Every year in the shadow of Mont Blanc, car manufacturers from around the world take their newest examples through puddles of melting snow to Geneva, Switzerland for the biggest motor show of the year. 2013 has been no exception, revealing some cars we’ve been waiting to see for years, and others that were a complete surprise.
First among the surprises was the Lamborghini Veneno, which debuted on Sunday night, upstaging rival Ferrari’s latest by a day or so. Before we explode about the styling, let’s get power out of the way. It’s been furnished with a 750 hp, 6.5 liter V12 which can boot it up to 220 mph. It will reach 60 in under 3 seconds. It is the most powerful production Lamborghini ever built, though only three will be made, besides the show one you see here- one in each of the colors of the Italian flag. Each will cost $4.6 million, though they’ve all been bought up already. Sorry, Charlie. But just look at the thing. It reminds us of Lamborghini’s Countach days, before they got all corporate and Audified. All Lambos are a little radical, but this is simply mad. It doesn’t look like a fighter jet. It looks like a concept sketch for a toy fighter jet, and that’s awesome. We’re glad we didn’t know about it until we saw it.
Not such a big surprise, however, comes from Toyota, with the GT86 Open Concept. Here in America we’ll know this as the Scion FR-S or Subaru BRZ Convertible when it inevitably hits showroom floors sometimes soon. Right now they’re just calling it a concept, but the 86 twins have been flying off the shelves, so we don’t think it will be long. The buzz has been about the sudden lack of legroom in the back seats. Indeed, adults with permanent legs cannot fit back there. But apparently no one has tried to fit in the hardtop’s back seat, either. Except for me, of course. And I failed.
In what must be the only instance a Rolls Royce has ever been compared to a Mustang, the fastback Wraith has crept menacingly onto the stage. Unlike virtually every Roller ever built, it only has two doors. This is terra nova for Rolls, as most of their cars are designed to be ridden in, rather than driven. But don’t be afraid, RR faithful. You won’t be mistaken for an urchin in a plebian Bentley Continental GT. The Wraith comes standard with suicide doors. Our more commonly heeled readers might think these unwieldy, but they don’t understand that the driver of this car will never have to open or close them himself. The Wraith will retail for $ludicrouslyexpensive.00 and is powered by a twin-turbo V12 producing 623 hp, just a little shy of the GT500 Mustang.
Speaking of ludicrous, Spyker, beloved Dutch dealer of hopes and dreams, has returned from the depths of the Saab scuttle, just when we thought they’d gone down with the ship. And they’ve brought their latest, the B6 Venator. Powered by a mysterious V6, it looks…well…we can’t really say “silly.” We’ll say “eccentric.” Spykers have always had a rather odd artistic flair about them, and once you get over the initial discomfort, you end up finding them quite lovely and stylish. Nor has the wonderful, early-flight-themed interior diminished, save for the amazing dual-rail gear shifter, which is now an automatic mockery of its former self.
And on the subject of mockeries, VW seems to have thrown the glove at the Chevy Volt with their new XL1, a hybrid which can actually travel 260 miles on a gallon of diesel. Remember when the Volt promised 230? Okay, I know that was years ago and I’ll admit that I’m making up this whole challenge-to-a-duel, but GM CEO Dan Akerson said yesterday that GM’s working on a 200-mile electric, so we’ll see. Meanwhile, VW will build and sell 250 examples of the XL1, which vaguely resembles the GM EV1 and the first-gen Honda Insight, and if you’re rich enough that you don’t really care about gas mileage, you can actually buy one.
If the XL1 is the future, the Morgan 4/4 is the past- or so it seems. Its styling is so retrograded you’d assume its production was halted during WWII, which, indeed, it was. Morgan has been building the 4/4 since 1936. But under the hood of today’s version sits a modern, efficient drive train starring a 110 hp, 1.6 liter Ford four-cylinder. It’s a far cry from Morgan’s still-retro Aero supercars, but stays completely true to the original, which only made about 34 hp, anyway. And what it doesn’t have in horsepower, it makes up for in absolute class.
This is only about half of what we can’t wait to show you from Geneva. But we’re going to wait until tomorrow, anyway, to show you the rest. Stay tuned.