This year saw the 77th Internationale Auto-Salon, or what we would call the 2007 Geneva car show. And for fans of European cars, it's one of the high points of the year. This time around stayed true to form, with lots of cool metal (and, increasingly, carbon fiber) to check out. Here's our whirlwind tour...
Just like no one complains when they see photos of Jessica Alba, we reckoned everyone would be cool if we used the Geneva show as an excuse to run another shot of Alfa Romeo's 8C Competizione. Just because it's so freakin' beautiful. And the sooner Alfa makes this and we get to drive it, the happier we, and everyone who has to live with us, will be. Is that too much to ask?
Last month, we previewed Audi's hot new A5. So this month we get even hotter and show you the S5. You know that wonderful 4.2-liter V8 with FSi that powers the R8 sports car? Well, that's nestling just behind the S5's front axle. Here it develops 354 bhp and 324 lb-ft of torque and drives all four wheels, with a 60 front/40 rear torque split and a six-speed manual gearbox. When will it come the US? Soon, my precious, soon.
For those who find the Bentley Continental GT a little too arriviste, the Brooklands should be more up their long and winding driveway. This is an Arnage-based coupe with the most powerful V8 Bentley has ever produced. The venerable 6.75-liter engine has had its twin turbochargers tweaked to develop a mighty 530 bhp and a quite formidable 774 lb-ft of torque. Don't worry, it'll have carbon-ceramic brakes too. Taking its name from the legendary English circuit, the Brooklands will be hand-built in Crewe and only 550 will be made. Expect those impressive numbers to be matched by an equally impressive price.
For a mainstay of Italian design, Giugiaro isn't afraid of going out on a limb. This is the VAD.HO. It has a polycarbonate body, everything is drive-by-wire (so the driver can sit left, right, or center), the solitary passenger sits behind the driver, tandem-style, in what looks like an aircraft cockpit (even the steering is done by joystick), and it uses the same 12-cylinder engine that powers BMW's Hydrogen 7. Considering it's a concept-and a pretty wacky one at that-it's actually fitted with Brembo brakes. Nice to see people thinking outside the box.
So Gumpert isn't the sexiest-sounding name in sports car manufacturing, but when something is this extreme, it's still exciting. The Gumpert Apollo Sport consists of a carbon fiber shell over a chrome-moly frame, and a 4.2-liter twin-turbo V8 kicking out 650 bhp at 6500 rpm and 626 lb-ft of torque at 4000 rpm (there are 700bhp and 800 bhp options). It weighs just 2690 pounds, hits 62 mph from standstill in just three seconds and is good for 224 mph. The transmission is a six-speed sequential. The suspension has double wishbones at each corner.
And it's no concept. It's street-legal (for Europe, anyways) and costs the rough equivalent of $390,000. It's also being homologated for FIA GT and ACO racing. The man behind it, Roland Gumpert, used to work for Audi. Under his direction, the factory WRC team won 26 rallies and four world WRC championships. The term 'by hook or by crook' has entered our minds.
Those big teases from Munich showed off the 2008 M3 Concept but kept pretty tight-lipped about the nuts and bolts. However, our sources reveal that it will have a 420-bhp, 4.0-liter V8 engine, six-speed manual transmission, aluminum suspension components, carbon fiber panels, and a perfect 50/50 weight distribution. The key word might be concept, but we'll have to wait until September's Frankfurt show to see the official unveil. Damn.