2020 Geneva Motor Show recap: Debuts from BMW, Hyundai and more
Even though the COVID-19 coronavirus caused the show to implode, plenty of car debuts still took place digitally.
Andrew KrokReviews Editor / Cars
Cars are Andrew's jam, as is strawberry. After spending years as a regular ol' car fanatic, he started working his way through the echelons of the automotive industry, starting out as social-media director of a small European-focused garage outside of Chicago. From there, he moved to the editorial side, penning several written features in Total 911 Magazine before becoming a full-time auto writer, first for a local Chicago outlet and then for CNET Cars.
After growing coronavirus concerns, the 2020 Geneva Motor Show was officially canceled. But since a number of high-profile debuts were planned for the week, many automakers went ahead and staged their debuts digitally. The result is about the same amount of metal that would have been at the show, and for fans of electrics, concepts and luxury cars, the debuts were still plenty worth it. Let's take a look at the highlights from this year.
Before we go any further, no, I have no idea how to pronounce this car's name, and I'll only embarrass myself if I try.
Anyway, this is the U6ion from the Chinese automaker Aiways. Built as a sort of coupe variant of the already-in-production U5 crossover, the U6ion (I'm pretty sure it's "U-six-ion") is also electric, packing a 65-kilowatt-hour battery, but range figures are not immediately available. It's a cool little thing, with some clever styling that reminds me of some of
latest and greatest concepts.
Alfa Romeo Giulia GTA and GTAm are super-hot tamales
The Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio is quite the capable sports sedan, but the most hardcore fans of Italian metal will have an even crazier Giulia variant to look forward to.
The Alfa Romeo Giulia GTA and GTAm are the latest, most capable variants of the sedan to exist to date. Its 2.9-liter turbocharged V6 now produces 540 horsepower, while curb weight has been reduced by 220 pounds. If you want something that doesn't look like it was plucked right off a track, stick with the GTA -- the GTAm is the one with that wild wing out back, and it also packs a rear-seat delete to get the most performance possible.
Apex AP-0 concept
Apex is a Hong Kong-based startup that already has one vehicle, the AP-1, which uses a Ford Focus RS four-cylinder engine. The AP-0 is an electric follow-up concept that takes things in weird, neat directions.
Gamification is at the heart of the AP-0 concept. Its augmented-reality display can put a race instructor into the car virtually. The AP-0 also packs lidar to help identify potential hazards. We don't know too much more about it, because Apex is holding back most of its information for now.
Q by Aston Martin's DBX has wild carbon fiber trim
Bespoke divisions are so hot right now. After all, why buy an exotic marque if you're not able to put extra-special (and extra-expensive) touches on it?
Instead of introducing a whole new vehicle at the show, Aston Martin brought DBX variants with a bespoke touch from the Q by Aston Martin division. Split between two categories, Collection and Commission, these options comprise unique colors, trims and other features not available without going through Q. Do yourself a favor and check out the absolutely wild carbon-fiber trim inside one of 'em.
Aston Martin's V12 Speedster is a roofless, Vantage-based wonder
The speedster is a unique category of automobile. Instead of a convertible roof, speedsters are generally permanently topless, save for the occasional swath of fabric built only to keep the roof dry when parked. With shapely bodywork and usually seating for just two, these are special vehicles. And this year, Aston's built one, too.
Aston Martin's V12 Speedster takes the current Vantage to new heights. Under the hood is a 5.2-liter V12 that produces 700 hp and 555 lb-ft of torque. The convertible top has been ditched in favor of curvaceous bodywork that highlights the interior's two individual seats, each existing in their own separate area. It's really quite the thing to behold.
Audi has already rolled out a new generation of its Q3 compact crossover, so it makes sense that the lower-riding hatchback was due for some love, too.
Even though this specific A3 variant will not have a future in the US, we will still get a redesigned A3 sedan that follows in this car's footsteps. In addition to expecting a sharp new design, US buyers will have plenty of new tech to look forward to, including a standard 10.1-inch infotainment screen, Digital Cockpit and plenty of driver-assistance systems.
Next-gen BAC Mono is still a bonkers track machine
This barely legal track toy is ready to enter its second generation with more power and performance than ever.
The second-generation BAC Mono borrows most of its new looks from the BAC Mono R that debuted last year. Its 2.3-liter turbocharged I4 engine now makes 332 hp and 295 lb.-ft. of torque, enough to get this roofless wonder to 60 mph in just 2.7 seconds, which is supercar territory. But despite barely weighing anything and having the physical footprint of a dormouse, the Mono is still mighty expensive, going on sale in the UK this year with a price tag that converts to about $211,000.
Bentley Mulliner Bacalar is a hyper-rare, exotic and sustainable convertible
CNET's own Jeff Bakalar will be smitten to hear that Bentley has finally named a vehicle after him, even though it spelled it wrong.
