2016 Geneva Motor Show – PART 1
As far as I’m concerned, the Geneva Motor Show is one of those events a petrolhead can’t miss. Not only it is a great opportunity to see some rather rare and exclusive cars you might not see easily (think of the Aventador Jota) or never ever see (think of all the promising concept cars that don’t make it). As far as I know, Geneva also happens to be the only motorshow where you can see « high-luxury » tuners (sucha as Mansory, Fab Design, Hamann, Gemballa etc…) showcase their latest creations. To make things short, it’s one of my favorite places on Earth. But it’s not only about the cars, all the automotive microcosm comes to Geneva: known journalists, important people from the industry, VIPs, friends. For a few days it’s litterally THE place to be, THE place to catch up with some friends I don’t get too see a lot, meet new ones. Where else would I ever see, in the same place, DoctaM3, Marchettino, Shmee150, Itswhitenoise, SebDelanney, MrJWW, Future Photography, SupercarsOfLondon, SeenThroughGlass… and so many countless other people I forgot, and I apologize!
So my friend Laurent & I left Paris on February 29th at around 10PM (our plane was delayed for like 1 hour), and 45 minutes later, I was in a very cold Geneva. But hey, at least there wasn’t snow on the tarmac! I was very lucky to catch the last bus to get to my friend’s place! That’s what you call timing. Once at « home », it was time to make sure everything was ready for tomorrow, and above all, get some much-needed SLEEP for an early arrival at Palexpo. Well, that was the plan. I only slept 1 hour. That’s because I was up all night watching the Oscars a few days before, and that completely messed-up my sleeping pattern haha.
So after 1 hour of sleep, it was time to get ready for the 2016 Geneva Motor Show. We arrived there before 7h30, and the Motor Show wasn’t open yet, but there already was quite a huge queue lining in front of the gates. I hate queuing. And then the green light was ON. Time to get in. My first reflex is to go to the press room for some reason, just check the setup. Second thing to do, is to go to the cloakroom, where you can leave your big coats, luggage and other stuff (it’s always very helpful: no one wants to spend a whole day carrying around a 10kg suitcase, believe me). So here I was, walking around the motorshow. I knew I had two whole days in front of me, and a bunch of things to do. First thing I did was to go straight to the hypercars. Good thing Pagani, Bugatti, Koenigsegg & Lamborghini are really close to each other!
The Koenigsegg stand was by far the most colourful thing of the MotorShow. The swedish brand from Angelholm brought THREE cars that looked like Skittles; I was ready to eat them on their lovely white stand (though I didn’t buy any model cars this year – booHoo). Three « new » cars: the yellow Koenigsegg Agera RS « ML », the orange Koenigsegg Agera « One of 1 » and a « Candy Apple red » Koenisegg Regera.
The Koenigsegg Agera « One of 1 » is one of the three last Agera the brand will ever build. These three will be part of the « Final edition » (considering the Agera RS was sold-out). This lovely « Alba orange » (that is the correct name of this lovely orange colour) monster caught my attention for many reasons. First of all, its name. I found that a bit peculiar – Koenigsegg has already a model named the « One:1 ». Couldn’t they have picked a more exclusive name for a special edition, instead of making it even more confusing? I’m not complaining or anything, I’m good with names, special editions and car trivia. But that’s not making the job easier for « other people » lol. Done with the small rant.
Other than that, the car is 100% unique, featuring a lot of bespoke details. First of all, the back of the car has a completely new feel to it. They added what appears to be some sort of fog-light, which wasn’t present in neither the Agera or Agera RS. It also seems to be a One:1 wing, but heavily customized. Basically, the car was 100% customized and specced by the client. Which is pretty damn amazing and the final result is incredible.
The yellow beast is the Koenigsegg Agera ML RS, chassins #118. I’m really glad we had absolutely NO info on this car & what it looked like before the 2016 Geneva Motor Show – I love surprises and when things are kept on the down low. It apparently took something like 3 years of meetings & travels to configure the car for the lucky client, and now it’s here! The final result is incredible. I’ve always been a fan of bright colours, you already know that. Therefore, when you combine yellow with red accents & carbon fiber, you have an absolute win, no matter the rest. This Agera RS is probably the coolest one I’ve seen. The fact that it also is the one and only yellow Koenigsegg at the moment (there have been others in the past) makes it that much cooler for me.
