Right now there’s an international auto salon taking place in staid, antiseptic, but beautiful Geneva. The Swiss are not known for being car enthusiasts. While the small, neutral confederation sits smack in the center of Europe, acting as a crossroads between Gauls and Goths, between orderly northern Europe and chaotic southern Europe, it maintains some of the strictest emissions and speed regulations on the Continent.
But this year, the buzz from Geneva is loud indeed. Of course, there are gimmickry things like animated headlights from Kia, and a Subaru that poaches the idea that Ford had with the new Fusion to copy an Aston Martin’s grill. But the Swiss have money, and it also happens to be the place where people with money go to squirrel theirs away. So, naturally, the planet’s nouveaux riches might enhance their trips from Monaco by using the supercar to visit their money.
The biggest news out of Geneva is the horribly named, but dead sexy Enzo replacement, the “LaFerrari” V12 hybrid. Making 963 HP and 0-60 in 3 seconds, Ferrari are only making one less than 500 of these. It’s incredibly light, being hand-made from carbon fiber, and the electric part of the hybrid engine doesn’t exist to help MPG, but to fill out weak spots in the power. Shame about the name, though.
Not to be outdone by Fiat, Volkswagen Group revealed the Lamborghini Veneno, which also makes 0 – 60 in 3 seconds with a 750 HP V12 and looks like the Batmobile – and I don’t mean the dark and brooding post-1989 Batmobile, but the 60s era George Barris (loud music at link) campy one:
Britain’s McLaren revealed the P1, which has similar numbers all around, including 903 HP:
Also, compare how clean and uncluttered the McLaren’s interior looks, as compared with the “I’m pretending I’m a Formula 1 driver” buttons and switches on the Ferrari’s wheel:
If you’re into coupes that cost like a house, looks like a Bentley Continental, has suicide doors, and fake stars in the ceiling, BMW have made the Rolls-Royce Wraith for you. It goes in the rain!
In addition, Honda/Acura brought along a brand-new NSX. Designers are also bringing designs to the show, and they might just make you a custom version, if you have enough cash. Giugiaro has the Parcour, and Pininfarina brought the Sergio.
With the Dow at historic highs, a decade’s worth of extremely expensive oil, and a stagnant middle class here at home, these are the cars that your oppressors are shopping for. This is not your father’s Oldsmobile.