For while they can’t claim to be the first manufacturer to build a 300mph road car, they could potentially become the first to build a 500kph road car.
In English, that translates to 311mph. According to Bugatti, the SuperSport Chiron would be capable of achieving in excess of 325mph if a record was attempted at altitude - where records of this nature usually occur. Koenigsegg is, at present, reciting similarly promising data. Stating that the Jesko Absolut should be capable of going well beyond 311mph - with tyres, location, and frankly the driver’s sanity being the only limiting factors. An attempt on the record will be made within one to two years, they say. We’ll just have to wait and see if they’re successful in their ambitions.
And so, with that out the way, that’s your roundup of all the great performance cars that should’ve been at Geneva this year. Let me know below and in the comments which is your favourite.
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