Alexander Carabitses

(Image credited to General Motors)


The Debuts In Geneva

So, the Geneva Auto Show was canceled as a result of the Coronavirus spreading into Switzerland. This meant that the automakers had to resort to live-streaming their press conferences from the venue while journalists around the world watched from their offices. While unfortunate, from the perspective of someone who doesn't get to go to the event, I obviously didn't notice a difference. Either way, this year's show was a bit quieter than in years past, as more automakers pulled out of the event, but those who did show up had some pretty significant reveals, so let's get to them all.

The Bad

I want to end things off on a high note, which means that I will first be covering the debuts that left me scratching my head or downright angry. First on the list is the 2021 Fiat 500e, which is both adorable and currently not confirmed for the US. Were it to be sold here, its EPA range would be about 177 miles, which is both pretty damn good for a car of this size and dwarfs the Mini Electric's range of 110 miles. In fact, the Fiat is on this list is because these specs make me wonder, What the hell is BMW thinking? In Europe, this car will eat the Mini Electric's lunch overnight.
(Image credited to Fiat)
(Image credited to Fiat)

Speaking of BMW, its i4 EV Concept has a nice interior and looks good from every angle except the front, as the stupid new grille that the brand will be priding itself on has reappeared. The only good thing about the launch of the new BMW 4 Series (and subsequently, the i4) is that it will give me something to poke fun at, but aside from that, I'm terrified to see what this looks like on a production car.
(Image credited to BMW)
(Image credited to BMW)
(Image credited to BMW)

And lastly, for this portion of the list, we have DS and it's extremely underwhelming executive sedan the DS9, which also happens to be based on the long-wheelbase version of the Peugeot 508. This is the most half-assed attempt at a luxury car I've seen in years, as the brand pretty much extended the C-pillar, hung an Audi grille on the front, and slapped chrome all over the place while fitting an interior that's only halfway decent. At this point, it's clear that PSA is not at all serious about turning DS into a real luxury brand and should either make it a Chinese-exclusive near-luxury brand or kill it off altogether. Its Aero Sport Lounge Concept is also ugly.
(Image credited to DS)
(Image credited to DS)
(Image credited to DS)


The "Meh" Vehicles (WARNING: Some Will Shock You)

While Geneva is known for being the place where supercars reign, a lot of vehicles were pretty forgettable or, simply failed to amuse me. The 2021 Mercedes-AMG GLE 63 Coupe and the 2021 Mercedes-AMG GLA45 both fall into this category, as they were present and accounted for, but far from imaginative. The 2021 Cupra Formentor appeared in production guise and it too was very predictable, although it's a fairly attractive step in the right direction for the Seat brand.
(Image credited to Mercedes-Benz)
(Image credited to Mercedes-Benz)
(Image credited to Cupra)
(Image credited to Cupra)
(Image credited to Cupra)


The Volkswagen Group also had a few other "Meh" vehicles on hand in the form of the 2021 Skoda Octavia RS iV and the 2021 Audi A3, both of which are very respectable (in fact, the side sculpting on the Audi is very well done), but I can take them or leave them. Hyundai's facelifted 2021 i30 also failed to register in any way, as did the various compact Mercedes PHEV models that were shown.
(Image credited to Hyundai)
(Image credited to Skoda)
(Image credited to Audi)
(Image credited to Audi)
(Image credited to Audi)


Renault is at a low point in its product cadence which means that its showings were pretty lackluster as well. They consist of the 2021 Talisman midsize sedan and the Morphoz Concept, and while the latter's overall length is actually adjustable, it is still basically a Buzzword Mobile absent that. Renault's affordable Dacia brand came to play with its Spring Concept which, when produced, will apparently be the cheapest EV in Europe.
(Image credited to Renault)
(Image credited to Renault)
(Image credited to Renault)
(Image credited to Dacia)


Lastly, there were a lot of supercars and hypercars on display, and I'm not ashamed to admit that there were some that I feel we can easily live without. The Hispano Suiza Carmen Boulogne is one of these, as are the 2021 Pininfarina Battista Aniversario and the 2021 Koenigsegg Jesko Absolut, which has been designed with drag removal in mind and will likely set another speed record. And how can we forget about the least surprising debuts of the event: the 2021 Aston Martin Vantage Roadster and the 2021 Porsche 911 Turbo S Coupe and Convertible? I honestly do hate placing the latter car on this portion of the list, but let's get real, does its 60 horsepower increase over the prior generation truthfully warrant the coupe's $204,850 and the convertible's $217,650 base sticker prices before delivery charges and options? I didn't think so either.
(Image credited to Hispano Suiza)
(Image credited to Pininfarina)
(Image credited to Koenigsegg)
(Image credited to Aston Martin)
(Image credited to Porsche)
(Image credited to Porsche)



