2002 Geneva Motor ShowEnlarge Photo
With the cold and snow of Detroit behind them, the top brass of the world’s automobile industry are preparing for a trip to more pleasant surroundings. The first week of March will find them in Geneva, Switzerland, for the most cosmopolitan of the European auto shows. The economic and political situation in Europe isn’t at its best at the moment, and it’s likely to get worse if an invasion of Iraq sets off during the show, but there’s still a full program of new cars scheduled for a debut in Switzerland.
2003 Pininfarina Enjoy conceptEnlarge Photo
The Bertone car is a modern view of a classic GT, using BMW mechanical components including the Munich company’s 400-hp V-8 engine. Among its unique qualities will be an onboard ‘tender’ that can be used as in-town transportation when the car is parked. Whether it is a two or four-wheeled machine will not be known until the wraps come off on press day, March 4, when Pininfarina, Bertone and Italy’s other great design consultancy, Giugiaro’s Italdesign, all launch new concepts in one 45-minute segment of the show’s hectic round of press conferences.
2003 Opel GTC conceptEnlarge Photo
The U.S.-based majors all concentrate on Detroit to show their concepts, but GM Europe will have a smart coupe concept based on its Astra compact sedan. GM Europe has issued pictures of the coupe concept it will be showing at next week’s Geneva Auto Show. The GTC Concept is seen as a strong indication that the products of Opel and Vauxhall will in future have a more sporting feel to their design. The coupe, which is sized in the same class as the Ford Focus, has a sweeping roofline and big (19-inch) wheels that hint at extra performance, and these features could easily make it through to production. Not so likely to make it to the showroom floor is the GTC’s full-length glass roof, which covers a passenger space that GM stresses provides comfortable accommodation for four occupants.
Another new car that will be making its debut in Geneva is the latest iteration of the Mini. This version is equipped with a 1.4-liter four-cylinder diesel developed by BMW in collaboration with Toyota. The engine features the latest ‘common-rail’ injection technology and is fitted with a turbocharger and intercooler, giving it 75 hp and ample torque at low engine speeds. Fuel economy is the big attraction of the diesel engine for European buyers, and thanks to the power unit and a six-speed manual gearbox similar to that used on the high-performance Cooper S version, the Mini One D, as the new car is known, scores well on that level. It gives over 70 mpg (US) and the car will cover around 600 miles on just 13 gallons of gas.