In Geneva, it comes at the very beginning of spring.
Photo by Sergey Ivanov
IT WILL BE VENTILATED, GENTLEMEN!
Indeed, car manufacturers who would not have brought an open car to the Geneva Motor Show can be counted on the fingers. After all, what is a convertible - say, a means of transportation? Last but not least. And in the first - a tool of self-affirmation, a symbol of prestige and confidence. Therefore, it is quite natural that the premieres of most convertibles are at the Geneva Salon - you simply cannot find a more suitable place than the respectable and wealthy Switzerland. What did the “catch” of this year bring?
If you look into the German automotive press, you will see: the Porsche 911 Cabrio is the largest headline - the world premiere of this car took place in Geneva. The supercar accelerates to 100 km / h in just over 5 s (more precisely, 5.4 s) and will cost 155 thousand German marks, remaining a pipe dream of most fans of the Porsche style.
And here - the convertible is cheaper. And also the eminent German company - Mercedes. Again, the world premiere, and ripened just in time for the beginning of March. The Mercedes-CLK Cabrio costs two to two and a half times less, and the engine power (in the most expensive version) is almost one and a half times lower than that of the Porsche, and yet hardly anyone would argue that this one car for everyone.
The third world premiere, Volkswagen Golf IV Cabrio, is designed for a wider audience. It is interesting that this time in Wolfsburg they decided not to delay the cabriolet's debut - after all, say, “Golf I” did not appear in this version right away, it wasn’t in the second generation at all, and the third was delayed. Less than six months have passed here after the premiere of “Golf IV” - and it has already been deprived of a roof. Naturally, it is cheaper than CLK and, interestingly, the same 2–2.5 times.
However, that we are all about the Germans and the Germans. After all, there’s still, say, “Jaguar-XKR” (of course, in the convertible version, although there is also a coupe), prepared for the half-century anniversary of the XK series and the twentieth anniversary of its eight-cylinder modification XK8. In May, these cars will already be on sale, but the price has not yet been announced. It is noteworthy that the more powerful (370 against 300 hp), but also the heavier Jaguar accelerates to 100 km / h in the same 5.4 s as the Porsche. Its five-speed automatic transmission is equipped with such an advanced electronic control system that they say they are smarter than other drivers. But we have something with you: at a price we are unlikely to reach it, and in intelligence we will probably surpass it.
More recently, SAAB switched to a new indexation and can now consider the updated 900th as a completely fresh model, and 9-3 Convertible as its premiere. The press release specifically states that the name should read “nine-three,” not “ninety-three.” The yellowish cabriolet “9–3” looked very advantageous at the company's stand next to the huge block of ice bricks, tens of tons, apparently symbolizing the crystal clearness of SAAB machines: they will now be equipped with special pillows for collecting exhaust gases during start-up, when the catalyst has not yet warmed up.
Of the cars that have some kind of production prospects, we’ll name another new version of the Lamborghini Diablo Roadster, a work of art on four wheels, and the Swiss Minelli-TF 1800 with a Ford engine (it’s easy to guess, 1.8 l) - a novelty in the unforgettable style of the English "GM".
Do you think the open-top list of Geneva is coming to an end? You are mistaken! To the already mentioned it is worth adding concept cars. They were made specifically for the exhibition, the only question is - will they ever be mass-produced? First of all, in this series, apparently, it is worth calling the Volkswagen-W12 roadster. But wait a minute, since a coupe with such an index has already been presented in Tokyo? Yes, but this time “Italdesign” prepared an open car, it stood at its stand, and not at the “daddy-Volkswagen”, and the latter, it seems, did not oblige to anything. At the same time, the form remained virtually the same, clear and expressive, which indicates the completion of design work on this option. Whether the production workers will make the next move, time will tell.
Switzerland is a mountainous country, and therefore many concepts of open cars are made on the basis of all-terrain vehicles. Say, the little-known company "Elee" presented a nice "Intruder" with a rigid folding roof on the basis of the Mercedes-Gelendavagen. And the Finnish Valmet took as the basis the Honda CR-V, which is gaining popularity in Europe, and for the first time in world automotive practice, used a fully automated top for a five-door car: before, the headwind lover had to deal with some kind of fasteners, now the awning can be removed (and installed) at the touch of a button.
Could not do without convertibles and numerous design firms. We already said about “W12” from “Italizayn”, “Pikster” stood out among the concepts from the “Bertone” studio - according to the authors, the “cross” coupe, roadster and pickup, and the Sbarro company surprised visitors with the two-seat Magic Cabrio V6 "Based on the Peugeot. Perhaps you will not list all the open cars in the cabin; let's call another single (and very strange looking) “Rinspeed E-GO Rocket”; conceptual in front and slightly “old-mode” behind Euro-1 (modestly, right?) by Hyundai and the triple Zo from Renault. The French company is preparing “something like that” for each salon, and its designers (and designers) seem to like to dream of all kinds of all-terrain vehicles. The result is very original “hybrids”, in this case, a mixture of a motorcycle and a roadster (oh, Michurin would be here) with ground clearance that can be changed in a matter of seconds (see page 26).
This car, according to a formal criterion, should also be attributed to the previous ones. It's about the Peugeot 20 (tm) (exactly like that, with a heart). A hard top automatically retracted, 2 + 2 seats - everything seems to converge, concept as concept. However, the specialist will immediately notice a suspicious index starting with a deuce - indeed, only “205” sat on the conveyor belt, the company has already replaced the other families, and their indices end with “6”. Most likely, Peugeot simply “tastes the water”: how will potential buyers react to this form of car? And the retractable roof is only a “hook” with which they try to attract the visitor to the salon. By the way, “Peugeot” recalls: all current attempts to declare a hard top tucked into the trunk “the latest development” are at least groundless - they did this on the Peugeot before the war!
