Geneva Motor Show 2012 – a day shrunk into 10 minutes

A day in the life of a car photographer at an international motorshow Ever wondered what happens on a Motor Show press day? The doors open at 7:30am in Geneva – better have your press pass in your hands, or get ready for a long queue. After a 10 minute walk and 25 minute bendy-bus [...]

A day in the life of a car photographer at an international motorshow

Tim Andrew in action in Giugiaro Brivido Concept car


Ever wondered what happens on a Motor Show press day? The doors open at 7:30am in Geneva – better have your press pass in your hands, or get ready for a long queue. After a 10 minute walk and 25 minute bendy-bus ride from downtown Geneva, photographer Tim Andrew presented his pass and sailed through the turnstyle. First stop was the press room to nab a table, and more importantly, an ethernet cable to upload photos to the client’s server. Excess gear dumped, lightweight necessities grabbed, it was off at a trot to bag the first important “reveal”.

Bendy-bus to the airport after the show

The car manufacturers unveil their cars at 15 minute intervals, so unless you have a team of snappers and journos, it’s impossible to cover them all live. In any case, as a photographer, it’s best to have left the video crews catch the excitement of the covers been whipped off the “world Premieres” and turn up 20 minutes later once the scramble has subsided.
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Geneva Show 2011 – Porsche 918 RSR

Up close with Porsche 918 RSR Hybrid A year ago Porsche’s 918 surprise at the Geneva Motor Show blew us away. Looking small and dainty but extraordinarily desirable it was pitched as a Carrera GT replacement. Yet it didn’t quite have the commanding presence of the GT, even if it’s spec and integration of hybrid [...]

2011 Geneva Motor Show - Porsche 918 RSR

Up close with Porsche 918 RSR Hybrid

A year ago Porsche’s 918 surprise at the Geneva Motor Show blew us away. Looking small and dainty but extraordinarily desirable it was pitched as a Carrera GT replacement. Yet it didn’t quite have the commanding presence of the GT, even if it’s spec and integration of hybrid technology made it worthy. If it’s 7:30min Nürburgring lap time is anything to go on, then it certainly qualified on speed and agility. Something about the folded paper look, lack of roof and delicate detailing of the show car made us want to put some horny rims on, install a loud exhaust and wake up the neighbours.

Geneva Motor Show 2011 - Porsche 918 RSR - embroidered seat and electro fill cap

Now exhibited in racing trim at the 2011 Geneva Show, that desire is mostly answered. the fixed roof, arch-filling racing slicks, additional carbon aerodynamic aids and orange “racing” decals vaguely recalling Gulf Oil sponsorship of the past, give it a butchness it was otherwise lacking. If Batman turned up in this beast, Gotham City would stand back and know what was coming. If Batman had turned up in the 918 “prototype”, he’d have Robin mince out slyly, while he conducted proceedings from his iPad3.


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Lexus add special Nürburgring Package to LFA Supercar

Limited edition Lexus LFA unveiled before 2011 Geneva Show A $375,000 supercar, of which only 500 will be built, not exclusive enough for you? Good news: the petrolheads over at the Lexus skunkworks have honed a special lightweight, track day version of their already awesome LFA for you. Only 50 will be made and christened [...]

Limited edition Lexus LFA unveiled before 2011 Geneva Show

A $375,000 supercar, of which only 500 will be built, not exclusive enough for you? Good news: the petrolheads over at the Lexus skunkworks have honed a special lightweight, track day version of their already awesome LFA for you. Only 50 will be made and christened “Nürburgring Package”. These special, limited edition cars are tuned to deliver exceptionally fast track times and sport large aeordynamic aids to keep downforce and consequently cornering speed high. To compensate there’s an extra 10bhp to push that huge wing through the air, supplemented by a 100kg weight reduction that sees acceleration maintained and, no doubt, braking distance reduced. To keep the connection with the Nürburgring going, buyers will be given free tuition and a years pass for the Nordschleife – this car is, after all, built to celebrate class victories there.

