Geneva 2012: Tuner Cars Run Wild In Switzerland

One of the best things about the Geneva show is all the crazy Euro tuner companies that show up and get great positioning on the show floor. Other auto shows really minimize the presence of tuners and focus on production cars from the big automakers. In Geneva, everyone is equal and the most Godawful  tuners stand proudly beside the most exotic automakers.
By far, the coolest tuner vehicle on the floor is the MTM T 500 2.5 FSI. This heavily modified Volkswagen T5 van uses an I-5 that now produces 472 hp and hustles the vehicle to 62 mph in an estimated 5.6 seconds. A seven-speed DSG transmission ensures perfectly rev-matched downshifts when you need to blow past slower traffic. I no longer care if the Audi RS4 Avant comes Stateside. I’d much prefer this awesome Volkswagen van. The German flag paint job can stay in Europe, though.
Porsche’s new 991 has been out long enough to receive a mild tuning treatment from Techart. There was also a 997 model tuned by Techart on the stand painted the same color. At first I couldn’t tell which car was new, but thankfully Techart left the 991’s distinct taillights alone and I realized which car was which. Overall the Techart treatment is pretty mild and tasteful aside from the bright yellow paint. I haven’t had a chance to drive the 991 yet, so I don’t know how much room is left for improvement in the tuning realm. I doubt there’s much to be had without some wild transformation to a turbo or GT3-like incarnation.
Perhaps I’m more jet-lagged than I thought, but the Mansory stand looked surprisingly tasteful this year. The over-the-top carbon-fiber Mercedes is still too gaudy, but the McLaren MP4-12C and Lamborghini Aventador look surprisingly tasteful for Mansory products. Perhaps the more aggressive lines on the new supercars disguise the typically garish Mansory modifications better than an understated Benz or Bentley design does. You won’t be able to fly under the radar in these rides, but you probably won’t upset everyone you meet, either.
In what appears to be a Yin to Mansory’s sudden Yang, RUF brought along a stretched Porsche Panamera that is sure to make Porsche purists angrier than the upcoming Porsche Mecan. The Panamera doesn’t start its life as the best looking car in Porsche’s stable and RUF didn’t bother to address that one flaw in the car. Instead, it decided to stretch the Panamera by 15 or 25 cm to give the hunchback sedan and even more ungainly profile. Even the rear doors are stretched to awkward proportions. Who asked for this thing?
Fab Design and Hamann seem to be having a contest to see who can make the new Mercedes-Benz SL look better by defacing the outgoing model. At this point, I’m calling Hamann the winner because the carbon-fiber hood looks like it would be more at home on a Viper than an SL. What is it about Mercedes-Benz design that screams “Ruin me!” to tuners
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