Geneva 2012: My Five Favorite Debuts

This year’s Geneva show seemed to have fewer reveals than prior years. Although there weren’t as many debuts as past shows, there were still some mighty fine production and concept cars that were shown for the first time at this show.
Lamborghini Aventador Jota
Although the car is billed as a concept, it will end up in a customer’s garage after it makes its rounds at all the major international auto shows. How awesome would it be to have this one-of-a-kind speedster in your garage? Yes, there will certainly be a regular production Aventador convertible that will use an identical 700 hp V-12 and all-wheel drive system, but that car won’t get the X-shaped carbon-fiber cover over the engine and it’ll have a regular windshield. The Aventador Jota is the perfect car to put on a poster that can hang on the bedroom walls of for this generation of car enthusiasts. It’s so raw and menacing and it perfectly fits the Lamborghini brand.
Infiniti Emerg-E Concept
After looking at the Emerg-E concept for a few seconds, I totally forgot about the Acura NSX from the Detroit auto show. Infiniti has been showing some awesome sporty concepts the past few years and the Emerg-E is my favorite of the bunch. There are always rumors of an Infiniti-branded GT-R swirling about, but this car makes a lot more sense as a performance halo vehicle for Infiniti. The GT-R is pure Nissan. Infiniti needs to go beyond a cut-price supercar and deliver a real supercar experience to customers. That means drop-dead-gorgeous looks, which wouldn’t be possible with a reworked GT-R. Look at what the R8 did for Audi’s brand perception. A production Emerg-E would do the same thing for Infiniti. This car must make it to production.
Audi A3
Audi has one of the most gorgeous lineups of vehicles on the planet right now. Up until two days ago, there was one glaring hole in that collection, though. The A3 just didn’t live up to the expectations we have for Audi’s current design and interior executions for the past few years. Finally, we have a modern small Audi that should be worth the price premium over a mechanically similar GTI. What’s even better? Our own Eric Tingwall learned the American market will also get the S3 and RS3 this time around. The A3 isn’t all good news, though. Right now the only A3s we’re scheduled to get are the sedan and cabriolet models. Keep your fingers crossed that Audi of America finds a way to give us the A3 hatch. After all, the A7 is a hatchback and it’s getting a very warm welcome from our side of the Pond.
Ford B-Max
Ford has a lot of cool people movers in Europe. The B-Max is, not surprisingly, based on the B-segment Fiesta and offers sliding rear doors. It seems unlikely Ford will offer the B-Max in America because it’s so tiny. We were supposed to get the Grand C-Max, but that model was killed before it even went on sale. Now the only way we’ll get an Anything-Max is as a hybrid and hybridizing a B-Max would make for a terribly expensive B-segment offering that probably wouldn’t get a meaningful increase in fuel economy to offset the massive sticker price. Still, it’s cool to look at this people mover and think about the European families moving themselves around with a tiny MPV powered by a 1.0-liter I-3 EcoBoost engine instead of American families of three thinking they need a 4×4 V-10 Excursion to get to the grocery store.
MTM T 500
I know I’ve already written about the T 500 as my favorite tuner vehicle at the show, but it’s just too cool to leave out of a best of the show post. This is the ultimate sleeper/family hauler. A 472-hp turbo-5 dropped into a minivan is about as cool as you can get. There’s also 4Motion awd to ensure you can get to the ski slopes and a claimed 174 mph top speed means you’ll never need an excuse for getting to the office late. Naturally this van won’t get anywhere near U.S. showrooms, but what’s the point of going to a European show is you’re only looking at the cars that come to our market? We can at least hope for a regular T5 van to replace the Routan. That’s an acceptable interim move for VW to make.
For more on the 2012 Geneva Motor Show, including videos, the latest photos, and more information, click here to visit our 2012 Geneva Motor Show homepage.

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