Geneva Motor Show Report 2016
It’s showtime! All the gen from Geneva.
Europe’s premier annual motor show kicked off last week in Geneva, and there was plenty of new metal to interest the private hire and chauffeur operator. A first look at the new V90 Volvo estate, a new luxury large MPV from Peugeot, an expanded Vignale range from Ford, Tesla’s Model X MPV and a super-luxury Bentley are among the highlights of our exclusive show report
Volvo revealed the S90 saloon in Detroit, and Geneva saw the arrival of a cavernous V90 estate model to replace the V70 later in the year. It shares the running gear of the V90, including a T8 Twin Engine plug-in hybrid version that will give sufficient zero-emissions range to comply with TfL’s proposed PHV ULEZ rules.
We’ll also get the 187bhp D4 diesel and the 232bhp D5, and the same trim levels as the XC90 – Momentum and Inscription – will be used. An 8-speed automatic gearbox will be standard on D5, while D4 gets a 6-speed manual. V90 D4 diesel emits 119g/km and returns a claimed 62.8mpg, while D5 emits 129g/km of CO2. Prices will start at around £33,000 when it goes on sale in the autumn.
Mercedes-Benz has given its all-new E-Class the S-Class treatment inside, with the wide-screen dual display panel and multi-coloured mood lighting. But the car also features some safety features that are way beyond the current S-Class, including near-autonomous driving abilities designed to take a lot of strain off the driver.
A new 2.0-litre four-cylinder diesel replaces the long-serving 2.1-litre unit, and a plug-in petrol hybrid which will meet TfL’s ULEZ PHV rules will be available. And good news for chauffeurs – the traditional “gunsight grille”, withdrawn on the last E-Class, will make a comeback as an optional alternative to the AMG-style standard grille. E-Class goes on sale from May, but only as a saloon – you’ll have to wait until 2017 for an all-new estate.
Tesla Model X
Tesla showed its second model – the Model X – at Geneva, but not, as expected, the smaller £30,000 car that it plans to launch next year. Tesla boss Elon Musk confirmed the car would be called Model 3, and it will be unveiled in California at the end of March. Looking more like a smaller Model S, it’s designed to compete with the likes of Mercedes-Benz C-Class and BMW 3-series.
Meanwhile the seven-seat Model X will go on sale in the UK by mid-year, priced around £65,000. It shares the same running gear as the Model S, but it’s bulkier and heavier, so range will be reduced to around 250 miles. The gull-wing rear doors are likely to have enormous customer appeal for chauffeurs, though.
Kia has refreshed its slow-selling Optima flagship, giving the car a much more attractive chrome-heavy nose and, for the first time, as estate version, the Optima Sportwagon. It’ll share the same1.7-litre diesel with 134PS as its Korean cousin the Hyundai i40 Tourer, and prices should start at a competitive £22,000 or so.
The Optima Sportwagon has a very large boot with 553 litres of space, making it a bigger load-carrier than a Ford Mondeo. The car joins the range around September – new Optima saloon is already on sale. An Optima Plug-in petrol-electric hybrid, offering just 37g/km CO2 emissions and electric-only driving for 33 miles, will go on sale at the same time.
Peugeot Traveller/ Citroen Space Cruiser/ Toyota ProAce Verso
There’s a shortage of large, luxury MPVs on the market – old favourites such as Chrysler Voyager and Renault Espace have not been replaced, and full-size van-based MPVs can be too big for some operators.
But PSA Peugeot-Citroen has developed its new mid-sized panel van as both a commercial vehicle and a luxury people-mover, and a Geneva concept gives an indication of the sort of up-market MPV the company plans to launch later in the year.
The Traveller iLab features a luxurious leather interior that can be configured as a mobile boardroom, complete with a large flat-screen display that also doubles as a boardroom table. The vehicle is much smaller than the likes of Ford Tourneo Custom or Mercedes V-Class – the nearest equivalent in size terms is the Nissan e-NV200.
There’s a regular Traveller version too, with a more basic interior with two bench seats, which would be an ideal urban taxi or airport transfer vehicle. A Citroen version, the Space Tourer, will also be available – the cars are built on the same line in northern France – and the vehicle will also be supplied to Toyota as the ProAce Verso. The vehicles are basically the same, but with different nose panels, grilles and lights to give each of the three a distinctive “face”.
Citroen also showed a “lifestyle” concept called the Space Cruiser Hyphen, which features a funky multi-coloured interior and a 4x4 system developed by French specialist Dangel.
The vehicles will also be available as panel vans – Peugeot’s is called Expert; Citroen’s is Dispatch and Toyota’s version is called ProAce. The vehicles will come in two wheelbases and three body lengths – the LWB models have an optional extra-long version with more luggage space. The vehicles use the same platform as the Peugeot 308 and Citroen C4 Picasso, so they’ll be a lot more car-like than previous mid-sized PSA minibuses.
Ford accelerated the roll-out of its Vignale sub-brand at the show by revealing three more models in Vignale trim. The S-Max MPV, as well as the Kuga and Edge SUVs, all join Mondeo in having range-topping Vignale versions.
But chauffeurs will be disappointed not to see a Vignale Galaxy, though it hasn’t been ruled out, and given the commonality between S-Max and Galaxy, would be relatively simple to do.
With up-market Titanium and TitaniumX trim accounting for up to 70% of sales of some Ford models, Ford sees the opportunity to add a further premium trim option at the top of the range. Vignale customers get special treatment too, from Ford’s flagship FordStores dealerships.