The Bacalar is Bentley's second two-seat car since 1930, and the removal of those two rear seats means Bentley added a bunch of curvaceous bodywork between the front seats and the trunk. Despite looking quite regal, there's an eye on sustainability with the Bacalar, with its trim finishers being selected for having a low impact on the environment. Heck, it's even being built in Bentley's carbon-neutral factory. Only 12 of these 650-hp concoctions will ever be made, and each should cost upward of $1 million.
Bentley Continental GT Mulliner Convertible loads up the luxury
Aston Martin isn't the only automaker that rolled out some especially trick high-end appointments. Bentley was down to clown, too.
This Mulliner Convertible might not look all that different from the standard Conti GT, but the devil's in the details. The interior has over 400,000 individual stitches and a Breitling watch, with eight total custom configurations from which to choose. The wheels are exclusive, too, because what good is a fancy car without a special set of rollers?
There's more to the BMW i4 Concept than just its giant grille
The BMW i4 Concept isn't just a concept -- BMW will bring this fully electric four-door to production, and we hear it'll look a lot like the concept previewed here.
The BMW i4 Concept is a preview of things to come. Starting with one seriously bold grille up front, it's not hard to see that BMW is doing its best to blend both new and old design elements as it starts thinking about a new generation of electric Ultimate Driving Machines. The interior is equally intriguing, with a whole bunch of open space, a smattering of familiar switchgear and a whole lot of visibility in all directions. Expect the production model to launch with an 80-kilowatt-hour battery, with an estimated range well north of 300 miles (by European WLTP standards).
When is a regular Bugatti Chiron not enough? When you've got money burning a hole in your pocket, combined with a desire for an even better-handling hypercar, of course.
Bugatti has unveiled the Chiron Pur Sport, an even more handling-friendly variant of the properly bonkers Bugatti. Its four-turbo W16 engine still produces 1,500 horsepower, but the engine redline has been increased, and its transmission has been altered. The Pur Sport also went on a light diet, shedding several dozen pounds of unsprung mass for a slightly livelier experience on the road. Better start saving your pennies, though -- these bad boys will cost $3.3 million a pop.
Citroen's adorable little Ami electric vehicle was one of the cooler cars we expected to see in Geneva this year. Its small size means French drivers as young as 14 can slide behind the wheel, since it's technically classified as a quadricycle. It's also delightfully inexpensive, with a lease costing the equivalent of $22 a month, while car-sharing will be available for less than $1 a minute. You'll be able to scoop one up online, and there's even a home delivery option on offer.
It wouldn't be Geneva without a wild hypercar, and this year, it would have been the Czinger 21C's time to shine.
This hybrid supercar utilizes a 2.88-liter (yep) V8 with a flat-plane crankshaft, which produces a reported 1,250 hp with a redline of 11,000 rpm. Some of that power comes from the two electric motors, one connected to each front wheel. The automaker claims it'll hit 268 mph with a 0-to-62-mph time of 1.9 seconds. Yowza. Czinger plans to build 80 of 'em.
Even though the US may have fallen out of favor with this funky little runabout, the Fiat 500 is still going strong in Europe, as evidenced by its latest iteration.
The next-gen Fiat 500 still rocks the ovoid silhouette it always has, but the general design has been tightened and tweaked for a more modern appeal. Instead of relying on gas engines, this generation is entirely electric -- like the Italian equivalent of Daimler's Smart. The car can drive an estimated 200 miles per charge when using Europe's WLTP measurement standard. Its 42-kilowatt-hour battery can accept fast charging up to 85 kW. Inside, there's the latest iteration of FCA's Uconnect infotainment system, which allows for wireless Apple CarPlay use.
Goodyear ReCharge tire concept
Another Geneva Motor Show, another wild tire concept that looked far into the future.
The Goodyear ReCharge is this year's out-there concept that reimagines the role of the wheel and tire. Instead of swapping for new tires when tread depletes, the ReCharge uses capsules to regenerate the rubber tread using a biodegradable compound. That material can also change properties so it functions better in spirited or winter driving. Like many other tire concepts, you probably won't see this at your local tire shop in the next few years, but consider it a reminder that revolutionizing the vehicle goes beyond slapping a few electric motors under the body.
Hyundai Prophecy EV concept goes heavy on the curves
Concepts usually preview production cars or tech in one way or another, so the name of Hyundai's latest concept is pretty on the nose.
The Hyundai Prophecy concept car is a right looker, and a serious departure from the sharp-angled 45 concept that debuted in 2019. Curvaceousness is the name of the game here, with sultry surfacing covering every edge of the exterior. Inside, there are some comfortable looking seats wrapped in plaid fabric, with screens surrounding both the driver and passengers. You also pilot the vehicle with joysticks instead of a steering wheel. Who said the future wouldn't be at least a little weird?
