Geneva International Motor Show (GIMS), organized annually since 1905, is probably the most famous motor show out there. Ever since organized first, it held almost all ground-breaking premieres of cars, prototypes and engines the automotive industry had throughout the years. Interested in the industry, I always wanted to go to Geneva. Back in March 2017 I made myself a promise that in a year’s time, I will be in Palexpo Convention Centre for the next edition… Year on, I was jumping on a plane to Switzerland for the event!
CENTRE OF THE AUTOMOTIVE WORLD… AT LEAST FOR FEW DAYS
From 8th till the 18th of March the eyes of the automotive world, as always, were focused on what is happening in Geneva. Two first days were devoted for press only and packed with premieres. The number of new models, facelifts and concepts was so big, that I simply cannot provide you with an exact number but believe me, I hardly managed to visit and photograph every stand I wanted to. Here is a hint – if you want to enjoy the show to the very fullest, make sure you have at least two days for it, not to pace yourself too much.
I chose Monday as a perfect day to visit, to avoid overcrowding happening over the weekend. Even during the weekdays though, the hall was full of people even before the doors opened. First stand I approached after I left the escalator was Pininfarina’s – with a production model of H2 Speed. It is a hydrogen-electric supercar with gullwing-doors, which does 0-100km/h in a bit more than 3 seconds and reaches the top speed of 300km/h. And if the specs do not impress you, it simply looks spectacular. After my first stand, I already knew it will be a great day.
TOURING SUPPERLEGGERA, ITALDESIGN AND EXOTIC, LEBANESE FENYR
Passing on my way to the Italdesign exposition, I could not miss the always-fantastic Touring Supperleggera works. If you have ever seen the Alfa Romeo 8C Competizione and appreciated how beautiful a car it is, it would be hard for you to imagine sacrificing one. But there is one way of making one of the 500 pieces ever built even more unique – giving it to Touring and ordering a modern version of the famous Disco Volante. Although the model is a few years old now, it was my first time to see it and I simply was speechless.
Keeping it to Italian automobiles, Italdesign presented a car of their own – Zerouno Duerta. Duerta – standing for ‘open’ in Piedmonts’ dialect – is a supercar in its purest form. Powered with naturally aspirated, 5.2l V10 engine, can go as fast as 320km/h. With open top, naturally. Feeling the wind through the hair, one could contemplate on such a rare specification of the supercar – nowadays, without two superchargers or a hybrid boost it already is a diamond in the rough.
Another exotic supercar, although with more common specification for today’s standards, was Lebanese Fenyr SuperSport. With production limited to 25 pieces a year and the 800HP, twin-turbocharged, flat-six engine, coupled with Porsche PDK gearbox, it will not only be a great choice to stand out from the crowd, but also an incredible road performer.
PREMIERE OF THE SHOW – ASTON MARTIN VANTAGE
To me, the best stand was the one prepared by Aston Martin – with its just-premiered New Vantage. Superseding the previous model after around thirteen years, it needed to be a great tradition-bearer and a worth-successor. And it did not disappoint – neither the crowds, nor me. I was under such a big impression that I decided to devote a separate article to it – and you can read it here.
But the New Vantage was not the only car one could find on Aston Martin’s floor. There was its bigger GT brother, premiered one year ago – the DB11, the ultra-racing vehicle – Valkyrie and fully autonomous and electric Aston Martin Lagonda Vision Concept. Besides the ‘normal’ cars, there was also the Red Bull Racing single seater to emphasize brand’s collaboration with the F1 series. To top it all off, all these vehicles I had a pleasure to shoot with journalist and presenter Sarah Yvonne Elsser – to whom I would like to now thank for posing next to the cars from Gaydon!
There were quite a few cars painted green that made a huge impression on me. Where should I start? Maybe with one of the most popular cars of the show, straight from Bavaria. In Geneva, BMW presented the M8 Gran Coupe. Although only a concept by now, the car was highly likely to be close to a production model of the German gran tourer, bringing the 8-series back to the market after nineteen years of absence. Exposed in front of a gigantic mirror, the coupe could be adored from all angles and tend to gather rather a huge audience.
