Opinion: The Numerous Premiers at the 2014 Geneva Auto Show

2014 geneva auto show lead

Typically here at Hooniverse, we try to attend all the big U.S. Auto Shows. When that did not happen at this year’s Detroit Auto Show, we still provided you the best coverage available our pointless opinions and made up facts.

Our invitation to the Geneva Auto Show was lost in the mail and our accountant stated that our budget will not allow for three first class tickets (for Jeff and his wieners) to Switzerland. Therefore, below are our own thoughts on some of the vehicles that premiered at the show. Pictures are either manufacturer supplied or blatantly stolen borrowed from our buds at AutoweekCarscoops, and Autoblog.

We will discuss the Alfa Romeo Disco Volante, Lexus RC F Sport, Mazda Hazumi Concept, 2015 Jeep Renegade, Ferrari California T, Alfa Romeo 4C Spider Design Preview, BMW Alpina B4 Bi-Turbo Cabrio, 2014 Toyota Aygo, 2014 Audi S3 Cabriolet, Aston Martin V8 Vantage N430, 2015 Renault Twingo, Pagani Zonda Revolucion, Honda Civic Type R Concept, BMW 2 Series Active Tourer, Volvo Concept Estate, Italdesign Giugiaro Clipper MPV Concept, and others.

See what we have to say and give us your thoughts.

Alfa Romeo Disco Volante

front-disco-volante-alfa-romeo-touring-superleggera-carrozzeria-geneva-2014-auto-show-production-8c-competizione-v8

 The worst part about this is that one has to sacrifice and already beautiful Alfa Romeo 8C for it, and I don’t think I could do that.

– Kamil Kaluski

Disco Volante is Italian for Flying Saucer. I don’t think they could have come up with a more appropriate name for this. I don’t find it particularly attractive, but luckily you don’t have to look at it while you are inside driving it.

– Bradley Brownell

Lexus RC F Sport

Lexus-RC-F-Sport-coupe-

Funky styling aside, the current generations of Lexus’ IS and GS cars are pretty amazing. Great interiors, they drive great, the F-sport models are fun to drive, and you know they’ll remain reliable. I like them better than what’s currently coming out of Bavaria.

– Kamil Kaluski

Lexus RC F GT3

Lexus RC F GT3

Toyota looks poised to enter the international world of GT racing for the first time since, well…it’s been a while. I’m always glad to see more manufacturers tossing their hat into the FIA GT3-spec ring, which is growing like a weed these days. It sounds unlikely that Toyota will directly enter a works team in any GT3 series, but a reputable sportscar racing source suggested the RC F may serve as the platform Toyota use to race in the GT class(es) at Le Mans in 2015 or 2016.

– Eric Rood

I’ve said before that we’re in the golden age of sports car racing, and that is largely due to the proliferation of FIA GT3 spec cars. If Toyota can compete head-to-head with the likes of McLaren, Ferrari, Bentley, Porsche, BMW, Mercedes, Audi, SRT, Chevrolet, Aston Martin, Lamborghini, and Nissan on the international stage, then they will certainly sell a lot of cars.

-Bradley Brownell 

Mazda Hazumi Concept

mazda-hazumi-concept-001-1

I’m not someone who owns econoboxes, since they’re super practical, get excellent fuel economy and are usually much roomier than expected. I prefer hungry, RWD beasts that get less than 20 mpg and also get me out of picking people up at the airport. But I understand that sometimes other people like luxuries like cup holders, back seats and ranges of more than 250 miles and don’t want to spend a lot of money. So that’s why I’m glad that Mazda made such an adorable little concept car.

It’s got a 1.5 liter diesel engine that Mazda says will have lots of torque. Torque is a good thing for small little city cars, since that makes acceleration around town feel quicker. I’d love to see that engine with a manual, because I think I’d be easier to live with in stop and go traffic than a less torquey gasoline engine.

I’m most excited about the aesthetics of this car. The proportions look better to me than a lot of FWD cars, especially the hood and windshield. As an added bonus, this concept has a red interior, which makes me happy. I doubt that will make it to production vehicles, but the colored interiors in concept cars make me hopeful this trend might gain some traction.

