The names of two new ‘baby’ cars that will go on sale in New Zealand have been confirmed, after many months of guessing games: the mid-sized Jaguar sedan will be called the XE, and the compact Jeep (above) the Renegade.
The Jaguar has been referred to for some time as the ‘XS’ and the Jeep the ‘Jeepster’. Jeep parent Fiat Chrysler unveiled the Renegade at the Geneva motor show, but Jaguar showed only an image of the XE’s front end.
Following is what some of the carmakers are trotting out at Geneva.
Alfa Romeo: 4C Spider (convertible) concept that Alfa says is only about 60kg heavier than the 4C Coupe. The Coupe is largely made of carbon fibre and weighs 895kg, so the Spider with its carbon-fibre rollover bars and canvas roof will still be a relative lightweight at around 955kg. The Coupe is due in New Zealand this year.
Aston Martin: Two special edition models, the V8 Vantage N430 and the DB9 Carbon Black, also available in Carbon White. Both mark 101 years of Aston Martin production, with mechanical and cosmetic changes marking them out over the standard models.
Audi: The third-generation TT coupe comes 16 years after the first example. It sits on the Volkswagen Group’s MQB platform – shared with the VW Golf and Audi A3. The wheelbase is 37mm longer, the boot 13 litres bigger. There’s marginally more room in a cabin that’s smarter overall. The production S1 hot hatch gets quattro four-wheel-drive and the 2.0-litre turbo engine from the S3.
BMW: The 2 Series Active Tourer is the company’s first front-wheel-drive car and a direct rival to the Mercedes-Benz B-Class. The 4-Series Gran Coupe also made its world debut. It is a four-door version of the latest 4-Series, and will rival the Audi A5 Sportback.
Citroen: The C4 Cactus Aventure concept, an extreme version of the standard Cactus, which is likely to go on sale in NZ later this year. Aventure had raised suspension and extended wheel arches to accommodate the bulkier off-road tyres. There’s a metal bullbar at the front, covered in protective padding, and a bespoke roofbox with built-in spotlights.
Ferrari: The California T is a facelifted California with a turbocharged 412kW 3.9-litre V8. The new engine delivers a whopping 49 per cent increase in torque. An upgraded interior and looks, which bring it closer to those of the 458 Italia, FF and F12.
Ford: The facelifted Focus takes its styling direction from the latest Fiesta, with a big front grille dominating the nose. An upgraded interior and new engine options are also be included. The new Mustang and the Edge SUV are both due to go on sale next year.
Honda: The Civic Type-R is expected to go into production later this year. Honda is promising 205kW from the 2.0-litre direct injection turbo engine.
Hyundai: A concept car called the Intrado and fitted with a hydrogen fuel-cell motor previews new design chief Peter Schreyer’s direction for the brand’s future. Its move upmarket will be led by the rear-drive Genesis sedan, due in NZ this year with a 3.8-litre V6 under the bonnet.
Jaguar: Apart from confirming the XE sedan name, it showed off the car almost no one expected: not a Sportbrake XFR but a go-faster XFR-S, the third member of the ballistic R-S family. It uses a 404kW supercharged 5.0-litre V8 delivering 680Nm.
Jeep: The new Nissan Juke rival is called the Renegade, after the moniker of a Wrangler version some years ago. It’s a very boxy and squared off design, inspired by the Wrangler, just as many of the earlier spy pictures showed.
Kia: The latest Soul will be launched in NZ this month. The plug-in Soul EV and the Kia GT4 Stinger concept had their first outings in Europe. A facelifted version of the Sportage compact SUV will be of most interest to NZ buyers.
Lamborghini: Gallardo replacement the all-wheel-drive Huracan lives up to its name. Its 450kW engine gets it from 0-100km/h in 3.2 seconds, 0.2 seconds faster than the Ferrari 458 Italia, but 0.2 seconds slower than the new McLaren 650S.
