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.
Thank you, God, for bestowing Ian Callum upon us. For yea verily, he can design a car that will stop us from coveting our neighbors' oxen once and for all. This C-XF sedan heralds styling cues for the model that will replace the heathen S-Type. And it's not just a pretty face, the interior sports plenty of brushed aluminum and cool gauges, while the engine houses a supercharged 4.2-liter V8. It's got the power and the glory.
Stola, the Turin-based creator of concepts and niche models, has produced this coupe (which looks like a lot like the Maybach coupe concept that was around a while back). It's based on a Brabus V12 biturbo powertrain and platform, so under that super-long nose is a 6.3-liter engine that kicks out 750bhp, a ridiculous 1002 lb-ft of torque, and pushes the machine to beyond 200 mph. Stola has stated that this car will be produced "in the near future" and it intends to become "the first haute couture automotive brand." Customers can help create the styling and the interior, and even decide on the name. Please God, not the 'Britney.'
It's so wrong, it has to be right. German tuning firm, Mansory, has taken the Rolls-Royce Phantom and tricked the hell out of it. The matt-black paint job, body panels and 24-inch wheels almost make a virtue of the car's inherent ugliness. The engine sees a power hike to 490 bhp and 575 lb-ft of torque, while top speed is a claimed 168 mph. Mansory calls it the Conquistador. But if you had really discovered El Dorado, would you blow all your gold on this?
Maserati could never be accused of being overly prolific, so when it does bring out a new model, it's worth a fanfare or two. Especially when it's been designed by Pininfarina and has a 4.2-liter, 405bhp Ferrari-derived V8 engine. And it's hooked up to a ZF six-speed auto 'box (with paddle shifters). Car-bore stats run at 5.2 seconds for the 0-62 mph time, with a top speed of 177 mph. The Gran Turismo is the third Maserati to bear this name and it seems to have all the right ingredients to continue the heritage,
including plenty of toys and an almost perfect weight distribution (49/51 front to rear). So if a Mercedes-Benz CL or Jaguar XK is on your shopping list, you might want to think about this too.
This is what happens when you put crazy Dutch car makers, Spyker, together with superb-yet-edgy Italian coachbuilders, Zagato. The Spyker C12 Zagato. It's powered by a 500-bhp version of VW's W12 engine and is good for 193 mph. Only 24 will be made and they'll sell at around $650,000. We love the hallmark Zagato 'double-bubble' roof and the blinged-up rear.