Geneva Motor Show 2017

It’s the 87th Geneva Motor Show and today was the first press day for what will be a total 148 world or European premieres, writes Brian Byrne. More than 180 exhibitors are presenting at the show, and some 700,000 visitors are expected to throng the halls over the next couple of weeks.

Subaru has revealed a production version of the XV AWD Concept it showcased at Geneva last year. On the company's new platform, there's a lower centre of gravity and a 2.0 boxer format petrol engine with a CVT transmission. A hybrid engine is mooted. New interior design and seats enhance the perceived quality.

Nissan has shown an updated Qashqai, with a more aggressive grille treatment, and a new premium grade aiming it at uppclass competition in the compact SUV market. There aren't any changes to the powertrains, and the car will go on sale in the summer. It is Europe's best selling crossover, so things can only go upwards from there.

The Alfa Romeo Stelvio SUV is built on the same platform as the Giulia premium saloon.
Powertrains include 2.0 four and 2.9 V6 turbocharged petrol units generating 280hp and 505hp respectively. There will be a diesel option for Europe. AWD will be standard. Alfa Romeo is anticipating that the Stelvio will account for a big proportion of sales of 400,000 Alfas it hopes to achieve globally by 2018. They showed it first at the Los Angeles Auto Show before Christmas.

The Range Rover Velar is a new model which slots between the Evoque and the Sport. There's a strong market here for premium SUVs, and it is also very competitive indeed, but it should be able to make inroads easily enough on the basis of siblings' performance. Updated versions of the JLR Ingenium engines range will help power that.

Volvo's new generation XC60 medium SUV has much about it now familiar from the XC90 and the S90 and its wagon variant. The model is responsible for almost one in three sales of the barnd, and now comes with a wider range of powertrains, including the T8 Twin Engine petrol plug-in hybrid delivering 407hp and acceleration from 0-100 Km in 5.3 seconds. For the rest of us, there's a choice of petrol units with between 190hp and 320hp.

We can't have a motor show roundup without at least one exotic supercar, and this is the Lamborghini Huracàn Performante, with a V10 engine pumping 640hp, and with a motorised front spoiler to keep the car from taking off when all that is unleashed at one. You can buy one, for around €250,000.

The very latest car from the DS premium brand of PSA Group is the DS 7 Crossback, a brand new SUV which has a plug-in hybrid powertrain offering a total of 300hp in power. Other engines will include three petrol units and two diesels, ranging in power from 130hp-225hp. The brand has been waiting for sone time for this one, with which it hopes to jump the newly-separate brand into serious premium contention.

Citroen's C-Aircross Concept is pretty close to a production compact SUV that we'll be seeing in production form in a relatively short time. If you've seen the new C3 launched a while back in Ireland, you'll recognise the style cues. At a little over 4 metres long, it will work well in urban situations, but the proven Grip Control will take it through rugged terrain, sand and mud. Needless to say, lots of connectivity, provided you don't venture too far from the mobile masts, we suppose.

Renault is giving prominence to a mid-life revision of the Captur, keeping the nifty two-tone body colours, but rejigging the front end to bring it into line with more recent new models. The lighting signature is now right on brand identity. There's new improved interior detailing, and the Capture can now be had with all the safety and connecting technology that its bigger siblings have. It is the top selling small SUV in Europe, and the company is determined to keep it there. The Alaskan Pickup which we saw on the fringes in Paris is now also on full display.

Skoda has a colourful stand featuring the new 245hp Octavia RS 245, which will be a reasonably accessible hot saloon and combi, as well an upgraded Octavia Scout. The Scout off-road theme has also been added to the new Kodiaq large SUV range (below). And at the other end of the scale, a new 1.0 engine for the Fabia will suit a lot of new young customers.

Peugeot, smiling faces all over the place because the 3008 was just yesterday awarded the European Car of the Year accolade (below), has a ‘wow’ factor concept at Geneva with its Instinct. The idea is that it is autonomous and connected, though with a 300hp plug in hybrid powertrain we’re not sure if we’d like to let the car have it all its own way. The Instinct will automatically link the occupants’ devices to the cloud, for seamless access to all their work and leisure stuff.

Toyota has significantly revised its Yaris supermini, with a detailing reflecting the current Prius showing on the exterior and an upgraded interior. A Yaris GRMN performance version is inspired and influenced by Toyota’s return to the World Rally Championship in 2017 with the Yaris WRC. It will be powered by a supercharged engine – a 1.8-litre unit that will produce more than 210hp.

The Jaguar I-Pace Concept debuted today is an indication of the company’s direction in the field of electric vehicles. An SUV, as the ‘Pace’ element of the name suggests, the company says a production version will be launched later this year for sale in 2018. It will be a 5-seat vehicle, and Jaguar says it will have ‘supercar performance’.

The new generation SEAT Ibiza has strong and neat styling and is critical to the brand as its best selling model. It will have available the driving assist systems already available in the Leon and Ateca, but is likely to be as attractive as an alternative to the parent company’s Polo, smarter and connected. It arrives in Ireland in the summer. SEAT is also showing the new ST version of its current Leon.

