Since 1905, the Geneva Motor Show has been hosted in the heart of Switzerland – a country with no automotive industry of its own and a tiny appetite for new cars. This show acts as a level playing field for automakers from every corner of the planet. As years have passed, Geneva has gained much credibility as a respected place to showcase new cars – so much so that in 2000, it became an annual staple (upgrading from once every two years). Just last year the show saw the debut of the Aston Martin One-77, Ferrari 599XX, and the Lamborghini Murcielago LP 670-4 SV.
And while the Detroit, Los Angeles and New York Auto Shows present a smorgasbord of cars and trucks that buyers are guaranteed to love, they are hardly a cross section of what automakers are really concerned with in a world shying away from its reliance on oil. For some perspective, we turn to Geneva. This time around, we’re rewarded with the bleeding edge of fuel-saving and power technology. So take a moment and click through the 10 coolest cars from the 2010 Geneva Motor Show.
1. Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Safety Car
If you can think of a car with a light bar on top and it’s not a Ford Crown Victoria or Chevrolet Caprice, chances are it’s a pretty sweet ride. Especially if that light bar happens to be the first comprised completely of LEDs, and it’s mounted behind roof-hinged doors. Mercedes-Benz showed off a safety car version of its new SLS AMG supercar designed to take on pace duty for the upcoming F1 season. The company says the car remains mostly stock with a few notable exceptions. For one, the exhaust exits had to be reworked to comply with FIA standards. There are also front and rear mounted cameras. The SLS AMG Safety Car will assume the throne of the SL63 AMG – the car that lead the F1 pack last year.
2. Koenigsegg Agera
If you’ve heard of Swedish supercar manufacturer Koenigsegg, you are either a serious gearhead, or Elin Nordegren’s divorce attorney. The Swedish supercar company is responsible for some of the world’s fastest and most expensive cars, and from the looks of things, Koenigsegg isn’t letting up on its game anytime soon. This year, Koenigsegg unveiled the all-new Agera (the Swedish verb “to act”) in Geneva, and the car is, as you might expect, a candy-coated ball of power. New bodywork, which is as functional as it is sexy (if a tad Ferrari F430-esque) distinguishes the Agera from its less stylish siblings. Then there’s the powerplant – a twin-turbocharged 4,7-litre V8 with 679 kW and enough torque on hand (1 000 N.m) to pull a Cadillac Escalade out of a ditch.
3. Ferrari Hy-KERS Hybrid Concept
Before you begin to hyperventilate, let us just say that no, Ferrari hasn’t brought the F1 KERS system to the street. Despite the name, the Hy-KERS Hybrid Concept uses tech more akin to what you’d find in a Prius than anything cruising down the paddock. But that’s just fine, because despite bearing the “Hybrid” badge, the Ferrari retains the full girth of its V12 powerplant. The electric motor, which, like all big half-hybrids these days, is sandwiched between the engine and transmission, adds 107 horsepower to the party. That’s a serious punch in the arm, to be sure, and while it will most certainly help the car scoot around your favourite track, it also does plenty to curb that thirsty V12’s appetite for fossil fuel. Still think a hybrid Ferrari is blasphemy?
4. Porsche 918 Spyder Concept
Depending on your point of view, the influx of hybrids into the sports car realm is either the first sign of the impending apocalypse or a hopeful ray of light in an otherwise hydrocarbon-choked world. Either way, the new Porsche 918 Spyder Concept is sure to turn onlookers green with envy. Porsche has managed to wedge a 500-horsepower (373 kW) V8 engine into the lightweight shell along with two electric motors – good for 81 kW each, for a grand total of 535 kW. Porsche says the 918 Spyder Concept will reach 100 km/h in around 3,2 seconds, which seems fast, for a hybrid. Here’s hoping this sucker makes it past the concept stage.
5. Audi A1 E-Tron
Audi’s E-Tron moniker has come to represent ridiculously powerful and super-sexy electric cars, but the company’s EV division took a new direction at Geneva, where it debuted a new car based on the all-new A1 and sporting an