2019 Geneva motor show preview
With one of 2019’s biggest motor shows fast approaching, we take a look at what to expect
The Geneva motor show is one of the biggest automotive exhibitions on the calendar, traditionally playing host to particularly high-profile unveilings from the world’s biggest car makers.
The 2019 edition is already shaping up to be a hotbed of activity, with a number of eagerly anticipated reveals expected from Audi, BMW, Polestar and Renault to name but a few. Here’s a list of the important models we’ll learn more about when the show gets underway on 7 March.
Audi electric SUV concept
The expansion of Audi’s E-tron range of electric vehicles continues, with the brand expected to reveal an electric compact SUV concept that will fit between the Q2 and Q3.
Based upon the Volkswagen Group’s MEB EV platform, the as-yet-unnamed SUV is likely to become Aud’s biggest-selling electric car when it arrives in 2021, thanks to a competitive pricing strategy. The new model will take design inspiration from the E-tron GT concept and be one of 12 electric vehicles launched by Audi before 2025.
BMW 3 Series Touring
With the unveiling of the G21-generation 3 Series at the 2018 Paris motor show, BMW pledged “renewed driver focus” for the segment-leading saloon, and that will also be the case with the Touring estate variant that’s heading to Geneva.
With new styling mimicking that of the larger 5 Series, a bigger boot and a range of diesel and petrol engines, the new Touring is tipped to provide some fierce competition for Mercedes’ C-Class estate and the Audi A4 Avant.
BMW 7 Series facelift
As well as much larger versions of Munich’s trademark kidney grilles, the updated 7 Series features sharper exterior styling, a new front bumper and slimmer rear lights. More significant are changes to the model’s range of hybrid and conventional powertrains, with improved economy and performance outputs expected at every level, from a four-cylinder diesel unit to the petrol V12 in the M760Li xDrive.
Citroën centenary concept
Geneva 2019 will be the venue for the unveiling of the first of two concepts that Citroën has created as part of its centenary celebrations.
The French car maker is remaining tight-lipped but has said that the concept hints at its vision for the future of urban mobility. A teaser image released last year shows a brightly coloured pull strap, perhaps in place of a conventional door handle, which would suggest the concept will take the form of a utilitarian city car in the same vein as 2016’s e-Mehari EV.
Honda Urban EV
The Honda Urban EV is something of a rarity in that prototype production models spotted in testing bear a remarkable resemblance to the concept model revealed in 2017.
That’s because the design of the small electric car was so well received at that year’s Frankfurt motor show that Honda saw little reason to change it. The final product will sport two more doors and one more seat than that concept but will retain its low, wide proportions, short wheelbase and friendly visage.
The electric Pininfarina Battista is yet to be unveiled in full, but it’s already being referred to by its creator as “the most powerful Italian performance car ever” – a title it quite rightly deserves if its claimed performance figures are to be believed.
With 1900bhp from a drivetrain that uses technology developed by Croatian manufacturer Rimac, the Battista is expected to top out at more than 250mph and get from 0-62mph in less than 2.0sec. But the hand-built machine doesn’t just impress in the speed department, with a claimed range of at least 280 miles placing it in contention for the position of most environmentally efficient hypercar.
The Polestar 2, the second electric model from Volvo’s newly hived off performance brand, is set to produce nearly 400bhp and have a range of roughly 300 miles.
In conversation with Autocar at the 2018 Goodwood Festival of Speed, Polestar COO Jonathan Goodman hinted at the four-door coupé’s design, arguing that as EVs become more mainstream, their styling need not be so “quirky or futuristic”. Expect the 2’s relationship to Volvo’s 2017 40.1 concept to be self-evident.
Renault design boss Laurens van den Acker is confident about the fifth-generation Clio’s success, calling it “the best Clio we’ve ever done.”
In an effort to tempt buyers away from Ford and Volkswagen‘s rival superminis, as well as compact SUVs such as the Seat Arona, the new Clio will sport a Tesla-style infotainment screen, more mature styling and autonomous driver assistance functions. No electric version has been confirmed, but a plug-in hybrid is set to hit the road in 2020.
Seat Leon concept
The forebearer for a new era of design at Seat, the new Leon will be previewed in concept form at Geneva.
The upcoming Ford Focus rival has already been spotted testing in near-production form, but the Geneva concept is expected to highlight the Spanish brand’s plans for design evolution. “Using hard lines to express precision is something we have been doing since the Leon was launched in 2012, but we need to be more different to our colleagues in the Volkswagen Group,” design boss Alejandro Mesonero-Romanos said last year.
Skoda Vision X
First shown at last year’s Geneva show as the Vision X concept, Skoda’s upcoming small SUV will be based on the same MQB platform as the Seat Arona and Volkswagen T-Roc.
The new model, potentially called the Anuq, will sit beneath the Karoq and Kodiaq in Skoda’s SUV line-up, but it’s unlikely to offer the Vision X concept’s compressed natural gas (CNG) hybrid electric powertrain in the UK.
Korean car maker Ssangyong will unveil a new Korando SUV inspired by the e-SIV concept shown at last year’s Geneva show.
Initially powered by a range of petrol and diesel engines, the cut-price Nissan Qashqai rival will later receive Ssangyong’s first electric powertrain. The firm is also reported to be exploring diesel-electric technology, as opposed to more conventional petrol-fuelled systems, as a basis for a hybridised variant.
Volkswagen ID Beach Buggy
After 80 years of production, Volkswagen’s – and indeed the world’s – longest-produced car, the Beetle, was axed in 2018.
As one icon dies, however, another emerges in its place, and Volkswagen is set to unveil an electrified Beach Buggy concept inspired by the Meyers Manx of the 1960s. Where Bruce Meyer’s coastal cruiser used the Beetle’s floorpan, suspension and air-cooled engine, however, its descendant is set for inclusion in Volkswagen’s upcoming range of ID electric vehicles.
Previewed on Volkswagen’s 2018 Christmas card, the ID Buggy looks to emulate the basic silhouette of the original, in much the same way as Volkswagen’s ID Buzz Cargo van takes heavy inspiration from the classic Type 2.