Opel has been flagging it for some time, and today the new Insignia Grand Sport and Grand Sport Tourer make their debut. A Crossland X small SUV is also due for reveal, though the cars are somewhat upstaged today by the sale of Opel to PSA Group. The Crossland X (below) is already on a PSA platform.

There’s also significant interest, though, in the Ampera-e electric car, with a claimed range of 520kms (real world a still impressive 380kms). A supermini size with roominess of a compact, they say, and a very smart performance to sports car levels. This could be a gamechanger.

Ford’s new Fiesta ST has a brand new 200hp 1.5 engine, with three cylinders and a 6.7sec sprint to 100km/h. It features selectable drive modes including a Track setting for those who want to pump all those horses on a closed circuit. You might want to get an order in, though the car won’t make it to these shores until early next year.

BMW is showing off its latest version of the new 5 Series, the 530e iPerformance plug-in hybrid variant of the car that is the heart of the BMW brand. It is the sixth member of the iPerformance versions of the brand’s cars, and the company claims fuel consumption as low as 1.9L/100km and CO2 emissions as low as 44g/km. Also on stand are the fifth generation 5 Series Touring, the M4 Convertible, and an i8 Special Edition Protonic Frozen Black.

Mitsubishi’s new production SUV, the Eclipse Cross, will add a sub-Outlander offering to the brand’s range which should seriously raise the image and sales performance of the company, putting them in a segment where there’s serious growth. Powertrains will be 1.5-litre turbocharged petrol or 2.2-litre turbocharged diesel engines with a new 8-speed automatic transmission. The petrol version will be on sale in Ireland in January 2018, and the diesel will follow later.

Above is a concept of the VW Sedric concept autonomous taxi, which was revealed last evening at a pre-show event by the company's CEO Matthias Muller. Without a driver, it would be able to do all the delivery and collection chores for a family or business, with room for four people, and is managed by voice control or with a smartphone app. The concept is a so-called Level 5 vehicle capable of fully automated operation. It could be used for ride-sharing fleets as well as for individual consumers, according to a statement from VW.

VW is also showing its new Arteon, a large coupe saloon that replaces the CC, which will have a choice of 1.5 and 2.0 TSI petrol engines and three versions of a 2.0 diesel. The Tiguan Allspace (below), is probably the most practical vehicle the company has at the show, is a longer version of the latest generation of the SUV and comes with a 7-seat option. If the Tiguan is too little, and the Touareg too much, this is the Goldilocks option.

And, as promised, they have the European debut of their ID Buzz electric microbus concept, a long stretch from the T1 'bus' of 70 years ago.

The showstopper at the Mercedes-Benz stand is the AMG GT Concept which will be a 4-door addition to the M-B AMG GT ‘family’. A less than 3sec sprint to 100km/h is a signature figure for what the brand calls a ‘hypercar’, the next level above supercar designations. A hybrid powertrain with a 4.0 V8 petrol engine and high performance electric motor will offer more than 800hp. More likely to attract buyers even here, though, is the stunning cabrio version of the E-Class, shown here in E400 4Matic guise and with all the head-turning anyone would want.

Kia revealed its new Stinger sports sedan, which will come to Ireland before the end of the year. It will be available, depending on market, with a 255hp 2.0 turbo petrol engine, a 370hp 3.3 twin turbo V6 and a 2.0 diesel with 200hp. Rear-wheel-drive or AWD will be the drive options. At the other end of the scale are the new Picanto (below), in Ireland in May, and a plug-in hybrid version of the Niro compact SUV.

Mazda’s new CX-5 has been strongly reworked, with a more in your face grille and some sleeker metalwork. Refinements to the engines offering, better ride and handling, and a significant upshift in interior also features in the car, which arrives in European markets in the summer. With it’s European debut, the company is also showcasing revised versions of its CX-3 small SUV and the Mazda2 supermini.

Audi is showing its new Q8 concept, with a 3.0 V6 engine incorporating mild hybrid technologies offering 47hp. The car previews a high end SUV targeting the Range Rover Sport and similar. Other showings are the RS5 Coupe with 450hp on tap, and a new 5-cylinder 2.5 with 400hp for the RS3 Sportback. And the serious power fans will be drooling over the new DTM racing version of the Audi RS 5 Coupe. A 4.0 V8 with over 500hp and making its track debut at Hockenheim in May.

Hyundai is showing the wagon version of its new generation i30, the hatchback of which has recently gone on sale in Ireland. The company is also continuing its push towards hydrogen fuel-cell technology showing a new FE (Future Eco) concept powered by a fourth-generation system that’s lighter, more efficient and with a greater range than the version currently in real-world testing in the Tucson ix35 FC. The brand is also moving along its Ioniq electric/hybrid/phev model to show how that car might be also an autonomous offering, after showing its paces in a drive in Las Vegas.

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