Most manufacturers of compact cars did the same as the French did - they put prototypes very close to tomorrow's production cars on their booths: maybe something should be changed in preparation for production! Say, Mazda is studying the reaction of visitors to its new product - the Demio single-volume car, and Daikhatsu - to the three-cylinder Sirion, created on the basis of the NCX, the Tokyo-97 premiere. Based on the results, market strategists will make recommendations on when machines can be offered on the market and whether it is worth contacting their production in general.
Of the compact models that dealerships will surely soon appear, two can be named - “Ford Focus” (it is being prepared to replace the current “Escort”) and “Toyota-Yaris” based on the “Fan Time” concept, shown last fall in Frankfurt. Are you curious how the names of these new products were born? "Ford" in all European newspapers announced a competition, sorted through all sorts of options … and the name was ready only at the very last moment. Toyota acted differently - turned to the well-known in Europe agency Nomen agency - its branches are located in Dusseldorf, Paris, Brussels and Milan, which is engaged in similar work - it synthesizes thousands of harmonious combinations on a computer, in several it sifts them through the stages, selecting “those associated with the type of product”, checks for, so to speak, cleanliness - doesn’t this name belong to anyone, does it mean something indecent in some language … By the way, maybe it’s worth it appeal to VAZ? And then all the "ten", but the "eleventh" …
To the class of compact cars we will assign another new (world premiere) Mitsubishi-Spacestar mini-van - the company, however, calls it “an increased volume hatchback”. Even smaller in size are micro-veins - the already known Hyundai Atos and Daewoo Metiz, shown in Switzerland for the first time.
The world premieres of the car dealership are reckoned a deep restyling of Renault Clio - the company considers this even a new model, as well as the prototype Honda J-BX, both of these cars belong to the most popular series of small cars in Europe. By the way, the two expected premieres in Geneva did not take place - Volkswagen did not bring its smallest Lupo car, and FIAT did not light up the Sicento of the same size. Since both cars are already ready, they will probably be shown at one of the nearest salons - most likely, Turinsky.
Do not think that these are uninteresting trifles. There are also enough world premieres, we just did not begin to break them into separate classes.
Most likely, the most expensive of these cars should be recognized as Silver Seraph (Silver Seraph, apparently the same one that was at one time Pushkin) with a BMW engine, "5.83 meters of British elegance." No doubt, it is more than comfortable, but, as one of the respectable visitors to the salon noted, “a little cramped.”
One of the most anticipated prime ministers of Geneva - BMW of the third series - at first glance, differs little from its predecessor. About what is hidden under the recognizable “shell”, read in the same issue of ZR on page 68.
The Pooh-G500 V8 all-terrain vehicles (they are also the Mercedes-G500 V8) almost did not change their appearance, but the engine (three valves per cylinder) and gearbox are new, and acceleration to 100 km / h now takes a little more 11 seconds is one and a half times faster than the previous model. But the “Opel Monterey” not only got hold of new engines, but also noticeably prettier.
Several station wagons have become the novelties of the salon, among them we note three world premieres - Audi A6 Avan, Citroen Ksara Brik and Skoda Octavia Combi. By the way, the Czechs claim another premiere - a deep restyling of “Felicia” made it much more solid, strict and … similar to “Octavia”.
Of the concepts, I would also like to dwell on the "SEAT-Bolero", which did not appear in any of the catalogs of the exhibition. Apparently, the Volkswagen concern (as you remember, the owner of the SEAT) at the last moment decided that there were not enough concepts for Geneva and strengthened its exposure with this latest beautiful car.
Talking about the Tokyo Motor Show, we noticed that all Japanese companies, except Daihatsu, introduced hybrid cars. In Geneva, this company "caught up with" -so compatriots - "Muv EV-H" flaunted at its booth. Other companies are actively working in this direction: Ford demonstrated the concept of “P2000” with a diesel engine and fuel cells, “Citroen” - “Ksar-Dinalto” with an internal combustion engine and an electric motor, “Opel” - a whole brood of various “environmental” cars based on "EV-1", known by Detroit (though under the guise of "General Motors").
When you return from the dealership, almost everyone asks: what was the most interesting? It’s hard to say the most. What this time aroused the greatest public interest was the two European premieres … of the Indian company Tata - the Safari all-terrain vehicle and the compact Mint with a fresh and bright design. Miss World itself took part in the presentation of the models. But the stand of this company attracted us also to another. If India, most recently a deep automotive province, was able to attract attention, then maybe our auto industry once …
"SAAB 9-3 Convertible."
Porsche Carrera Cabrio.
Volkswagen Golf IV Cabrio.
Mercedes-SLK 320 Cabrio.
"Peugeot 20 (tm)."
Rinspeed E-GO Rocket.
"Ford Focus ".
"Skoda Felicia" in picking "Golden (Zlata?) Prague."
Updated Nissan Micra.
"Audi A6 Avan."
"Skoda Octavia Combi."
"Citroen Ksara Brik."
Rolls-Royce Silver Seraph.
Hybrid power unit "Daihatsu-Muv EV-H".
The new Toyota Landkruiser can walk on tracks.