By Leon Poultney published
From hybrid supercars to three-seat drive-o-pods, 2017’s show had it all
Unless you enjoy a persistent fug of cheese, grey weather and horrifically overpriced bottles of sparkling water, it’s likely you’ve never really bothered with Geneva.
In this banker’s bolthole, supercars are as common as the family runaround and it's also the annual setting for one of the most important motor shows on the planet.
The Geneva Motor Show is where major marques love to reveal glimpses into the future, unleashing wild concepts and ideas, as well as everyday updates to well-loved models like the Nissan Qashqai and Suzuki Swift.
While the biggest names in the performance car game use it as a platform to unveil forthcoming kidney-pulverising machines.
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This year saw Lamborghini set a new benchmark for Nurburgring lap times with the Huracan Performante, while Ferrari took the wraps off its 812 Superfast and McLaren proved it still makes the most handsome supercars on the market
But it was the technologically advanced stuff that had me really salivating this year.
With everything from a three-seat Toyota that makes the Renault Twizy look sensible to a plug-in sports Bentley, it was as if there must have been something in the fondue…
Click or swipe through for T3's favourite techy rides of Geneva '17
Bentley EXP 12 Speed 6e
Did Bentley just make the electric sports car desirable? There's a good chance it did, as the enticingly entitled EXP 12 Speed 6e bears all the hallmarks of a potential plug-in classic.
Details are a little light but a Bentley spokesperson claimed that this is an exercise to gauge customer reaction to adding an all-electric Bentley to the line-up. The marque has suggested that the model would come with an inductive charging system as standard, so customers don't have to put up with a messy wall box.
Performance will naturally be brisk and the bods behind the machine say it will be able to complete some classic road trips, such as Paris to Monaco, on a single charge.
BY my reckoning, that means a range of around 250 miles.
The styling will divide opinion, as will the use of slightly bizarre red leather, copper and wood trim, but it's a handsome, topless play on the previous EXP 9 concept from a few years back.
Neat interior touches include an OLED screen where the instruments would typically sit, a steering wheel that looks as if it has been lifted from a Boeing 747 and a neat screen that runs along the centre console that appears to take care of infotainment.
Mercedes-Benz AMG GT Concept
AMG, the purveyor of molten hot Mercedes models, has finally succumbed to the inevitability of battery packs and electric motors.
Its gorgeous (okay, apart from the wheels) AMG GT Concept highlights just how good a four-seater hybrid AMG GT could look. Better still, it packs a decidedly banzai 805hp.
There is little information on the actual drivetrain, apart from the fact that Mercedes-Benz and AMG will badge future hybrid models “EQ Power+” and that they will borrow elements from its Formula 1 car technology including advanced battery packs and energy recuperation tech.
Although this is billed as a concept, Mercedes-AMG claims that we could see something similar go into production in the next two years. Lets hope that amazing grille, the futuristic front and rear lamps and centrally mounted exhaust system are here to stay.
Land Rover Discovery Project Hero
Yes, this is a Land Rover Discovery… But no ordinary one. It comes as standard with an on-board drone.
It's part of Jaguar Land Rover's Special Vehicle Operations (SVO) unit, which can basically do anything to any JLR product if you pay them enough, and sees a standard 3.0-litre TD6 Discovery kitted out will all manner of advanced communication technology to help the Red Cross in emergency situations.
The roof-mounted drone features 'self-centring and magnetic retention technology', which means it is capable of landing on the Project Hero vehicle, even when it's moving.
Footage from the aerial camera, which can travel at speeds up 33mph, can be beamed back to a tablet and screens inside the vehicle.
It is claimed that Project Hero will be used by the Red Cross during large scale emergency situations, such as avalanches, floods or automotive accidents.
At present this is only for the Austrian Red Cross, but give it a few years and who knows?
An extension of Toyota's similarly madcap i-ROAD concept, which was first unveiled in Geneva in 2013, the i-TRIL is a 'fun' alternative to city cars, small hatchbacks, motorcycles and even electric cars.
Powered by batteries and an electric motor, it weighs just 600kg, measures just 3m long and features a 1+2 seating layout. Toyota claims it is good for around 180-miles between charges.
However, it is the operation and performance of the vehicle that are truly peculiar.
There are no pedals, for a start, so drivers will stretch out and drive the vehicle using 'left and right-hand control nodes' not unlike a computer mouse or games controller.
Toyota says this will allow i-TRIL users to "wear whatever kind of shoes they want without compromising their control of the vehicle", solving a problem I wasn't even aware existed.
Going even further into the Kingdom of the Offbeat is the very cool 'Active Lean' tech, which was first introduced on the i-ROAD concept.
This involves using a hinge between the rear axle and cabin that allows the body and front tyres to lean while the powered rear wheels stay perpendicular to the road surface at all times.
Vanda Electrics Dendrobium
It's quite possible you've never head of Vanda Electrics, and we won't hold that against you, because current products include the cute-but-odd Motochimp battery-powered scooter and the fast-charging electric Ant Truck.
But the Singapore-based company stunned everyone at Geneva by springing an extremely handsome, all-electric hypercar, seemingly out of nowhere.
In a radical change of naming strategy, the vehicle is named not after an animal but a variety of orchid. This is a reference to the complex rear-hinged door mechanism, which opens out like petals, sort of.
The interior is equally impressive, with plenty of carbon fibre, and LED displays festooning the cabin.
A design study for now, Vanda has said it will build the car in limited numbers if there's enough interest from customers.
If that ends up being you, you'll be treated to a Formula E-style, all-electric powertrain said to develop around 700bhp, and capable of propelling this thing to 200mph. Say it with flowers.
And the winner of the most terrible company name goes to... Techrules. On the plus side, its concept car is pushing the boundaries of diesel-fuelled turbine recharging.
In its most eccentric form, this rampaging 1287bhp beast features up to six electric motors, with advanced lithium-ion battery packs, to delivery gut-busting performance figures.
A diesel engine is then harnessed to power a turbine, which recharges the batteries. Think of it as the most powerful range-extended hybrid ever made.
Techrules says the Ren would be offered with a range of motor and battery pack options. In its most reserved specification, the Turbine Recharging Electric Vehicle technology enables a 727-mile range from just 80 litres of diesel. The car can also cover up to 124 miles in full EV mode.
For those looking to have adrenaline well and truly pumping, there's the full fat model that is said to cover the 0-62mph sprint in 2.5 seconds and go on to a top speed of 217mph.
That's almost as hair-raising as the colour scheme they've used on this one.