-Ann Morey

2015 Jeep Renegade

2015-jeep-renegade-trailhawk-04-1

Like the new Cherokee that Jeff and I have gotten to sample, this Renegade is quite a polarizing subject from long time Jeep enthusiasts. Despite it being a FIAT under the skin, it takes to the Jeep appearance well in a small Suzuki Samurai kind of way. Despite what the naysayers might think, this seems much more fitting of the Jeep brand than the Patriot and Liberty it replaces. The appearance of the Renegade seems to definitely have more character and thought put into it. It’s not just a generic CUV shape with Jeep design cues applied to it, which it could be argued was a good description of it’s predecessors. This is something different, yes, but when a car company wants new buyers, that’s a good thing. The only thing that strikes me as strange is the name. In the past, Renegade was a trim level. Is Jeep just not able to come up with a new name? Part of me wonders if the Patriot and Liberty weren’t well liked enough to be re-used as names.

-Bryce Womeldurf

The good news is that they’re improving on the Compass and Patriot, which is easy to do. The bad is that they’re starting with the Fiat 500L chassis. I’ll form a full opinion when I drive one, but to me it looks like one of Bob the Builder‘s friends.

-Kamil Kaluski

I SHOULD be more excited about this truck than I am.

-Bradley Brownell

Ferrari California T 

02-ferrari-california-t-geneva

I liked turbocharged engines in the 1990s, when they were cool. I’m totally not in love with this whole EcoBoosting trend. A brand that’s focused on performance and is historically known for its V12 engine is giving me half of it for more money? No thanks. At least they replaced that Jeep radio from this car. What’s next, V6 turbo engine in Formula 1? Never gonna happen…

– Kamil Kaluski

Alfa Romeo 4C Spider Design Preview

Alfa Romeo 4C Spider

With the new headlights, I now love everything about this.

– Kamil Kaluski

With the exception of Porsche’s 919 Hybrid LMP1, this might well be the most exciting launch of the Geneva show. Hands down, the best looking car Alfa Romeo has ever made, and the one I would most like to own. The Alfa 4C Spider is the Elise that Lotus should have built if they had taken the task more seriously.

-Bradley Brownell

I feel like this is the Alfa 4C we’ve all really been waiting for. It’s hard to complain about the hardtop 4C to begin with, but this takes it up to another level for me. I can’t even begin to imagine how wonderful it would be on a good mountain road on a clear sunny day. But I do wonder if the bonnet can be opened yet… eh, who cares.

– Greg Kachadurian

BMW Alpina B4 Bi-Turbo Cabrio

alpina-b4-bi-turbo-cabrio-

This Bimmer is focused on comfort: more torque, auto transmission, fancy paint and finish. Yup, it’s an Alpina. If you’re familiar with brand, or tuner, or bespoke-ish editions, whatever they are, none of this is a surprise. The price shouldn’t be a surprise either, it’s a lot more. Elitist 4-series? Why not just get a 6-series?

– Kamil Kaluski

As much as I like Alpina, this formula of theirs is getting a bit old. Today’s definition of an Alpina is a BMW with nice performance enhancements, blue paint, a reused aero kit, and also reused over-sized wheels. And I hate myself for liking this car anyway.

– Greg Kachadurian

2014 Toyota Aygo

toyota-aygo

Who is that masked man, or economy car rather? It’s the new more geometrically sliced up and diced up Toyota Aygo. Similar to how the new Corolla is trying to look more contemporary, this little car has a lot of attitude. My hope is that some of this makes it stateside on a new Yaris. Not to make this about the Yaris, but the newer models have become a bit bland and I really liked the original. Along the sides, things get a little more normal looking. Now, when can we hope to see another Aygo Crazy? This design is begging for a more interesting drivetrain.

– Bryce Womeldurf

Looks like a raging Chihuahua.

– Kamil Kaluski

2014 Audi S3 Cabriolet

audi-s3-cabrio-

This should be a fun, highly capable, and attractive car which could become an instant favorite in the compact luxury sports segment. I can’t wait to see student parking lots littered with them.

– Greg Kachadurian

Talk about the same sausage in different lengths; the A5/S5 convertibles are bigger on the outside than this vehicle but they’re still small-ish, cramped on the inside. I wonder how much smaller inside this really it, can anyone actually use the rear seats? Because if not, why would anyone get this over the TT?

