With a design based on Pininfarina's Birdcage 75th concept car, shown at last season's auto shows, the Maserati GranTurismo is a true beauty. The car has the classic Maserati ports behind the front wheel wells, and a big, toothy grille. It's powered by a 4.2-liter V8 that puts out 405 horsepower.
Unlike many touring coupes, the GranTurismo features rear seats with adequate leg room for adults. The center stack holds an LCD for navigation and other car functions. Our only disappointment with the GranTurismo is that it's only available with an automatic transmission.
Coupes are all the rage this season, as Audi launches its A5 among its existing lineup of sedans and wagons. The top engine in the A5, and the one most likely to be seen in the United States, is a 3.2-liter direct injection V6. With 265 horsepower, this engine moves the A5 to 62 mph in 6.1 seconds. A six-speed manual gearbox is standard, with a continuously variable automatic transmission optional.
The A5 uses Audi's MMI controller for navigation, stereo, and other car functions. The LCD is placed high in the stack, and deeply set to reduce glare. A premium stereo option for the A5 comes from Bang and Olufsen, putting out 500 watts through 14 speakers.
Launching in conjunction with the A5, the sport-tuned S5 comes with Quattro all-wheel drive standard and a six-speed manual gearbox. Its V8 engine puts out 354 horsepower and runs the S5 up to 62 mph in just 5.1 seconds.
Bentley enters the luxury coupe market with its Brooklands model, debuting at Geneva. The grille is classic Bentley, although smaller than the company's other cars, while the lack of a B pillar allows wide-open sides with all the windows down. The name, Brooklands, comes from an English racetrack.
The Brooklands is powered by a 6.75-liter twin-turbocharged engine. This massive powerplant puts out 530 horsepower, and is the most powerful engine ever built by Bentley. It's mated to a six-speed automatic transmission.
The interior of the Brooklands offers plenty of room for both front and rear passengers. Thick leather covers seats and other interior surfaces, while a collection of gauges over the center stack offers a retro look. Bentley is only building 550 Brooklands, so if you haven't ordered one yet, you might be out of luck.
Ford remakes its Mondeo for the European market, offering a sleek luxury-look sedan. The new Mondeo is a really good-looking car, with a toned-down version of the big signature grille being used on Ford's U.S. models. The Mondeo offers a wide range of gas and diesel engines in Europe. The top gas engine is a 2.5-liter five cylinder.
Ford offers a number of tech features not seen in its U.S. cars, such as keyless start and adaptive cruise control. Navigation, hands-free calling, and a range of stereos are also available. The equivalent-size car in the U.S. market, the 500, hasn't met sales expectations and is about to be rebranded as the Taurus. Ford might do better by bringing the new Mondeo over.
Mini's offerings at Geneva are limited to a couple of new engine choices. The Mini Cooper D is the first diesel Mini, and will be limited to the European market. Its 110 horsepower, 1.6-liter engine puts out a whopping 192lbs. per foot of torque at 1,750rpm. It gets 64.2 miles per gallon.
The Mini Cooper One is designed for the bottom of Mini's model lineup, and uses a 1.4-liter four cylinder engine. This 95 horsepower engine takes 10.9 seconds to push the Mini to 62 mph, but gets 49.6mpg. The body styles of these two new Minis are the same as the standard Cooper and Cooper S.
Mercedes-Benz redesigns its C-class for Geneva, showing off three versions: The C350, the C280, and the BlueTec. The C350 shows off distinctive body elements, such as a simplified grille, raked air duct below the bumper, and accentuated running boards. The front portion of its all-glass roof opens as a sunroof.
The interior uses a pop-up LCD that is hidden under a hatch when not in use. The speedometer holds a smaller LCD. The infotainment system uses a hard drive to store navigation data, with 4GB left over for music. In Europe, the C-class gets a voice-command system that recognizes spoken country, city, and street names.
Jaguar's upgrade to its XJ model retains and accentuates hood bulges that reach out to its headlights. To emphasize an aggressive, sporty look, it gets single vents behind the front wheel wells. The tuned-up XJR version gets a supercharged 4.2-liter V8 which puts out 400 horsepower.
With the model upgrade for its European Mazda2 subcompact, Mazda attempts to make a lighter, more efficient car while bringing in its zoom-zoom styling. The Mazda2 has shed 220 pounds over the previous model, and gets two engine choices, a 1.3-liter or a 1.5-liter four cylinder. A diesel engine is also available in Europe.
As befits a subcompact, the Mazda2 has a simple interior, although Mazda incorporated some unique styling on the center stack stereo controls. The short-throw shifter sits up high which, along with white face gauges, suggests a sporting character to the car.
Honda shows off the sport-tuned Type R version of its Civic in Geneva. This car uses a high-revving four-cylinder engine similar to the Civic Si sold in the United States. But the European Civic has a totally unique body style compared to the U.S. and Japanese versions, which is intended to appeal to a more youthful market.