My picks from Geneva Motor Show 2019

28w ago


Bugatti La Voiture Noire

What better car to start with than the most expensive new car in the world. The Bugatti La Voiture Noire – which drearily translates to ‘black car’ – is based on the Chiron, so yes, it has the customary 16-cylinder, quad-turbocharged, 8.0-litre engine pumping out 1500bhp but it’s the body which makes the La Voiture Noire or ‘LVN’ so special, and expensive.

The name comes from the Ettore Bugatti’s son Jean’s Bugatti Type 57 SC Atlantic, which he called ‘La Voiture Noire’. The historical significance of the original car cannot be overstated with it regularly being used by Robert Benoist, a Le Mans winner who was captured and executed by Nazis in 1944 after joining the French resistance in World War II. The car itself vanished after the Nazis seized Bugatti’s Molshiem factory in 1940 and hasn’t been seen since. Ralph Lauren supposedly turned down a $100m-plus offer for his Type 57 Atlantic, which would’ve easily made it the most expensive car ever.

Brief history lesson aside, this new La Voiture Noire costs £12m, an eye-watering price-tag eclipsing the previous record holder for new cars, the Rolls-Royce Sweptail, by £3m. Exclusivity is assured, of course, and it has the looks to demand the unbridled attention of any billionaire, but the LVN is essentially a re-bodied Chiron and as such makes the price quite unjustifiable.

Pininfarina Battista

Despite a long, rich history dating back to 1928, the Battista is Automobili Pininfarina’s first ever car. Synonymous with designing the most beautiful cars from Alfa Romeo, Lancia, Fiat and of course, Ferrari, the Italian design house definitely has heritage.

The Battista will cost £2m which will make it one of the most expensive cars (let alone EVs) on sale. But for that price you do get some scarcely believable performance figures. The 120kWh battery pack produces an estimated 1,900bhp and 1,696 torques. That will be enough to propel the Battista from 0-62mph in approximately less than two seconds and onto a top speed of over 250mph.

With all that performance potential you’d want some beefy brakes to slow you down, that’s where Porsche, Pagani and Bugatti chassis developer, Dr Peter Tutzer, comes in. He has helped create the whopping 390/380mm carbon ceramic discs and six-piston calipers which provides the braking force to stop this insanely quick electric car.

The Battista project has been funded by Indian car manufacturer Mahindra since 2015 and with a brand identity like Pininfarina’s, it’s fair to say the whole of the motoring world will be hoping they can do the name justice.

Alfa Romeo Tonale

Alfa Romeo has long been clear about its intentions to produce a small ‘C-SUV’ and a large ‘E-SUV’ to back up their well-received Stelvio ‘D-SUV’.

The small ‘C-SUV’ was unveiled at Geneva as the ‘Tonale’ (named after a mountainous pass in the Italian Alps). The gorgeous swooping lines mimic the design of recent Alfas but with a platform likely to be nicked from the Jeep Compass, it probably won’t be the best handling small SUV on the market. A hybrid electric powertrain is expected, especially as Jeep showed off their new PHEV Compass at the show, so expect extensive parts sharing with the American outfit.

The Tonale is just a concept at this point but with the Giulia and Stelvio not selling as well as hoped, Alfa’s new small SUV has a lot of pressure on its shoulders.

Aston Martin Lagonda SUV

Ten years ago, at the Geneva Motor Show, Aston Martin pulled the covers off the Aston Lagonda Concept. Although it was billed as a ‘luxury car of the future’, it was essentially a crossover and a somewhat cosmetically-challenged one at that.

While Aston Martin were right in basically saying SUVs will be the luxury cars of the future, they had no plans on producing the Lagonda Concept. Fast-forward a decade and there’s an air of de ja vu around Aston Martin’s newest offering, the Lagonda SUV concept. Aston Martin showed off the Vision Concept saloon at last year’s Geneva show and with this SUV, there’s gathering momentum around the relaunch of the Lagonda name.

Both the Lagonda SUV and Vision saloon will be all-electric luxury cars with a focus on high-tech rather than traditional luxury. Aston’s design boss, Marek Reichmann, has said the Lagonda SUV and Vision saloon could be on sale by 2022 with an approximate range of 400 miles. While the drivetrain is yet to be sourced, a 400 mile range would give it the longest range of any fully-electric car.

Ferrari F8 Tributo

While many cars at Geneva give us a glimpse of the future, the F8 Tributo is a homage to the V8-powered mid-engined Ferrari.

The Tribtuo will be the last non-hybridised V8 Ferrari supercar. Based on an updated platform from the 488 GTB (itself an updated on the 458 Italia), the Tributo gets the same twin-turbocharged 3.9-litre as the 488 GTB, but power is upped to 710bhp – matching the limited-run 488 Pista. 0-62mph is dealt with in 2.9 seconds (0.1sec faster the the 488 GTB) and the top speed is 211mph.

With incremental improvements in performance, the styling changes are equally subtle. The louvres on the clear rear screen over the engine hark back to the iconic F40 and the twin rear lights are a nod to the 1975 308 GTB.

While sceptics will note there have been many special edition Ferraris of late, it’s difficult to deny the F8 Tributo is an incredibly poignant moment not just for Ferrari but the automotive industry as a whole.

Koenigsegg Jesko

When Christian von Koenigsegg was just 22 years old, his father Jesko helped him start his own car company, the rest is record breaking history. Christian von Koenigsegg decided the best way to repay his dad was to name this car after him, and what a car it could be.

We all know Koenigseggs are fast, to put it lightly, but the Jesko could be the first car to break the 300mph barrier. There’s just a few issues. Chief among which is finding a tyre manufacturer to back an attempt, no one has constructed a tyre to last at those kinds of speeds for more than a few minutes. There’s also the prospect of finding somewhere to do it and of course, someone crazy enough to go 300mph for the first time in a production car.

It looks like the Jesko has enough power at least, 1,578bhp and 1,106lb ft of torque to be precise. There will be a high-downforce model and low-drag model (the latter will be presumably the 300mph attempt). The high-downforce version will create around 1,400kg of downforce at its top speed, 30 per cent more than the previous record holder, the Koenigsegg One:1.

In the grand scheme of things, whether this breaks the 300mph barrier or not will be somewhat inconsequential for Mr Jesko von Koenigsegg. It’s fair to say he’s already won.

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