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Geneva Motor Show 2011 is go!

By BenCee on 02 Mar 2011

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Motor shows have always interested me, ever since I was a young kid. I mean, where else do you get such a huge collection of new cars in one place, all displayed on the floor for you to poke around and get up close and personal with?

In the automotive media industry, motor shows too are huge affairs. This is normally where car manufacturers announce their latest offerings, or showcase concept cars that point the way to the future, or simply go crazy with their wacky design ideas. There's lots to take in really.

Geneva's Motor Show, held annually in March, is probably one of the biggest, if not the biggest, motor show on the motoring calendar. 2011's Geneva Motor Show, the 81st edition to be held, will be open to the public from 3-13 March, with two press days on 1-2 March for the automotive media to get a sneak peek of what's on display.

Looking through at what have been already announced, it seems that this year's show will feature a good number of supercars. With a number of them reaching replacement time, it seems like the supercar makers all chose Geneva to unleash their weapons.

Starting with Swedish sports car maker Koenigsegg, who thundered into Switzerland with their Agera R supercar, boasting of a whopping 1115bhp and a crazy roof box on top of it. Look at it!

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Not to be outdone, Lamborghini is launching the Aventador, the Murcielago's replacement. After days of having pictures of the supercar leak out through the press in the run-up to the show, Lamborghini decided to reveal it officially once and for all at a pre-show event on the eve of the show's opening.

It certainly looks like a Lamborghini. Aggressive, low-slung and ready to eat you up if you provoke it.

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Another Italian supercar that is being replaced is the Pagani Zonda, and its place will be taken by the all new Huayra (pronounced "Wirer", apparently).

It looks more like an evolution of the Zonda's design, and it may not be to everyone's tastes, but that's what supercars do. They polarise opinion. You either love them, or you hate them.

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Of course, the biggest name in Italian sports cars, Ferrari, would not want to miss the party. The Prancing Horse has, however, decided to take on a slightly different path, with its FF (Ferrari Four) Concept, which is likely to be the replacement for the 612 Scaglietti grand tourer.

Its unique breadvan/shooting brake design is certainly distinctive, and the FF also features Ferrari's first ever four-wheel-drive system. Whatever it is, it will most definitely be a landmark car for Ferrari.

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Days before the event, Aston Martin pulled off a minor surprise when they announced an all-new model, the Virage. The British sportscar maker says that the Virage will slot in between the DB9 and the DBS in its range, but for the life of me I just can't see the point or tell the difference, as I've already talked about before.

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Of course, motor shows are not just about fast and expensive supercars. There are new product launches that are well within the reach of ordinary folk like us as well.

I guess if there's any one brand that everyone is looking at now, it has to be Kia. The Korean carmaker is rapidly rising through the ranks in the automotive ladder with its bold designs and much improved quality, and Geneva sees Kia launching yet more cars to help continue its meteoric ascent.

The biggest news from them has to be the new Rio family car, which looks like a massive leap from the current version, and seems to be more aligned with European tastes. The goalposts have certainly been shifted now for fellow Asian carmakers, if they want to catch up.

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There is also a replacement for its popular Picanto city car, which is now slightly more grown-up, losing its previous cutesy look for a slightly more mature design.

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Another family car, albeit a slightly larger one, that might interest local buyers is the Chevrolet Cruze Hatchback. Granted, most Singaporeans prefer a sedan with a proper boot, but this provides an interesting alternative to the family car scene.

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With fuel prices on the rise, and numerous environmental concerns in this 21st century world that we live in, carmakers are starting to offer new ways of providing propulsion for their products, to replace the gas-guzzling internal combustion engine. And so at Geneva, more than a few are showcasing electric or hybrid cars in their bid to 'save the world'.

Leaving aside the usual suspects like Toyota, there are some electric or hybrid vehicles at Geneva coming from carmakers not usually known for their focus on efficiency or fuel economy.

Porsche, which already has a Cayenne Hybrid on sale, is adding the Panamera S Hybrid to its range. Porsche claims that the Panamera S Hybrid is the most economical Porsche it has ever built, although that doesn't really say very much.

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Land Rover, more well-known for its tough, no nonsense off-roaders, is bringing along its Range_e diesel plug-in hybrid concept to Switzerland. While the Range_e has not been confirmed for production, the exercise should at least silence its detractors who complain about off-roaders being polluting and un-environmentally-friendly.

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Finally, from the most unlikeliest of sources, Rolls-Royce is unveiling the 102EX EV concept, or what is essentially an electric-powered Phantom. While the car is just a study for now, Rolls-Royce will use the 102EX EV to gauge customer reaction by bringing it on a world tour for tests. Which means that, more likely than not, the technology found in the 102EX EV will soon make its way onto production Rolls-Royce cars sooner rather than later.

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Those are just some of the highlights from the 2011 Geneva Motor Show, and certainly there would be many, many more cars to whet your appetite that I have not mentioned.

For any car nut, a visit to one of these motor shows would be something of a pilgrimage. I certainly hope that one day, I would be lucky enough to make a trip there on my own, to savour these cars in the flesh.

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A petrolhead from young, Ben is living the dream, writing about cars...

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