/ EXHIBITIONS, SALONS
WORLD SWITZERLAND BIG MANEUVERS
TEXT / SERGEY KANUNNIKOV
PHOTO / ALEXANDER GARDEN
Spotlights flashed, standmen hastily remove covers from cars and brush off the last specks of dust from shiny bodies. Smart girls, armed with charming smiles, took places behind the racks. Everything is ready for the start of the spring campaign - the 72nd Geneva Motor Show.
For almost two weeks, the Palexpo exhibition complex was given to the automobile armies. At the forefront of transnational columns - new items. They, like a dam, were the first to slow down the turbulent, multilingual river of visitors.
WE MEET SOMEWHERE
The easiest way to forge the “nail” of the exposition is to change the face of a popular car. Fill in just a few touches - other headlights, bumpers, radiator trim - and the public will see a fresh, unfortunate “face”. So did the designers of Subaru, making the amorphous appearance of the Forester more sporty, in the style of Legacy and Impreza.
A new motor, especially a modification with a different body, is also a good way to attract interest. Finding the external differences of the current Suzuki Alto from the previous one is not an easy task. A highlight under the hood: a new 1.1-liter engine rated at 46 kW / 63 liters. with. But the Japanese company attracted the main attention by a premiere that was unexpected even for specialists - a sedan based on the already well-known Liana with a high universal body. True, on the second day, cute cars mysteriously disappeared from the stand - to stir up interest?
Mazda was noted by the "six" universal: spacious utility vehicles are still a rage. But for the “barn” to be favorably received, it must also be elegant and fast. “Mazda 6 SW” has these qualities. It is not for nothing that the abbreviation SW manufacturers now encode not a trivial “station wagon”, but “sport wagon” (“Mazda 6”), “street wagon” (“Peugeot 206”) and even “sky wagon” (“Peugeot 307"). By the way, French station wagons, shown as prototypes last fall, have already become serial.
Ferrari, not often pampering with new products, reminded itself of the 575M Maranello model by the start of the Formula 1 season. In fact, this is the 550th with a modified finish, an “inflated” to 5.75 liter engine and a six-speed gearbox, controlled, like a car, by the buttons on the steering wheel. The “promotion” of the car, smiling charmingly into the lenses of television and camera cameras, was made by the Ferrari chief himself - Luca di Montezemolo.
Mercedes-Benz A 210 Evolution is an example of how image and class stereotypes are changing today. At first, a small one-volume car was decorated with an emblem, which for many years has been a symbol of respectable cars, now they have developed the character of a choleric.
The expected premiere is the Mercedes-Benz CLK coupe, which was updated after the E-class sedan. So that the event does not seem fresh, the range of engines was supplemented with a 5-liter gasoline unit and even a 2.7-liter turbodiesel. An elegant sports car with a diesel engine under the hood is not a design quirk, but a trend of the time. Conservatives may grumble that such a motor spoils the breed, but many Europeans who know how to count money and are used to breathing deeply even in cities, have a different opinion.
To please buyers with a novelty, powerful concerns do not have to draw it from scratch. Attracting the main forces and potential of the allies - subsidiaries, skillfully changing cosmetics, shuffling a deck of platforms and motors, you can create a successful variation on a serial theme, but in fact a new model. The fruits of such selection ripen quickly and are cheaper. The Ford Fusion station wagon is grown from the Fiesta debuting in autumn. A fairly roomy car, apparently, will occupy a place between the Fiesta and the Focus in a wide range of transnational concern.
However, this technique does not always help. If the car is outdated (and today even the five-year plan for mass models is a critical period), radical measures are needed. On the new "Opel-Vectra" from its predecessor - only the ECOTEC series engines. The body has grown in all dimensions and, thanks to alloy elements, has become noticeably lighter. The suspension has been completely redesigned, the stabilization system can not only brake the wheels in a turn, but also if necessary, accelerate the car. And Vectra has the most complicated climate control and … lower price than its predecessor.
The alliance of Volkswagen, Audi and Skoda and SEAT, which joined them, is successfully working on the construction of interclass models. Are you a follower of the Volkswagen brand, but have grown to a more representative car? Kindly, for you - the latest “Phaeton”. The “people's” sedan is only half- or maybe a quarter-step lower than the flagship of the Audi A8 concern.
In the fight for the buyer, all means are good, especially alliances with competitors. Italian-French second-generation mini-vans - FIAT-Ulysses, Lancia-Fedra, Peugeot 807 and Citroën C8 have not only a common platform, but also their homeland: they leave the gates of one factory. However, each has its own face, so fans of all four brands will not be offended.
MONDAY BEGINS ON SATURDAY
There are almost more concept cars in any showroom than serial novelties. At the Peugeot booth, two coupes shone with the common acronym RC and their own names. The scarlet car was called "Diamonds" (diamonds), and the black - "Spides" (peak). Under elegant bodies, it’s quite an earthly filling: the spades trump the gasoline 2-liter engine, and the ace of tambourine is an unusual 2.2-liter diesel engine for a sports prototype.