Given its popularity, the Toyota Prius has surprisingly spawned few direct imitators. The Honda Insight has been and gone, with private hire operators snapping up most of the stocks. Now Hyundai has launched the Ioniq, a car that has a distinct look of Prius about its profile – and which comes in a variety of “green” flavours.
The Ioniq line-up comprises Hybrid, Electric and Plug-in versions, making it the first car model to offer three electrified powertrains. Hybrid and Plug-in versions combine a new 1.6-litre direct injection petrol, four-cylinder engine with electric motors. The plug-in offers a zero-emissions range of 30 miles, while the hybrid’s CO2 emissions are around 79g/km – comparable to the new Prius. Meanwhile the electric version claims a range of around 150 miles per charge. Sales will start in the UK in October.
At last – a Renault that is coming to the UK! The all-new Scenic reboots the pioneering compact MPV brand 25 years after the original Scenic concept was shown at the Frankfurt Show of 1991 and 20 years after the first Megane Scenic went on sale.
As with the current Scenic, there will be a long-wheelbase Grand Scenic model with seven seats and expanded second-row legroom, though this is still some months away. Expect to see it at Frankfurt in September.
The Scenic is longer and wider than its predecessor, and is styled upon the 2011 R-Space concept. It has specially designed 20in wheels which are narrower than standard wheels, and with a deep sidewall to the tyres, which Renault says gives improved ride quality.
Power comes from familiar 1.5-litre dCi diesels, though there will be a mild hybrid version too. It’ll go on sale in the UK before the end of the year, with Grand Scenic following in 2017.
Renault Megane Sport Tourer
Renault also launched a new Megane estate at the show. The new Megane Sport Tourer is claimed to have the longest maximum load length in the sector at 2.77m, and it has boot space of 580 litres.
The boot floor can fold flat when the rear seats are folded and there are separate partitions to help prevent luggage sliding forward and back. Power comes from the well-proven 1.5-litre dCi diesel in a number of power outputs.
Bentley Mulsanne Grand Limousine
Bentley unveiled a brace of super-luxury editions of its big Mulsanne limousine, aimed squarely at Rolls Royce’s ultra-luxury models. The Mulsanne Grand Limousine has been built by Bentley’s Mulliner coachbuilding division. It is 1 metre longer and 79 mm taller than a standard Mulsanne and features business jet-style face-to-face seating in the rear cabin. It has an electrochromic divider that changes from clear to opaque at the touch of a button.
Bentley Mulsanne EWB
Alongside the Grand Limousine was an extended-wheelbase Mulsanne EWB model. This offers 250mm of extra legroom at the back and a rear sunroof. The Mulsanne range has a completely redesigned nose for 2017 model year, with new bumper, bonnet, lights and grille.
Rolls Royce Phantom LWB Louis XIII
This bright red Rolls-Royce Phantom LWB Louis XIII Special Edition is one of a fleet of 30 ordered by Hong Kong billionaire Stephen Hung for his Louis XIII casino-hotel in Macau. All cars look exactly the same, painted inside and out in ‘Stephen Red’ and fitted with bespoke 21in wheels. The 30 cars will be used to ferry high-profile guests to and from the hotel.
Rolls Royce Black Badge
Rolls Royce revealed versions of its Ghost and Wraith models in a new Black Badge edition, aimed at younger, edgier millionaires. The black cars even have a gloss black “Spirit of Ecstasy” atop the black radiator grille, while the RR logo is reversed to silver-on-black.
Rolls Royce says the Black Badge models are aimed at the “darker, more assertive, confident and demanding aesthetic” of certain customers. Upgraded materials including aerospace-grade aluminium and carbon fibre feature heavily in the interior, which can be customised to suit the owner.
No, it’s not the new Phaeton. In the wake of the emissions testing scandal, Volkswagen has back-burnered its replacement Phaeton for Europe until 2020 – and it’ll probably be a very advanced electric car. The Phideon is much more conventional – and it’s aimed squarely at China. It’s Passat-based, and stretched to 5.05m long. In fact, it has a lot in common with the Skoda Superb. It comes with a choice of 2.0 four-cylinder or 3.0 V6 petrol engines. Phideon has been designed in conjunction with VW’s Chinese manufacturing partner SAIC, and is unlikely to be exported.
Maserati’s first SUV has been eagerly anticipated. And it looks good too. It’ll be pitched against the likes of Porsche Cayenne and Audi Q7, and powertrain options include the 3.0-litre V6 with 8-speed ZF automatic transmission, offering potentially 40mpg combined. It’ll go on sale before the end of the year, priced around £55,000.
The Jaguar F-Pace Crossover is the car that will take Jaguar’s global sales above 100,000 units, the company claims. It effectively replaces the XF Sportbrake in the range. It’s larger than direct rivals such as Volvo XC60 or BMW X3, and with prices starting at just £34,710 for the entry-level Prestige model, it offers very good value for operators looking for a luxury-brand SUV. First deliveries will start in April.
Mansory Bentley Flying Spur
And finally…coachbuilder Mansory’s reputation for gloriously over-the-top custom jobs on luxury cars is the stuff of Geneva Show folklore. And this year’s showpiece didn’t disappoint, with a matt gold and white livery on a pair of Bentleys – a Continental GT and this Flying Spur. Gold-plated switchgear adorns the brown, white and gold interior, while the W12 engine has been souped up with an extra 120hp – taking it to 745bhp. Premiership footballers, junior sheiks and minor oligarchs, please queue here.