I am, quite seriously, an uncharged criminal. A man haunted by a past that I can not escape. Let me set the scene.
I was, oh, around seven years of age
Many, many years ago, back to a time when McDonald’s tasted like manner from above, a time when not a single hair was yet to make an appearance on my chest (I now have 3 curly blonde hairs to clarify), my father decided he wanted to treat me and thus took me on an outing to the local cinema. The film’s title in question at the time of writing has, I’m ashamed to admit, managed to completely evaporate from my long-term memory stores, however it matters not. What is of importance are the events that unfolded prior to the start of the movie.
We were in the cinema foyer. Feeling incredibly blessed that my father had decided to spoil me so, I felt it necessary to ‘return the favour’, to do something that would require a sacrifice on my behalf to impress my begetter and ultimately make the night considerably more memorable. My father announced that he was going to purchase his seventh coffee of the day, that he’d be back in 5 minutes. This was my chance to think of something.
I looked around, desperately searching for something to bestow upon my dad. And there it was. The answer. The holy grail. A self-serve lolly bar, filled with what can only be described as the physical distillation of diabetes. Sugar. Oh yes.
I observed as a fellow compatriot, who appeared to also seek the sustenance of such delicacies, proceeded to fill up a polystyrene cup with the wonders inside the bar. I too would do the same. A short while later, I returned to my dad, chuffed with my ingenuousness, with a cup filled with lollies that bared a striking resemblance, in both size and shape, to that of Kilimanjaro.
My dad, bless his heart, smiled, patted me on the crown of my head, and lead me into the movie.
I was 7 years old and in heaven.
“Yes, yes, that’s all well and good” you’re probably thinking to yourself, “but how on earth does that make you a criminal?”
Well, I’m not glad you asked. Spontaneously, a few weeks back I went to the aforementioned same cinema only to find the same lolly bar, when it finally dawned on me. While it was definitely self-serve, it certainly wasn’t free. Nor was it cheap.
I’m surprised there aren’t ‘WANTED’ posters featuring my little face plastered around the city by now demanding my immediate arrest. And you thought El-Chapo was bad.
Noah Charalambous, Creative Director at Defining Drives, wanted fugitive. Criminal.
Which leads me to the Geneva International Motor Show. A place that could quite literally be described as Heaven on Earth. The only place on earth that can provide the same ecstatic feeling as that cinema on that particular day did all those years ago.
Held annually in the small Swiss city, the GMS is the automotive premiere event of the calendar year. It’s one of the rare places where all of the world’s major marques size up next to each other, flexing their vehicular muscles, attempting to ‘woo’ the onlooking world. It is extraordinary.
And this year, in 2018, the 88th anniversary of the event was no exception.
Here are, what we thought to be, the 10 stars of the show. The standouts.
-Noah Charalambous, Editor
10. ABT RS4-R
When we reviewed ABT’s RS5-R earlier this month, we found little to fault. Of course, look hard enough for things to critique and you may find the exhaust note a little lacklustre and the carbon-fibre interior inserts garish. As far as criticisms go though, that’s about it. It’s so good in fact, that had you have asked us, post-release of our article, whether you should sell your wife, kids and non-vital internal organs (e.g. liver, pancreas, lungs… oh wait) in order to fund the purchase of one, we would almost certainly have responded with “yes” and “what are you waiting for?”.
Except we were wrong.
As a general rule in the automotive kingdom, wagons are almost alwa…actually no. They are always cooler than their sedan and coupe counterparts. Don’t ask us why. They. Just. Are.
So don’t buy an RS5-R. Opt instead ABT’s technologically identical RS4-R instead. Why?
One word: wagon.
9. Polestar 1
Maybe it’s just us, but a 440kW, 1000Nm super-coupe isn’t necessarily the first thing that comes to mind upon hearing the word ‘Polestar’. Regardless, the first offering from Volvo’s luxury arm since it became a standalone brand certainly leaves an impression. And a good impression at that.
We’d even go as far to describe it as ‘stunning’. Job well done chaps.
Let’s get one thing straight. Prior to Geneva, we knew not so much as a sentence of information about Italian concept-brand Sbarro. And having now been exposed to the brand, and having done considerable research, we can confirm that we still know just as little, given the site's page is written entirely in Italian. What we did manage to understand is that they are responsible for this… thing. From what we gathered, it’s supposed to be a tribute to the Formula 1 cars of the 1960s. Brilliant.
Numbers? Surprisingly, there are some, none of which we shall mention because the ‘Rush’ (its actual name), in spite of its jaw-dropping shape, has about as much chance of becoming a production vehicle as the Pope has of becoming a professional rugby star.
It is then, entirely irrelevant.
7. Rimac C_Two
Earlier this year, Tesla, seemingly out of nowhere, fired a warning shot aimed directly at the supercar establishment with their announcement of the Roadster hypercar. A car intended to signal the end of the gasoline-powered supercar as we know it. Then they announced that it would be available somewhere around 2020. At which point we all relaxed as we realised that a petrol apocalypse was at least another few years away. We thought we were safe. We were wrong.
Enter Rimac’s C_Two, an all electric hypercar, capable of dispatching 0-100 km/h in 1.97 seconds*, has a top speed of 412km’h and a range of 650km.