Few miles away from Munich on the automotive map, from Pfaffenhausen, was the “Irish Green” RUF SCR 2018. Being a tribute to the SCR from 1978 and inspired by the original Porsche 911 (964) it is an incredible homage. Its fully carbon fibre monocoque and chassis, combined with 4.0l, flat-six engine, which generates more than 500HP, make the car a rocket weighting only 1250kg. Simply amazing. I had a chance to sit inside and make myself comfortable in the all-alcantara interior. Looking at the odometer lining up 6 zeros and the speedometer scaled up to 360km/h, I was imagining myself as one of the 25 lucky people every year, who could buy themselves one of the limited production SCRs.
Last but not least, there was the Bullitt. Every petrolhead must recall the famous Ford Mustang Fastback, which Steve McQueen used to drive in the movie of the same name. This year, Ford decided to build upon that history and present the refreshed version of the car for the European market. And although I would still choose the classic (who wouldn’t?!), the new model has its own appeal. Standing next to its old brother, it was defending itself quite well.
BOATS ON WHEELS
Here come the luxurious bits and pieces from the Genève’s Motor Show. And some of them – believe me – are very, very bold. Like boats on wheels. How else could you describe a 5 metres long Range Rover with only two doors? That SUV Coupe was designed by Special Vehicle Operations and will be powered by a supercharged V8, generating plenty of torque. Yes, it is exclusive – limited to 999 pieces. Yes, it is fast – but do youreally want to be talking acceleration and max speed for such a car? And yes, you can customize it on so many different levels, to make sure it matches your sophisticated taste.
It was only presented during the press days and then hidden on the backstage, but thanks to Hollie from Jaguar Land Rover, I had the chance to take a closer look. Thank you, Hollie, for the access and for the recommendation note, which let me… access the fantabulous stand of Rolls Royce.
And oh my, what a luxurious place that was. I was part of a guided tour around all the models exhibited this year and every single one was stunning. We started with the freshly premiered Dawn ‘Aero Cowling’, which can be either a spacious four-seater, or a classy, speedster-alike two-seater – all thanks to a special tonneau cover.
Next there were various versions of the ever famous and sumptuous Phantom. We had the chance to have a seat in the back of the extended wheelbase model and it was a first time in a Phantom for me. I would never even think one will have (or need) a button to close or open the window curtains… I could argue the LED headlining, layout in the way the stars were aligned on the day of the client’s birthday is much better a feature! Last but not least, Rolls Royce featured a new way of customization – ‘The Gallery’. Behind the dashboard glass, a piece of art can be created. It can be a golden laying, a mahogany carving or a carpet made of feathers – everything one could imagine to make the car “the epitome of Bespoke”.
I COULD NOT MISS FERRARI
It took me quite a while to get onto Ferrari’s stand, but being a huge fan of the brand, I could not miss it for the World. Although it was not the most exciting of the entire show, it had quite a thrilling premiere – the 488 Pista. The new version of the well-known Berlinetta is basically a race car dressed in road’s clothes, taking heaps fromthe GTE and Challenge versions. It is more powerful, lighter, equipped with faster gearbox and upgraded suspension for better handling. That results in 0-100km/h sprint in 2.85s, 200km/h achieved after 7.6s and the clock stopping at 340km/h. Spectacular… and scary.
DON’T CRACK UNDER PRESSURE
The day passed in a blink of an eye and it was already closing time. Rushing in-between all the novelties of the automotive world I was so excited and focused on photos, I even forgot to eat my lunch. Leaving the show, I took my last shot – and it was of Tag Heuer ad right above the replica of Steve McQueen’s GT40 in Gulf livery. It said “Don’t crack under pressure”.
And this year – the Geneva International Motor Show did not. The day spent at Palexpo was full of incredible automobiles, great atmosphere and fantatsic people – and most importantly, it left me with amazing memories. I would do my best to visit it again next year.
Text & Photos: Adam Pękala ©