2021 Kia Sorento sharpens up for Geneva Motor Show debut
has seen fit to throw down just about every bit of information about its latest SUV, the 2021 Sorento.
The new Sorento picks up some seriously rugged looks, a good deal of which takes inspiration from the larger (and wildly popular) Telluride. The inside takes a unique focus on luxury, helping shed the image of Korean automakers as producers of cost-effective plastic buckets. Under the hood are a 1.6-liter gas engine and a mild-hybrid system, and it's believed that other electrified variants may follow in the future.
The Koenigsegg Gemera is a technological tour de force
Koenigsegg always tends to bring one of its latest hypercars to Geneva, and while its stand might not exist this year, the Swedish automaker's car definitely does, and it rules.
The Koenigsegg Gemera is the automaker's first four-seat vehicle, yet it still looks like a Koenigsegg, thanks to design staples like a long, low body and that trademark harsh cut between the roof and the windows. But the real interesting stuff lies under the body. The powertrain blends three electric motors with a 2.0-liter camless inline-3 engine to produce a net 1,700 hp, enough for a 1.9-second sprint to 60 mph. That's one mega-capable grocery getter.
Koenigsegg Jesko Absolut: Meet the company's fastest supercar ever
No, there's no vodka tie-in here. Instead, this is a Koenigsegg Jesko that's had the dial turned so far up that it broke clean off.
The Koenigsegg Jesko Absolut is a monster of a hypercar. Top speed is the name of the game here, and the Swedish automaker has its sights set on a very serious goal: 300 mph. To get there, the Jesko Absolut receives a number of tweaks to the body and powertrain to get the absolute most out of the car. With about 1,600 hp on tap, we have no doubt that Koenigsegg can achieve the goal it set out to achieve.
McLaren let its engineers run free with the hyper-limited 765LT
No, you're not seeing a typo. McLaren already has a 675LT, but now, the automaker has shuffled those numbers around and created something even wilder.
The McLaren 765LT is the latest longtail creation from the engineers in Woking, England. Based on the 720S, the 765LT drops 176 pounds while its 4.0-liter, twin-turbo V8 now produces 755 hp and 590 lb.-ft. of torque. The dual-clutch automatic transmission has been tweaked to help the engine build boost more efficiently, while the suspension has been revised for better performance on the track. The brakes are huge, the wheels have titanium lug nuts, and there are four tailpipes out back. Pricing isn't yet available, but if you have to ask...
The Mercedes-Benz E-Class' general refresh also extends to the more powerful AMG variants, and it all starts with the E53.
The 2021 Mercedes-AMG E53 picks up the new design seen on the standard E-Class Sedan, with big revisions to the rear end and more moderate tweaks to the front bumper and headlight shape. Inside, things are largely unchanged, save for the new MBUX infotainment system now living on the dashboard screens. The powertrain remains unchanged, but that's fine, because the combination of a 3.0-liter turbocharged I6 and a mild-hybrid system produces one of the smoothest drives without sacrificing any of its sporting pretensions.
2021 Mercedes-AMG GLA45: The entry-level pocket-rocket
Pocket-rocket enthusiasts will be stoked for the new GLA45, which promises some proper power and on-road capability.
The Mercedes-AMG GLA45 now carries the same fresh looks as the rest of the GLA-Class lineup, with new tech inside and some better styling outside. Under the hood is a 2.0-liter turbocharged I4 that makes 382 hp and 354 lb.-ft. There's a hopped-up S variant, too, but the US won't get that one. The GLA45 exemplifies the AMG experience with large aggressive wheels, a big ol' wing and a set of dive planes on the front bumper. Having driven the CLA45 already, I can all but guarantee that this thing will scoot.
2021 Mercedes-AMG GLE63 S Coupe combines style and substance
If it happens to one of
, it'll likely happen to the shapelier coupe variant, as well. And what do you know, that's what we have here.
The Mercedes-AMG GLE63 S Coupe is officially here, following early media drives of the more cargo-friendly variant. Like its sibling, the GLE63 S Coupe combines a 4.0-liter V8 with the EQ Boost 48-volt mild hybrid system. Output from the motor alone is 603 hp and 627 lb.-ft., with the electric motor filling in torque gaps for better responsiveness. It looks the same as the standard GLE-Class Coupe, albeit with more tailpipes, more diffuser and way more lower grille.
2021 Mercedes-Benz E-Class All-Terrain is a more rugged wagon
The Mercedes-Benz E-Class station wagon is no longer headed to the US market... sort of.
