Enough of the sensible stuff for a moment; on neutral territory in Switzerland the automotive big guns have been showing off their latest and greatest super-, hyper- and luxury cars. The two chief protagonists at the Auto Salon in Geneva were undoubtedly Ferrari and McLaren, the Italian firm finally revealing its new model - the somewhat oddly named 'LaFerrari.' Not to allow Ferrari steal all the headlines McLaren countered with its production-ready P1, the pair of telephone-number price hypercars both mixing petrol engines with hybrid technology - not necessarily in the quest for greenness, but to deliver even move extreme performance.
Ferrari will build just 499 of its LaFerrari model, while McLaren announced that it'll make just 375 P1s, as customers indicated that the proposed 500-off production run it announced back at the concept's unveil in Paris would make it too common. Price of entry into the driver's seat of either contains six zeros, though if that's still too cheap, or just too common, Lamborghini offers a solution in the guise of its Veneno, a 50th birthday celebration for the company. It'll build just three of the 350km/h machine, at a cost of €3 million each. Yes, you read that right.
Also celebrating its 50th year is Porsche's 911 model, though no sign of its LaFerrari and P1 rival, the 918 Spyder hybrid hypercar, instead the company choosing the Geneva show to reveal a new 911 GT3. The most extreme, track-biased but road-capable machine goes heavily down the technology route, featuring a paddle-shifted transmission for the first time, as well as active rear-wheel steering. This is combined with a high-revving, naturally aspirated 475hp 3.8-litre flat-six engine giving the GT3 a 0-100km/h time of 3.5 seconds. Don't expect much change from €200,000.
Two significant new luxury cars also debuted at the Swiss show. Rolls-Royce revealed what Torsten Müller-Ötvös, CEO of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars, describes as "the ultimate gentleman's gran turismo." The new two-door Rolls-Royce Wraith is powered by a 632hp bi-turbo V12 engine, that output allowing the 2.3-tonne machine to reach 100km/h in just 4.6 seconds from a standstill. Rivals Bentley chose Geneva to show its new Flying Spur saloon too, the sharper, more dynamic machine delivering 625hp, a 322km/h top speed and a 4.6-second 0-100km/h time.
You could have a Wraith and a Flying Spur for around half the price of one of those hypercars, the Palexpo's halls containing about five new models with a price in excess of €1 million.
Thankfully all the fun isn't reserved for the foreign investment bankers, Alfa Romeo revealing its stunning 4C and Toyota an open-topped version of its GT86, which gives the hoi-polloi something realistic to aim for.
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