If there’s one motor show petrolheads need to prioritise each year, it’s Geneva.
It’s a small show in terms of hall space, so manufacturers tend to focus on big-ticket reveals that’ll have media and punters alike frothing at the mouth (and wallet).
As usual, there was plenty of talk of electrification and autonomy, but most of the headline acts still burned fossil fuel and plenty of it in the pursuit of horsepower and speed.
Here are the 10 cars you need to care about from this year’s show.
Launch date: Q2 2019
Price: $300,000+ (TBC)
AMG grows ever bolder.
No longer satisfied with turning the wick up on production Mercedes, it now wants its own models, hence the CLS63 is now a thing of the past, replaced by the GT 4-door. As is the current fashion, its hatch-esque body melds sedan and coupe and can be had with AMG’s new mild-hybrid 3.0-litre turbo straight-six (320kW/520Nm, 0-100km/h 4.5sec).
For the full experience, though, you’re going to want the 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8. In base GT63 guise it develops 430kW/800Nm and hits 100km/h in just 3.4sec thanks to all-wheel drive and a nine-speed wet-clutch auto. The GT63 S unleashes AMG’s most powerful turbo V8 yet, producing 470kW/900Nm, capable of flinging 2045kg of Mercedes to 100km/h in just 3.2sec.
Both V8 models use three-mode adaptive suspension and all-wheel steering, while the S adds active engine mounts, bigger wheels and tyres and Drift Mode for tyre-melting rear-drive antics.
Inside, there’s a sleeker version of the GT Coupe’s rising centre console and massive twin 12.3-inch screens. Expect a price tag of $300K-plus when it lands in Q2 2019.
Its nemesis, Porsche's 382kW/700Nm twin-turbo V8 Panamera Turbo is similar in spec to the AMG, though 0.6sec slower to 100km/h and the best part of $100K dearer, but it’s also a work of art inside and a beast to drive. Game on.
2 - Rimac C_Two
Launch date: N/A
No, those figures aren’t typos, the C_Two has virtually all the horsepower in the world.
The second effort from Croatian EV specialists Rimac, supplier to the likes of Aston Martin, Renault and Koenigsegg, the C_Two is set to redefine production-car acceleration, with claims of 0-100km/h in 1.97sec, 0-300km/h in 11.8sec and a 9.1sec quarter mile, though these include a one-foot rollout.
Rimac claims the 120kWh battery pack delivers a 650km range – or, alternatively, two flat-out laps of the ’Ring – and can be recharged to 80 per cent in just 30 minutes, while an electric motor on each wheel provides true torque vectoring.
Furthermore, Rimac claims the C_Two is equipped for Level 4 autonomy. Just 150 C_Twos will be built at an expected price of – deep breath – around AUD$2.7million.
Launch date: Q4 2018
Finding your Chiron a little lacking in turn-in bite? Does it not quite have the lateral grip you were expecting?
Bugatti has the answer to your prayers with the Chiron Sport, a variant “for customers wanting an even sportier driving experience, with improved dynamics on winding roads,” according to new Bugatti boss Stephan Winkelmann, formerly of Audi Sport and Lamborghini.
The changes are subtle, consisting of new wheels, greater use of carbon fibre (including, in a world first, the windscreen wipers!) and lighter rear glass for an 18kg weight saving, as well as 10 per cent stiffer dampers, retuned steering and a new Dynamic Torque Vectoring function.
Despite its unchanged powertrain – 1103kW/1600Nm is deemed plenty– Bugatti claims the Sport is five seconds a lap quicker than the regular Chiron around Nardo’s handling circuit.
These changes don’t come cheap, the Sport adding €250,000 (almost AUD$400,000) to the regular Chiron’s €2.4m base price. You’ll spot the Sport thanks to its new wheel design, quad-tip exhaust and the distinctive ‘16’ in the grille.
Launch date: Q1 2019
Price: $645,000 (drive-away)
A Ferrari has no rivals (according to Ferrari), but may we just point out the new 488 Pista has exactly the same outputs as the McLaren 720S. What a coincidence.
