2014 Geneva Motor Show
One of the largest international auto shows, the Geneva Motor Show is held each year in March. Like other major auto shows, it's everything automotive in one place. Two things make Geneva unique. First, it's is similar to the Chicago Auto Show in that it's hosted on neutral ground. No automakers are headquartered in Switzerland and, as a result, no one manufacturer is a hometown favorite. Second, the Geneva show hosts exhibits from Europe's exotic-tuner community. Of course Lamborghini and Ferrari are on display, but there's also Pagini, Rinspeed, Alpina, Brabus, Koenigsegg, RUF - you get the idea. I call it exotic-automotive sensory overload.
Unfortunately, you can't buy most of those vehicles in the United States. Still, there was a lot of news to come out of Geneva and a few of the introductions were for vehicles that will eventually find their way to our shores. Here a wrap up of a few of my favorites.
2015 Audi TT
Audi took the wraps off the third-generation TT at Geneva. Styling is evolutionary, but certainly freshens the look for 2015. The new car sports lines that are crisp and taught compared to its predecessor's rounded and flowing design. Initially three engines will be offered. Likely for Europe only is a 184-hp 2.0-liter 4-cylinder turbo diesel. Gas engines include two 2.0-liter turbo fours. One makes 230 hp and the other 310. Front-drive and quattro all-wheel-drive models will be offered. No word on price or U.S. introduction date.
2015 Jeep Renegade
The new Jeep Renegade is destined to splash onto U.S. showrooms in the first quarter of 2015. It's smaller than the Cherokee and should be considerably less expensive. Though still a five seater, its diminutive size and quirky styling has it competing for youthful buyers with vehicles like the Kia Soul, Nissan Cube and MINI Countryman. Initially two engines will be offered: A 1.4-liter turbo four and a naturally aspirated 2.4-liter four. Both mate to either a 6-speed manual transmission or a 9-speed automatic. While front-drive will be standard, there is a trail-rated Renegade Trailhawk that sports all-wheel-drive for those looking to take Jeep's new cute ute off the beaten path.
2015 Lamborghini Huracan
Making its world debut at the 2014 Geneva Auto Show is the Lamborghini Huracan. It's the successor to Lamborghini's "entry-level" Gallardo and is to be released in the spring of 2014. As will all recent Lamborghinis, the Huracan name is inspired by a Spanish fighting bull - this this one fought in 1879. The engine and transmission are carryovers from the Gallardo. The powertrain consists of a 5.2-liter V10 that nets out at 602 hp and a 7-speed dual-clutch automatic. All-wheel-drive is standard. Lamborghini claims the top speed is 202 mph and 0-60 mph can be achieved in about 3.2 seconds. Price is expected to be north of $250,000.
2014 Mercedes-Benz S-Class Coupe
It's hard to imagine that the S-Class Coupe that debuted in Geneva shares a chassis with the upright and formal S-Class sedan. In person, the new S coupe is at once delicate and sinuous with gently flowing lines front to rear and a long-and-low hood line that echoes back to Mercedes' past. U.S. version will be badged S550 and come with a 4.7-liter twin-turbo V8 that produces a whopping 449 hp. Putting that power to the ground will be Mercedes' 4Matic all-wheel-drive system. Like its sedan kin, the S Coupe gets a panoramic sunroof with Magic Sky Control dimming technology and Active Body Control that leans the car into corners. Look for the S-Class Coupe to hit showrooms this fall.
2014 Alfa Romeo 4C
Rumors of Alfa Romeo's return to U.S. shores have been rampant and this is the car we'd get first. The 4C is a small rear-drive sports car that rides a carbon-fiber-and-tube frame chassis and weighs a little over 2100 pounds. The 4C coupe was first unveiled at the 2013 Geneva Motor Show and the 4C Spyder took center stage this year. Power comes from a 1.8-liter turbo four that makes 240 hp. The sole transmission is a 6-speed dual-clutch unit that can be controlled by steering-wheel paddles. Reported 0-60 mph times come in at less than 5 seconds. Now the bad news, there's no formal launch date for the U.S. and the price will likely be north of $60,000.
2015 Opel Adam Rocks
File this one in the "cars we will never get bin," however, since the Adam is made by Opel (General Motors European subsidiary) it could eventually make its way to U.S. shores with a Bowtie on the hood. The Adam is a city car that is about the same size as a Chevrolet Spark. Last year Opel showed a concept called the Adam Rocks - an Adam with an injection of crossover DNA. This year the brand announced the production version that's carried over virtually unchanged from the concept. The Adam Rocks sits 15 mm higher than the standard car, sports rugged bumpers and body cladding and has an electric-folding canvas roof. Engine choices include two naturally-aspirated four cylinders and General Motors new 1.0-liter turbo three cylinder. The Adam Rocks goes on sale in Europe this August. Who knows if it will ever make its way stateside?
Perhaps the most stunning reveal in Geneva, the Maserati Alfieri concept foreshadows the brand's future coupe/convertible. The 2+2 coupe was designed under the supervision of Lorenzo Ramaciotti, chief designer first for Pininfarina and then the Fiat Group. Ramaciotti is also given credit for designing the Maserati Quattroporte. Cues include LED head and tail lamps, 21-inch wheels and liquid-metal paint. Inside there's aniline leather by Poltrona Frau and copper-tone billet aluminum trim. The Alfieri's wheelbase if nearly 10 inches shorter than the current Maserati coupe, the Gran Turismo, but packs the same 4.7-liter naturally-aspirated V8 that makes 460 hp. A 6-speed automatic transmission transmits power to the rear wheels and carbon-ceramic rotors with Brembo calipers complete the package. Don't look for the Alfieri at Maserati dealers any time soon, but a replacement for the now-seven-year-old Gran Turismo is certainly in the works, let's hope it looks a lot like the Alfieri.
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