The Geneva auto show seems to be the favorite international show of every U.S.-based automotive journalist I’ve talked to this week. Unlike shows in France, Germany, or Japan, there are no real native automakers to dominate the show and gobble up all the floor space. Instead, we see a variety of interesting one-off vehicles and tasteful displays from all the major global players.
The downside to seeing so many cool Euro cars on the floor is the knowledge that many of our favorites will never be sold in the U.S. Here are some of the best Euro cars we saw in Geneva. A few have a chance at being imported, but for the most part they are forbidden fruit.
Alfa Romeo Giulietta
Just look at this hatchback and you’ll want one of your own. The worst part about the Giulietta is its platform has already been confirmed for the U.S., but this particular iteration of the platform has been completely denied from the American market. We suppose getting the platform to underpin new Chrysler, Dodge, and Jeep models in the next few years is a good thing, but we don’t want to settle for a consolation prize.
Audi hasn’t actually made a decision on the business case for selling the RS5 in America. This means if public reaction is favorable enough, the Germans will find a way to bring it over and make a profit. We love the idea of an S5 with 100 additional horsepower (even though it loses 8 lb-ft of torque in the name of a higher redline) and the other massaging Quattro GmbH is known for. The S4 won us over last year after our first drive and we can only imagine how much more entertaining the RS5 would be. Please, Audi, find a business case for this coupe in our market.
The Geneva show is practically flooded with new hybrid supercars, and we particularly appreciate the French take on an electric track toy. With aggressive styling and the requisite eco-friendly running gear, the Survolt would be a great way to have your cake and eat it, too. Of course it’s unlikely the Survolt will be produced at all, so we’re confident this beauty won’t ever find its way to America unless it earns a spot in an upcoming video game.
We admit to being partial to the suicide doors on the Meriva, but there’s also a lot of good functionality inside the people mover to keep our attention after the novelty of the doors wears off. The trick packaging allows rear seats to move side-to-side and create a third position for those few times you’d want to squeeze another person in the vehicle. With compact dimensions, it’d be easy to park in urban areas and the fuel bill wouldn’t be too much for young families. If GM is going to get serious about small efficient vehicles in the U.S., the Meriva isn’t a bad choice at all.
Another sexy French concept that stands absolutely no chance of coming to the U.S. The good news is Peugeot is using the SR1 to show its future styling direction and the Hybrid4 powertrain is on its way to production. A 1.6-liter turbocharged I-4 powers the front wheels, while a 95-horsepower (70 kW) electric motor drives the rear axle. With the output of the two power sources combined, the system delivers a respectable 313 hp. If that’s not enough power to impress you, let the body’s flowing lines do the talking. In person, this Peugeot looks every bit as sexy as an Aston Martin.
How the heck did a truck make this list? Well, there aren’t any stellar small trucks in American these days and we’d like to see that trend reversed. Americans love trucks for a variety of reasons, and not everybody needs a diesel dually. Our favorite feature on the Amarok is VW’s pair of 2.0 TDI engines rated at 158 hp and 295 lb-ft or 120 hp and 251 lb-ft. With either engine you get a six-speed manual and pretty decent fuel economy. We’d love to see a truck this size on sale in the U.S. in the near future, but Volkswagen isn’t offering us the Amarok at this point in time.