The Best New Cars at the Geneva Auto Show

This week at the Geneva Motor Show has proved nothing if not glamorous. And, like the lady serving $40 hamburgers at a roadside diner put it, “Life in Geneva is expensive.” She might have been talking about the burgers, but the statement applies to the cars here, too.

Amid a flurry of quirky electric concepts and people-movers from primarily European brands, big-brand names in the hypercar world—Koenigsegg, Bugatti—have produced multi-million-dollar production-ready cars to bolster their street cred.

Meanwhile, storied brands like Aston Martin and Rolls-Royce, Lamborghini and Ferrari delivered next-generation and upgraded models of surefire hits: The Vanquish Concept, the Cullinan SUV, the Huracan Evo Spyder, and the F8 Tributo, respectively.

And two newcomers with long histories—Pininfarina and Hispano-Suiza—joined the fray as well, each bringing electric supercars costing roughly $2 million and a lot of patience before they are actually built.

Of course, Audi, BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Porsche were there too, in full force. Most of theirs even dipped below the six-figure mark.

In short, where the auto shows in Detroit, New York and Los Angeles have felt shallow and empty lately, Geneva was anything but. If you’re planning to attend when it opens to the public, bring your camera—and a healthy bank account.

Here is a look at the most interesting things we saw.

Bugatti La Voiture Noire

Opening Day Of The 89th Geneva International Motor Show
Bugatti La Voiture Noire.
Photographer: Stefan Wermuth/Bloomberg

Difficult for non-French speakers to say, the name simply means “The Black Car” in French. It’s meant to be a modern take on the Bugatti 57 SC Atlantic from the mid 1930s. (Fashion designer Ralph Lauren has famously owned one or two.)

Opening Day Of The 89th Geneva International Motor Show
Photographer: Stefan Wermuth/Bloomberg

Only one of the new ones was made, and yes, it’s been sold, reportedly to Ferdinand Piech, the former CEO of Volkswagen Group. It’s valued at more than €16 million, or $18 million, with a base price of $12.5 million.

Koenigsegg Jesko

Opening Day Of The 89th Geneva International Motor Show
Koenigsegg Jesko.
Photographer: Stefan Wermuth/Bloomberg

Named after the beloved father of Koenigsegg founder and CEO, Christian von Koenigsegg, the Jesko combines 1,280 horsepower (or 1,600 horsepower when fueled on biofuel, as customers may choose) with a new nine-speed transmission and a top speed of 300 miles per hour, the company says. Inside is a cabin for two with creature comforts like parking cameras, infotainment, and power-automatic seats. (These are big luxury gets for a car so focused on basic speed.) Look for it to start production in 2021.

Hispano Suiza Carmen

Day Two Of The 89th Geneva International Motor Show
Hispano Suiza Carmen.
Photographer: Stefan Wermuth/Bloomberg

Based on the 1938 Hispano-Suiza H6C Dubonnet Xenia, and named in honor of the granddaughter of Damián Mateu, the founder of Hispano-Suiza, the Carmen is an all-electric car that has more than 1,000 horsepower and a €1.5 million ($1.7 million) price tag.

While its numbers aren’t stellar compared to the super-electric car debuted by Pininfarina, it will still do 0-to-60mph in just under three seconds, with a top speed of 155mph. With 503bhp on each of two motors and a range of roughly 250 miles on one charge, it still promises top-end performance, reliable electric power, and an unconventional design—all built in Barcelona, Spain. Look for production of the Carmen to start in June 2020. Nineteen of them will be made.

Ginetta Akula

Opening Day Of The 89th Geneva International Motor Show
Ginetta Akula.
Photographer: Stefan Wermuth/Bloomberg

Not very reserved for a car made by an old British company, the $532,000 Ginetta Akula screams for attention at any angle. Its V8 engine is mounted in the middle of the car and paired with a six-speed transmission with rear-wheel drive.

Day Two Of The 89th Geneva International Motor Show
Photographer: Chris J. Ratcliffe/Bloomberg

Plus, it boasts 600 horsepower and a 200mph top speed. It’s all very extreme—legal to drive on the street but made for the track. Ginetta, which is based in Leeds, England, says it will build 20 of them in 2020.

This is the new mid-engine V8 from Ferrari, replacing the stellar 488 GTB and 458 Italia models. Among its subtle new styling cues are fresh headlights, big round tail lights, and updated aerodynamics. Better yet, it has an exciting clear engine cover on that mid-mounted engine.

Opening Day Of The 89th Geneva International Motor Show
Photographer: Chris J. Ratcliffe/Bloomberg

Performance numbers are roughly the same as before, with 720 horsepower and 568 pound-feet of torque that get it to 60mph in 2.9 seconds. Top speed is expected to be well over 200mph—after all, the 488 Pista can do 211mph without breaking a sweat. Pricing has yet to be announced, but deliveries begin early next year.

Pininfarina Battista

Opening Day Of The 89th Geneva International Motor Show
Pininfarina Battista.
Photographer: Stefan Wermuth/Bloomberg

This is the first production model from the newly formed Automobili Pininfarina, the car-making entity that shares branding with the classic design house founded in 1930. It’s named after the company founder, Battista “Pinin” Farina, and packs a wallop: All-electric with zero emissions; 1,900 horsepower, 0-60mph in less than two seconds, and able to charge to 80 percent in 40 minutes on a supercharger outlet.

Opening Day Of The 89th Geneva International Motor Show
Photographer: Stefan Wermuth/Bloomberg

Look for it to join the crew of hypercars from Koenigsegg, Ferrari, Bugatti and Lamborghini that attract the world’s wealthiest connoisseurs. Only 150 of them will be made; half are already sold. Production begins in 2020. Pricing starts at $2.2 million.

Aston Martin Vanquish Vision Concept

Aston Martin Vanquish Vision Concept.
Photographer: Harold Cunningham/AFP via Getty Images

As Aston Martin’s first mid-engined supercar, the Vanquish Vision Concept joins the likes of Ferrari’s new F8 Tributo as gorgeous high-performance vehicles sold for what will be highly expensive prices. It’s the latest of many concepts and “visions” the recently-public automaker has debuted, though few of them have yet to make it to full production. Exact MSRP has yet to be announced, as do many engine and performance specs, but it will contain an aluminum chassis and the same Formula 1-inspired V6 engine found in the AM-RB 003 turbo-hybrid. A production version may be debuted by early next year.

Lamborghini Huracan Evo Spyder

89th Geneva International Motor Show Press Days
Lamborghini Huracan Evo Spyder.
Photographer: Robert Hradil/Getty Images

The 630-horsepower Huracan Evo Spyder continues the excellent Huracan line with a 631bhp 5.2-liter naturally aspirated V10 engine and a 0-62mph time in 3.1 seconds (that’s just 0.2 sec slower than the hard-top model). Top speeds are the same between the coupe and spyder version as well, at 202mph. The main difference here is that the Huracan Evo Spyder comes with a power automatic top that deploys in 17 seconds.

89th Geneva International Motor Show, Press Day
Photographer: Sergei Fadeichev/Getty Images

With myriad traction and stability controls including a rear-wheel steering, all-wheel-drive system and adaptive dampers, plus multiple drive modes for street, sport or track, the new drop-top Lambo promises the kind of extreme driving thrill that only an old Italian exotic brand can give. It’s nearly a dying breed.