Ah Geneva, where would the world be without your unique take on insane extravagance? Many pages have been written about show cars with gobs of horsepower, muscular body kits, and even complete carbon fiber reskins. Lets take it down a few notches below the million dollar, limited edition, will most likely catch fire, super and hyper cars. For this article, the focus will be on my picks for the top three best in show.
The overall best in show is ironically a production car. Offering extreme performance, luxury, innovation, beauty, and safety all offered for your driving pleasure in a shrink-wrapped two-door silhouette. The Mercedes-Benz S Class coupe is far and away a winner in two respects. First, it presents yet another leap forward in modernly fluid yet somehow restrained design. It will wow you in person and you will not grow tired of looking at it nor from looking out of it. Design cues from the past can be found in the grill insert as well as the hood itself. Character lines gracing the flanks are another touch coupled with a modern linearity. Interesting design cues are the book ended blunt front and rear; as if they were acting as a dam containing the flowing styling from spilling over onto the tarmac. It comes off like a design study made for a show, except it is very much real. Coming to America in the fall, we will get a 4.7-liter V8 producing nearly 550 horsepower coupled with 4matic and a seven-speed transmission. Be sure to look for additional touches such as a magic sky control roof panel as well as an active suspension that makes the car lean into turns to more evenly distribute G forces.
Second place goes to the mesmerizing Volvo concept Estate. Going three for three in reveals, Volvo’s design department is on fire! Three questions are raised as a result. First, when will the distilled versions of the design be offered to the public so that showrooms can see an up tick in traffic? The long in the tooth XC90 is the first to get a taste, but we all are clamoring to see the real thing and not just the changes to the corporate lighting scheme. Second, will the emotional pull of the design combined with Volvo’s passion for safety overcome the potential stigma of Chinese ownership? Will buyers believe that quality standards and supply chain integrity will be upheld; additionally will there be a positive change in Chinese domestic market product safety history? Third, is the design team under ironclad long-term contracts? If not, Volkswagen can perhaps use your services to make their lineup pop again. Not much is being offered in terms of powertrain specifications at the moment. However, expect to see all future Volvos with the added feature of Carplay from Apple. It will make a welcome addition to the infotainment system of its current offerings.
Third best in show is the design study from Hyundai. A talented team of European design students created the PassoCorto. Although it is pure fantasy, it deserves third place for two distinct reasons. First, the students presented a near future look at the possibility of short wheelbase mid engined cars that have the packaging of a lotus – with the flair of a Lamborghini. This may bode well for a future free from boring and utilitarian city car designs of late. Second, some of the cues would fit rather nicely into a second generation Veloster. Forget the midengine layout and other difficult to work with bits. It would make the current Veloster more desirable while not pushing it into boy racer territory. The roofline is already there. The fascia can be slightly reworked to include a more aerodynamic flow into the front fender edges, perhaps retaining some vestal bulges to accentuate the shrink-wrapped feel of the body. The jet fighter exhausts can be elegantly integrated and repurposed as a hidden tail lamp design. Hyundai, you have a plan and now you also have a prototype – get to work!