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Once again, the Geneva Motor Show was an adult’s playground for motoring enthusiasts across the globe. With the show now open to the public, we round up some of the highlights from the opening days in Switzerland.
Aston Martin certainly made one of the biggest splashes at the show, when it first announced that it has become the new partner of the Autosport BRDC Young Driver of the Year Award from 2019, replacing McLaren, who have been involved since the inaugural award, presented to David Coulthard in 1989. The career defining programme, responsible for discovering talents like Jenson Button, Dario Franchitti and this year’s Formula 1 newcomers, Lando Norris and George Russell. will keep a similar selection process to before. However, the winner will now receive a £200,000 prize fund and be given the chance to test in a Red Bull Formula 1 car at Silverstone and a run in Aston Martin’s Vantage GTE World Endurance Championship challenger.
This wasn’t the only big reveal from the British brand; it also displayed the first working prototype of the fabled Aston Martin Valkyrie at its stand. Featuring a Cosworth-built, 6.5 litre V12 engine delivering 1,160 bhp and 900 nm of torque, all in a car that weighs under a tonne. The drive-train was developed in collaboration with the Red Bull Formula 1 racing team and the influences are clear to see throughout the model. Fitting then, for a car that Aston Martin hopes will be world’s fastest street legal car.
As if that wasn’t enough, Aston also launched no less than three new concept cars on their stand, all of which are due to go into production. The Aston Martin Vanquish Vision Concept, an all-electric Lagonda All Terrain Concept and the Aston Martin AM-RB 003 hypercar concept. It has certainly been a busy time for the company at Gaydon.
Not to be outdone, at the start of its centenary year, Bentley put on an impressive display at the 2019 show, displaying a special Continental GT No.9 edition as a way of marking their 100th anniversary year. Made in partnership with Bentley’s coachbuilding arm Mulliner, it sports the ‘9’ badge to honour Sir Henry Birkin’s historic ‘Blower’ Bentley 4 ½ litre which won the Le Mans race of 1930. The ‘No.9’ features trim, dials, interior fixtures and colours inspired by the classic racer. A limited run of a hundred models will be produced by the manufacturer, with each one set to sell for as much as £200,000.
Bugatti stole the price-tag headlines by unveiling the world’s most expensive new car. Built to celebrate the manufacturers 110th birthday, La Voiture Noire has an engine that is 20 times as powerful as the humble Ford Fiesta. Described by some as ‘darth vader-esque’ in looks, it features a jet-black carbon fibre body matched with a menacing 1,500 horsepower 16-cylinder engine. Boasting a top speed of 261 mph, it stood out in a show dominated by electric supercars.
2019 marked a year when another contender arrived at the supercar arena. Lauded as the most powerful street-legal car ever to come out of Italy, the Pininfarina Battista hyper-EV car impressed spectators with its striking looks and powerful 1,900 bhp engine, which delivers a top speed of more than 250 mph. And all this with a purely electric engine.
Honda have also set their sights on an ‘electric’ future, announcing its ambition to make all of its European automobile sales electric by 2025. It also shared details of its new energy management solutions business for Europe which will help make this happen.
The Japanese manufacturer also displayed its e Prototype. First showcased at the 2017 Frankfurt Motor Show, the prototype retains many of the features which first caught the eyes of show-goers, including interior wood panelling inside and large touch screens on the dashboard. With the car set to be on sale by the end of the year with a price tag of around the £25,000 mark, this modern electric city car won’t be too far away.