It’s opening day at the Geneva Motor Show 2017 and our team at Connects2 were on the floor and in amongst the action as the crowds reached a fever pitch. Here are our highlights from Day 2 in Switzerland…
It’s 10am and the excitement is palpable at the Palexpo, the venue for this year’s iteration of the Geneva Motor show. Hordes of enthusiasts, families and press alike gather outside the entrance, eager to experience what awaits inside. Hundreds of languages ring out with one unified desire and as the doors finally open, yesterday’s tense atmosphere is finally given its outlet.
Halle 7 is the first glimpse I have of the show, a spectacular entrance-way more than anything else, a starter for the main course of the other six, gigantic halls. This is where the automotive industry, outside of the large manufacturers, finds its home and it proves to be a captivating start to the day. Everything from a simple bolt, suspension system or drill sit alongside towering car washes, vintage vehicles and a whole host of entrepreneurial ideas, with displays designed to catch the eye. It’s a credit to the companies and inventors who find themselves in this, an area clearly outside the focus of many, and can capture the imagination to this extent. An inspiring introduction for sure.
The route to Halle 1, my next destination, is littered with memorabilia which celebrates the grand tradition of motoring in all its forms. Every badge, insignia, model and magazine is available for both avid collectors and those looking for a choice Geneva souvenir. As expected though, the best presents itself as the corridor opens out into the show’s first, real ‘wow’ moment. Some real big hitters, the Audi’s, Lamborghini’s, and Porsche’s to name a few, reside here and they’ve all brought spectacular displays with them, each carefully tailored to their personal manifestos.
Audi, despite not having their own pop-up building (as we’ve seen previously at Frankfurt’s IAA) dominate and fill their space with just about every model and spec level available, for the public to step inside and admire. The new RS5, making its debut at Geneva this year, is given pride of place and rightly so – it might be the company’s best looking car ever. Audi claim it can move too, at a pace of 0-60 in 3.9 seconds, thanks to its V6 engine lifted from a Porsche Panamera.
Lamborghini, as expected, don’t slouch either and their stand is focused on knock-out quality over quantity, with just a few vehicles on display. One of these is the highly anticipated Huracan Performante which once again shows the Italians one-upping themselves in real style. There comes to a point with supercars where you assume you’ve seen it all, but the Performante in its striking, yet somehow tasteful, orange manages to raise the bar even higher. Recent reports of it lapping the Nurburgring in a staggering 6:52 have recently been proved true, putting it in the upper echelon of street-legal cars to ever take on the circuit. This sort of power combined with Lamborghini’s trademark angular beauty make this an absolute must see for anyone at the show.
But it’s not just the out-of-sight expensive cars which impress today, as my trip to Halle 2 proves. As I sit in the driver’s seat of the new Seat Ibiza, a German boy looks up at his dad and proclaims “Schon, ja?” before deftly operating the vehicle’s infotainment system like a seasoned veteran. This makes me see the Ibiza in a new light – as a beautiful car and not just a useful one. The harsh lines and shadows created by its bodywork show real craftsmanship and this aesthetic, Seat claim, is built upon the proud tradition of Barcelona’s architecture. In fact, their slogan this year is Created in Barcelona and everything from the colourful, unconventional attire of the assistants to the lavish skyline flanking the stand, hammers this home. Sometimes it’s the little things.
Next, I meet five-time class winner of the 24 hours of Le Mans and British racing legend, Oliver Gavin, who is at Geneva on behalf of Chevrolet. His car of choice, the Corvette, is displayed alongside the Camaro in what Maria, a representative, describes as the two most iconic cars in the manufacturer’s arsenal. Here, a superb example of the Camaro, a bright green track concept which makes its debut this year to no small commotion, sits alongside an equally impressive Corvette Grand Sport. Both of these cars embody the American no-nonsense approach we all know and love, and if this pairing is anything to go by, Chevrolet are still doing it better than anyone else.
No day at Geneva would be complete without a trip to Volkswagen and this year is no excepetion as they add to their range with the Arteon Saloon, a reinvigorated CC with a point to prove. Built to rival the BMW 4-Series Grand Coupe and Audi A5 Sportback, the Arteon is a sleek and professional operator and features the most comfortable interior of the day. It’s a luxury car which slots in nicely at the top end of ‘affordable’, above the Passat, and doesn’t skimp on features inside the cockpit, boasting a variety of driver-assistance tech and infotainment options. As well as being the most comfortable to sit inside, it might also be the most well rounded of all the vehicle’s I’ve seen so far in Geneva this year.
Tomorrow, I’ll be heading back to the Palexpo to explore Halle’s 4 through 6 – host to the new Honda Civic Type R, the new Ford Fiesta, and the Aston Martin Valkyrie!
Words/Images: Ben Armstrong
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