After a day of bright-lights, canapés, and carpet-strolling, Geneva impressed with its manageable size and unstressed atmosphere. Fighting my way through the eco-car debris (they’re everywhere, like leaf-litter..) these were some of the trends that caught my eye…
Alfa + Peugeot have both been exploring the ‘flush grille’, which adds solidity and dimensional depth to the front surfacing of their cars. Possibly something that Pininfarina have had input into, it’s part of a more general trend that has seen concepts with elements of an endo-skeleton bursting from underneath the skin. Here’s the Peugeot 5, where you can see the grille is essentially a continuation of the surrounding surfaces in a different material…
and Alfa’s Giulietta;
BLACK WHEEL DETAILING
Looking like escapees from the 1970’s, several manufacturers were showing wheels with black-painted inserts. It’s not an idea that you’d naturally think would work with contemporary car design, but Renault have cleverly plundered their sporting past (with their resurrected Gordini sub-brand) and used it to great effect on Wind (left), Twingo (middle), Clio, and Megane. Skoda also re-launched the Fabia vRS (right) with dark alloys;
While Kia crashed the party with their Sedona;
The upshot of this high-contrast silver and black trend is that chrome or simple polished wheels looked suddenly a little old-fashioned…The Audi RS5 for example looked like a model wearing last-season’s shoes;
Audi R8 Spyder… I love the R8, and I’m sure the Spyder is a fantastic top-down drive, but to me an unsuccessful transition from well-proportioned coupe to odd-looking convertible. Basically there’s too much mass stretching from behind the seats to the tail, and no amount of distraction with vents, slots, and grilles can hide it. Bravo for showing it in metallic brown though Audi.
Skoda Fabia vRS. The old Fabia vRS had a chunky, meaty stance. Not overtly aggressive but purposeful. This new one has a slightly narrow and top-heavy imbalance that sits uneasily with its sporting pretensions. I’m sure the aftermarket will be ready to help, but unfortunately it doesn’t look like there’s much wheel-clearance to play with.
Lexus CT200h. No wonder the women on the Lexus stand looked a little bored. They had to stand in front of the new CT, a rather unhappy-looking car. Perhaps they were distracting people from seeing the car in profile?
Not to worry, here’s one unmasked….
Alfa Romeo 2uettottanta Pininfarina..
This, surely, has future Alfa GTV relevance. Please say it’s so Alfa….The simplicity of its lines and the compactness of the package was a treat.
Likely impossible with pedestrian and bumper legislation, but if Alfa could translate 90% of this to the production version, and keep it under €30K, they’d have a winner.
MOST RELEVANT PRODUCTION
Don’t laugh… but the Dacia Duster had a chunky elegance to it that surprised me. There was a bottom-of-the-range edition in flat white with grey plastic bumpers that caught my eye.
I like the principle of this car; it’s cheap, cheerful, not overly sophisticated, nor weighed down by unnecessary equipment. Some great surface definition gives it visual playful strength. I like its honesty – it seems to be a car that is perhaps more relevant to ‘the world’ in the near future than any number of executive sedans, rarified supercars, and highly complex hybrids.