Last but not least, the « Candy apple red » Regera. This is the first production model of the Regera (the ice blue one we have seen until then was « merely » a prototype). Let’s start with all the easy things: the colour. Magnificent. Not the first time they use it, but obviously first time with the Regera, and it’s a perfect fit. Much much more interesting than the blue one.
One side had the « old wheels » we had seen at the previous Geneva Motor Show. The other side of the car had another design. The whole body of the car is robotized. The interior hasn’t changed drastically, just slight modifications. This particular model is Koenigsegg’s car (from what I understood it’s actually CVK’s personal car). All through the show, the car kept opening itself up automatically so people could see all the details: doors, trunk, engine bay, everything was opening up, at first I didn’t really understand what was going on lol. All in all it was a masterpiece. I tried to get all three in a row and facing the same way, but it proved to be impossible lol. Good thing they had an amazing set of sofas on their stand, where I could rest my feet and chillax with skullsandsnaps (aka Jo Kingman) & rchanphotography !
As with every year, Pagani Automobili was present during the Geneva Motor Show, where they first revealed their Zonda back in 1999. Another highlight of the show, the Pagani Huayra BC. Ever since 2011, year of the reveal of the Huayra (also at the Geneva Motor Show), we were hearing all sorts of things about the replacement. Most people talked about a spider version or a Huayra R. But, as we learned, it turned out to be a special edition (from what I heard, only 20 units of the car will be built – this has yet to be confirmed) of the Huayra, the Pagani Huayra BC. One of the most important anecdotes about the car is its name « BC ». It stands for « Benny Caiola », famous american car-collector who passed away in 2010. He also was Horacio’s first customer, therefore I can’t think of a better way than to give your next car the name as a tribute. This year we had a lot of tributes, with the BC, the Centenario and the Chiron = all the names were tributes to certain people (though indirectly for the Centenario), and I really like that trend, which I find humble.
The Pagani Huayra BC was slowly revealed through social media platforms with teasers. And a week or two before the 2016 Geneva Motor Show, we knew its final form. I feel the car has been somewhat Zonda-fied (which isn’t a bad thing), especially with the blue stripe that reminds me of the Cinque’s. The massive use of carbon on pretty much every component of the car: front bumpert, wing, mirrors, interior as well as flaps & hood) give it a final weight of 1220 kg, which is less than the « original Huayra ». A lot of friends told me that this is how the Huayra should’ve looked from the beginning, that it now looks more mature. I kind of disagree, because the Huayra is sort of perfect the way it was, the BC has too many extra components for agressivity.
Speaking of agressivity. The most important feature of the car, at least to me, is its massive back wing. From a sideview, it reproduces what seems to be a fin, therefore I immediately feel a connection with an aquatic predator. The Huayra sort of looked like a gentle whale to me at the beginning, a fatter Zonda. But now, with the BC, it’s an Orca (well, the car is black & white basically, helping to make that connection). The distinctive curve on the wing is without a doubt the most amazing aspect of the car, THE detail that makes the difference.
As far as the specs of the car go: still the V12 from AMG, but a bit tweaked, to deliver more than 785 hp (60 more than the original Huayra). The Huayra BC does the 0 to 100km/H in 3,0 seconds, and has a top speed of 350 km/h. But then again, as far as I’m concerned, the real purpose of owning a Zonda isn’t so much the mind-boggling performance, but the sheer joy of driving a hand-made marvel, built with love and passion, that drives amazingly good.
Crazy anecdote from the Motor Show: Salomondrin and his CupGang (who were all there filming and doing shenanigans) actually put a CupGang sticker on the Huayra BC. You heard me. They stickered a 2,3 million euro car. And they actually had a bit of trouble to take it off from what I heard. That’s a bit crazy lol. But hey, apparently he ordered one, which sort of… makes it… OK, I guess?
