Motor show highlights: VW reveals the ultimate beach buggy
THE world's most expensive new car rubbed door handles with mass-market city chariots, visions of an electrified future, gorgeous designs and garish tuner specials at the 2019 Geneva International Motor Show.
Starting in everyday territory, Mazda revealed the fifth SUV in its range, presenting a new CX-30 based on the latest Mazda3 hatch. Positioned between the compact, Mazda2-based CX-3 and family-size CX-5, the new model is likely to arrive at a slightly higher price point to the lower and less spacious Mazda3.
It fills an important gap in the Mazda line-up as buyers gravitate toward SUVs and, the maker says, it isn't fazed by the potential for the CX-30 to take sales from stablemates as it prefers to give customers as much choice as possible.
Mitsubishi unveiled an update of sorts for its ASX compact SUV. Riding on the same platform as its predecessor, the new ASX represents more of a mid-life tweak than a wholesale change to one off the most popular - and oldest - cars in its class.
With the next Paris motor show scheduled for September 2020, French giants Peugeot and Renault served up new versions of some of their best-selling cars in the Renault Clio and Peugeot 208 - the latter with petrol or electric power.
The compact city cars will take on the likes of VW's Polo this year, bringing a touch of Gallic flair as well as improved connectivity and safety credentials. Both will be the basis for baby SUVs in the form of next-gen Renault Captur and Peugeot 2008 in the near future.
Skoda presented its answer to the Captur in a new Kamiq crossover combining a surprising amount of rear space with the brand's practical attention to detail. Its German cousins at VW put forward a high-performance crossover in the T-Roc R alongside an updated Passat sedan.
Pride of place on the VW stand went to the ID Buggy concept promising a guilt (and emissions) free future for young folks keen to channel their inner Beach Boys. The simple green roadster was joined by a thumping V8 TDI version of the Touareg SUV in what might be a farewell for eight-cylinder diesel power at the people's marque.
Honda's too-cute Urban EV Concept stole the 2017 Frankfurt show with Hello Kitty looks and the promise of budget electric motoring. A precursor to the production version emerged in Geneva, with somewhat underwhelming range of less than 200km, comparatively conservative styling and a hi-tech cabin echoing the exterior's retro cool.
Kia's "Imagine by Kia" was a surprise, steering viewers to the possibility of an all-electric future with twin 21-inch cabin displays and autonomous abilities.
Buyers with a little more budget could consider the Polestar 2 introduced by Volvo's electric spin-off brand. Packing 300kW of power, 500lm of range and world-class safety features, the Polestar 2 promises to take the fight to Tesla in Australia and beyond
Wealthy motorists looking to stand out from the crowd could consider As
ton Martin's high-end Lagonda spin-off, presenting a further concept as a rival to the likes of Tesla's Model X.
Next-gen models presented in concept form included Audi's Q4 E-Tron which represents a sportier follow-up to the original Q7-based e-tron SUV due locally in 2020. The four-ringed marque also produced a sporty e-tron GT prototype based on Porsche's electric Taycan.
Subaru hinted at a high-riding hybrid with the Viziv Adventure concept nudging supporters in the direction of a next-gen XV crossover - we'll have to wait a while longer to see a next-gen WRX.
Nissan's IMQ show car served as a semi-autonomous vehicle highlighting the potential for e-Power technology confirmed for European showrooms. Already on sale in Japan, e-Power feeds electric motors via an on-board petrol generator, in a similar fashion to the defunct Holden Volt.
Alfa Romeo sprung a surprise of sorts with a compact SUV to tackle BMW's X2. Dubbed Tonale, the little brother to the Stelvio will combine Jeep underpinnings with a hybrid driveline and a more driver-focused dynamic experience than similar-sized models peddled by Fiat Chrysler.
Fiat's Centoventi electric vehicle concept pointed to a future Panda hatch, which could be a winner for the Italian marque, giving it a fresh companion to the ageing 500 range.
BMW presented a new 7 Series sedan with a towering twin grille looking like a hamster with overgrown front teeth, something you'll also find on the front of its new X7 flagship SUV.
Its high-performance duo, the X3M and X4M, put the six-cylinder turbo of the next BMW M3 in high-riding bodywork - we might have to wait until the Frankfurt motor show in September to get a glimpse of the next-gen M3.
Drivers who aren't ready to take home a boxy SUV (or anything electric) might consider the new Audi A6 Allroad, a jacked-up wagon combining tough looks with a more car-like driving experience.
Mercedes-Benz unveiled a wagon of its own in the CLA Shooting Brake, a cousin to the latest A-Class hatchback that's unlikely to join its siblings on local soil.
It wouldn't be a car show without a new Benz SUV, which debuts in the form of a facelifted GLC crossover bringing safety and tech from last year's C-Class sedan upgrade.
Alfa Romeo's high-riding Stelvio is back with two new versions - a 2.0-litre turbo diesel and a punchy petrol Ti version set to slot in between the regular Stelvio and range-topping Stelvio Q.
Not to be outdone, Bentley brought along the fastest SUV on sale in the new Bentayga Speed, packing a 12-cylinder engine that propels the two-tonne wagon to 306km/h.
Missing in action
Several key brands skipped the show. Polestar was there in force but its Volvo parent joined the likes of Tesla, Infiniti and Hyundai on the sidelines. The looming prospect of a hard Brexit may have kept British marques Jaguar Land Rover, Mini and Vauxhall away from Geneva to concentrate on more pressing matters.