Just a few days before the Geneva Motor Show was due to open its doors to the public the whole event was cancelled due to a Swiss government ban on events with more than 1,000 attendees.
The coronavirus-related fears might have put a stop to the motoring extravaganza itself but plenty of manufacturers were all geared up with new models to unveil and news to share which they couldn’t just forget about.
Instead, many streamed hastily rearranged press conferences or issued press releases to ensure their new cars and future strategies still got their moment in the spotlight.
There was lots of talk of connectivity and mobility but also some shiny new metal so we’ve picked some (but not all) of the most interesting and important models not unveiled at Geneva.
Alfa Romeo Giulia GTA
(Photo: Alfa Romeo)
The Giulia Quadrifoglio is already fairly unhinged but for those looking for an even more extreme super saloon Alfa has revived the GTA name. The Alfa Romeo Giulia GTA takes a standard Quadrifoglio, cuts its weight, adds an ever more aggressive body kit with active aero, track-focused suspension and a new Akrapovic exhaust. It also turns up the Quadrifoglio’s 2.9-litre twin-turbo V6 to 533bhp. And there’s even a track-ready GTAm that ditches the rear seats for a roll cage and adds a huge spoiler.
Along with the Mk8 Golf and new Seat Leon, the A3 marks the VW Group’s multi-pronged attack on the mid-sized hatchback market, packing in the latest connectivity and driver aid tech from the class above. A five-door “Sportback” only, the A3 will initially come with a 148bhp or 1148bhp diesel engine and auto transmission. More petrol and diesel options will follow, along with a mild hybrid and plug-in hybrid in two power levels.
Bentley Mulliner Bacalar
An ultra-limited coachbuilt Bentley from its famous bespoke arm. Just 12 examples of the completely roofless two-seat grand tourer will be built, each crafted to the customer’s own specification. Under the coachbuilt skin lies the all-wheel-drive platform of the Continental GT with a specially enhanced 650bhp version of its 6.0-litre W12. Sustainable, ethically-sourced materials that previewed in the EXP 100 GT concept car last year have been adopted for the Bacalar, including paint containing ash from rice husks, natural British wool and 5,000-year-old Riverwood sourced from the Fenlands of East Anglia.
BMW Concept i4
It might say Concept in the name but expect something very similar to this to hit the roads in 2021 badged simply i4. The four-door saloon is BMW first all-electric car in the mid-sized segment. With 532bhp, 0-62mph in 4 seconds and a range of 373 miles it’s gunning for the Tesla Model 3.
Seat’s performance spin-off brand was due to show the production version of its high-powered SUV. The Formentor is Cupra’s first standalone model but is built on the same platform as the Ateca and other VW Group SUVs. A 306bhp petrol version will be offered alongside a 242bhp plug-in hybrid and as the brand’s flagship it’s packed with sporty touches and top-of-the-range technology.
Alongside the Formentor, Cupra revealed details of the new Cupra Leon. The hot hatch version of the new Seat Leon, it features unique Cupra design elements, bespoke chassis tuning and a choice of high-performance powertrains. A 2.0 litre TSI petrol engine is available in 242, 297 and 306bhp while a plug-in hybrid offers 242bhp and electric-only range of up to 27 miles.
Dacia Spring Electric
Budget brand Dacia has hinted at its future intentions with the Spring Electric. A preview of a production model due on sale in 2021, it’s a compact SUV that uses parent company Renault’s EV experience to add an all-electric model to the range. With a range of 124 miles, Dacia says the Spring Electric will bring zero-emission mobility to more people through its usual competitive pricing.
The Prophecy is more of a hint at Hyundai’s plans for the future than an actual model that will come to market. The all-electric saloon is said to embody Hyundai’s new “Sensuous Sportiness” design philosophy, with a slippery body shape to get the most range out of an EV and a spacious interior that takes advantage of the skateboard drivetrain layout. Among features we can expect to see on future Hyundai EVs are pixelated-style lighting and sustainable interior materials, although the foldaway dashboard and joysticks instead of a steering wheel are less likely to make it to production.
The next generation of Kia’s flagship SUV was due to make its public debut at Geneva. Looking more like its larger US-only sibling the Telluride, the new Sorento features a far sharper exterior design plus more interior space. A new 2.2-litre diesel engine is joined by a 1.6-litre petrol/electric hybrid and a plug-in hybrid will join the line-up later.
The 765LT is the latest in McLaren’s Longtail range - a more track-focused take on its existing cars. Based on the 720S, the 765LT, is 80kg lighter but 44bhp more powerful, with bespoke aerodynamically optimised bodywork, revised gearing and LT-specific suspension to offer “the most accomplished and exhilarating LT model ever”. No price has been announced but only 765 examples will be built.
Mercedes-Benz CLA and GLA PHEVs
Alongside the facelifted E-Class, Mercedes announced plug-in hybrid versions of two of its smaller models. The CLA in four door “coupe” and estate-style Shooting Brake styles and the compact SUV GLA get a 1.3-litre petrol/electric setup. This offers a combined output of 215bhp, CO2 emission as low as 31g/km, fuel economy up to 201mpg and a range of between 44 and 49 miles.
Porsche 911 Turbo S
Porsche has been gradually drip-feeding us new 992 variants since its launch last year and the 911 Turbo S is the latest, most powerful and fastest of the line-up. All 911s are now turbocharged but the Turbo S gets a 3.8-litre twin-turbo flat six in place of lesser cars’ 3.0-litre. That makes 641bhp, fed to all four wheels and mens the £155,000 Turbo S will hit 62mph in 2.7 seconds and reach 205mph.
Based on the same platform as the new VW Golf and Audi A3, this next generation Leon sharpens the looks and adds a wealth of new technology to the Spanish firm's family hatchback, including car-to-X communication. It will be powered by a selection of regular petrol and diesel engines, plus mild hybrid petrol and a petrol-electric plug-in hybrid.
Skoda Octavia vRS iV
Like previous generations, Skoda’s vRS hot hatch range comes with petrol or diesel options but the vRS iV adds a plug-in hybrid version for the first time. Using a 1.4-turbocharged petrol engine and an electric motor, it produces 242bhp, delivered to the front wheels via a six-speed DSG transmission. It can reach in 7.3 seconds and official testing puts CO2 emissions at 30g/km with an all-electric range of 37 miles.
Volkswagen Golf GTI
Volkswagen’s icon is back for its eight generation. Along with GTE hybrid and GTD diesel versions, the GTI was due to go on public display for the first time at Geneva. Featuring many of the usual design cues of the GTI, the new model also features an illuminated grille and a 242bhp 2.0-litre petrol engine good for 155mph and 0-62mph in less than six seconds.
The ID.4 will be the second member of Volkswagen’s all-electric ID family to reach the public when it goes on sale later this year. Developed from the ID Crozz concept, it’s a four-door, five-seat mid-sized SUV. Launch models will be rear-wheel-drive while more powerful all-wheel-drive versions will follow later. Range is quoted as up to 311 miles, depending on the drive package.