Judging by the prototype Renault Espas, the French systematically bring corporate identity to a common denominator. The next-generation popular minivan will borrow a little from Avantime, a little from Vel Satis … and therefore it will be unmistakably recognizable.
SAAB, having brought to Geneva from Detroit the second edition of the coupe-roadster-pickup station wagon under the index 9-3X (the first was called 9-X), it seems to hint: the production car is just around the corner.
BMW-CS1 (photo on the cover), which has become one of the most powerful magnets in the Geneva show, is apparently a step on the way to the younger series (formally, the debutant falls into the "golf class"). A roadster has been selected for display in spring Switzerland: open bodies always attract attention here. The serial first-born, most likely, will be a more practical coupe or hatchback, but, of course, will retain the i-drive system, borrowed from the chic sedan of the 7th series.
After traveling to other showrooms, some exhibits will find the last refuge in the far corners of factory design centers, but most of the new products will appear in showrooms very soon. Then between the automobile armies the main battle will begin - for the hearts and wallets of customers …
One of the high-profile events of the Geneva show was the performance of a car … which no one had seen. Mercedes-Benz has perfected the art of salon presentations. A luxurious polished convertible of the early 1930s, soft music, spectacular girls, champagne and … highly tinted glass, behind which are barely visible the contours of what was called the legendary name “Maybach”. The thought involuntarily crept in: maybe this is a hologram or some other unprecedented computer effect?
The company distributed photos of a chic sedan with a 550-horsepower V 12, but they could not even see the live power unit. Well, let's wait until the Paris Salon …
2002 Subaru Forester: Train your observation skills, finding differences from the previous model.
The "Suzuki Liana sedan" will install engines of 1.3 and 1.6 liters. All-wheel drive version will be equipped with the most powerful -
76 kW / 103 l. with.
The Mazda 6 SW is one of the most elegant station wagons featured in Geneva.
KIA Sorento will probably take root in Russia. Especially the top version with a 3.5-liter 195-horsepower six.
"Gelendavagen" with an extended base and a hinged roof from the company "Baur". Weren't the German craftsmen thinking of Russian clients?
This is not the first year that the Indian company Tata has been surprising satiated Europeans. This time - the conceptual minivan "Indiva", created in conjunction with the Italian institute IDEA.
The Tudor coupe is still a concept car on the Superb sedan platform. One more step, and it is possible that next year Skoda will contest the prize for the best convertible …
… and in 2002, the British MG TF was recognized as such. It seems that the former glory of the brand is being reborn.
The youngest stallion from the illustrious stable is the Ferrari-575M Maranello: 12 cylinders, 515 horses, 325 km / h.
The elegant Mercedes-Benz CLK was bored only during inopportune hours: with the opening of the salon, long lines of people who wanted to sit behind the wheel gathered here.
In terms of dynamic characteristics (maximum speed - 203 km / h, acceleration to 100 km / h - 7.9 s), the Mercedes-Benz A210 Evolution is close to the C200 Sports Coupe model.
AT THE CROSSROADS
After standing for about ten minutes at the intersection of busy Geneva streets, you can see several “jaguars” and “Porsche”, “Bentley”, “Aston Martin” and a couple of previous-generation S-Class Mercedes, serving … in a taxi.
Most cars, of course, are cheaper, but … The sleek Ferrari of the early 60s rumbled thoroughly or its more modest, but no less well-groomed peer - the British Triumph. They are forgiven not only for a provocative growl, but also for non-compliance with environmental requirements. After all, nobody will “smoke” for work on rarity every day, and for a clean, smart city, veteran cars are a decoration.
Under the hood of a cozy "Ford Fusion" they will put gasoline engines of 1.4 and 1.6 liters and, of course, a 50 kW / 68 liter diesel engine. S., familiar with the model "Fiesta".
"Opel Vectra" was not photogenic: a "live" car in the new transnational style "GM" looks much better.
The concept wagon "Carat" - a surprise from VAZ. It was not possible to peek inside … The novelty pleasantly diluted the boring row of VAZ 2110 and Niva.
Luxurious interior, engines with a capacity of 177 kW / 241 liters. with. and 309 kW / 420 l. with.
undoubtedly will interest those who
eyeing executive cars. However, will the Volkswagen Phaeton not seem to them an overgrown Passat?
The prototype is Matra-m72. According to the engineers of the French company, the future of a compact vehicle will be decided by a “meeting of a motorcycle and a car”. The engine is 0.75 liters with a power of 37 kW / 50 liters. with., continuously variable transmission, disc brakes on all wheels and a mass of only 430 kg.
What a Geneva salon without a Rinspeed! The game of Swiss minds is a two-seater car, which can be expanded to a four-seater by pressing a button on a keychain.
Of the Italian-French four mini-vans, the most memorable is Lancia Fedra. By the way, only she has the original, not the same as the rest, devices.