Heaven help us.
EDITOR’S NOTE: False alarm people, turns out the C_Two is also destined for sale in 2020…Proceed to savour your petrol-powered machines.
*Thanks in part to a ‘completely legal’ one-foot roll out. Cheaters.
6. Mercedes-AMG GT 4-Door Coupe
What you’re looking at is the second-best looking coupe released at Geneva.
Essentially, it’s a four-door version of AMG’s GT sports car, tailored specifically for the Catholic end of the market. Y’know, cos it it has 5 seats for all the kids. *Guffaw*.
5. BMW M8 Gran Coupe
What you’re looking at now is the best looking coupe released at Geneva.
BMW must take us all for fools, futilely attempting to persuade us that it’s “only a concept”. It's not working. Adjust the wing mirrors, tweak the exhaust and voila- there you have it- the actual production M8 Gran Coupe that’ll be on sale sometime next year.
You can thank us later.
4. Ferrari 488 Pista
We struggling to fathom how Ferrari, a brand with one of the greatest backlog of names, shook its head at badges like ‘GTO’, ‘Scuderia’ and ‘Speciale’ and opted instead for ‘Pista’ as the nameplate to stamp on the rear-end of its lighter, more focused 488 stallion. Apparently, it translates to ‘track’ in Italian. How creative.
Nevertheless, it’s here now and looks fantastic. Which is surely all that matters. That, and the fact that it’s rear wheel drive and has 530kW. Slidey.
3. McLaren Senna GTR
Don’t let your eyes deceive you, the above vehicle isn’t a medieval piece of weaponry, but rather McLaren’s track-only version of the already track-focused Senna road car. The car held by many leading optometrists as the leading cause of cataracts among the automotive enthusiast population.
Seriously, with the ‘standard’ Senna already being lauded by many as the most hideous pieces of automotive design since the Fiat Multipla, you’d think it impossible to make it worse. Yet somehow, the masterminds at McLaren have managed to do just that. Thanks in the most part to the addition of a whopping-great rear diffuser and the attachment of a front spoiler that juts out like the world’s most exaggerated underbite case.
Kudos to McLaren for the effort.
Here’s the thing though- we rather like it. It isn’t beautiful (far from it) but it is savage and positively beguiling. Like the open carcass of a lion, the sight of it makes you feel a little ill, but you can’t help but stare and gawk. Jokes aside, the GTR is looking to be one incredibly capable piece of kit. With up to 1000kg of downforce, at least 615kW, racing slicks and a dry weight of 1,198kg it isn’t hard to believe McLaren’s claim that the GTR will “post [the] fastest ever McLaren lap times outside [of] Formula 1”
Untamed, raw and violent. We are itching for a drive.
2. Aston Martin Valkyrie AMR Pro
Had you both, the gift to read others minds as well as the opportunity to meet Formula 1 engineering legend, Adrian Newey, we wouldn’t be surprised if you told us the image of the car above was the first you found plastered on the conceptual walls of his cerebrum. That or fond memories of the luscious locks he once possessed in his youth.
It’s called the Valkyrie AMR Pro; which is a mouthful of a name. Like the aforementioned Senna GTR, it is, fundamentally, an incredibly expensive way to embarrass 911 GT3’s at your local racetrack. Unlike the GTR though, you can actually stare at the AMR for more than 3 seconds without getting a throbbing migraine and a severe case of conjunctivitis. Rather, the longer you look the more difficult it becomes to tear your eyes away from the phenomenal framework.
Many extraordinary numbers and facts reside within the AMR’s press sheet, however only one is worth noting; the engine configuration. It’s a 6.5 litre naturally aspirated V12 producing in excess of 820kW (1100bhp). One thousand, one hundred. In a ‘car’ that weighs neigh on 1000kg, that translates to a power-to-weight ratio that (in Aston’s words) “comfortably exceeds the magic* 1:1”
It is, and there really is no better way to put this, staggering.
1. Aston Martin (Lagonda) Vision Concept
Stop shaking your head in disinteret, we have actually decided to put two Aston Martin’s on this list. Except we haven’t.
Excuse us for moment, but we’re going to be a little pedantic. Yes, us, pedantic. We’re changed people. See, technically, the Vision Concept isn’t an Aston Martin at all. Rather, it’s designed to symbolise the product of Aston Martins forthcoming luxury offshoot brand, ‘Lagonda’. And yes, it is autonomous (theoretically). And electric. And completely and utterly a figment of AM’s imagination, and thus has no hope, ever, of becoming a reality. Irregardless, it matters not, because the Vision Concept was/is an achingly stirring piece of design.
We’re so incredibly impressed with the Vision Concept that we’re actually struggling to think of singular aspects to highlight. It’s all so…special. From every fibre of its being, it reeks of exclusivity and class in a way that a ‘regular’ Aston Martin can only dream.
Gone are the days when driftwood and clay featured as the foundational elements of their products, Aston Martin’s future offerings, labelled under the AM nameplate or not, are set to completely rewrite the current automotive rulebook. And we’re as excited as anyone to see how they do it.
Watch this space.
Photography Credit: Manufacturers