Despite the fact an increasing amount of car companies are pulling out of some of the more traditional motor shows on the circuit in favour of the tech-driven shows like CES, in its 89th year, the Geneva Motor Show continues to hold on to its reputation as the big Swiss cheese and curtain-pulling locale for some of the wildest and coolest concepts of all time. And if the sea of silhouettes and ghostly DRLs we've seen already is anything to go by, this year will be no different, except with added lithium battery power.
Kicking off on March 7, the Geneva Motor Show 2019 will see some exciting debuts from Mazda, Mercedes-Benz, Honda and Skoda, as well as some fresh metal from brands like Aston Martin Lagonda and Automobil Pininfarina back from the dead. Here are some of the most exciting reveals to note, and we’ll be updating this list as more rumours and news surface ahead of the show.
A few weeks ago Renault revealed the fifth-generation Clio small hatchback, both inside and out. Although not that different in looks from the current model, the new Clio is shorter and lower, with improved aerodynamics, LED headlights, a larger boot and materials of a higher quality used in the cabin.
We don’t know price, exact timing or specs yet but we do know the new Clio is underpinned by a fresh, flexible platform coming out of the Nissan-Renault-Mitsubishi Alliance and will be lighter, larger, stiffer and is ready for both electrification and autonomy tech to be added down the line. It’s expected to land as a three-pot 0.9-litre turbo petrol engine, a 1.3-litre four-cylinder turbo petrol variant and a larger 1.6-litre turbo, which we might see in the new RS line variant.
Read more: Renault Clio Steps out Before Geneva Debut
Lagonda All-Terrain Concept
As part of its fully-electrified revival of the luxury marque, Aston Martin will be unveiling its first true Lagonda car (bar a flutter in the 2000s) in over three decades. Currently entitled the All-Terrain Concept, the electrified SUV will be the first model in a projected line-up of electric-only vehicles for the British brand, and is scheduled to be in production by 2021.
Like Aston Martin’s EV project Rapide E, the All-Terrain Concept will come out of the British maker’s newest facility in St Athan in Wales, built especially for electric vehicles. As the first high-end luxury brand to go fully emissions-free, Lagonda looks like it might not only be coming for a piece of the Rolls Royce Cullinan pie, in terms of hyper-luxurious SUVs, but also performance EVs like the Jaguar I-Pace, Porsche Taycan and Audi e-Tron. A Lagonda sedan is also likely to follow, rumoured to be close to the concept unveiled at Geneva last year.
Honda Urban EV
Less than two years after it wowed the world with a genuinely unexpected reveal of a cheeky retro all-electric hatchback concept, Honda will wheel out a near-production version of its first all-electric passenger car. In September 2017 at the Frankfurt Motor Show, the Japanese automaker whipped the covers off a compact and cute concept dubbed the Honda Urban EV. Honda also made the unusual move of announcing that a production version would enter showrooms in Europe by the end of 2019 – the concept was no mere ‘design study’.
Read more: Honda Compact EV Getting Ready for Geneva
Precise details have yet to be revealed, including the car’s single-charge range, power output and performance figures, but pre-production prototypes spied testing indicate that the pair of suicide doors have made way for a more practical and conventional five-door arrangement.
As yet, there's no indication of price, however, don't expect this one to be an affordable option for its size. Honda is staying quiet for now, but with the similarly-sized Renault Zoe - one of Europe's most popular electric cars - selling in Australia for $47,490 and up, we expect the Honda to land in the same ballpark. That is, assuming it gets the green light for Australia as well as Europe and Japan.
- Tony O'Kane
Mazda’s Mystery SUV
The Japanese carmaker has released a teaser shot of the new model featuring a low rear roofline that suggests it could be a coupe-styled mid-sized SUV similar to the BMW X4. It will also be an all-new generation vehicle, built on Mazda’s new-generation Skyactiv architecture that underpins the recently revealed fourth-generation Mazda 3.
Read More: Will Mazda’s Mystery Car wear a CX-4 Badge?
The second of Mazda’s new-generation models, the new addition to Mazda’s SUV family will share the 3’s striking Kodo design language, as evident by the circular LED tail-light signature as shown on the otherwise vague teaser pic. It will also have the latest Skyactiv powertrains including the highly efficient supercharged Skyactiv-X engine, which adopts a unique combustion method to combine the free-revving power of a petrol engine with diesel-like torque and economy.
Mazda Australia is still tight-lipped over if or when the new SUV will arrive in Australia, but even the most conservative punter would place a few quid on it joining its broad SUV line-up alongside the Mazda 2-based CX-3 crossover, the mid-sized CX-5, and the CX-8 and CX-9 seven-seaters.
- David Bonnici
Pininfarina Battista Electric Hypercar
“It will combine 88 years of iconic design heritage with leading-edge electric vehicle competence of the Mahindra Group and Mahindra Formula E racing.” Last year, these words were uttered by Automobil Pininfarina boss Michael Perschke when talking about the Italian brand’s relaunch and a major project, an electric hypercar we now know as the Battista. At Geneva, we will finally get a taste of what the iconic brand, now a subsidiary of Mahindra, has been cooking up.
Read More: Pininfarina: The New Carrozzeria
Pictures are limited, despite the fact there have been several renders floating around the internet based on what it will look like in the metal, which, considering the brand's heritage, is the question on everyone’s lips. However, we do know the carbonfibre-centric hypercar, named after Pininfarina SpA’s founder Battista ‘Pinin’ Farina, is said to have a combined output targeted at 1,416kW and 2,300Nm of torque, with an expected 0-100km/h acceleration of less than two seconds, a snap to 300 km/h in under 12 and a top speed of 400km/h. Pininfarina is also claiming it will have a range of 450km.
