2006 Geneva Motor Show, Part VI

March 1, 2006
 

2006 Geneva Motor Show Coverage by TCC Team (2/19/2006) 

 

Saab Aero X Concept

 

2006 Saab Aero-X Concept

2006 Saab Aero-X Concept

2006 Saab Aero-X Concept

2006 Saab Aero-X Concept

2006 Saab Aero-X Concept

2006 Saab Aero-X Concept

Saab has a stunning surprise for Geneva crowds: the Aero X Concept. The study, Saab says, explores design themes and features we will see in future Saab products. The two-seater coupe has been designed under the guidance of Brian Nesbitt, Executive Director of GM Design Europe, whose first important design was the PT Cruiser. He later penned the Chevy HHR.

 

The Aero X Concept was inspired by the aviation heritage of Saab and has a cockpit canopy, like those on jet aircraft. The bold design has a sculpted tail that covers a twin luggage compartment with a conventional hatch opening and sliding drawer underneath. Inside, there are no dials or buttons; Saab has used techniques derived from Swedish glass and precision instrument making to display data on glass-like acrylic clear panels in graphic 3D images. Interior and exterior lighting is LED-type.

 

The concept is equipped with a 2.8-liter BioPower V-6 fueled by bioethanol, which, Saab says, would cut carbon dioxide emissions. The V-6 is teamed to a seven-speed, double-clutch automated manual transmission. The engine has 400 hp and 369 lb-ft between 2000 and 5000 rpm, which in theory would thrust the concept car from zero to 60 mph in 4.9 seconds and give it a (limited) top speed of 155 mph. Active chassis management and all-wheel drive are featured, the latter with variable front/rear torque split. The body of the Aero X would be made of lightweight carbon fiber, Saab says. —Henny Hemmes

 

 

MINI Geneva Concept

 

2006 MINI Geneva Concept

2006 MINI Geneva Concept

At Geneva , MINI is showing the fourth version of the concept car for a longer, roomier model, one that might be called Traveller or Clubman. This time, the concept celebrates the unbeatable Mini that participated in the Rally of Monte Carlo from 1964 through 1967.

 

Separately, a BMW spokesman more or less confirmed that we can expect the new MINI in September at the Paris auto show. The new MINI Cooper Convertible should appear in Los Angeles in November 2006, or in Detroit at the beginning of 2007. The production version of the Traveller likely will bow at the IAA show in Frankfurt in September 2007.

 

Another new model on the MINI stand in Geneva is the Cooper S with John Cooper Works GP kit. This version is some 110 lb lighter than the Cooper S with the usual gear. The car is based on the model that is used in the MINI Challenge race series that is popular in Germany and other countries. The race car has the 210-hp 1.6-liter engine of the MINI Cooper S with John Cooper Works Tuning Kit. For the GP version the engine has been tuned to produce 218 hp. The car also features a sport-tuned exhaust system. With a sport suspension with stiffer springs and different shock absorbers, and with the help of a limited slip differential and 16-inch wheels, the sporty MINI will reach 60 mph in 6.4 seconds.

 

The MINI GP can immediately be recognized by its special Thunder Blue color with the Pure Silver roof. Also the rims of the hood louvers are in Pure Silver. White turn-signal lamps and rearview mirrors in Chili Red make it more distinct. Production of the very sporty GP will be strictly limited to 2000 cars and will only be available in Europe beginning in July.

 

 

Lotus APX

 

2006 Lotus APX

2006 Lotus APX

Last year, Lotus Engineering showed the VVA (Versatile Vehicle Architecture) understructure in Geneva, which now is the basis for the APX concept that was unveiled at the show. The APX — for Aluminum Performance Crossover — shows that Lotus is able to create a car with innovative technology that doesn’t necessarily belong on the track. The first production car with this technology will be the new Lotus mid-engine sports car.

 

The APX is a vehicle with all-wheel drive with seven seats; it’s equipped with a front-mounted, supercharged V-6 with 300 hp. With a weight of just 3461 lb, the APX should be able to accelerate to 60 mph in just five seconds, while reaching a top speed of 152 mph. With its relatively low weight the APX should have a combined fuel consumption of around 32 mpg, while the average in the segment consumes more than 22 mpg.

 

The APX is manufactured from die-cast, stamped, and extruded aluminum parts. Advanced assembly techniques are used, such as adhesive bonding, self-piercing rivets, and flow-drill screws, a method similar to that used on the new Jaguar XJ and XK.

 

The APX doesn’t indicate a direction of the future of Lotus Cars, but demonstrates the skills of Lotus Engineering for the manufacturing of a future vehicle, one that could be developed by any car manufacturer worldwide.

 

 

Lotus Europa S

 

2006 Lotus Europa S

2006 Lotus Europa S

The Lotus Europa S, however, is the new production model that was unveiled in Geneva. Lotus built just under 10,000 units of the Europa from the mid-Sixties until the mid-Seventies. At first the car was equipped with a Renault engine; later it got the Lotus twin-cam version. But the new Europa is not a reincarnation of the historic model with the same name. According to design chief Russel Carr, Lotus just started with a clean sheet of paper.

 

The new Europa is meant for customers who want more comfort than they can find in the Exige or Elise. But that does not mean that the new Lotus GT is a softie. True to its roots, the Europa S is very light (2194 lb) and stiff. More comfort comes from better ingress because the doorsill is lower and the door itself is higher.
The Europa S has luxury equipment with standard leather seats, two airbags, a CD/MP3 player and GPS navigation. There are no options.

 

The S has the 2.0-liter turbo engine with 200 hp that comes from the Opel parts bin. The new Lotus accelerates in 5.4 seconds to 60 mph and reaches a top speed of 143 mph. The Malaysian-owned company hopes to sell some 500 cars per year, which would be added to the current total of the Elise and the Exige of between 4000 and 4500 units.

 

 

Porsche 911 GT3

 

2006 Porsche 91 GT3

2006 Porsche 91 GT3

Brand-new on the Porsche stand is the 911 GT3 that will be on the market by May. Its 3.6-liter engine has 415 hp, less than the Turbo, but the most of any normally aspirated Porsche ever built. The GT3 engine is combined with a six-speed stick with shorter gear ratios than are found on base 911s. To get to power on the road, the new Porsche has a limited-slip differential. Porsche uses the traction control of the Carrera GT as well in the GT3. The GT3 also has the PASM active damping system that features two modes: normal, and a stiffer sport mode for use during racing events. The 911 GT3 accelerates from zero to 60 mph in 4.1 seconds and reaches a top speed of 193 mph, Porsche says.
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