The good, the bad and the ugly: the most notable cars of Geneva Motor show
The Geneva Motor Show has over the years been one of the biggest and (for carmakers) the most important car show in the world. The show has seen introductions of world greats such as Jaguar E-Type, Aston Martin DB-7, Jaguar XF, Cadillac CTS, DeLorean DMC-12 and many more. This year hasn’t been an exception for introductions of many great automobiles…and some that I have no idea why car manufacturers wasted their money on making them. Here are some of the good ones:
AUDI TT MK III
Not the most radical of redesigns from the outside. Probably this has happened because of Volkswagen Group’s acquisition of Porsche and, as you know, Porsche designers have been known for their “innovative” design by keeping the car looking almost exactly the same through the generations. It’s possible that Audi designers went to see them for advice. Anyway, the most important change is from the inside. I found it hard to believe that Audi could improve more on their wonderful interior…yet they have. No mid-mounted touch screen nonsense. Instead they have placed the screen in front of the driver, behind the wheel. Smart move.
Engines have been mildly tweaked…however I heard that Audi is going to re-introduce their fantastic 5-cylinder engine that once used to be placed in the fabulous Audi Quattro (ur-Quattro, to be precise). AUDI, PLEASE DO THAT!!!
In my view not the best new design I’ve ever seen to come from Bologna. But every next time I see it, it seems to look…better. However I really doubt it is going to be better looking than Gallardo. Good news: it keeps its 5.2 V10 (how “sorry” I feel now for Greenpeace) which now has been beefed up to 602 BHP!
Let’s hope that we will not hear in the news in further years of about one of these being on fire unlike its predecessors have been. Both Gallardo and Lambo’s V12 monsters who always have had something flammable in their construction, something that Italian masters have forgotten to insert. Oops.
5 litre twin-turbo V8, Shark-tale wing…those things are not important. What is important, though, is the message behind it’s name – it has 1340 horsepower to move it’s 1340 kg body around. Which means it is the first super car to reach the before impossible target – 1000 horsepower per ton. Many people (including Monsieur Jeremy Clarkson) think that POWEEEER is everything. Well…an ordinary cruise ship has massive diesels that produce 100 000 hp each…but how fast it goes? just over 21 knots.
The answer is, what legendary Colin Chapman of Lotus always mastered, is INCREASE POWER and REDUCE WEIGHT. The claimed top speed of this beauty is 440 km/h (273 mph) which is 5 mph faster than that ugly, disgusting, Škoda-eyed, cockish Bugatti Veyron Super Sport. I cannot wait for the day when this Swedish rocket will make the Germans get into the corner to weep that they have been beaten…again.
Now there were three cars in Geneva motor show that made me ask “…why?” Here they are
1) McLaren 650S
Typical General Motors engineering – get bits of different cars you’ve made, put them together and call it a “Brand new from ground up” car. That’s exactly what McLaren did with this 650S. They got the nose of the marvelous P1, the rear and the engine from MP4-12C and voilá, called it a “brand new McLaren.” Sorry, NO!
The top speed is 207 mph (EXACTLY the same as 12C), yet it’s classified as a “Class higher” automobile. What, has McLaren’s marketing department has nothing to do or something?
2) BMW 4-series Gran Coupe
What is it? Really? Is it a larger 3-series saloon or a shorter 5-series? Why was it created? Who is going to buy it? BMW, do I have to ask these questions for you? This has been the most pointless creation in the history of your brand, and I mean it. First you created the 4-series as, in the previous generation, the 3-series coupe was totally different from the actual saloon. Fair enough. BUT STAY WITH THE BLOODY COUPE. Don’t waste money. Remember the failed BMW 5-series GT. Same idea. You tried to introduce a “brand new BMW”. What happened? Nobody bought it. Learn from your mistakes at last.
3) Mini Clubman Concept
Two fundamental flaws with this car: 1) it’s so big that the brand “Mini” seems to be out of place for this vehicle; and 2) This is not a clubman anymore. A clubman, as you remember, is a car with a split-door boot and an extra door on one side of the car. Now, it is simply a “Mini Countryman” which is another enormous “Mini”. The question is…the new Mini Cooper has gotten larger, so has the Clubman…what’s gonna happen with the new “Countryman” gonna be like, if BMW will be as visionless as they have been so far with the Mini brand and will allow it to go into production? Enough already!!
Eulogy: JAGUAR XK
It’s been 18 years since the world got known with the model designation “XK”. Yes, back in 1996 the first Jaguar XK (XK8) was introduced to replace the aging, barge-like, not-so-agile Jaguar XJ-S. With a new car came a new Era, as, because of Ford’s influence, the new model featured a first in Jaguar’s history – a V8 engine, that is still used today in all of Jaguar models. Car magazines praised this great, new machine for its looks, it’s comfortable yet still sporty ride. There was one problem that somehow remained through the years in Jaguar XK’s – to sit at the back you had to saw off your legs and cut off your head. Therefore they were used for luggage. So XK was created to be a practical Grand Tourer.
The years went and the XK matured. Then in 2006 came the more beautiful, more sporty and elegant 2nd Generation XK. It came at a tough time for Jaguar when they were experiencing losses and falling reputation for their reliability of the S-type and the crazy concept of the X-type (which, many argue, was the main reason why Jaguar stagnated in the 00ties). So the skeptics started to see this as Jaguar’s “Last hurrah”…but in 2008 Tata bought the company…and the prancing Cat is still with us today.
So why is being cancelled? Well, as businesses work, usually the main reason is poor sales…and it s the case with the XK. It has been the worst selling Jaguar for past 3 years, unfortunately. And recently, after the introduction of the F-type roadster and coupe that are based on the same platform as the XK, only shorter, the XK somehow loses it’s significance. Sad, really sad. Jaguar XK has been in my top 10 of favorite cars (towards the top, along with DeLorean DMC-12, Jaguar E-type, F-type and Jensen Interceptor) and its design has been called “the best” by many over the years. Ian Callum, thank you, sir! Thank you for creating a masterpiece that has my favorite car design feature that I call the “shoulder”, i.e. the bulk above the rear wheels (as seen below. This Jag was standing outside my University).
So I bow my head and say “farewell, XK”. Of course, it will still remain in the used car market, but it’s sad to know that after this summer, no new beauties will be rolling off the production line at Castle Bromwich.