– Kamil Kaluski

Aston Martin V8 Vantage N430

v8-vantage-n430

Just because a vehicle isn’t equipped with its most powerful engine doesn’t make it a dud. Most of us prefer cars where the chassis is faster than the engine, and that’s what Aston Martin did here. AM added lightness (40lbs less), and a few horses (to 436hp), to its V8 model. The best part is that it’s available with a proper 6-speed manual transmission, and has a low price (for an AM) of just £89,995, which is about $150,000. This is the enthusiast’s version, not this.

– Kamil Kaluski

2015 Renault Twingo

Renault-Twingo-5

Renault hasn’t offered a rear-engined car for sale in more than 40 years, but with the next generation of the Twingo, baby got back, and I think that’s totally awesome. Think a minute about all the rear-engined cars on the market today. There’s the Porsche 911, the Smart ForTwo, and… well, the Tata Nano I guess, but jiminy cricket, who would want to be caught dead in one of those? I’m sure there might be others, obscure and unlikely to be all that nice, but who cares when there’s this new Twingo?! Riding on a platform co-developed along with Daimler which will also underpin the next Smart ForFour, this little car looks amazingly space efficient, having a 5.1-inch longer wheelbase than its FWD predecessor, while being almost 4 inches shorter overall. And that’s while still offering 4-doors plus a roomier cabin than before.

Not only is the engine placement of the next gen Twingo new, so too is the engine itself, a 1-litre gas-burning triple, offering 69-bhp in base form. If that’s not enough excitement to have in your car’s butt, there’s also a 90-horse turbo edition to put the spurs to the super mini.  This new Twingo really redefines the city car segment and looks like it’s bringing its A-game to space efficiency. It’s probably also pretty safe as it banishes the non-crushable engine to the back, under the load floor. Hopefully this will set trends for other marques as well.

– Rob Emslie

Pagani Zonda Revolucion

pagani-zonda-revolucion

Pagani finishes the Zonda on a high note with the Revolucion. With how extreme the “regular” Zonda was back in 1999, there isn’t much in the way of great visual differences from one edition to the next, but a slow evolution, up until you compare the original cars to this Revolution. The more track-oriented models have seemed to grow more winglets and intakes but the craftsmanship remains stunning. There’s a blue carbon body and more tasteful black version of the coppery gold wheels seen on previously Zondas. I’d like to just sit in the front seat for a little while and smell the interior. Or maybe rev the engine a few times to hear it wail, which would immediately cause great amounts of hair to grow from my chest.

– Bryce Womeldurf

Wasn’t there a final edition of this car like four editions ago? Does anyone still care?

-Kamil Kaluski

YES KAMIL WE STILL CARE BECAUSE BLUE CARBON AND WINGLETS.

– Greg Kachadurian

Honda Civic Type R Concept

Honda Civic Type R concept

Last summer I spent quite a bit of time learning to drive a manual transmission behind the wheel of my friend’s sixth generation Civic, which I sort-of-affectionately dubbed the “Slow Civic.” Slow Civic barely made more than 100hp, and you had to get it pretty close to the red line to get that out of it. I gave the Slow Civic a lot of crap, but there was something about its small, light Civicness that was interesting. It was low to the ground and it there was so little to it, it was actually fairly communicative. And then when I drove Jeff Glucker’s Less Slow Civic, I totally understood how those same qualities can make for a pretty fun ride with just a little more power.

The Civic Type R Concept makes me sad that we don’t get the same Hondas in North America that the rest of the world gets anymore. This appears to be a Decidedly Not Slow Civic that uses both VTEC and a turbo to make 280 horsepower. That right there is the stuff Fast & Furious movies are made of, and I would expect the turbo to even out the usual rev-happy VTEC power band. It’s also got a 6 speed manual transmission, and it sounds like they’re not even sure if they’ll put an automatic in it at all. As a recent and fervent convert to the third pedal, this makes me happy. (The rest of the world doesn’t know how good they have it!) I also think it’s a pretty good looking car that seems both ferocious and Civicy. I’m especially a fan of its slightly flared fenders. I’d love to see Honda bring some elements of this to the North American market so I’d have something interesting to point my Honda loyal friends and family members to.

