Geneva Motor Show Highlights #2: Mercedes-AMG, Porsche, Mitsubishi, Volkswagen and Jeep
Today, the doors of the Palexpo exhibition centre, home to the 87th Geneva International Motor Show, open to the general public for the first time. Visitors can expect a feast of new, smart, hot, fast and futuristic sheet metal, with all the big names in the automotive game vying for attention.
Yesterday, we looked at five of our favourite show stars – the Alpine A110, Porsche Panamera Sport Turismo, McLaren 720S, Honda Civic Type R and Range Rover Velar. Today, we’re adding five more to that list.
MERCEDES-AMG GT CONCEPT
It may be called a concept, but this four-door coupé is a dead cert for production, with the official launch expected next year. It also previews the new-generation CLS. And it’s based on the latest E-Class platform.
However, the GT Concept does have lots of AMG tech, starting with a 4,0-litre bi-turbo V8 rated at 295 kW, linked to an electric motor that boosts max power to up to 600 kW. The electric motor can also be used for zero-emissions motoring, and offers significant gains in overall efficiency and economy. However, the production model might have to make do with less urge.
Power is to all four wheels, and rear-wheel steering adds both stability at speed, and wieldy manoeuvrability in low-speed urban driving. The GT Concept also celebrates 50 years of AMG.
PORSCHE 911 GT3
The ultimate 911 for hardcore performance fans isn’t going soft anytime soon. And it’s not getting a turbocharged engine either.
Instead, this updated model is powered by a normally aspirated flat six mill with a 4,0-litre capacity. And it retains the option of a good old six-speed manual gearbox next to the seven-speed PDK dual-clutch transmission.
The engine is a worthy centrepiece for the GT3: it spins all the way to 9 000 rpm, and is good for 368 kW of banshee-wailing urge. The car’s aerodynamics are more effective than previously, and include a reshaped rear diffusor for added composure. That big rear wing’s downforce is also supposed to help keep things tidy …
With a kerb weight of 1 350 kg, the PDK version blitzes the 0-100 km/h dash in 3,6 sec and continues to a 318 km/h top speed. The manual version is slightly slower at 3,9 sec, but achieves a Vmax of 320 km/h.
Mitsubishi’s new compact SUV is called the Eclipse Cross, and fits in above the ASX, but below the Outlander. The newcomer features extrovert lines clearly targeting younger, less conservative buyers.
That approach is also mirrored inside the newcomer, where a Smartlink Audio system and touchscreen display offer seamless connectivity with mobile devices, including Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility.
The drivetrain choices comprise a new 1,5-litre direct-injection turbo petrol engine, and a 2,2-litre common-rail turbodiesel. There’s also a new eight-speed CVT, while an electronically all-wheel drive system is standard.
Volkswagen will be hoping for greater success with its smart and sophisticated Arteon four-door coupé than the now defunct CC, which adopted a similar formula, but never gained any real sales traction. The Arteon looks more resolute and aspirational, with a strong identity that really turns heads.
Fusing a spacious five-seater interior to a streamlined profile, the Arteon has a surprisingly long wheelbase, which translates into a lavishly dimensioned and equipped interior. The boot is huge too, and is easily accessed via a rear tailgate.
A six-engine complement includes TSI turbo petrol and TDI turbodiesel engines, ranging in output from 110 kW to 206 kW. Top models get DSG transmissions and all-wheel drive.
While clearly in the premium league, the real question is whether luxury car buyers will accept the Arteon’s upper-class aspirations.
First shown at January’s Detroit Motor Show, the new Jeep Compass looks the rugged Jeep part, and is visually more convincing than its rather bland predecessor.
In fact, it’s aesthetically more authentic than the larger Cherokee, which now looks too soft and rounded to be wearing the Jeep badge. It’s one of many reasons why the Compass should be a winner.
Fitting in neatly between the exaggerated cuteness of the Renegade and the piscine-faced Cherokee, it is admittedly more lifestyle SUV than true off-roader. But it does link its chunky presence to decent space and kit.
Expect a Trailhawk version to add some real off-road talent, too.