Grand Tourers fit well with Geneva, where winding mountain roads and picturesque lodges make the idea of driving a high-performance car with a little luggage room attractive. At the 2009 Geneva auto show, we found a variety of concepts and production GTs from companies such as Lamborghini, Ferrari, and Aston Martin.
Aston Martin One-77
The One-77 is a very special Aston Martin GT model, a limited edition for the company with only 77 cars planned. As such, the price is also very special, at over $1.2 million. The design emphasizes the long hood and has accentuated rear fenders. At this price, the interior will be whatever the buyer wants.
Aston Martin also put on display chassis number one of the One-77 model, giving show-goers a chance to look under the skin at its carbon-fiber monocoque structure, along with suspension elements. As this chassis shows, the One-77 uses finished carbon fiber even on hidden surfaces.
Based on the Ferrari 599 GTB Fiorano, the 599XX is only designed for track use, but not official competition, letting Ferrari engineers improve performance without any restrictions. The engine has been reworked to raise the redline to 9,000 rpm and crank out 700 horsepower, while the F1 gearbox has been tuned to change gears in just 60 milliseconds.
For the Namir, Italian design house Giugiaro teamed up with hybrid systems maker Frazer-Nash to build a hybrid supercar. This concept uses a series hybrid system, with two motors, one for the front wheels and one for the rear, a lithium-polymer battery pack, and a 814 cc rotary engine as a generator.
Giugiaro claims the Namir can hit 62 mph in 3.5 seconds and make a top speed of 187 mph, all while producing less carbon dioxide than a Toyota Prius. This performance level comes from the lightweight carbon fiber body and 370 horsepower generated by the electric motors.
Infiniti comes up with a stunner, the Essence concept shown at the Geneva auto show. Nissan has been working on its down hybrid system, and chose the Infiniti Essence as the car in which to debut it. The power train starts off with a twin turbo 3.7-liter V-6, then adds an electric motor for more boost.
Nissan developed a special electric motor for the Infiniti Essence's hybrid system which produces twice the torque of comparably sized motors. That motor also works as a generator to keep a lithium-polymer battery pack charged. Engine and motor combine for 600 horsepower, making the Essence a true GT supercar.
For a limited edition run of 350 cars, Lamborghini went through its existing Murcielago LP 640, taking every opportunity to shed weight from the chassis out to the body, and tuned the 6.5-liter V-12 engine for an extra 30 horsepower. The result is the Murcielago LP 670-4 SuperVeloce, with 670 horsepower and coming in 220 pounds lighter than the Murcielago LP 640.
Because of its performance orientation, the Murcielago LP 670-4 SuperVeloce comes with two rear aero kits, one holding a small spoiler and the other a bigger wing. With the small spoiler, the car hits a top speed of 212 mph, and makes 62 mph in 3.2 seconds.
British electric car company Lightning designed the GT as an electric supercar, and showed off a working prototype at the Geneva auto show. The body is made from aluminum and carbon fiber, while the battery pack is something Lightning calls NanoSafe technology, which can, according to the car's designer, be charged and discharged fully without damaging the power pack's longevity.
The car uses four in-wheel motors to get power right to the ground. The horsepower from these four motors measures to the equivalent of 650. That should take the Lightning GT to 62 mph in under 5 seconds. Its 36-kilowatt battery pack gives it a range of 186 miles, with a recharge time of 10 minutes from a special quick charger.