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Ferrari to take centre stage at Geneva Motor Show

Porsche, McLaren, Aston Martin, Mercedes-Benz and BMW among the show-stoppers at this year’s show

PUBLISHED : Friday, 03 March, 2017, 6:06pm
UPDATED : Friday, 03 March, 2017, 9:01pm

Ferrari’s 812 Superfast seems the car to beat at this year’s 12-day Geneva International Motor Show, which opens to the public next Thursday. It is the fastest and most powerful car the marque has ever made, with an 800-horsepower, 6.5-litre V12 engine. The tourer produces 718 Newton metres of torque and sprints to 100km/h in 2.9 seconds, with a top speed of 340km/h. Already featured in this column, the 812 Superfast looks sharp in the carmaker’s 70th anniversary red, but consumes about 14.9 litres per 100km of petrol and emits about 340g of carbon dioxide per kilometre.

The Porsche Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid might be a more Hong Kong-friendly supercar option. The all-wheel-drive, four-door tourer burns just 2.9 litres of fuel per 100km and emits 66g/km, and reaffirms the speed of hybrid power. Porsche has combined the Panamera Turbo’s four-litre, 550hp V8 engine with a 136hp electric motor to give the big hybrid 850Nm of torque. Due to be launched in Europe in July, the car reaches 100km/h in about 3.4 seconds and has a top speed of 310km/h via an eight-speed, fast-shifting gearbox and on 911 Turbo Design 21-inch wheels, Porsche says. An Executive version has a 150mm wheelbase extension.

The hybrid has a rear-mounted liquid-cooled lithium-ion battery with 14.1 kWh energy capacity and an electric-only range of 50km. The Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid can be charged in six hours via a 230-volt connection, and via Porsche Communication Management or the Porsche Connect app for smartphones and Apple Watches, the marque says. The hybrid’s standard equipment includes Porsche ceramic brakes, chassis controls, torque vectoring, refined power steering and better suspension. Its connectivity includes the marque’s latest 12.3-inch touchscreen navigation, online functions and smartphone integration via Apple Car Play.

The second-generation McLaren Super Series promises “extreme acceleration” and “phenomenal stopping performance” at the Swiss show. The twin-turbocharged four-litre V8 supercar has been tweaked to reach 200km/h in 7.8 seconds and then halt in 4.6 seconds or 117 metres – 6 metres less than the 650S it replaces – thanks to lighter, stiffer brake calipers; carbon-ceramic discs as standard and improvements to the brake pedal’s feel.

The new car also has a 6 per cent better road grip with new, bespoke Pirelli P Zero Corsa tyres. The new car also handles better with new chassis controls in Comfort, Sport or Track modes, and with 50 per cent more downforce. The supercar’s cooling efficiency has also been improved by 15 per cent with more efficient airflow to the radiators via two ducts in its dihedral doors, “one forcing cooling air into the radiators, the other drawing air out of the front wheel arch to create downforce”, the marque says.

The marque has also pimped the 2G Super Series for show-offs. The supercar’s V8 is “such a beautiful piece of engineering design” that it is “illuminated in red whenever the doors are unlocked”, McLaren says. “[It’s] a piece of pure theatre visible through the cooling ducts above the engine bay”. McLaren has always understood Lan Kwai Fong’s need for colour.

Aston Martin is launching the carbon-fibre-bodied Vanquish S, its “most powerful and dynamic” grand tourer. Fitted with a six-litre V12, the 595hp, 1,739kg two-seater can reach 100km/h in 3.5 seconds and tops at 321km/h via an 8-speed Touchtronic III Transmission. The 4.72-metre tourer’s V12 consumes 13.1itres of fuel per 100km and emits 302g/km of CO2. Its interior highlights include optionally quilted seats, a Bang & Olufsen audio and an AMi III Infotainment system with new satellite navigation. Top Gear describes the Vanquish S as “the car the Vanquish should have always been”.

Mercedes-Benz presents the new E-Class Cabriolet, the revised GLA and the Mercedes-Maybach G 650 Landaulet. Mercedes-AMG, meanwhile, celebrates its 50th year with four unveilings: the Mercedes-AMG E 63 S Estate; the AMG GT C Roadster Edition 50; the C 63 S Cabriolet Ocean Blue Edition; and the C 43 Coupé Night Edition. Mercedes-Benz Vans is introducing its new X-Class pickup model, and it looks like a new alternative to the Ford Ranger pick-up enjoyed by many New Territories village princes.

BMW will present the latest, larger BMW 5 Series Touring, which has 10 litres more load space than its predecessor, at 570 litres, and which is extendable to 1,700 litres – or 30 litres more than previously. Due to be launched in June, the new Touring will have a choice of four engines and two will be with BMW xDrive intelligent all-wheel drive.

The marque has reworked the BMW 4 Series, and will show an electric BMW i8 Frozen Black Edition plug-in supercar. However, it may not arrive here as Hong Kong seems to have short-circuited its electric vehicle policy. Having hosted the Hong Kong e-Prix in October 2016, the government will cap tax-waiver incentives on EV’s at HK$97,500 from April 1. Gas guzzlers may now be back in fashion along Gloucester Road, and with Hong Kong official help.