The 2012 Geneva Motor Show kicked off this week, and as usual, there is a seemingly endless number of new-model debuts associated with it. Some of the cars, we'll never see here in the States, while others are a lock to land in U.S. dealerships. The luxury marques have a typically spashy assortment of debuts, ranging from a roofless, ultra-extreme Lamborghini to an SUV from Bentley.
On a more realistic note for many, Lexus pulled the wraps off its updated RX crossover, Porsche unleashed the latest Boxster, Mitsubishi (remember them?) introduced an all-new Outlander SUV, and Ferrari and Lamborghini duked it out for best of show. Oh, and if you like convertibles, Range Rover has something to show you.
For more commentary, follow the jump and watch me chat about the Geneva show on this week's Fox Car Report with host Gary Gastelu and Mike Spnelli from Jalopnik.com and Drive. After that, check out the photo gallery for shots and info on several of the show's significant debuts.
Bentley EXP 9F Concept
The "EXP" in the moniker stands for experimental prototype, but don't let that fool you. While the SUV Bentley rolled onstage in Geneva is technically a concept vehicle, it's a lock to make production, where it will become an instant cash cow for the British luxury automaker.
Pity, then, that the exterior styling is so grotesque.The same can't be said about the interior, which contains more wood and leather than the Yale Club. Power comes from the twin-turbocharged W12 used in Bentley's Continental series, and naturally, all-wheel-drive is standard.
2013 Mitsubishi Outlander
Mitsubishi, reduced to all-but-invisible status in the U.S., hopes to change that with the introduction of its all-new next-generation Outlander crossover. Unfortunately, for Mitsubishi, the highly competitive midsize SUV/crossover segment is crowded with compelling alternatives. By making the new Outlander about as generic and forgettable-looking as one could possibly imagine, it seems Mitsubishi has already consigned it to also-ran status.
The one glimmer of hope? A plug-in hybrid version will also arrive later this year, which will give Mitsubishi something unique in the category. The new Outlander launches in Russis this summer and will then gradually roll out globally.
2013 Porsche Boxster
The Porsche Boxster is, to this day, my favorite car I've ever driven. And that's saying something, since I last drove a Boxster in 2007. Porsche used Geneva as the backdrop against which it rolled out the all-new 2013 Boxster, and it appears to be better than ever. Lighter, better-looking, and more powerful than the outgoing 2012 car, the Boxster will set about winning hearts and minds when it hits showrooms this summer, starting at just under $50,000 for the 265-horsepower base car. The 315-hp Bozster S starts at around $61,000.
Not all "dream cars" cost six figures, and the base Boxster will be every bit as fun as the S in everyday situations. Always has been.
Range Rover Evoque Convertible Concept
Range Rover's snazzy new compact crossover, the Evoque, has been a critical darling since its introduction a few months ago, collecting awards such as Motor Trend's SUV of the Year and the North American Truck of the Year. At Geneva, Range Rover unveiled this convertible concept to supposedly gauge customer interest in a possible production version.
Given that the show car looks production-ready as is, don't be surprised if and when Range Rover confirms the seemingly inevitable and says that a ragtop Evoque will join the lineup. I like it, and Nissan's Murano CrossCabriolet now looks very prescient.
2013 Fiat 500L
The 2012 Fiat 500 is cute, comfy (up front, at least), and spunky. It's also very small. To help address that shortcoming, a second model will land in dealerships early next year: the 500L.
As you can see, the 500L is longer, has four doors, a usable back seat, and more room in general. It's not as adorable-looking as the regular 500 hatch, but should have the same interior flair, and its more practical nature ought to make it inherently more appealing to some who may have dismissed the standard 500 outright (and, by extension, Fiat dealers, who likely turn green with envy every time they see a Mini Countryman roll by).
2013 Lexus RX
At Geneva, Lexus unveiled its facelifted 2013 RX lineup. Shown above is the RX 450h hybrid crossover. The changes for 2013 are largely cosmetic, with the RX adopting the revised front end styling introduced on the new 2013 Lexus GS sport sedan, along with some interior tweaks and the introduction of an F-Sport model to gas-only RX 350 lineup. In a nutslell, Lexus isn't messing with success here; just some updates to keep the RX current until its next full overhaul. The 2013 Lexus RX will hit showrooms this summer.
Ferrari F12 Berlinetta
With the introduction of its new flagship, the F12 Berlinetta, Ferrari has ensured that I will continue to purchase Powerball tickets for the foreseeable future, even though I have stand a better chance of being ripped to shreds by a giant squid while sitting at my desk than actually winning.
It's beautiful, combining the state of the art with a sense of style that hearkens back to the great V12 Ferraris of the 1960s. It's also supremely powerful, delivering 729 hp from its 6.3-liter V12, enough muscle to rocket the F12 from zero to sixty in a shade over 3 seconds. Top speed? 211 mph. Ridiculous. And it sounds glorious. Just listen:
Lamborghini Aventador J
For every show, there's a showstopper, and at Geneva, Lamborghini delivered. This is the Aventador J, the most extreme interpretation of Lamborghini's range-topping Aventador supercar. It is as minimalist as it looks: there's no windshield, no roof, and no needless amenities like a radio or air conditioning. It has been made as light as possible, both through the elimination of the aforementioned features and the extensive use of carbon fiber throughout its construction, right down to the seat coverings.
The Aventador J has 700 horsepower, goes 186 miles per hour, is street legal, and it requires the driver to wear a helmet. It's also one of a kind, and the sole example, the car you see above, has reportedly already been sold for the tidy sum of $2.8 million.