That massive carbon wing is fixed in position, unlike the standard car’s retractable one. There’s a huge front dam/tray that reduces effective ground clearance beyond the 10mm ride height lowering. Subtle chin winglets help channel air where it’s wanted, whilst at the rear, just over the tail-lights, Lexus have added small flaps. Inside, a liberal dose of carbon fibre and Alcantara replaces the standard leather. The Geneva Motor Show will be the car’s first public appearance on 3rd March.


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Adrian Von Hooydonk talks to YW about colours in car design

Continuing our quest for the truth about yellow cars, we interview BMW chief designer Adrian Von Hooydonk What do colours mean to car designers? We cornered BMW chief of design Adrian Von Hooydonk, to ask him this very question. As a yellow themed website, we were interested to see if the design and shape of [...]

Continuing our quest for the truth about yellow cars, we interview BMW chief designer Adrian Von Hooydonk

Adrian Von Hooydonk

What do colours mean to car designers? We cornered BMW chief of design Adrian Von Hooydonk, to ask him this very question. As a yellow themed website, we were interested to see if the design and shape of a car influenced acceptable colours. There are very very few BMWs and Mercs in yellow, yet quite a few Minis and Lambos. So over to you Adrian !

What does yellow in car design mean?
Are there any production yellow cars in the BMW range?
Yellow is quite a flat colour, so how does that affect design and shape?
Have you ever owned a yellow car?
Do you like yellow cars?
Do you agree with Tiff Needell that yellow cars should only ever be small and that Ferraris should never be yellow !?

click on green arrow to listen to interview

In conclusion Adrian is a fan of yellow cars. It’s an emotional colour which they use on some production Minis. When it comes to shape, there’s a big difference between using metallic or straight paint, and yellow suits strong shapes.


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Geneva Show Peugeot SR1 concept bike

Is this the shape of cycling to come? We’ve never featured a bike, here on YW, but there’s always a first time. And this bike caught our attention because of the prominence it was given on the Peugeot stand at the Geneva Show. It stood proudly next to Peugeot’s SR1 concept car, almost eclipsing it. [...]

Geneva Motor Show - Peugeot SR1 Concept bike

Is this the shape of cycling to come?

We’ve never featured a bike, here on YW, but there’s always a first time. And this bike caught our attention because of the prominence it was given on the Peugeot stand at the Geneva Show. It stood proudly next to Peugeot’s SR1 concept car, almost eclipsing it. Sculptural purity should be celebrated, whether functional or not, and this techno-cycle had shed loads of it. Shame that the spoke-less, hub-less rim drive rear wheel isn’t matched at the front with a similar, innovative wheel.

Peugeot SR1 Bike concept pedal and cranks detail

Clearly this bike isn’t going anywhere, judging by the stretch leather “tyres” and other non-working gizmos. And just what is the glass vial bubble-level right above the cranks? And what is the fake energy meter inlaid into the handlebars ? Maybe some sort of hybrid drive to match the SR1 car beside it ? None of this is explained. We can only assume electric power and regenerative braking. Certainly, the whole concept bike is just a design exercise to supplement and complement the car, and in this respect it does an excellent job. It mirrors the car’s unusual controls, techno bleached-look materials, and fancy layout. Bikes have been extracted from the same, standard mold for so long that a concept such as this is refreshing and welcome. Just enjoy the photos realising, that, like the spaceship designs of yesteryear, the reality will be somewhat more sober.


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Geneva Motor Show Peugeot SR1 Concept

Peugeot SR1 show car heralds shape of things to come from the lion brand. We’re not sure which was the most impressive: the magnificent show stand, easily the most elegant, prominent, and well designed at the show, or the Peugeot SR1 concept car basking in the soft pool of white light. For once a waterwall [...]

Geneva Motor Show - Peugeot SR1 - on amazing stand

Peugeot SR1 show car heralds shape of things to come from the lion brand.

