Supplement, Wheelers

Preview: The 2020 Geneva motor show

Published : 23 Feb 2020 07:23 PM | Updated : 07 Sep 2020 02:25 PM

Concerns over the spread of the Covid-19 virus, which originated in China, led to the cancellation of the Mobile World Congress technology event that had been due to take place in Barcelona earlier this month. That decision came after a large number of exhibitors withdrew citing health concerns.

But a spokesperson told Autocar that the Geneva show is still set to go ahead on 2 March, adding that event officials were “observing the situation and its possible implications for its employees, exhibitors and visitors”.

A number of precautionary measures will be put in place as part of a “sanitary action plan” to ensure the health of visitors, including several cleaning and disinfection steps and an awareness campaign.

There have been no positive cases of Covid-19 in Switzerland, and the spokesperson said none of the exhibitors have cancelled.

Confirmation that the event is set to go ahead will be welcomed by the industry, with a number of big reveals set to take place.

We're expecting to see the hot GTI version of Volkswagen's new Golf, its platform-sharing Audi A3 rival and the facelifted Mercedes-Benz E-Class, while there are certain to be a few surprises, too.

Not every major manufacturer will have a presence at this year's show, however. Lamborghini has confirmed it won't be attending, instead choosing to focus on bespoke events for its new models, while the PSA Group (Peugeot, Citroën, DS and Opel/Vauxhall) and Jaguar Land Rover are also taking a rain check.

AIways U5

Chinese manufacturer AIways will debut a European market-ready version of its U5 electric SUV at this year's Geneva show. The Volkswagen Tiguan-size SUV delivers 313 miles of electric range on the NEDC test cycle and is set to be sold online, exclusively on a lease basis for less than €400 (£346) by 2021. The larger U7 SUV is also expected to appear, alongside a U6 concept vehicle. 

Audi A3 Sportback

The new Audi A3 will follow hot on the heels of the fresh-faced eighth-generation Volkswagen Golf with similarly evolutionary styling and a range of petrol, diesel and plug-in hybrid powertrains. The five-door hatchback will arrive first, followed in 2021 by a new liftback variant, but we’re not expecting the cabriolet to make a comeback. As with the Golf, there won’t be an electric version, because Audi is developing a standalone compact entry-level EV for launch in 2021, but the S3 and RS3 hot hatches will be brought back with more power and wilder styling than their predecessors. 

BAC Mono 2

The Briggs Automotive Company (BAC) is gearing up to reveal a successor to its Mono single-seater lightweight sports car at Geneva this year. Little is known about the car, but it will be joined by the Mono One (pictured above), a run-out version of the original Mono restricted to just three examples. All feature exposed carbon bodywork and are painted in each of the firm's signature colours: black, red and white. They retain the standard car's 2.5-litre Ford four-cylinder naturally aspirated engine, which produces 305bhp and 227lb ft - helping propel the 580kg machine from 0-60mph in 2.8sec. 

Bentley Bacalar

Last year, Autocar reported that Bentley's in-house coachbuilding arm Mulliner was at work on an ultra-exclusive, £1.5 million roadster with styling influenced by the striking EXP GT 100 concept, and it looks like we'll see the finished product at Geneva. A preview video gave little away, but its name – inspired by a Mexican lake with bright blue waters – and the company's claim that it will represent "the future of coachbuilding" suggest it will be one of the most luxurious models yet to come out of Crewe. 

BMW M340d

The new BMW M340d xDrive is the most powerful diesel-powered 3 Series yet, packing just slightly less power than the hot M340i at 335bhp. Available in both saloon and Touring estate forms, it’s also equipped with mild hybrid technology that boosts power and saves fuel.

Ferrari Roma

Maranello is yet to confirm that it will be attending the Geneva motor show, but the event seems a likely stage for the public debut of the firm's new Roma grand tourer. Sharing some underpinnings with the slightly softer Portofino convertible, the new 2+2 coupé packs 612bhp from a front-mounted turbocharged 3.9-litre V8, and features a bold new design language aimed at attracting new customers. It will arrive in UK dealerships in summer, priced from around £175,000. 

