The Geneva auto show that opens to the public today boasts a lot of big launches this year, ranging from the new Subaru Crosstrek to an electric Bentley roadster concept. In between, there was a new Lexus hybrid flagship sedan, new Volvo SUVs, the Volkswagen Arteon, and a handful of supercars from McLaren, Porsche, and Mercedes-AMG.
But hidden in and around all of the major manufacturers, Geneva is always full of some of the wildest and craziest supercars and concepts from the smaller automakers and coachbuilders of Europe. Here's a look at some of the craziest or most notable ones, most of which will never set rubber to pavement on Canadian roads, remaining forbidden fruit to North American non-industry tycoons.
You might remember the iconic 1987 RUF CTR. Better known as the Yellowbird. It was a twin-turbo narrow-body based on the 911 Carrera. It was as fast as a 959, with an even higher top speed. It was made famous after winning Road & Track's world' fastest car test that year with a top speed of 340 km/h.
To mark the 30th anniversary of that car, RUF has debuted an all-new CTR. While the car looks like a lightly refreshed 1987 on the outside, this car is all RUF. It sits on an all-new carbon monocoque chassis that gives a finished weight of just 1,200 kg. On top of that are classic-look body panels. The engine is a 3.6L flat-six derived from a Porsche engine but making 700 hp. This one will do 0-100 km/h in 3.5 seconds and hit 365 km/h flat-out. They're making 30 of the special car.
Supercar builder Horacio Pagani finally took the top off the Huayra. It has been six years since the coupe arrived with a 720 hp twin-turbo V12. The roadster ups the power of that engine to 753 hp with 738 lb-ft of torque. It has a seven-speed automated manual, and actually weighs 80kg less than the coupe. The $3.3 million supercar will only see 100 examples built and they are already sold out.
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Pininfarina showed their stunning Fittipaldi EF7 Vision Gran Turismo. The car has a carbon fibre monocoque, with a full roll cage and fixed seats. The chassis was built by HWA - the company that builds Mercedes' DTM racers - and has double wishbones with adjustable roll bars. The engine is a dry-sump 4.8L that revs to 9,000 RPM and makes 600 hp. The car was "born from the mind of iconic world champion driver and two-time Indy 500 winner, Emerson Fittipaldi" to try and use his knowledge to create the ultimate track experience. This one will get a limited run of road cars and should show up in the Gran Turismo gaming series.
Rolls-Royce wanted to show just how capable their Bespoke division was, so they painted a Ghost sedan with diamonds. The paint is made from 1,000 crushed diamonds, which must have wreaked havoc on their paint guns. They call it "the most luxurious and lustrous exterior ever seen on a motor car." It was done for a special, unnamed collector and will not likely ever see any road, anywhere.
Spyker took the roof off the C8 to make the C8 Preliator Spider. The car will get a naturally aspirated 5.0L V8 made by Koenigsegg, backed with a six-speed manual. The carbon-bodied roadster has a suspension from Lotus and will be built in England, starting next summer.
The tuning company Alpina is so closely affiliated with BMW that you can buy some of their models new from BMW dealers. Their 7 series-based B7 is built in BMW's own factory. They released their newest 5 series model, the B5 Biturbo, at Geneva this year. The car comes in sedan and wagon forms and boosts BMW's 4.4L V8 to 600 hp and 590 lb-ft. It will have uprated suspension settings and styling to go along with the power. Think of it like a less hardcore, more comfortable M5.
Audi showed off their absolutely mad RS5 DTM racer. DTM cars are now about as close to their roadgoing counterparts as a NASCAR Camry is to your neighbour's Toyota. The DTM car uses a 4.0L V8 with "more than 500 hp", instead of the twin-turbo V6 and there's no quattro - drive is rear-wheels only. The whole thing uses a carbon fibre monocoque chassis. Then there is the amazing assembly of wings, splitters, canards, side sills, and flares that would get laughed right out of the pedestrian impact test facility. It still looks amazing, though.
Finally, the German tuner Mansory. They've been turning luxury and prestige cars into something crazy for nearly 30 years. Often garish, always outrageous, they didn't disappoint this year.
Their candy apple red Panamera certainly stands out. The car has a wide-body kit, 22-inch wheels, and carbon fibre everywhere that isn't red. The hood, front fascia, and side sills are all carbon. There are massive new vents in the fenders, arches, hood, and grille. Inside is black quilted leather with very bright yellow stitching and piping, plus more carbon trim. They claim an extra 34 hp as well.
Mansory's Rolls-Royce Dawn convertible is lowered, with big air intakes and rear extractor vents with marble paint on the lower trim and engine cover. The interior has been redone in red, white, and black, with piano lacquer trim. Power is boosted from 570 to 740 hp.
Mansory boosts the Ferrari 488 Spider 119 hp to 780 total and renames it the 4xx Siracusa Spider. They add massive 22-inch gold painted wheels, and a new front apron that they claim improves airflow, but probably just increases the visual appeal. The car has liquid black paint and marble paint on the lower body.
Finally, their very, very bright orange wide-body Maserati Levante S. In their own words, "Maserati named its luxury SUV after a moderate easterly wind. The refinement by Mansory, however, is more like a hurricane." In this case, the hurricane blew carbon fibre all over it, along with bigger 22-inch wheels, and lots of matching orange on the interior. What it didn't bring was much more performance, although the twin-turbo does get 34 hp more for a total of 464.
That's our roundup of the supercars of the Geneva Motor Show. Rare or forbidden fruit indeed.