I have just returned from the 2008 Geneva motor show, which was filled with the usual glitz and glam that you would expect to see at one of my favourite shows. I thought that this month I would bring you some of my highlights from the show from the best of British to Lambo’s latest offering.
To be honest it wasn’t really a show full of surprises on the whole, with the exception of finding out that apparently white is the new black! Many of the large manufacturers who do not traditionally showcase their cars in anything less than bold, bright colours, from Maserati to Porsche, unveiled their latest models in dazzling white! What is that all about?
Whilst we are on the subject of colours, Bugatti unveiled a rather surprising Hermes Limited edition Veyron, in brown! Has the motoring world completely lost the plot? Despite my initial surprise they have without doubt created a world first, a brown car that actually looks good. Mind you with a tasty price tag of over £1m you could paint it pink and it would still retain some degree of cool.
One model that caught my eye, which would look good in any colour, is the Alfa Romeo 8C Spyder, kitted out with a V8 engine, teardrop shaped fog lights and wait for it…the option to choose the colour of its electric roof! It’s just a shame that only 500 of these beauties will roll off the production line.
For those who prefer to drive with the roof on, the much awaited Rolls Royce Phantom Fixed-head Coupe is finally here. It’s much more ‘svelte’ than the Drophead, with more of the same flowing lines minus the stainless steel bonnet and rear teak deck. For a car with almost as much presence as the Phantom, but at a fraction of the cost, look no further than for the handsome £200k Bentley Brooklands Coupe. Bentley describe it as "the world’s most exclusive coupe” but in my opinion, if exclusivity is really what you are after, then the latest offerings from exotic supercar manufacturers Koenigsegg and Pagani are remarkable machines with a price tag closer to £500k.Remaining in Italian climates, Lamborghini revealed their new LP560, their replacement for the Gallardo, which offers more power as well as new front and rear styling. Meanwhile, rivals Ferrari showed the limited edition F430 Scuderia in metallic red, looking worth every penny of the near £40k surcharge over the standard F430, with stripes, carbon fibre and unique wheels. One assumes that it’s what you cannot see – the much quicker gearshifts and limited number that gives this prancing horse its hefty price.
Not to be out-done, Maserati showed off its Gran Turismo S, which takes the beautiful four seater coupe beyond 400 bhp and a return to the clutchless manual gearbox, not forgetting the discreet red ‘S’ on the boot lid!
Coming back to home territory, the best of ‘British’ were definitely on show for all to see. With James Bond’s favourite, Aston Martin showcasing their latest DBS model in Le Mans green, which just about gets away with being a new model, rather than an expensive souped up DB9. Sharing the stand, was the latest 2008 model DB9 featuring a DBS style centre console – at last some ergonomic controls rather than fiddly indistinct buttons, new seats, wheels and a stylish radiator grille.
Another of the ever-diminishing British manufacturers that is still in British ownership, Morgan, showed off its Aeromax coupe which harks back to the 30’s and 40’s with its bold design. But I would not get too excited, with a limited run of only 100 cars it has already sold out!
Jaguar showed the fantastic new XF saloon and a stunning limited edition XKRS which, in my opinion was one of the stars of the show. How ironic that they unveil such a beauty just as their sale to Tata is being finalised. Land Rover, another brand soon to belong to the Indian manufacturer also revealed something quite spectacular in the concept Land Rover LRX, which illuminates the road to the future with a striking design and a diesel hybrid.
Keeping within the realm of the ‘more affordable’, Japanese manufacturers, who have been ever-present at motor shows over the past decade, had their fair share to offer. One particular gem that caught my eye was Nissan’s new ‘Skyline’ Nissan GT. With a price tag of under £55,000, this is by far the fastest car in the UK for the price and is the perfect motor to take all those Gran Turismo fans from Playstation highways to the M6 Toll.
It would not be a true motor show if something slightly anomalous was not unveiled, cue Dutch specialist Spyker’s uniquely styled range including one model that resembled a motorised bath tub! Then there were all the usual offerings from some of the ever popular bespoke tuning houses such as Brabus and Lorinser for Mercedes, Techart and Rinspeed for Porsche and Mansory for Rolls Royce and Ferrari. With a growing demand for specialist personalisation, I have now launched a bespoke service called Sutton Bespoke (www.suttonbespoke.co.uk ) to offer these ‘ready to wear’ programmes to UK customers or, to create even more exclusive one off projects.
On a slightly more practical note, the new Chrysler Grand Voyager was on show with its swivel centre seats allowing mobile conferences and gaming for people on the move. Amazingly a client has commissioned our Bespoke team to work on this car to create one of the world’s first mobile Casinos – well I did say slightly more practical!
Finally pointing to the future, there was a high expectation for some green goddesses to be on show. No I’m not talking about Aston Martin’s promo girls, but about some of the more environmentally friendly motors out there. Fisker Automotive showed its concept Karma featuring its Q drive plug in hybrid technology, allowing up to 50 miles to be driven completely on battery power. A small clean burning petrol engine recharges the lithium ion battery pack, which powers it to an impressive 0-60 in 5.8 seconds and a top speed of 125 mph. However, without a doubt the prize for the most environmentally friendly supercar goes to the concept Audi R8 V12 TDI Le Mans – the world’s first diesel supercar – genius!
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