Of course, as the hardcore version of Ferrari’s incredible supercar it also benefits from a 90kg diet, thanks to new engine bits (-18kg), a smaller battery, stripped-out interior and the option of carbon-fibre rims.
Its revised 3.9-litre twin-turbo V8 increases outputs by 38kW/10Nm over the base 488.
Somehow, Ferrari has also reduced the shift times of the seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox. Larger spoilers increase downforce, with significant revisions to the bodywork needed to shed the associated drag. As the successor to the 458 Speciale, it has very large boots to fill. Sadly, the Aussie wait list is already very long.
Launch date: Q4 2018
In a world where Range Rover is building convertible SUVs, perhaps the idea of a drop-top track car shouldn’t seem so unusual.
Extensive carbon fibre use sheds 35kg from the standard Spyder, however, there’s a significant 125kg penalty over the hardtop Performante.
Despite the turbulence created by the missing roof, Lamborghini claims its clever ALA active aero system is not compromised. When you’re not on track, the roof opens and closes in 17 seconds and can be operated at up to 50km/h. Yours for a shade over $530K.
Launch date: Nov 2018
Price: $70,000 (est)
Good news for anyone keen on living out their Steve McQueen fantasies, with Ford Australia confirming the Mustang Bullitt will be heading Down Under.
Details are scarce at this stage, but expect it to produce about 349kW, a 10kW bump on the standard 2018 Mustang, but 5kW down on US cars due to the difference in measuring method between Australia and the US. Otherwise the changes are cosmetic, yet the Bullitt is certain to sell like hot cakes.
7 - Alpine A110
Launch date: Q2 2018
Price: $95,000 (TBC)
The Pure and Legende models straddle the existing ‘Premiere Edition’ offering, the Pure focused on back-to-basics driving while the Legende will offer more luxury and refinement. The mechanical spec is unchanged. Meanwhile, the A110 GT4 will debut towards the end of 2018 ahead of a full season in 2019.
Launch date: Q3 2019
Price: $250,000 (est)
Specs: 480kW/800Nm (est)
BMW’s not about to let the Mercedes-AMG GT 4-door have the hi-po hatch market to itself, revealing the M8 Gran Coupe, a stretched version of its forthcoming flagship two-door.
While just a ‘concept’ for now, it’s set to enter production in 2019 housing the 4.4-litre twin-turbo V8, eight-speed auto and all-wheel drive system from the new M5. Expect a hike in power to justify the higher price tag, though it should usefully undercut the AMG.
Launch date: Now
You might not have heard of Middle East supercar company W Motors, but you’re probably familiar with its first car, the Lykan Hypersport. Only seven were built, with Vin Diesel infamously jumping one out of a Dubai skyscraper during Fast & Furious 7.
Its latest offering is the Fenyr Supersport, an all-carbon supercar powered by a 597kW/980Nm 3.8-litre twin-turbo flat-six developed by German Porsche specialists RUF, attached to a seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox.
The rear-drive Fenyr is claimed to hit 100km/h in 2.7sec and 200km/h in 9.4sec on its way to a 395km/h top speed, depending on the chosen gearing. Giant carbon-ceramic brakes are standard, but you’ll raise more eyebrows with the rear-hinged suicide doors.
W Motors plans on building 25 a year in either left- or right-hand drive and the good news is that it’s a whopping 30 per cent cheaper than the Lykan. The bad news is that means it’s still £1.4m (AUD$2.53m), but such is the price of exclusivity.
10 - McLaren Senna GTR
Launch date: Now
Whether you find GT3 cars a mite slow or are just sick of your Ferrari FXX K-owning mates hogging all the fastest lap trophies at track days, McLaren is here to help with the Senna GTR, a super exclusive track-only version of its bonkers Senna hypercar.
Up to 75 will be built, but chances are if you haven’t already got your name down you’ve missed out. Power increases to 607kW (up from 588kW) while the combination of those massive wings, capable of generating 1000kg of downforce, and slick tyres make the Senna GTR the quickest McLaren not driven by Fernando Alonso or Stoffel Vandoorne.
The best thing about it being so fast is that you don’t have to look at it for very long.