Words by Erin Baker
Geneva hosts the biggest and best motor show in the world every March, showcasing everything from the latest electric cars to the ultimate new luxury supercars, to whacky concepts that will never see the light of day, but give us a tantalising glimpse of the future. As has become the norm, most of the cars unveiled this week are either electric or an SUV, or both.
Here’s motoring journalist Erin Baker’s, Editorial Director at Auto Trader, round-up of the best in show this week.
Ferrari F8 Tributo
This stunning new supercar from the famous Prancing Horse badge has its work cut out, because it’s the replacement for the incredibly sexy 488 GTB, possibly the best-looking Ferrari ever made. It ticks all the traditional Italian-supercar boxes: 0-62mph in just 2.9 seconds and a top speed of 211mph. Oh, and it looks amazing too, especially in red (of course). If you’ve got £200,000 in your piggy bank, get your order in.
Skoda Vision iV
At the other end of the scale, but no less significant, is Skoda’s new electric car. OK, so this is still in “concept” form, ie it’s an example of how the car might look if it was built, but this concept is pretty close to what you’ll get when the production-ready electric SUV goes on sale in 2021. Skoda says you’ll get up to 310 miles between charges of the battery, which sounds pretty good to us, and we love the more sporty styling. If you can’t wait until 2021, Skoda also unveiled their Kamiq, a small SUV, and yet another Skoda starting with a “K” – it’s getting might confusing out there – which is on sale right now.
The gorgeous new 208 has lifted Peugeot out of the design doldrums, and means the brand is once again selling desirable cars. Who knew? But the best on offer is the electric version, the e-208, which is Peugeot’s first all-electric car. It goes on sale this summer, and looks like it will steal Mini sales as the perfect car for short journeys and easy parking round town.
Bentley Bentayga Speed
Just to prove that there are still bonkers high-performance cars out there for petrolheads, Bentley has unveiled a steroids-injected version of its Bentayga SUV, which wasn’t exactly a slouch to start with. It has a massive twin-turbocharged six-litre engine under the bonnet which means it has stolen the crown back off the Lamborghini Urus as the world’s fastest SUV, with a top speed of 190.1mph compared with the Lambo’s 189.5mph. These things matter to some people…
Alfa Romeo Tonale
Yes, it’s another SUV, but when it’s from Alfa Romeo, it doesn’t count, because Alfa simply doesn’t make boring mass-market cars. Instead, it turns out beautifully appointed works of automotive art, with smart fabrics, posh plastics and stitching that wouldn’t look out of place in an Ermenegildo Zegna suit. Sigh…. If you want some actual facts, it’s a compact version of the Stelvio, a bit like the Jeep Renegade, with whom it shares some parts.
Umm, another compact SUV (what can we say? Personally we’d like a shedload of high-performance estates to be unveiled, but the SUV is all anyone is buying). It sits between the smaller CX-3 and larger CX-5 and will appeal to those customers also looking at the Peugeot 3008 and Skoda Karoq. Mazda says it’s for those looking for the urban-friendly size of the CX-3, but with the practicality of the bigger CX-5. We know it will drive nicely, because Mazdas always do.
Ignore the boring working name (it will be called something else when it goes on sale), and the fact that this is a concept car, because what you see is pretty much what you’ll get with the second iteration of this retro-styled small electric hatchback. It will have a range of 120 miles on one charge, which is plenty for the sort of urban motoring this dinky car is designed for. But it won’t be cheap – Honda don’t do cheap cars. Then again, as Honda said: “Look at the iPhone. They are not cheap products, but everyone still wants them.”
The best glimpse of the future comes from Polestar, Volvo’s high-performance electric sub brand, and its Polestar 2 electric car, a rival to the Tesla Model 3. With a real-world range of about 300 miles, a starting price under £40,000 and a sleek design, it’s a very tempting proposition. Add to that a vegan interior (leather is so 20th century) and Google’s Android system for all your infotainment needs, and this could be our car of 2019.
We wouldn’t normally bother putting random electric supercar concepts in our top 10, but the Battista happens to be, at this moment in time, the most powerful Italian car ever made which, considering Ferrari and Lamborghini are Italian, is saying something. For those of you interested in numbers, it has 1,900 horsepower, which is like 10 Ford Focuses all pulling at the same time. Oh and it will cost you about £2m.
VW T-Roc R
The chunky, funky T-Roc, a small SUV from Volkswagen, went on sale last year; this is the sportier R version. We already love the Golf R, so based on the strong performance of that model, we have high hopes for the T-Roc R. It has four-wheel drive, plenty of power and a clever automatic gearbox that swaps gears so quickly you barely notice. VW reckons its sporty enough to race at a circuit: we prefer the thought of racing away from the traffic lights in one.