Whether you're inclined to go hug a tree or not, get used to seeing more "Hybrid" badges on the cars around you, and not just on mainstream transportation like the Ford Fusion or Toyota Prius. In Geneva, the green cars are coming out of the woodwork, and the manufacturers they're attached to run the gamut from luxury marques like Audi, BMW and Lexus to performance manufacturers like Porsche and yes, even Ferrari.
Stricter environmental regs have automakers scrambling to find ways to improve fuel efficiency and lower emissions without sacrificing performance. You're only going to see more of this kind of stuff as time goes on. For example, Porsche has its first production hybrid headed to showrooms this year in the redesigned Cayenne SUV.
The obligatory supercars
It wouldn't be a major European auto show if there wasn't a poster-quality exotic car or two (or three, or 10) on the floor.
Lamborghini steps up and delivers with the unveiling of its new, lightweight Gallardo 570-4 Superleggera. It's painted green, but for all we know, that's just a cheeky jab at everyone else's hybrid mania.
In keeping with the green theme described earlier, the star of the Porsche stand is a 500+-horsepower plug-in hybrid concept called the 918 Spyder (shown above) and it could actually get produced, according to InsideLine.com.
Ferrari's major eye candy (also painted green, to drive home the not-particularly-subliminal message) is an "experimental" hybrid version of its existing 599GTB sports car that leverages a Formula 1-derived Kinetic Energy Response System (KERS). Ferrari says that in the future, we should expect this sort of thing across its entire range. Good to know for when you hit the lottery.
For the rest of us
The fully-redesigned Mazda5 compact minivan has been unveiled, with a freshened interior, power sliding doors, and new sheetmetal that brings the van in line with Mazda's current design ethos. That means it has an oddly disturbing perma-smile for a grille -- sort of like the minivan equivalent of a scary clown that visits you in your nightmares.
Mini pulled the wraps off its Countryman small crossover, which is noteworthy in that it's going to be the first Mini that may seem genuinely practical to car shoppers. For instance, it has four distinct, actual passenger doors and a back seat that looks like it's not engineered specifically for Lilliputians.
Ford's showing off its spiffy all-new 2012 Focus Wagon, but you shouldn't get worked up over that -- it's not headed to the States. It's not that Ford hates you, America -- it's that you seem to hate station wagons. If you disagree, write a letter to your Senator. Or better yet, Ford.
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