This year’s Geneva motor show hasn’t been the supercar-fest that 2013 was, when LaFerrari and the production-ready McLaren P1 were unveiled, along with the Porsche 911 GT3 and Lamborghini Veneno. Still, with a potential candidate for world’s fastest car and promising concepts from Maserati and Alfa Romeo in attendance this year, you don’t have to look far for Geneva exotica. Here’s the CAR Top 5.
1. Koenigsegg One:1
It’s easy to dismiss mega-power Koenigseggs as easily as you do the garish tuned supercars that spoil the Geneva scenery every year – the One:1 (outlandish aero kit aside) looks little different to the Koenigsegg variations that have been getting up Lamborghini and Pagani’s noses since 2003. But that simply doesn’t do justice to a totally road-legal, exquisitely finished carbonfibre machine that develops 1322bhp from a 5.0-litre bi-turbo V8, and has a claimed top speed of 273mph. No, there’s almost no road on Earth that’ll allow the One:1 to achieve such a figure, but the engineering that makes it potentially possible, and the aerodynamics that keep it on the ground while it’s tearing a hole in physics, are worthy of huge acclaim. Supercars are (or, at least, should be) about pushing technological boundaries. The mega-power Koenigsegg One:1 merits just as much applause as the aero-centric McLaren P1, or the 94mpg economy claim of a Porsche 918 Spyder.
2. Alfa Romeo 4C Spider
An Alfa Romeo 4C without a roof sounds like a great recipe for a fun supercar-aping roadster. The fact that (despite a 60kg weight penalty) it’s no slower than the hard-top only ramps up our enthusiasm. And then there are the little touches that prove Alfa’s not simply taken a hacksaw to its mid-engined flagship. New headlights ape the items on the original 4C concept, and banish the controversial insect-eye items used on the coupe. Alfa has had Polish exhaust specialist Akrapovic design a new central-pipe system, saving weight and turning up the noise – when the driver pushes the ‘let’s be antisocial’ button inside. Who doesn’t want to spend summer 2015 in one of these?
3. Maserati Alfieri
As Maserati has forged a big-hitter’s path towards 50,000 sales per year, its sports cars have been neglected in the face of new limousines, diesel saloons, and even a chunky 4x4. It’s refreshing then, to see a chopped down, 460bhp GranTurismo MC Stradale chassis clothed in a beautiful coupe bodystyle appear at Geneva. While much of the Alfieri's shape combines Ghibli cues with retro touches and a dollop of Jaguar F-type Coupe inspiration, the Alfieri points to not just the upcoming GranTurismo replacement, but a new era of Maserati sports cars. That's something that should get every car-lover salivating.
4. Ferrari California T
Ferrari’s ugly duckling has at last come of age. The new California T looks miles more resolved than its predecessor, plus it’s faster and more fuel-efficient. How? By re-embracing twin-turbo power, something Ferrari’s not done since the legendary 288 GTO and F40 models of the late 1980s. Ferrari promises the 3.8-litre V8 in the nose of the California T is unrecognisable to a related unit in the Maserati Quattroporte, and boasts the bark and throttle response any Modenese export worth its Prancing Horse should.
5. McLaren 650S
Where does the new McLaren 650S leave the poor old 12C? Several seconds down the road, for a start. The new ‘mid-range’ McLaren 650S supercar is more powerful than the McLaren F1, let alone the 12C, with a titanic 641bhp available from its own twin-turbo 3.8-litre V8. That P1-style nose-job looks controversial, but supercar buyers (and enthusiasts) love a good pub fact, and the simple result is that the 650S makes 40% more downforce than a 12C at 150mph, for no extra drag. Add in tweaks to make the car more playful, supply more feel from its standard carbon-ceramic brakes, and provide better value for money due to more on-board toys and you find yourself looking at a British supercar that’s come of age. Is the 650S the car the 12C should’ve been all along? Perhaps, but don’t forget the 650S uses lesson learnt not just from 12C development, but the flagship P1 too. In effect, it’s a fully-equipped, everyday usable supercar that’ll comfortably outrun a Ferrari 458 Speciale. Anyone fancy a rematch?
Bugatti Veyron Legend Rembrandt
In the face of ever-more powerful Koenigseggs, continual evolution from McLaren and a complete powertrain rethink at Ferrari, simply re-upholstering a Veyron, painting it brown and adding it to the mindless litany of ‘special editions’ smacks of desperation, however touching the tribute to Ettore Bugatti's brother. The 268mph Bugatti Veyron is rightly a legend among cars, but this Legend Edition isn’t a Geneva star.