We’re not sure which was the most impressive: the magnificent show stand, easily the most elegant, prominent, and well designed at the show, or the Peugeot SR1 concept car basking in the soft pool of white light. For once a waterwall backdrop looked entirely in keeping, and the open sports car was equipped with a roof, which looked at least splash-proof, thus staying on topic. If ever there was a motor show stand that made it easy to flatter a car, this was it. You could have put anything in there and it would look gorgeous, or at least well lit.

Geneva Motor Show - Lion gets a makeover

So the car: it’s a hybrid. Yes go on: a convertible. Anything else? Pretty good looking. Nice classical proportions. Plenty of space age gizmos. 3 seats. Actually pretty predictable overall, but well executed, with good choice of materials and intriguing control layout. What it says is though: Peugeot has a new styling direction, and the only gawping mouths are those of their current model lineup. It also signals a change of badging as the house lion motif gains some rigid bulk: no longer a fussy organic beast, it’s transformed into a hewn-from-solid techno-lion.

So just what are those two glass vials sticking out of the steering column? They are analogue displays of range and instant fuel economy. You can’t help thinking that they are the juices you’d swallow when range hits zero, all life has gone out of you, and you decide to exit the THX1138 world !


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Geneva Motor Show Aston Martin Cygnet

Aston Martin’s baby car the Cygnet has received mixed reactions from the press and public, so should they be dabbling in this segment of the market ? Controversial designs can grow on one, so we decided to leave this post a while to see if the Toyota IQ based Cygnet would win us over. If [...]

Geneva Motor Show - Aston Martin Cygnet front 3/4

Aston Martin’s baby car the Cygnet has received mixed reactions from the press and public, so should they be dabbling in this segment of the market ?

Controversial designs can grow on one, so we decided to leave this post a while to see if the Toyota IQ based Cygnet would win us over. If you can cast the Toyota origins out of your mind, you are presented with quite a neat little city car from side and rear views. Move around to the front and there’s a styling compromise forced on the shape by imposition of the trade mark Aston Martin grill, bonnet louvers and wing top vents. There are just too many icons forced into a small space compared to the purer sides and rear.


Up front the IQ has a mean nasal disposition, but the Cygnet is not sure if it’s happy or sullen and resembles classic minis a tad too much, but with a hint of Pokemon. Inside, this show example, sported garish red leather with black honeycomb inserts. But the inserts were too shiny and the overall impression too brash. We’d like to see a tastefully trimmed version to judge better. As a practical proposition, though this car has to be encouraged – why should small cars be cheap and spartan ? BMW’s Mini, although not exactly small has demonstrated that there is a market for stylish compact cars. Smart’s FourTwo got people used to short stubby shapes. Parking an Aston Martin Rapide in town could be challenging, so why not take the Cygnet instead for those little shopping sprees? This is what Aston are banking on and why they are prioritising deliveries of the first Cygnets to Aston customers.


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Geneva Motor Show Porsche 911 GT3R Hybrid Racer

Not content to launch a new Cayenne in hybrid form and a stonking 918 hybrid concept at Geneva, Porsche showed a hybrid version of its new GT3R racing car. Set to race for real at the Nürburgring, this is no concept but a fully fledged 911 endurance racer. What sets it apart from the competition, [...]

Geneva Motor Show Porsche 911 GT3R Hybrid Racer and kinetic drive


Not content to launch a new Cayenne in hybrid form and a stonking 918 hybrid concept at Geneva, Porsche showed a hybrid version of its new GT3R racing car. Set to race for real at the Nürburgring, this is no concept but a fully fledged 911 endurance racer. What sets it apart from the competition, particularly in the hybrid sense, is that it runs a flywheel type energy recovery, storage and power plant to supplement the 4 litre flat-six petrol engine engine in the tail rather than a battery pack.