Skoda Kamiq Crossover SUV
After unveiling the Vision X concept car crossover SUV at last year’s Geneva Motor Show (pictured below), Skoda has revealed the name of its newest baby: the Kamiq, AKA the ace in its pocket at Geneva this year.
We don’t know much about the small SUV, other than the Czech company uses the nameplate on a Chinese market-only SUV already, and it is expected to follow the design cues of the Vision X concept. This is a big launch for Skoda, as, now, the Czech company will finally have something to compete against the Mazda CX-3, Mitsubishi ASX, Hyundai Kona and Nissan Juke for that precious crossover SUV dollar.
Read more: Skoda Names its Baby SUV
Mercedes-Benz EQV People Mover
Adding to the family of battery-powered reveals at Geneva, Mercedes-Benz will be delivering an EQV people mover. Underpinned by the same platform that the recently updated V-Class rides on, the EQV is one of the nine fully-electric vehicles Mercedes-Benz promised to launch by 2022 and the fifth confirmed model so far – joining the EQC SUV, EQA Hatchback, EQB Small SUV and EQS Luxury Sedan.
Read More: Mercedes-Benz V-Class Facelift Revealed
While not as glamorous as some of the other concepts on show at Geneva, this electrified MPV is part of a new class of EV starting to emerge, which is closely related to electrified commercial vehicles including the Mercedes-Benz eVito, but in this case, the EQV is likely competing with the Volkswagen I.D. BUZZ van.
Volkswagen I.D. BUGGY
The latest in a number of cartoonish, retro-future electric concepts from Volkswagen, including the I.D. BUZZ van, I.D. Neo hatchback and I.D. VIZZON Sedan, comes the spirited Volkswagen I.D BUGGY – arguably the car with the most fun points at Geneva Motor Show this year.
This electric-powered dune buggy has all the lovable heritage design cues we’ve come to adore from the German brand over the years, and is a feverish throwback to the 1964 design by surfer/boat builder Bruce Meyers. Like many of the aforementioned EV concepts, the I.D. BUGGY is also built on the highly flexible new Volkswagen electric vehicle MEB platform– or rather, it might be if it ever becomes a reality outside of the design studio... We want to believe.
Bentley Centenary Special Edition
For its 100-year anniversary in July, Bentley’s stand at Geneva will be dominated by a special centenary edition model based on the Continental GT Coupe that is currently still a bit of a mystery.
So far, a video released by Bentley shows some throwback footage and a white number 9 emblazoned on a grille, which harks back to the 1930 Bentley ‘Blower’ 24 hours of Le Mans car.
Read more: Opinion: How to dig Bentley out of a hole
Mitsubishi Engelberg Tourer Concept
Outlander?….Is that you? Rocking roof-mounted spotlights and a name shared with a ski resort in the Swiss Alps, the Engelberg Tourer Concept is Mitsubishi’s latest medium-size SUV, and if the size and styling is anything to go but, it might just be a blood relative of the PHEV Outlander.
It’s not known if this beefed-up, highly muscular SUV is to be another generation of hybrid or if we're looking at the early concept of the Japanese giant’s first fully electric SUV. Our guess? The latter.
Audi Entry-Level E-Tron
Audi looks like they're on track to stick to a promise to sell 12 electric cars by 2025. The E-Tron is already slated to arrive this year, but at Geneva, the Germans are doubling up with a smaller, entry-level EV - a smart move in Europe considering the continent's love of tiny city cars.
Read more: 2019 Audi E-Tron Review
According to reports, the baby EV will be built on the Volkswagen Group's MEB architecture for battery-powered vehicles (same as the VW I.D BUGGY concept mentioned above). The unnamed concept is said to be a sister model to the Volkswagen I.D Neo, a Golf-sized hatch that will go on sale overseas next year. It's assumed that we might see it in production in 2020, and that it will come out of VW's Zwickau factory in Germany, where the VW group is aiming to produce 330,000 EVs across different brands. According to Bloomberg, sources at Audi have revealed it will be in similar vein to the Audi Q3 compact SUV. Judging from the flexibility of the MEB platform (translation: 'Modular Electric Toolkit'), which has seen it underpin a range of vehicles already, anything might be possible.
In addition to the Entry-Level MEB concept, Audi will also be debuting four new plug-in hybrids at Geneva, which are said to go on sale in Europe as soon as this year. However, it remains to be seen if these are entirely new models or updates to its current stable - likely considering Audi has said in the past that it intends to expand it lineup of high-end hybrids.
$25 million one-off Bugatti
If internet rumours are to believed, a one-off $25 million Bugatti Hypercar is going to be front and centre at the French icon's stand at Geneva this year. The car is said to have been built for Porsche royalty and ex- Audi and Volkswagen Group boss Dr Ferdinand Piëch, who is also credited with directly influencing the creation of the Bugatti Veyron, among other iconic cars like the Porsche 911 and Audi Quattro - so the claim isn't ridiculous.
2019 marks 110 years of Bugatti, and to celebrate, the Frenchies unveiled a special '110 ans Bugatti' Chiron Sport edition, limited to 20 units only. So it's likely the secret mega-bucks hypercar might be also based on the donor car.