Honda Civic Type R facelift

Honda has revealed a facelifted version of its Civic hatchback, featuring subtle design tweaks and an upgraded interior, and Geneva will mark the public debut of the updated Type R. The 316bhp turbocharged 2.0-litre engine remains, as do the fan-favourite triple tailpipes, with significant changes limited to infotainment upgrades and a revamped front end. There's a lightweight Limited Edition variant on offer, too, offering performance and handling advantages over the standard model. 

Hyundai i20

The new i20 represents the start of a “revolutionary and ambitious” new design language for Hyundai. It will arrive in dealerships in May, boasting sportier styling, more interior space and enhanced connectivity over its predecessor. 

Hyundai i30 facelift

Hyundai will bring its i30 family hatchback into line with the rest of its line-up with more aggressive front end styling, restyled bumpers and new LED headlights. Inside, the Volkswagen Golf rival will gain a new digital instrument cluster and the option of a 10.25in infotainment touchscreen, but there's no word yet on whether the car's mechanicals will be altered

Kia Sorento

Kia has released official images and technical data of its new Sorento, but we’ve yet to see the third-gen SUV in the flesh. The Skoda Kodiaq rival sits atop an all-new monocoque platform, which allows for shorter overhangs and enhanced interior space. There’s also a hybrid option for the first time. .

Mercedes-AMG GT 73 4-door Coupé

With its hybridised twin-turbocharged 4.0-litre petrol V8 pumping out in excess of 800bhp, the new GT 73 will not only be AMG’s most potent model yet but also the world’s most powerful four-door grand tourer. It isn’t yet confirmed for a Geneva debut, but a recent preview video suggests the wraps are soon to come off. Despite its near-200bhp advantage over the GT 63, the new model is also set to be the performance brand’s most economical yet, with its electric motor offering a zero-emissions range of around 31 miles.

Mercedes-Benz CLA and GLA PHEVs

Following the recent unveiling of the new A-Class and B-Class PHEVs, Mercedes looks set to roll out a new plug-in hybrid option for the latest CLA and GLA. Both the compact saloon and its platform-sharing crossover sibling will use a 1.3-litre four-cylinder petrol engine mated to a 101bhp electric motor for a combined output of 215bhp and an electric-only range of around 35 miles. 

Porsche 718 Cayman GTS4.0

The range-topping GTS variant of Porsche’s entry-level sports car has made a return to form with a naturally aspirated flat-six motor based on that found in the top-rung Cayman GT4 and Boxster Spyder. The new motor option comes in response to calls for a more potent and characterful 718 in the US, where the four-cylinder current model has been underperforming. 

Rimac C_Two

Revealed in concept form for the first time back in 2018, the Rimac C_Two is set to make its long-awaited production-spec debut at Geneva. The all-electric hypercar can power from 0-100mph in just over four seconds, and continue on to a top speed of 258mph. Don't get too excited about trying it for yourself, however, because all 150 examples have already sold for £1.5 million each.

Toyota 2020 Yaris

Toyota’s new Yaris supermini will make its first public appearance at Geneva, displaying the results of its ground-up redesign ahead of an on-sale date later this year. There’s an entirely new platform underneath, while powertrain options include a bespoke new three-cylinder petrol-electric hybrid. It’s also more compact and dynamically focused than the outgoing model, with Toyota claiming a minimal interior space deficit as a result of the shrinkage.

Volkswagen Golf GTI

Hot on the heels of the standard Mk8 Golf's unveiling, the new GTI will bring its trademark blend of performance and practicality to the Geneva show. We're expecting the usual sporty styling embellishments to cloak a 242bhp reworking of VW's EA888 2.0-litre turbo motor, which will push the hot hatch from 0-62mph in less than six seconds, and on to a top speed of 155mph.

Volkswagen Golf GTD

Making its debut alongside the hot new GTI, the warmed-up Golf GTD will feature broadly similar styling to the petrol-powered performance flagship, but without that car’s distinctive red grille stripe and air-channeling winglets. Volkswagen claims it’s the cleanest and most powerful diesel Golf yet. 

Article and photo credit: Autocar