Geneva Motor Show - Porsche 911 GT3R Hybrid racer

Electrically spun, the flywheel stores kinetic energy and transfers it back to twin front electric drive motors, effectively giving 4 wheel drive on demand. Braking electrically respins the flywheel for a 6-8 second burst of extra power and traction. No word from Porsche as to whether there are any negative gyroscopic effects in the corners (or at all), but it should be more stable at high speed if the flywheel mass is sufficient. The system appears to rely on its high rotation speed rather than pure spinning weight. And anyway most cars have four spinning gyroscopes covered in rubber; one at each corner ;-)
So how would you feel about sitting next to what looks like a personal nuclear fusion reactor ? Should be fine really as it’s just a disc spinning at, err, 40,000rpm….but at least it has been developed by Williams Hybrid Power Ltd and Torotrak so does have some F1 technology built in.


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Geneva Motor Show Hispano Suiza Granturismo

Hispano Suiza come back from the grave to give us the new Granturismo Based in Inglostadt, Germany and funded by a wealthy Spaniard from Barcelona, the Hispano Suiza brand makes a comeback…..again. We say again, as there was a stillborn attempt a few years ago, where the only tangible product was a show car. So [...]

Geneva Motor Show - Hispano Suiza Granturismo elegant profile

Hispano Suiza come back from the grave to give us the new Granturismo

Based in Inglostadt, Germany and funded by a wealthy Spaniard from Barcelona, the Hispano Suiza brand makes a comeback…..again. We say again, as there was a stillborn attempt a few years ago, where the only tangible product was a show car. So here we are again, but with an entirely new setup and backers. Our guide around the show car assures us that this one is a runner and about to undergo testing before production versions hit the streets in the autumn. They will have to prove that convincingly before anyone takes them seriously despite the impressive lineup of experienced designers and marketeers.

Geneva Motor Show - Hispano Suiza how they use to look

As for the car, it pretty much follows every other recent supercar upstart, by having a stratospheric price tag and performance to match. However, they have forged a distinctive styling path that will polarize opinions. The side profile works well with elegant window line, chrome faced air intakes, and pleasing, crisp, high waistline. Rear is neat and uncontroversial, but the nose is a love it / hate it pointed shark shaped beak, which would look more comfortable on a powerboat. The new Lamborghini Gallardo Superleggera carries off the arrow shaped nose a bit more convincingly. We’ll list the specs and hybrid options below but warn you first, that the normal cooking version ( if you can call a 205mph 330km/h car cooking ) costs a staggering €700,000. In the past Hispano Suizas were equally opulent, outrageous behemoths: the preserves of film stars, maharajahs and dictators so the price point was always breathtaking.


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Geneva Motor Show Jaguar XKR

Jaguar XKR gets let off the leash For a longtime now manufacturers have had a gentleman’s agreement to limit their high performance cars to 155mph/250kmh top speeds. This works well for containing the speed-one-upmanship that would otherwise break out between the makes and panders to the pressure to limit Germany’s speed-limit free motorways. But the [...]

Geneva Motor Show - Jaguar XKR now a Supercar?!

Jaguar XKR gets let off the leash

For a longtime now manufacturers have had a gentleman’s agreement to limit their high performance cars to 155mph/250kmh top speeds. This works well for containing the speed-one-upmanship that would otherwise break out between the makes and panders to the pressure to limit Germany’s speed-limit free motorways. But the XKR Jaguar has bees straining at the leash, dying to sprint beyond that artificial limit. Jaguar judge that the XKR, in its latest uprated form, is sufficiently specialist and powerful enough to warrant breaking out of its straight jacket. Indeed, they even refer to it as a supercar. If its new top speed of 174mph takes it into that territory, it had better have brakes and aerodynamics to match it’s new status. Painting the calipers red, and black chroming various addenda is not going to do it, so Jaguar have designed new front air dam/splitters and rear spoiler to keep it stable at high speed and fitted 20 inch rims. Let’s hope that the engine tweaks introduced to suit the new top speed haven’t affected lower speed tractability and usability. Although with 510PS and 625Nm of torque available we think that’s unlikely!


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