Geneva 2010: Supercars Take to the Swiss Stage

Automobile Staff
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Want to see the latest that Europe's tuners and boutique automakers have to offer? Without a doubt, you need to head to the Geneva motor show. Even in light of a weakened global economy and an increased push for automakers to be CO2-friendly, Geneva still is the best place to spot the latest (and possibly greatest) supercars the world has to offer.

This mango beauty you see at the top is called the Giugiaro Namir. It’s a special one-off built by famous design house Italdesign Giugiaro in conjunction with Dutch tire maker Vredstein. Powered by 270kW, 362-horsepower electric motor backed up by an 814cc rotary engine generator that recharges the 400-volt Lithium-Ion battery pack, the Namir is billed as the fastest hybrid in the world. Giugiaro claims it will hit 62 mph in just 3.5 seconds on its way to a top speed over 185 mph. Not bad for a car that gets 92 mpg. A slim curb weight of just 3200 pounds certainly helps.

Giugiaro was far from the only outfit with a hyper-fast hybrid to offer. The big-league players also came out swinging for the bleachers with their own hybrid concepts. The undisputed star of the show, green or otherwise, was undoubtedly the Porsche 918 Spyder Concept. Its 3.4-liter V-8 alone makes just 24 horsepower less than the famed Carrera GT supercar, and when you add over 200 horsepower to the mix from three electric motors and lithium-ion battery pack, you get a 700-horsepower AWD monster that Porsche says will top 200 mph and get 78 mpg. You can read more about this techno-wonder HERE in our complete First Look.

Right behind Porsche is Ferrari, with a car so green it's painted matte green to drive the point home. Looking to boost performance and fuel economy with minimal re-engineering of its vehicles, Ferrari came up with an ingenious hybrid system that can be easily adapted to any of their cars without any intrusion on the passenger compartment. They do it by mounting an electric motor to the back of the transaxle where it can boost power and recover braking energy without getting in the way. It’s fed by a slim lithium-ion battery pack hidden under the floor to keep the center of gravity low. Ferrari claims they’ve added one horsepower for every 2.2 pounds of weight added and that the system allows them to smooth out torque spikes from the engine, wind up the transmission to match rev-match the engine on shifts rather than vice-versa, and reduce rear brake size as the electric motor takes over braking duty. Oh, and it reduces fuel consumption by 35 percent. This car is the only prototype in existence, it was finished just in time for the show and hasn’t actually been driven yet.

Following up in the slightly-less-green department is the Bentley Continental SuperSports Convertible. It is, for all intents and purposes, simply a drop-top SuperSports, but as you may recall, that two-and-a-half ton beast nearly ran down a Nissan GT-R. This 621-horsepower, W-12 powered luxury cruiser will hit 202 mph and it will do it on flex fuels like ethanol. Supreme luxury, low emissions and a zero to 60 time of just 3.9 seconds - what’s not to love?

In the same vein and in a distinct change of pace, Bugatti also rolled out a concept at this year’s show, and wouldn’t you know it, the thing has four doors. They call it the 16C Galibier Concept, and it’s the front-running concept in the race to replace the famous Veyron as the company’s only car. The Galibier certainly bears a resemblance to the Veyron with its similar front fascia and monster quad-turbo W-16 engine that, like the Bentley, can run on bio fuels. The similarities end there, as the Galibier has two more doors, two more seats and seven more tailpipes. It’s an enormous luxury sedan with a dash of retro styling and miles of top-quality leather, but it’ll still produce nearly 1000 horsepower and top 200 mph. Not a bad way to get around.<o:p>; </o:p>;

Moving farther across the spectrum, we come to the traditional supercars. The first you see here is the latest offering from Lamborghini, which has decided to improve performance by removing weight rather than adding electric motors and batteries. The result is the second-generation Gallardo Superleggera, a stripped-down, street-legal track car for those who value absolute performance above all else, including creature comforts like a radio. With 154 pounds stripped from its frame, the Gallardo Superleggera weighs in at just 2954 pounds and it even gets an extra 10 horsepower to sweeten the deal. The 562 horsepower V-10, freed of those extra pounds, will rocket the car to 62 mph in 3.4 seconds on the way to a top speed of 202 mph.

Next up is the latest model from Swedish automaker Koenigsegg, and called the Agera. Underneath that slick new bodywork is essentially an updated CC, Koenigsegg’s long-running model. In addition to the all-new bodywork, it’s also been updated with a rear-mounted, 910-horsepower, twin-turbo, 4.7-liter V-8 mated to a paddle-shifted transmission and an all-new interior. It’ll hit 62 mph in 3.1 seconds, top 245 mph, pull 1.6g on the skid pad and yes, it still has the doors.

Also representing the traditional supercar contingent is Pagani, which brought out one of the five Zonda Cinques that will be built. The Cinque is a special version of the Zonda F Roadster built to celebrate the end of the car’s long run before its replacement. The 678-horsepower, 7.3-liter Mercedes-Benz V-12 is now mated to a revised sequential transmission that helps drop the zero to 62 mph time to just 3.4 seconds, while the new bodywork helps the car pull 1.45g on the skid pad. It’ll even break 200 mph with no roof, but to do it you’ll need about $2 million and a good relationship with Pagani.

Rounding out the bunch is a hot new concepts from Italian design powerhouse Stile Bertone, which crafted special cars for fellow Italian brand Alfa Romeo, which is celebrating its 100th birthday this year. Stile Bertone’s car, named Pandion after the biological genus of the Osprey bird of prey, is a wildly futuristic concept bent on breaking traditional design themes. Built on an Alfa Romeo 8C Competizione, the Pandion boasts a 444-horsepower, 4.7-liter, Ferrari-derived V-8, but that’s hardly the centerpiece of this car. The key here is the “algorithmic design,” a process that doesn’t use any conventional geometric shapes. In one iteration, it led to the interior center console that looks like a giant spider web and in another, it resulted in a rear fascia that appears to be fracturing and flying off the back of the car at speed. From the massive scissor doors to the super-slim gel seats, the Pandion is a splash of cold water in the face of conventional car design. You can decide for yourself if that’s a good thing or not.

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