Ranked: The 10 most exciting cars of the Geneva Motor Show 2019
Motor shows have had a bad wrap of late. Increasingly, they’re accused of being overly expensive and largely pointless. Manufacturers are reducing their efforts or not showing up at all, leaving shows like Paris at the tail end of last year with entire halls left empty.
But Geneva is different.
This is the biggest motor show in the world, and it’s still alive and well. It seems that everyone and their mums have brought along something new and exciting this year. There’s plenty of cutting-edge futuristic tech on display, as well as lots of really, really fast stuff. Of course, subjectively ranking newly revealed cars in order of ‘exciting-ness’ is an entirely pointless exercise. So... here's my list of the 10 most exciting cars from Geneva 2019.
10) Polestar 2
The resurgence of Volvo and their spin-off performance brand, Polestar, has been one of THE motoring stories of the decade. Polestar now looks to capitalise on the hype surrounding its first car (which isn’t actually out yet) by doubling down with a second. The Polestar 2 is a sort of, erm, sporty/electric/four-wheel-drive/family car/fastback… thing. Cars are hard to categorise these days. What matters is it’s cool, and will likely make a massive dent in Tesla sales when it launches. Soz, Elon.
9) Bentley Continental GT Number 9
Coming in at number 9… is the Number 9. Nothing of enormous note here, just a special edition car in a really lovely colour. 100 of these ‘Number 9’ Conti GTs will be built to celebrate Bentley’s 100th birthday, complete with a very green interior and gold bits. Pip pip, here’s to the next 100.
8) Lamborghini Aventador SVJ Roadster
Lambo’s Nordschleife-conquering, hardcore version of the hardcore version of the Aventador - now with added headroom. This is a clear indicator of how well Lambo understands its customer base. The active aero and rear-wheel steer will be entirely wasted on SVJ clientele, but a gold paintjob and convertible roof that allows everyone to SEE you as you parade around Mayfair? They’ve probably sold out already.
7) Mercedes AMG GT R Roadster
Merc’s most bonkers track-focused car has had a haircut too, better enabling you to hear the tune of its 585bhp twin-turbo V8. Actually, tune is probably the wrong word. It sounds like the devil farting. In a good way. Only 100 will be made.
6) Alfa Romeo Tonale
In theory, Alfa jumping aboard the crossover-SUV bandwagon is nothing to write home about. But this is the first of several new Alfas we can expect this year, and further proof that the sexiest brand in motoring is well and truly back in business. It’s also a promising sign of Alfa’s future design language. One hopes that some of the styling cues on this little looker - particularly those Chiron-esque headlights - find their way onto the slightly fugly Giulia and Stelvio when they eventually get a facelift.
5) Bugatti La Voiture Noire
It’s the most expensive new car ever made. It’s a one-of-a-kind Bugatti with an incredible story behind it. So why don’t I care? Probably because it feels like a massive bloody cop out.
Let’s be completely honest. This is inescapably a Bugatti Divo painted black, with some added shiny bits and a deliberately absurd price tag. Bugatti claims it to be a modern interpretation of the legendary Type 57 Atlantic. I claim Bugatti to be full of s**t.
4) Ferrari F8 Tributo
We already knew about Ferrari’s latest mid-engined V8, because they were kind enough to spill the beans a week before Geneva. Nonetheless here it is in the metal, painted a rather striking shade of blue. The 488’s replacement seems to have divided opinions - many accuse it of being little more than a facelifted 488 Pista, both inside and out. Others (like me) rather prefer the styling of the new car, which appears to draw a lot of inspiration from the one-off SP38 Deborah we saw last year. Perhaps the biggest surprise about the F8 is the lack of hybrid power that many expected to see on this new-gen Fezza. It seems that (LaFerrari halo car notwithstanding) the Prancing Horse isn’t ready to go battery-powered just yet.
3) Aston Martin Vanquish Vision Concept & RB 003
What an incredible time for Aston Martin. The remarkable 1100bhp Valkyrie doesn’t even have a prototype car yet, and here they are teasing us with two more high-end supercars. First, the Vanquish Vision: a mid-engined lightweight challenger for the aforementioned Ferrari F8 and benchmark McLaren 720S. Expect 700-ish bhp.
Then there’s the RB 003, nicknamed ‘Baby Valkyrie’. Sadly, it won’t get its big brother’s naturally-aspirated V12 screamer - instead both this and the Vanquish will be powered by a new turbo-charged V6 that Aston are developing in-house. Boo. But it will still borrow heavily from Formula 1, have obscene amounts of downforce and be immensely fast. Yay.
2) Pininfarina Battista
You know times are changing when an electric car is being talked about more than a new Ferrari. This is the Pininfarina Battista and it’s quite simply the most powerful Italian car ever made. How powerful? 1,900bhp powerful, or exactly two LaFerraris-worth, if you prefer.
Speaking of the LaFerrari, do you see the resemblance in the side profile? And the back is pure McLaren 720. It’s a great-looking car and it ought to be, coming from a company whose name adorns several of the most timelessly beautiful cars ever designed. OK, it’s basically just a Rimac underneath, but all art is theft, right?
1) Koenigsegg Jesko
Why is this the most exciting car at Geneva 2019? Surely it’s just another typically mad hypercar from those Swedish blokes who exclusively build mad hypercars. Business as usual, no? Sort of. Except this one is a bit special - because it could very well be the world's first 300mph roadcar.
That’s not confirmed yet. Christian Von Koenigsegg says the car has managed it in simulators, and he’s confident it will do it in real life. And this is not a man who makes unsubstantiated claims - this is the man behind the Agera RS - the current fastest car in the world.
So what’s new? Well, same old 5-litre twin-turbo V8 except it’s lighter now, and revs higher. Meaning you get 1,578bhp. And a massive wing. Oh, and it’s named after his dad, so it’s adorable as well as terrifying.