There also was a neat yellow Pagani Huayra (the « original one » as I like to call it now) on the other side of the stand. I felt the colour would somewhat captivate attention on her rather than on BC (simple human social science, our eye leans towards bright colours). But that was not the case, luckily. It was all about the BC in Geneva! Horacio Pagani was obvioulsy there, as with every year. One of the coolest persons in the automotive industry. He even signed a friend’s 1/43 of a Pagani Zonda with a nice message = PRICELESS.
As I had previously told you in my article about the Chiron before we knew too much about it, it was a relief to see that the project stayed alive despite the VW scandal. But enough about that. So I was on my way to Geneva, about to board the plane actually (before we knew it had 1h of delay), and the official Chiron pictures were released. When I first saw them, I didn’t really feel the hype, probably because it was on my screen & I was tired from the travel. I had to see the car with my own eyes to have a better understanding of it. When I arrived that morning at the Motor Show, the press conference had not started yet, so the car was still under covers, which was ironic because they already had a 1/12 scale model of the car in their little « shop » lol (or maybe it was a Vision GT? Now I’m doubting myself). Therefore, I eventually missed the official presentation for the car, because I was in the press room editing videos & managing things.
The Bugatti stand was oddly agenced this year. First of all, they only had that ONE car. I can understand that, the Veyron era is over, no more cars to sell. But there usually are at least two cars. And now there was only ONE. I think they could’ve at least brought another one to show yet another livery as well as the incredible palette of possibilities Bugatti offers when it comes to speccing a car. But I’m happy with just the one.
The Bugatti Chiron is less gracious and elegant than the Veyron, in my humble opinion. The latter had a very round form, it sort of looked like a pebble, all smooth. Whereas the Chiron, though somewhat keeping the form, feels more angular (especially with the back). But then again, when we’ll talk performance, I don’t think small details like that matter. The car presented had a two-tone spec (dark blue / light blue), which is what we had already seen with the Vision GT. As was announced, the Vision GT really inspired the Chiron, without a doubt, though it is obviously much less agressive, you can tell where the inspirations come from. Mainly with the head-lamps (which are exactly the same) and the huge line of led-tail lights (Mr.JWW actually told me that this was the largest LED display on a car, which is pretty cool).
My favorite aesthetic detail of the car is the interior. One specific detail about the interior. Though I don’t have personal photos of it (Bugatti would never let me inside the stand and would always ask me to wait, I eventually just stopped trying lol). The interior features an arch that separates driver from passenger, that litterally makes the car look like a spaceship, and replicates the side panels, forming three big Cs (side, interior, side). This did it for me, I didn’t need much more to appreciate the Chiron. This little detail alone sold the car to my heart! Bugatti have expected to sell 500 units of the Chiron, which I find very optimistic and bold, considering it took them almost 10 years to sell ALL of the 450 Veyrons. But hey, apparently more than 1/3 of the cars have already been ordered. Which is pretty good for Bugatti I suppose. As far as pricing goes: 2,5 million euros. That is A LOT of money, and we’re not even in the « limited edition » realm. I guess the mythos built around the Veyron and the performances of the Chiron explain that.
As far as performances go, well. We are talking about Bugatti here. The brand that managed to make the « first » fastest production car in the world that had over 1000bhp. Needless to say, they had to out-do themselves with their next model. And they did. The Chiron has the same W16 engine but with different turbos that have been worked on, for a final result that delivers 1500 bhp for top speeds of 420 km/h (though the Chiron can do more, they will limit the car to this speed) and a 0 to 100km/h in 2,5s. BRUTAL. You read right, that is INSANE. No client, no one is ever going to use those 1500 bhp to their fullest array, but hey, it’s a selling factor. That being said, even with that crazy amount of power, the Chiron remains a very easy « day to day » car, driveable in all circumstances contrary to other powerful cars (and it even has some decent trunk space). That might sound hard to believe, but it’s actually one of the key factors that made the success of the Veyron.