A Report From The Geneva Motor Show

It is that season again when the world’s motor manufacturers get set to reveal their wares, complete with flashing lighting, motorised turntables and, for some archaic reason, girls draped across the bonnets.

Words by Maarten Hoffmann

Now it strikes me that the only reason you need a beautiful girl splayed across your new car is because that new car us ugly and needs improving. If the car is a stunner, then l don’t need a mannequin getting in the way. I defy you to look at this image of the stunning new Alfa Romeo 4c and not to scream – ‘get that woman out of the bloody way’!!

Most beautiful
This has to be the Maserati Alfieri with lines to die for. The only problem is that is it a Maserati. Stylish as they are, they never quite caught the technological train when it left the station in the early nineties and although some great designs, there is little else to tempt you to buy one unless you just want to stare at it, stroke it and occasionally lick it.

I had to give very little thought to this one – the new Bentley SUV – there’s two words l never thought l would say in the same sentence!! The shock l felt when l first saw the EXP 9F concept model was soothed by the thought that they would make so many changes before it went into production that it would be unrecognisable. But no – it would appear that this is the actual model that will go on sale in 2016 and it has already received 2000 pre-orders without the buyers having seen it. I have very little doubt that the car will be up to Bentley’s normal high standards but only if you can get over its looks – it honestly looks like the sort of car l would doodle as a kid, whilst dreaming of being a car designer before realising that car designers are hugely talented and l was not.

This oddball from VW is called the XL1 and looks like something out of Joe 90. Into production? I think not.

Want it
Lamborghini have produced a new model entitled the Huracan and how can you not salivate over this little gem? Totally impractical, hugely expensive and totally bonkers but hey, what’s not to like. The only trouble with Lambo’s is they all start to look the same.

Most boring
This was a battle as there were quite a few dullards on show but the Suzuki Celerio has to take the title. Pensioners will most likely love it but please…….

Best concept
Kia keep producing good solid road cars and their concept cars are great but as long as they have hard plastic interiors and bland handling, they will remain stunning concepts.

Outstanding idea
VW have produced an all-wheel drive van! The Multivan Alltrack is long overdue when you consider that so many vans spend their time on muddy building sites laden with a ton or two of payload, so why not make them 4 wheel drive. Good idea.

I want it too
The only truly British car left on the planet is built in Surrey with an engine made in Sussex at the end of Shoreham airport.The new McLaren 650S is beautiful and will do 0-124mph in 8.4 seconds. They haven’t announced the price yet but you can expect a figure well north of £1 million but you could also be assured that if you were lucky enough to get your hands on one, you could sell it for double within a day. I want it.

Least changed
This title has to go to Audi for their new TT. Although always derided as a hairdresser’s car, l do feel this is a tad harsh as it has always been a very competent machine. It looks good, drives like it’s on rails and if you pick up the 3.2 litre engine, goes like stink and although it wins the title of least changed, I think it looks fantastic.

Most intriguing
Mercedes top of the range S Class has a new brother. The S Class Coupe has arrived and not only does it look great but knowing the S Class as l do, it will most likely be an absolute corker and at last, not designed to be chauffeur driven. It is on my review list and l will let you know if l am right.

Biggest potential
Jaguar are capitalising on their remarkable success since the India Tata company got hold of it and are planning a mid-size mass appeal car called the XE. I have reviewed just about every one of their cars over the past two years, with the new ZF Sportbrake coming next week, and if these models are anything to go by, the XE will be a huge success and will sell by the bucket load. I have rediscovered my love of Jaguar and if they price it right, the XE will start to trouble Stuttgart. A case of ‘you’ve tried the cowboys, now try the Indians’.

Jaguar XE
Jaguar XE

So, there you have it – the Geneva Motor Show at a glance. I must say, l had a lovely time surrounded by shiny new metal and ordering up my review cars for the coming year. I was wined and dined at the superb Quai Turrettina on the River Driote, stayed at the 5-star Hotel Kempinski and was offered a vast and mouth-watering array of cars to rip around the Swiss countryside. It is indeed tough being a Motoring Editor dear readers, and l can sense you groan with agreement that this is a pretty tough gig. Therefore, l fully expect letters of condolences and if you feel the need to start a benefit fund for me, l will reluctantly agree. Smug, moi?