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Shelby Mustang Cobra GT500, Geneva Auto Show, New York Auto Show, Detailers Paradise, Nissan Titan, Porsche 911 Carrera S, Volvo S40
Issue Seventeen
March 28, 2005
2005 Geneva Auto Show
Photo Gallery:
2005 Geneva Auto Show
2005 New York Auto Show
Photo Gallery:
2005 NY Auto Show
Hot Lap with:
Detailers Paradise
Nissan Titan
Porsche 911 Carrera S
2005 Volvo S40

2005 Geneva Auto Show:
Car Shows European Style (continued)

Ford Focus ST

Opel Astra OPC

Pininfarina Maserati Birdcage Concept

Visit the:
Geneva Auto Show
Photo Gallery

Official Web sites:
Geneva Auto Show
That covers the US-bound autos previewed in Geneva-but many more European-market models were there. Skodas, Citroens, Alfa Romeos and more whetted the appetite of European buyers-but one American concept car, not meant to make it to our own shores, deserves mention here. The Cadillac BLS is the latest salvo in the 'Standard of the World's' barrage of world-class luxury automobiles. Smaller than the CTS, it's based upon the Epsilon platform that underpins the 9-3 and plebian Pontiac G6, but tuned to suit European driving tastes. Several gas engines are offered, supplemented with turbocharging (!); as well as a 1.9-liter diesel (!!). We'll be surprised if the American public doesn't beg GM to bring it stateside.

Much like the sensory overload that's known as the Tokyo show, the land of peace and neutrality is often home to some far-out concepts-often courtesy of Swiss house Rinspeed. Looking like it'd be more at home on the set of the Jetsons than in any family garage, the new Splash concept is half Miata and half Boston Whaler. A 137-hp roadster by day, it converts not only to a small, propeller-driven boat (a la the iconic 50s' Amphicar) but also a sort of hydrofoil. Claiming a top speed of over 45 knots in this mode, using hydraulics and various deploying wings the Splash flies two feet above any calm body of water. And as if that weren't enough, the, um, creative minds at Rinspeed also entertained crowds with the Senso, an odd-looking sports car that monitors your driving and pulse rate and uses colors, sounds, vibrations and even-yes-smells to keep drivers awake and alert.

Certain to fuel further speculation about the (possibly) upcoming Toyota supercar, the Alessandro Volta features a 402-horse version of the Lexus RX-400h powerplant. With seating for three abreast, this Italdesign-Guigiaro concept hints strongly at rumored top-dog Toyota.

Even the famed Hispano-Suiza moniker made an appearance in Geneva. A heroic supercar concept, the HS21 is built by Spanish firm Mazel. Featuring a V10 powerplant, this Barcelona-built supercoupe with the protruding schnoz should ring in at around half a million dollars.

A fascinating automotive experience, the Geneva Motor Show mixes the industry-important high-volume introductions of a Detroit or New York auto show with the zaniness and tongue-in-cheek design exercises seen in, say, Tokyo. The press conferences come just as fast-and-furious as at any major show-and with booths staffed with scantily-clad models, plenty of eye-candy is on hand for journalists and executives as well. The exhibits here generate plenty of news-but there's a lot of pure entertainment, too. A lot of work manages to get done, but nobody forgets to enjoy themselves.

Spending time in Geneva proves what we in the automotive industry know, but don't often speak of: as serious as this is, it's also fun. The stakes are high, and the competition is fierce in just about every segment-but damned if this isn't the best business there is.

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