The Vehicles That Made Me Smile...For the Right Reasons

By now, every VW AG fan probably wants my head on a stake, but rest assured because the company did launch a number of vehicles that I appreciated, such as the 2021 Volkswagen Toureg R PHEV and the 2021 Bugatti Chiron Pur Sport, which is a track variant of the Chiron that can be drifted. You'll also be hard-pressed to find me complaining about the 2021 Volkswagen GTI, which debuted alongside the Deisel GTD and PHEV GTE. The car now produces 242 horsepower which is a modest, albeit appreciated increase. As a whole, it continues to set the standard for what a proper hot hatchback should be while making the benefits of owning one pretty self-explanatory. Oh, and the limited-edition, 650 horsepower Bentley Bacalar is the most gorgeous vehicle I've seen the brand roll out in my lifetime. Very nicely done!
(Image credited to Volkswagen)
(Image credited to Bugatti)
(Image credited to Volkswagen)
(Image credited to Volkswagen)
(Image credited to Volkswagen)
(Image credited to Bentley)
(Image credited to Bentley)
(Image credited to Bentley)


Bentley was not the only British brand to strike my fancy at Geneva, as a few other automakers rolled out some products that I want to commend. They include the 755 horsepower Mclaren 765LT, the 700 horsepower Aston Martin V12 Speedster, and the 2021 Morgan Plus Four, which was actually unveiled on its drive back from Geneva once the show was officially canceled.
(Image credited to Mclaren)
(Image credited to Mclaren)
(Image credited to Aston Martin)
(Image credited to Aston Martin)
(Image credited to Morgan)


Other noteworthy introductions include the Hyundai Prophecy Concept, which looks like a 1990s concept car but still features an interior with a very nice and futuristic layout. Koenigsegg's Gemera, which produces about 1,677 horsepower is also one of my favorites, primarily because of the uniquely long scissor doors that are used to provide access to all four of the car's seats. The Polestar Precept EV is also an exquisite design statement in its own right, and while the 2021 Mercedes-Benz E-Class would normally be in the "Meh" category, I find it interesting to see that the brand plans on bringing the E-Class All-Terrain (a raised version of the regular E-Wagon) to the US for the first time.
(Image credited to Hyundai)
(Image credited to Hyundai)
(Image credited to Hyundai)
(Image credited to Koenigsegg)
(Image credited to Koenigsegg)
(Image credited to Polestar)
(Image credited to Polestar)
(Image credited to Polestar)
(Image credited to Mercedes-Benz)
(Image credited to Mercedes-Benz)
(Image credited to Mercedes-Benz)
(Image credited to Mercedes-Benz)


However, my personal favorite of the entire show is the 2021 Alfa Romeo Guilia GTA and GTAm. This is a more powerful, track-focused variant of the Guilia Quadrofoglio, as the car's 2.9-liter V6 Bi-Turbo engine now produces 540 horsepower and, given that the car has gone on a 220-lb diet, it is able to achieve a power/weight ratio of 6.2-lbs/horsepower, which is amazing. According to the press release, the GTAm is fully street legal and comes with racing seats, a six-point safety harness, and a roll bar. Only 500 will be built on a worldwide basis, and although it has yet to be announced, I think it's a safe bet that the order books will also be open to US customers.
(Image credited to Alfa Romeo)
(Image credited to Alfa Romeo)
(Image credited to Alfa Romeo)



General Motors' EV Plans: They're Really, Really Big

The other big news that I want to briefly touch upon concerns GM's recent electric vehicle announcements. During GM's EV Day last week, a lot was said about upcoming electric vehicles, such as the GMC Hummer, the Chevrolet Bolt EUV/Buick Velite 7, and Cadillac's new EVs (the Lyriq midsize crossover and the Celestiq flagship sedan).
(Image credited to Cadillac)

However, I think that my big takeaway from all that was announced is that GM is way ahead of its competition, not only with respect to the sheer amount of EV models coming (there were more announced than just the ones I listed, trust me) but also with respect to its third-gen EV platform. This platform, which is dubbed BEV3, utilizes Ultium batteries that can be stacked either horizontally or vertically within the battery pack and can accommodate a plethora of vehicles and drivetrains, with capacity ranging from 50 to 200 kWh. The company is also promising that these EVs will be both affordable and profitable.

While all the Tesla worshippers have probably picked apart GM's plan and bashed it for their own amusement, I firmly believe that GM is one of the few legacy automakers that has what it takes to successfully produce and sell EVs. It is ahead of all of its competitors, and in an age where everyone is talking about dark days approaching the auto industry as it embraces EVs and AVs, I think it's a safe bet that GM will be in the best position to succeed.
(Image credited to General Motors)

Thank you for reading and have a good week.
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