Show features efficiency and fun

PUBLISHED : Friday, 25 February, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 25 February, 2011, 12:00am

Rolls-Royce's 102EX all-electric Phantom test project, Volvo's V60 diesel plug-in hybrid and Ford's Focus Electric will herald headline-winning fuel efficiencies at the 13-day Geneva Motor Show, which starts on Tuesday. But new models by AC Cars, Maserati, Lexus, Nissan and Renault reaffirm the fun in motoring.

One of the world's most prestigious marques, AC Cars has a strong following among collectors in Hong Kong. It celebrates its 110th birthday with the launch of the AC MkVI, a muscular, high-performance roadster, built in Dresden, that it says combines the 430bhp V8 used in the Corvette with German build quality. It will sell for Euro109,000 (HK$1.16 million) plus taxes.

Maserati conceived its new GranCabrio Sport 'to give the GranCabrio a harder-edged model to sit alongside the GranTurismo S and the Quattroporte Sport GT S', with 'a more powerful and fuel-efficient version of Maserati's all-alloy 4.7-litre V8'.

Capable of 285km/h via a ZF six-speed automatic transmission equipped with the superfast MC Auto Shift software, the 450-horsepower GranCabrio Sport can bang 510Nm of torque and is 6 per cent more fuel-efficient, the marque says. The model's handling has also been improved with sportier tuning to the Skyhook active-suspension system and the adoption of grooved and drilled dual-cast brake discs. Maserati has also tweaked the fastie's looks with a distinctive nose, new headlight sidemarks, a black grille and extra red touches to the Trident. The model debuts a red body colour.

Lexus is giving its most exclusive model, the LFA supercar, a Nurburgring Package. Available on up to 50 of the 500 cars built, the package provides additional aerodynamic features and technical revisions to improve handling and downforce, the marque says, adding that the engine's output has been increased by 10bhp to 562bhp, with a faster six-speed sequential transmission.

Nissan's Esflow electric sports concept shows how the technology used in the Japanese marque's Leaf saloon can be adapted for speed. 'Owning an ecologically sound car does not have to come at the expense of driving enjoyment,' Nissan says, citing the rear-wheel-drive two-seater's sleekness.

The Esflow has been designed for electric power with two motors, each driving a rear wheel, and its laminated lithium-ion batteries have been low slung to improve weight distribution. It can reach 100km/h in less than five seconds and travel more than 240 kilometres on one charge.

Renault's orange Captur crossover is an attention-grabber with athletic, flowing lines. Fitted with an Energy dCi 160 twin-turbo engine capable of 209km/h and emitting less than 99 grams of carbon dioxide per kilometre, the Captur is designed to 'stir the emotions', Renault says.

The hard-topped crossover can alternate between a coup? to a convertible and from an urban vehicle to an off-roader on 22-inch wheels.

The Captur's interior is also orange with fluorescent highlights and its centre console, door casings and dashboard are formed using a translucent material rather like a second skin.