Colour us impressed with these eye-popping concepts and production cars from some of the best in the automotive industry
Now that the madness of the Geneva Motor Show is over, with the crowds and exhibitors gone from the show’s floor, it’s never been a better time to sit down look over the best four cars from the show; the showstoppers, as it were.
And it’s tough to pick out what exactly was the best, since the Geneva Motor Show is usually the place for manufacturers to launch supercars or hypercars. A veritable who’s who of top-notch manufacturers, from McLaren to Lamborghini to Porsche have all chosen, at some stage or other in history, to launch their stunning cars there.
However, this year’s show was a fair bit more sedate and saw a fall in attendance figures. The reasons for that are almost too many to list, from a waning interest in cars among the younger set to a cooling economic climate, and of course, some manufacturers have chosen to hold private launches, away from the show circuit.
Still, that didn’t stop the 2019 edition from delivering the goods. Indeed, we had to check our lists twice to ensure the four cars below truly are the best cars at the 2019 Geneva Motor Show.
Alfa Romeo Tonale
If you’ll excuse the bad pun, the Alfa Romeo Tonale concept represents quite the tonal shift for Alfa Romeo. Not so much in its mid-sized stature, or the fact the inevitable production car will be the second Alfa Romeo SUV, but the fact that it’s powered by a petrol-electric powertrain. An all-new plug-in hybrid powerplant, to be precise, though we can’t imagine Alfa Romeo won’t release conventionally-powered Tonale variants.
Alfa Romeo was curiously tight-lipped on said drivetrain, with no details at all on its capabilities. It is, however, pretty safe to assume it’ll be able to go at least 30km or so on battery power alone. It’s also safe to assume the production Alfa Romeo Tonale will be fairly zippy, in line with Alfa Romeo’s promise of having the “dynamic driving characteristics of each Alfa Romeo model”.
Unfortunately, the Alfa Romeo Alfisti didn’t quite get what it wanted at Geneva, hoping as it was for a return of the storied GTV coupe, but it’s clear which way the automotive wind is blowing. And that wind is blowing firmly in the direction of the mid-sized crossover.
That said, the Alfa Romeo Tonale does contain a few classic Alfa Romeo design touches, such as the ‘telephone dial’ wheels (from the 33 Stradale) and the triple headlights (from the SZ). More interesting is the addition of a pair of Alfa Romeo connectivity apps in the Tonale, available in-car. Alfista is a social networking app allowing owners to connect with other Alfa Romeo owners and clubs, while Paddock allows the purchase of merchandise, along with vehicle upgrades.
Ferrari F8 Tributo
While Ferrari is tipping this as an all-new model, it’s actually an evolution of the 488, which itself was based heavily off the 458. Actually, the Ferrari F8 Tributo, whose name is a nod toward its powerplant, the most powerful V8 engine in Ferrari’s history, is based off the storming Ferrari 488 Pista. Though only nominally, according to Ferrari.
To start with, the Ferrari F8 Tributo has 50hp more, for a grand total of 720hp (incidentally, the same as the McLaren 720S), and has an intake lifted directly from the Ferrari 488 Challenge race cars. Paired with this is an Inconel exhaust manifold, which is again lifted from the race car.
In addition to being more powerful than the Ferrari 488 it replaces, the Ferrari F8 Tributo is 40kg lighter, so Ferrari says. This is achieved through the use of lighter bodywork components, particularly the rear windscreen, made of polycarbonate and whose lateral louvres mimics the legendary Ferrari F40 supercar.
Improvements have also been made to its electronics systems, specifically the Ferrari Dynamic Enhancer which incorporates the latest version of its Side Slip Control system. In Ferrari’s words, this system, now active even in Race mode, makes drivers “more confident in lengthy oversteer manoeuvres”.
The systems aren’t new, but their availability even with the traction control system off is. This can be translated as a sort of easy mode for drifting, where the electronic nannies, instead of nannying you, are enablers instead.
Just looking at the profile of the Lagonda All-Terrain (it’s Aston Martin’s all-electric, ultra-luxury sub-brand) concept, you might be forgiven for thinking it looks, well, rather hearse-like. Specifically, a hearse with off-roading pretensions.
Or you might even recall the mad designs and even madder concept cars from the fevered imagination of former Renault design boss Patrick Le Quement through the 1990s and 2000s. The Mars Rover-esque profile of the Ondelios concept springs to mind.
But regardless of whether or not you’re sold on the design of the Lagonda, you have to admit it’s a bold (some will say too bold) step for automotive design, in a car that Aston Martin says can “transport its occupants to remote and spectacular locations”. The off-world colonies on Saturn, perhaps?
Key highlights of the Lagonda All-Terrain concept include the aforementioned arresting silhouette, but also its levitating puck-shaped key. Placed in the centre tunnel where one would normally expect a gearlever, electromagnets allow the key to float in place. A neat little centrepiece, if we might say so.
No doubt its design will be toned down for production, but what we do know for sure is it, and its saloon sibling, previewed last year in the Lagonda Vision concept, is coming in 2022. Aston Martin has a new factory in Wales that will build Lagondas, and any other electric cars from the brand.
Named after the company’s founder, the car has a total of four electric motors driving each wheel for a grand total of 1900hp and 2300Nm. Performance, as you might imagine, is colossal. The century sprint takes a little under two seconds and will hit 300km/h from a standing start in below 12 seconds.
Claimed range is in the neighbourhood of 450km, though good luck reaching that figure if you’re regularly exploiting the full potential of its performance.
Even more of interest is the fact the Pininfarina Battista will be offered in Singapore through official channels, with Pininfarina naming Wearnes Automotive as a retail partner. Fifty cars will be made available for the region, shared between us, Hong Kong, Dubai and Saudi Arabia. Pininfarina also promised “annual releases” of new cars from the brand starting from late 2020, and beginning, of course, with the Pininfarina Battista.