Land Rover: The 208kW Evoque Autobiography Dynamic is the hottest version of the Range Rover Evoque yet and Land Rover hopes it will provide a fitting response to the Porsche Macan. On show are special edition versions of the Defender, Discovery and Freelander.
Lexus: First showing in Europe of the RC Coupe, which lands in NZ this year. Lexus also showed off the flagship 5.0-litre V8-powered RC F, and the hybrid RC 300h version of the coupe, which carried the new F Sport equipment pack.
Maserati: The Alfieri concept is named after one of the Maserati founders. It’s based on a shortened version of the GranTurismo MC Stradale platform – about 24cm shorter – and is powered by the same 4.7-litre naturally aspirated V8 as that car. It develops 343kW and is hooked up to a six-speed automatic gearbox.
Mazda: The replacement for the Mazda2 mini is expected to follow the styling cues of the Hazumi concept. In Japanese, ‘Hazumi’ means to ‘spring up’ or ‘bound’, which Mazda claims is ‘well-suited to a small car that appears to be bursting with energy.’
McLaren: Mix the 12C and the P1 hypercar and the result is the 650S, in either coupe or convertible form. Power from the 3.8-litre twin-turbo V8 engine has increased by 19kW to 478kW, while torque has shot up from 600Nm to 678Nm. As a result the 0-100km/h time has dropped by 0.1 seconds to 3.0 seconds.
Mercedes-Benz: Big deal is the production version of the S-Class Coupe. The carmaker has announced only the S500 version, powered by a twin-turbo 4.7-litre V8 with 335kW and 700Nm of torque. An AMG version is likely to follow, with either a V8 or V12.
Mini: Two concept cars on show alongside the new third-generation hatchback. There’s the next Mini Clubman with six-doors and more carrying capacity, and the Mini JCW. Mini has called the JCW a concept but in reality it’s a thinly veiled version of the production model with a 2.0-litre turbocharged engine delivering around 160kW.
Nissan: First look at the new Juke. As well as a fresh exterior, expect a revised interior. Nissan’s striking BladeGlider concept needs endorsements from show-goers before the carmaker would even consider limited production.
Peugeot: The 308 SW will rival the VW Golf wagon. Its 610-litre boot capacity is bigger than the Golf’s. And the most efficient model emits only 85g/km of CO2. Peugeot has also cut 140kg from the weight of the outgoing model, which will help fuel economy.
Porsche: The Porsche 919 Hybrid LMP1 car uses a minimalist black and white design instead of the famous ‘Martini’ racing colours. And like all the front-runners at the famous 24-hour race it features a closed cockpit and massive aero rear wing. Aussie Mark Webber will drive this car.
Skoda: Its four-door coupe concept is called the VisionC and shows what’s in store for Skoda’s all-new Fabia and Superb, due within the next two years. It’s not the first time Skoda has shown one concept to preview the look of more than one new car. The VisionD, shown in 2011, previewed the latest Rapid and Octavia models.
Ssangyong: Announced it was changing its name in a bid to improve its image, a move that moved the spotlight away from its XLV SUV concept. XLV stands for ‘exciting smart vehicle lifestyle’. Ssangyong claims the concept blends practicality and purpose with an exciting and enjoyable driving experience.
Subaru: On show is the latest WRX STi, its racing counterpart, and an all-new VIZIV 2 concept, a crossover-type sightly bigger than the Nissan Qashqai. It gives an idea of the maker’s design and technology direction for the future. The standard WRX lands in NZ this month; the STi comes in a few months.
Volkswagen: Changes to the Polo include a sharper design and reworked grille. Scirocco coupe gets a makeover, too. The three-door T-ROC concept gets large, round headlights that echo the Nissan Juke’s, while the high-mounted honeycomb grille and lower sill guard show that this four-wheel-drive car could excel off-road.
Volvo: The third of its three concept cars, after the Coupe Concept and XC Coupe, is an interpretation of Volvo’s staple model, the large station wagon. Note in the picture on this page the iPad-like infotainment set-up highlighted below the dash. Show-goers are asking if the all-new XC90 – due this year – will have it.