Attending shows like this, whether it’s in relation to watches, cars, or anything else, is always so much fun. I love making my way around the manufacturers’ stands and drinking in all the details of their latest creations. It shows that, despite how far we have progressed mechanically, technologically and aesthetically, particularly in the last decade or so, there is still an incredible amount of room for imagination and innovation.
This year at the Geneva Motor Show was no different. With so many car manufacturers showcasing their current and upcoming models, I cannot go through each one. So instead I will take my pick of a chosen few and try to give some insight into my reasoning for doing so.
It is, of course, almost impossible to disregard the marque of the prancing horse. For over 70 years it has been at the forefront of everything petrol heads look for in a sports car and so, when Ferrari releases a new version of its mid-engined berlinetta, you take notice. At their stand they showcased their 488gtb replacement, the F8Tributo. It houses the most powerful V8 in Ferrari’s history with 710hp and 568lb-ft of torque (the eagle eyed reader will realise these figures are not all that different to the 488 Pista, the limited run version of the 488¸released at the end of its life cycle). This is perhaps unsurprising given its 3.9 litre engine has won ‘best engine’ at the International Engine of the Year Awards three years in a row, as well as best engine of the last two decades.
What is also not all that different are the looks and, as a result, I think the uninitiated will struggle to tell the difference between the two. The model retains the S-Duct, which was incorporated into the Pista and, although there are clearly some revisions to that model to create the F8, this new car is certainly more evolutionary rather than revolutionary; it’s as if a Pista has been taken in house by THX and remastered from standard to ultra-high definition. Ferrari acknowledge this in fact, stating “the F8 Tributo is essentially a bridge to a new design language…” My view is I think Ferrari have done just enough to differentiate the F8 from previous models. But only just.
The F8 has a new version of the Ferrari Dynamic Enhancer which can be activated when setting the manettino switch to race; this is designed to make performance when on the limit more attainable for a greater number of drivers; after all, not everyone’s name ends in Vettel or Hamilton.
Inside the cabin retains a similar feel to the old car with its driver centric focus and a new generation of Ferrari’s ‘Human Machine Interface’. A welcome addition is a new 7” touchscreen display for the passenger.
Deliveries will begin later this year and I cannot wait to drive one!
It’s not often a Bugatti Chiron is upstaged, but this year at the Geneva Motor Show, that’s exactly what happened; by its own manufacturer. This initially was caused by the Divo. With 1479bhp from an uprated version of the marque’s stupendously absurd 8 litre W16 quad turbo engine, the Divo is brutal in its execution. The front and rear splitters jut aggressively away from the body in a design cue we are more accustomed to seeing from Lamborghini than the luxury French manufacturer. But combined with the deep side sills and, particularly with this version’s matte grey finish, it looks utterly beguiling. Strong, muscular, taught and bristling with menace, yet still incredibly beautiful. It’s a car you just stand and admire, dribbling over the details worked into its €5m package.
Or at least you would just stand there and dribble if it wasn’t for the tiny issue of, just in front of it, Bugatti’s latest creation; a one of one called ‘La Voiture Noire’.
Built in homage to an icon of the brand, the ‘La Voiture Noire’ pays tribute to the Type 57 SC Atlantic (including its six(!) exhaust tips), which was created by Ettore Bugatti’s eldest son, Jean. The underpinnings and engine are lifted directly from the Chiron, but that’s where the similarities end; the aesthetics are unlike any I have seen before and, although I never thought I’d say this, it is even more beautiful than a Pagani Huayra. It took me 15 minutes to drag myself away and even then it took a glass of chilled Lauren Perrier to calm me down. It’s sensational, but then again it should be given its reported £14.4m selling price, which in turn makes it the most expensive new car ever sold.
I will hold my hands up here; I might be in the minority, but I am just not that into Porsches. Perhaps I should be more specific; I’m not that into their looks. They are excellent to drive and built exceptionally well but they just don’t seduce me in the way a Ferrari or an Aston Martin can. I must admit though, as I have got older, there are certain models that have started to catch my eye, including the 911s from the 1980s. So when I came across Ruf and, specifically, their tribute to the CTR ‘yellow bird’, I had to investigate.
Built to commemorate Ruf’s 30th anniversary, the CTR is the marque’s halo model and is brand new, from the ground up. It has a rear wheel drive carbon fibre monocoque chassis, which contributes to an astoundingly light dry weight of 1,200 kg. Housed in the back of the car is a 3.6 litre twin turbo flat six, built by Ruf, which puts out 710hp and 649lb-ft of torque. Sent to the 305 section rear wheels through a six-speed manual transmission, these pulverising figures allow the CTR to hit 62mph in 3.5 seconds and on to a top speed of 225mph.
But it wasn’t really the performance that took me aback; it was the looks. I am a self-confessed sucker for yellow sports cars, but this machine was so much more than a fancy paint job. In the metal, the retro looks are arresting but it’s the way Ruf has combined those looks with contemporary materials that completed the package; the circular headlights, for example, are razor sharp whilst the wheels have the motorsport inspired look from yesteryear but simultaneously look modern and contemporary. The interior is a masterpiece in its minimalistic execution; a mixture of alcantara, aluminium and carbon fibre, all offset by analogue dials with green typeface.
There will only be 30 of the CTR’s built and, with a price tag of around €800,000, it’s a pretty expensive way of reviving that Porsche heritage. But this is one of those very special machines that draws you in, closer and closer, the longer you look at it; and I love it.