The 2021 Mercedes-Benz E-Class All Terrain is a new kind of wagon aimed for US buyers. It rides a little higher, and it packs some extra cladding around the wheel wells, but the All Terrain is still a wagon at heart. The E-Class Sedan's thorough redesign isn't as prevalent here, appearing mostly on the front end, but it packs the same technological updates like the introduction of the MBUX infotainment system. Will a hopped-up AMG E63 variant be in the cards, like it was with the wagon? It's anybody's guess at this point.
2021 Mercedes-Benz E-Class Sedan packs a plug-in punch
Following a midcycle refresh of Mercedes'
for the 2018 model year, the S-Class' slightly smaller E-Class sibling is now due for its freshening. The 2021 E-Class' design blends the automaker's current design language for coupes, sedans and SUVs, bringing it closer to just about every other modern Mercedes. Powertrains range from a basic 2.0-liter turbocharged I4 to a mild hybrid 3.0-liter I6. Rear-wheel drive is standard, but all-wheel drive is either available or mandatory, trim depending. Expect a plug-in hybrid to make an appearance at dealers later this year, as well.
Pininfarina Battista Anniversario: Human touches for EV hypercar
The Pininfarina Battista hypercar was pretty wild when it debuted, but this new version takes things to another level.
The Pininfarina Battista Anniversario ramps up its exclusivity factor by way of hand assembly and hand-painting the exterior. Under the body, the powertrain is exactly the same as the standard Battista, with a 120-kWh battery pack providing an estimated range of 280 miles and an estimated output of 1,900 hp and 1,696 lb.-ft. of torque.
Polestar Precept EV concept is a look at the brand's near future
Polestar is on a tear. The Polestar 1 and Polestar 2 are soon to enter the market, but Volvo's former performance arm still has plenty more up its sleeve.
Enter the Precept concept. This aggressively styled bad boy gives us even more insight into where Polestar plans to take its electric vehicles. There's a hint of Volvo in there by way of the headlights, which sort of retain the "Thor's hammer" style of all modern Swede machines, but the rest is pure Polestar. If you want a Model S that looks like it debuted in 2075, this is the concept car for you.
2021 Porsche 911 Turbo S scoots with the best of 'em
Porsche-philes will be truly bummed to hear of Geneva's cancellation, but the automaker still pulled back the veil on the 992's most powerful iteration to date.
The 2021 Porsche 911 Turbo S is the quickest, most capable 992-generation Neunelfer yet. Its 3.8-liter, twin-turbocharged flat-6 produces a 640 hp and 590 lb.-ft., improvements of 60 and 37, respectively, over the last-generation Turbo S. All-wheel drive remains standard, and many underlying bits have been improved to make it handle better on the track. The body is wider to accommodate that extra thrust, with bigger tires fighting to maintain grip as an optional sports exhaust shouts its song to the heavens. With a $200,000 window sticker, this performance won't come cheap, though.
The Volkswagen Golf GTI keeps things fresh and familiar
Oh yes, it's back. Shortly after pulling back the wraps on the eighth-generation Golf, VW went ahead and trotted out its sportier sibling, the
The eighth-generation GTI carries the same "I'm still unsure if I like it or not" looks as its more pedestrian relative, but things get a little sharper thanks to a more aggressive bumper and bigger, cooler wheels. Power from its 2.0-liter turbocharged I4 rises from 228 hp to 245, while torque rises from 258 lb.-ft. to 273. A manual is standard, but a dual-clutch automatic is available, and yes, you can still get it with plaid seats.
Volkswagen ID 4 electric SUV steps out in front of the camera
The husk of the Geneva Motor Show might not be the ideal time for it, but Volkswagen nevertheless trotted out another ID 4 electric SUV iteration that's ever so slightly closer to production.
VW finally confirmed this week that the ID 4 will be a global car, with sales taking place in Europe, the US and China. It's believed to achieve an estimated 300-plus miles of range by European WLTP measurements, but the automaker is still remaining tight-lipped on powertrain details. We'll have to wait for a likely reveal at the New York Auto Show in April to learn more, but for now, rest assured the ID 4 won't skip over the US.
Go fast and be green with the Volkswagen Touareg R plug-in hybrid
It wouldn't be the Geneva Motor Show without a heapin' helpin' of forbidden fruit, and the VW Group is more than happy to oblige us in 2020.
The VW Touareg R is the sharpest, most aggressive variant of the Touareg SUV that is no longer on sale in the US. It combines a 3.0-liter V6 and an electric motor to produce a net 455 hp and 516 lb.-ft. It's unclear how long this plug-in hybrid SUV can travel on battery alone, but we'll likely get some more specs at the official unveiling during the show. For now, with a top speed of 155 mph and some serious looks, I think we have yet another poster car for kids to fawn over (even if it's an SUV).