GENEVA: There is no better place than the annual Geneva Motor Show to view the wildest, fastest and just plain most outrageous cars in the world.
These cars and trucks aren’t one-off show stand queens but vehicles you can buy, some so rare you need an account in a private bank to make the purchase so the taxman doesn’t know how much you paid.
Without a doubt the star of this year’s show was (where else?) on the Ferrari stand.
Named LaFerrari, this (Cdn) $1.2-1.3 million supercar will be limited to 499 examples, all of which have been pre-sold.
Over the course of two days, it took me at least 10 attempts just to get a photo of LaFerrari without it being swarmed by people around it, in it, and even trying to get under it.
And this is a supercar with a green heart.
It employs a hybrid system sourced directly from the Ferrari F1 team’s knowledge of kinetic power regeneration.
Known as HY-KERS, it blends maximum performance and lower emissions. LaFerrari emits just 330 g/km of CO2 but without resorting to electric-only drive.
Its 6.2-litre V12 pumps out 800 hp with a maximum of 9,250 rpm, a record for an engine of this displacement. It also features a very high 13.5:1 compression ratio and a high specific output equal to 128 hp per litre. The engine is coupled with a 120 Kw (163 hp) electric motor, giving it a combined power output of 963 hp.
The interior is driver centric with the seat fixed and fitted to the driver with both the pedal box and steering wheel adjustable. The driving position is similar to that of a single-seater and was designed after consultation with the Scuderia Ferrari drivers, Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa, who played an active role throughout the entire development process.
At the opposite end of the Geneva exhibition centre was the Lamborghini stand with the Veneno billed as the fastest car it has ever built.
Only three will be constructed at a reputed price of £2.6 million plus tax.
The Veneno shares much with the Aventador supercar shown last year such as the 6.5-litre V12 engine that, in the Veneno, develops 750 hp, 50 hp more than the Aventador with top speed 221 mph mentioned.
Constructed completely of carbon fibre it had red, white and green accents as a salute to its Italian origins.
Geneva abounds with scores of specialty constructers and coachbuilders of which one of my favourites is Gumpert Sportwagenmanufaktur GmbH.
Founded by former Audi engineer Roland Gumpert, his latest is the Apollo S, a gullwing two-seater with vents and louvres everywhere to aid downforce and supply air to the 4.2-litre twin turbo V8 that produces 650 hp and 637 lb/ft of torque and sees it sprint from 0-60 mph in three seconds flat.
The interior is like a racecar, which isn’t surprising because the Apollo is almost identical to the full competition version Gumpert also builds, complete with the F1-style six-speed sequential shifter.
Switchgear is essentially Audi/VW sourced but after that, anything you want is up to the imagination of the buyer.
If you really want speed, how about 0-300 km/h in 17 seconds?
Only 375 versions of the McLaren P1 will be built with a 903 hp, 3.8-litre twin-turbo V8 gasoline engine coupled to an electric motor giving tremendous power and instant throttle response with an electronically limited top speed of 350 km/h (217 mph).
It’s MonoCage carbon fibre chassis weights only 90 kg but it is five times stronger than the best grade titanium.
Active ride height and aerodynamics function in concert with a large adjustable rear wing to give ground effect suction and optimized downforce.
IPAS (Instant Power Assist System) and DRS (Drag Reduction System) offer an instant boost of power and straight-line speed.
Maserati unveiled several new road-going cars the most elegant of which is the sixth-generation Quattroporte.
At Geneva it was shown with three engine/drivetrain models: Quattroporte GTS twin turbo V8 and 530 hp and rear-wheel-drive; the Quattroporte S Q4 with twin turbo V6 with 410 hp and all-wheel-drive; and the Quattroporte S twin turbo V6 twin with 410 hp and rear-wheel-drive.
The V8 makes it not only the fastest four-door Maserati ever built, but also the most powerful and, according to Maserati, the most economical as well.
Marking its centenary in 2013, Aston Martin had a brace of product at Geneva, the star of which was the world premiere of the four-door Rapide S.
This model underwent an extensive re-design, the most notable feature being a huge grille.
Under the hood, the new AM11 naturally aspirated 6.0-litre V12 power plant’s power is up by 17 per cent, or 81 hp, to an unprecedented 550 hp at 6,750 rpm.
New Rapide S shaves 0.3 seconds off its 0-100 km/h time of the previous model, which drops from the 5.2 seconds to just 4.9 seconds. Top speed climbs to more than 190 mph.
Bentley claims the Flying Spur that debuted in Geneva is the fastest vehicle it has ever built.
Power comes from its proven 6.0-litre, twin turbo W12 engine, coupled to a ZF eight-speed transmission that develops 616 hp.
The extra speed is due in part to a 14 per cent improvement in the power-to-weight ratio over the outgoing model resulting in a 0-60 mph time of 4.3 seconds and a top-speed of 200 mph (322 km/h).
As with all Bentleys, power is delivered to the road via all-wheel-drive with a 40:60 rear-biased torque split for a sure-footed, engaging drive in all road and weather conditions.