The Volvo V40 is perhaps the surprise of the show, coming across far better in the real than in the initial press shots. Things arguably get even better when you tug open one of its five doors and slip into its cabin.
Yes the IP architecture is perhaps a little overbearing but its detail execution is really impressive. The more you look and touch the deeper the sense of integrity. From the graphics in its digital gauge pack to its single piece metal door card accents via the lovely, bezel-less rear view mirror, in the best Swedish tradition this has the feeling of a product that will continue to quietly please over time.
By Owen Ready
The aero wheel trend has been knocking around for a few years now (again) and there’s no sign of it stopping. But there is also a new – and rather encouraging – sign that tire sidewalls have started to grow a little more generous and wheel diameters, while still big, have reached a plateau even on concept cars. Somebody even reported seeing an Audi on hoops smaller than 18-inches.
But big, small, fat or thin, these four are our favourites (and yes, one is an outsized Audi).
Clockwise from top left: Volvo V40, Lamborghini Aventador J, Audi A1 quattro, Hyundai i-ioniq
By Owen Ready
The Peugeot 208 is one of the most important new cars to be unveiled here in Geneva. Not only is it the only debutant in the hugely important European B-segment, but it’s also the car Peugeot had promised would really show it was back on the right track. First impressions are that it lives up to that promise.
The most obvious thing is that it is smaller than the 207 it replaces and looks and feels so. It’s an important realignment of the traditional market segments and feels all the better for its newfound svelteness, which is reflected in its exterior form language. Ok, so there may be a few too many flicks and chrome accents to its detailing and graphics, but they successfully convey ‘premiumness’ without resorting to aping Mini (see Citroen DS3).
But the big news is inside. With the gauge pack raised to sit above the low-set, small-diameter steering wheel and into the driver’s line of sight it’s genuinely unique to sit in. We’ll reserve judgement until we experience it on the road, but initial impressions are that it will work pretty well from an ergonomics perspective as long as you taylor your seating position to match.
Perceived quality is good and there are neat touches such as the full-size center armrest and fragmented speaker grille perforations. And like all good European small cars it feels chic.
By Owen Ready
There is something of a mixed response to the Infiniti Emerg-E here in Geneva. Several people we’ve spoken to think it’s relatively derivative, with a mixture of things that have been seen before. That might be fair comment – conceptually it’s hardly ground-breaking.
Yet it does happily continue the design language Infiniti has been developing over its past few concept cars. You can clearly see the lineage between this and the Etherea of 2011 and the Essence of 2009.
While the Essence was more striking, original and elegant, this successfully integrates what we’re coming to understand as Infiniti design signatures (concave/convex bodyside into stepped shoulder, crescent-shaped C-pillar/DLO intersection, and the egg-timer grille) into a true, mid-engine sports car concept.
It’s not perfect; some of it feels too busy, the rear feels like its weakest angle and there are some oddly pinched and disappearing surfaces around the shut lines.
Yet it mostly feels and looks premium and is a valuable halo car for Infiniti. That’s important for a brand with great aspirations and which is still establishing itself in Europe.
By Joe Simpson