The 87th annual Geneva Motor Show is officially underway, once again easing us out of hibernation with only the finest eye candy on the planet.
This year’s show promises to be a smash hit, with Aston Martin, Lamborghini, McLaren and Pagani being just a few of the many automakers set to show off their finest, speediest and arguably most prohibitively expensive machinery.
Rest to 200 km/h in 7.8 seconds, a standing quarter-mile in 10.3 seconds and it stops from 200 km/h in a dizzying 4.6 seconds. These are the numbers that define the second-generation McLaren Super Series — the 720S. Power comes from a new 4.0-litre V8 with two turbochargers, generating 720 horsepower. The stopping power comes from monster calipers that clamp down on trash can-sized carbon-ceramic rotors. It also adopts a suspension that reads the road and tires to arrive at the right damping characteristics. Naturally, the 720S’ driving characteristics are adjustable. The instrumentation comes from tomorrow — the Folding Driver Display digital instrument has two different ways of viewing the information. Full Display offers the info in a large screen format; when it swivels back into the dash, it becomes the Slim Display. This limits the info to critical data, which minimizes information overload. Finally, the dihedral doors require 150 millimetres less space to open, so it fits in a smaller parking spot.
Ferrari 812 Superfast
The Ferrari 812 Superfast on for size. It sure lives up to its name and its gorgeous lines — the sensuous 812 is the fastest ride the Prancing Horse marque has ever turned out of its coveted corral. The 6.5-litre V12 engine gives the driver access to 800 horsepower (123 horses per litre) and 530 lb.-ft. of torque, 80 per cent of which twists out at 3,500 rpm. So, how fast, you ask? From a stop, 100 km/h comes in 2.9 seconds and it gallops on to a top speed of 335 km/h. To underscore its significance, this beauty is being launched in Rosso Settanta red to commemorate the company’s 70th anniversary. It also gets a new advanced handling package, which includes torque vectoring.
Porsche 911 GT3 RS 4.0
The latest addition to the Porsche 911 stable is the GT3, with a few key updates. It arrives with a naturally aspirated 4.0-litre flat-six, which makes it one of Porsche’s few non-turbo offerings. This engine pushes 500 horsepower through a six-speed manual gearbox — the aficionados will be celebrating — or, for the shiftless, a seven-speed twin-clutch (PDK) transmission. The thrust of the GT3 has always been light making might; with a curb weight of 1,430 kilograms (with a full fuel tank), the latest GT3 boasts an enviable power-to-weight ratio of 2.86 kilograms per horsepower, so you know it will be fast. Porsche says the zero-to-100 km/h run comes in at 3.4 seconds with PDK aboard. Rear-wheel steering is standard, as is the track precision app — it records a hot lap and overlays the video with vital data from the car. The GT3 arrives in the third quarter of this year with a starting price of $163,300.
Audi RS 5
It seemed only fitting Audi drop a sledgehammer in Geneva — welcome to the audacious RS 5, both a legitimate road-rocket and a luxurious coupe. The latter is found in the Virtual Cockpit, gorgeous wingback seats, a killer sound system and leather galore. Yes, it mirrors its mortal kin in that it is a 2+2 rather than a true four-seater, but that really does not matter as this car is all about the exhilaration of speed! And that it gets in spades — the 2.9L twin-turbo V6 pumps out 450 hp and 442.5 lb.-ft. from 1,900 rpm. Fire that lot through an eight-speed Tiptronic transmission and all four wheels, and the RS 5 runs from rest to 100 km/h in 3.9 seconds. Audi Sport also offers the RS sport suspension with Dynamic Ride Control (DRC), ceramic brakes and dynamic steering with RS-specific tuning. The RS 5 lands in Europe this June, so it should hit Canada towards the end of the year.
Bentley EXP 12 Speed 6e
It is commonplace for manufacturers to launch electric vehicles in this greener age, but when Bentley joins the fray with an all-electric car, it’s time to take notice. While the company was very thin on details, it says the vision is for a customer to be able to drive between London and Paris or Milan and Monaco on a single charge. Replenishing the electrons is accomplished through a high-speed inductive charging system, and when running, the 6e logo lights up within the grille.
The EXP 12’s cabin is simply exquisite — the entire central console is made from a solid piece of curved glass with a high-definition OLED screen sitting within. It becomes the command central for everything from the navigation and entertainment to the climate controls. The glass theme continues with two glass sections on the steering wheel, both giving access to the media, communications, navigation and vehicle set-up. Bentley’s electrified strategy will grow to include plug-in hybrids being introduced across the model range in coming years — it will start with the Bentayga in 2018.
Bentley Continental Supersports Convertible
Now what does the driver with a need for speed drive? The Bentley Continental Supersports convertible is a hot new candidate. It is, says Bentley, is the fastest drop top in the world and it is not difficult to understand why — the 6.0-litre W12 engine pushes 700 horsepower and 750 lb.-ft. of torque through an eight-speed transmission and all four wheels, splitting the power 40 per cent up front and 60 per cent to the rear wheels. This, in spite of the mass at play, gives it a run to 100 km/h of 3.9 seconds and a top speed of 330 km/h. The carbon-fibre front splitter and rear diffuser then reduce lift to keep it planted on the road rather than reaching for the sky. Of course, the cabin is all Bentley — a herd’s worth of the finest leather and the mandatory organ stops for the air vents. As for the claim it is the faster four-seater around, well, take that with a grain of salt — the rear seat legroom is slightly more than nothing.
Pagani Huayra Roadster
Pagani pulled the wraps off the Huayra Roadster. Aside from its jaw-dropping looks, what makes this super-sled special is the reversal of an age-old trend — it is lighter by 80 kilograms and more powerful than the coupe. The AMG-sourced 6.0-litre V12 engine pushes 764 horsepower and 738 lb.-ft. of torque, which is enough to get the driver from rest to 100 km/h in three seconds. It also gets Brembo’s latest carbon-ceramic brakes along with monster 20-inch wheels up front and 21-inch rear wheels, with equally wide tires. The rubber footprint, says Pagani, allows the Roadster to pull a surreal 1.8 lateral Gs. The Roadster will arrive with two tops — a carbon-fibre lid with a glass panel, and a fabric top that stows in the trunk should it rain while out for a romp. In spite of its stratospheric price – roughly $3.25 million Canadian dollars – all 100 roadsters have already sold out.
Lamborghini Huracán Performante
The performance version of Lamborghini’s Huracán, the Performante, arrives with a higher output and mid-mounted 5.2-litre V10 producing 640 horsepower and 442 lb.-ft. of torque. This means the all-wheel-drive supercar warps from rest to 100 km/h in 2.9 seconds. However, the Performante has a secret in the form of its Aerodynamica Lamborghini Attiva, taking adaptive aerodynamics to a new level. A series of flaps and a special rear wing reduce drag at speed and adds a first — aero vectoring. Changing the rear aerodynamics adds more downforce to the inside rear wheel, which speeds the turn-in response. The proof of its potency? The Performante smashed the Nürburgring lap record for a production car, beating the Porsche 918 Spyder by five seconds with a six-minute, 52.01-second lap time. Breathtaking!