Author’s note: The Slow Civic met its untimely end in a rear end collision this winter. RIP, Slow Civic.

– Ann Morey

This looks like a Hot Wheels car designed by a teenager. It’s just all wrong. Originally, the sadly over-hyped but amazing Type R versions of Civics and Integras put function before form, and that function was perforce. This might sound mind-blowing these days, but the original US-spec  ’97 Integra Type R came without a rear wiper, sunroof, and air conditioning, all in the name of weight and performance. Yes, its had a wing but that wing had actual purpose.

This… this looks like a some French hot-hatch wanna-be, which are typically all looks and bark, without any substance. And at 37, I would never drive this this car. I’ll take a GTI, Evo, or a WRX, please… and this coming from a Honda fanboi.

– Kamil Kaluski

BMW 2 Series Active Tourer

bmw-concept-active-tourer

This BMW leaves me with questions. First, why is it called a 2 Series? The 2 Series is a small RWD car which is the direct successor to the 1 Series and the spiritual successor to my beloved E46 3 Series. But the 2 Series Active Tourer is a sort of FWD minivan like thing on a Mini platform. And why is BMW making a FWD minivan like thing, anyway? Who is this for? The entry level version, the 218i has a 1.5 liter turbocharged 3 cylinder engine that takes 9.3 seconds to get to 62 miles an hour. Don’t people expect BMWs to be quicker than that? I bet that one won’t make it to North America. I’m guessing when they show up in my neck of the woods, they’ll be in 231hp 225i form, most likely with X-Drive.

This vehicle doesn’t strike me as The Ultimate Driving Machine. It might drive better than other FWD minivan things, but those are just a small subset of “driving machines.” My fear is that this car is targeted towards people who are more interested in logos than driving dynamics. My hope is that it will have high profit margins, and BMW will use them to subsidize the development of new amazing M cars with rack and pinion steering for people who try to get out of picking their friends and family up at the airport. No? Well, a girl can dream.

– Ann Morey

Italdesign Giugiaro Clipper MPV Concept

italdesign-clipper-concept

I like the idea of all-electric utilitarian transport and this looks several times better than the homely BMW i3. What I really like, though, are the parallels between this and Sajeev Mehta’s/Murilee Martin’s HCOTY nominee, the What Dat Teal Do SLAB. Now, hear me out: The gullwing-and-butterfly door combination is the obvious starter, but we also know that most electric cars, despite being torquey, are Slow (though this one claims to have a pair of 147-horsepower motors, theoretically). Since it’s a concept car, the Volkswagen Auto Group (VAG), has yet to address the concept’s Low And Bangin’ attributes, but I think it would look dope in a candy-colored teal with some Swangas pokin’ out from each corner.

– Eric Rood

Volvo Concept Estate

volvo-concept-estate-geneva

I’m a Volvo guy who has yet to own a single Volvo. The marque is closer to my heart than many I’ve owned so far, which goes to say I like to keep my proverbial fingers crossed and thumbs up for Volvo to succeed – at least better than Saab has, even if Saab has been the one to die and reborn several times over. Their current line-up doesn’t really elicit heartthrobs from me; the S60 is a Civic-like borefest in my opinion, and there’s not much excitement elsewhere within the range either. But the two-door wagon they brought to Geneva really gets it. I love it. Even if it wasn’t brown.

It’s always been the Volvo coupes that have done it for me. The (P)1800S/ES, 780 Bertone, the first C70, and even the 262C and the 480ES have been the stuff of my Volvo dreams, no matter whether you consider some of them wagons or hatchbacks. But with the coupe-like wagon-like dream in brown, they’ve struck gold. Build it. Make it. Sell it. I’ll be getting it when it’s 25 years old and extremely well kept.

Of course, what they’re doing is introduce some of the styling features and details that will make it into the next production versions of XC90s and V70s. There’s really no telling if the Concept Estate will ever make it between plates, and a cynical, pessimistic bet would be that this is merely a one-off, a styling buck, a forebearer for the more mediocre and everyday. But as is, especially in brown, it makes for a very convincing styling exercise.

– Antti Kautonen

 

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