As much as I would love to play Richard Hammond for a living, I work at Gizmodo not Top Gear. This doesn’t necessarily mean that there can’t be a crossover, though. At this very moment, over in the land of triangle-shaped chocolate, supercolliders and neutrality, the Geneva Motor Show took place last week with some seriously nice cars on display that demand a lusting.
Rinspeed, a Swiss think-tank, has made what is possibly the greatest car ever — the Xchange, a modified electric Tesla Model S that has been retrofitted to be driverless. With most driverless cars that we’ve seen, the layout is exactly the same as a regular street car. But if the thing is driving itself do you really need to sit in an uncomfortable position watching the road? Rinspeed doesn’t think so, and has fitted the car with 360o swivelling chairs so that the passengers can turn around and enjoy the built-in 32 inch entertainment screen. The dashboard also has two swivelling LCD screens so that you can surf the web. But the best thing, and this is a real clincher, is that if the mood strikes you can turn off the autopilot and drive the car as normal.
Pagani Zonda Revolucion
Not going to lie, I’m including this one because it sort-of-maybe looks like a Batmobile. The Revolucion is reportedly the final, ultimate version of the Zonda, weighing a mere 1070kg thanks to a body made from a carbon/titanium blend. Couple that weight with a 6.0 litre, 789bhp V12 engine and you have a car that goes from 0-62mph in 2.7 seconds, with a top speed in excess of 217mph. So more than ideal for chasing the Joker and his goons around Gotham City, in other words. If you want one, and have £2.3 million to spare, the Zonda Revolucion is on sale now.
The 500L is mainly here because our glorious Editor thinks it’s cute. (Such a girl.) Also, because I think that Fiats are, as a whole, pretty decent cars. The L stands for (shock horror) ‘Large’, and it’s a people-carrier sized version of the original 500. Intended to replace the rather bizarrely shaped Multipla, the 500L will be available with one two diesel engines — a 1.4 litre turbo or a 1.3 litre MultiJet — and will go on sale in Europe at the end of this year. Prices are expected to start at £13,000.
Volkswagen Transporter Alltrack
I’m not really a van person, maybe that’s because legally I’m not allowed to drive one. The Transporter Alltrack is a pretty interesting concept, however. This is a van that appears to be designed for off-roading, with four-wheel-drive and extra underbody protection. Colour me skeptical — would you want to go off-roading in a van? Looking at some of the features, like the mobile kitchen module (cool box, gas cooker, sink, and water tank) it makes me think that this may be a 21st century ‘reboot’ of the classic VW Camper Van. Albeit slightly less nostalgically-pleasing.
Basically, the e-NV200 is the secret lovechild of a Nissan Leaf and an NV200. The design is based on the NV200 van, but rather than guzzling diesel, it has the same electrical drive system as the Leaf, the system that gives you roughly 80 miles of travel on a single charge. But, “Oh!” you say, “won’t it take a gazillion hours to recharge?!” Apparently not, with Nissan claiming that it takes a mere 30 minutes to recharge to 80 per cent when you plug it in — so not bad going. The e-NV200 will be available as either a van, or a five seater people carrier. Pricing and a release date have yet to be confirmed.
Carlsson CS50 Versailles
Honestly, it looks like Mr T threw up on an S-Class and it wouldn’t surprise me if that was actually true. Inspired by the Palace of Versailles, the CS50 is the ultimate in excess for the Arab oil tycoons of the world. Over 278 parts (including the bloody airvents) have been covered in gold leaf over the course of 100 man-hours. How much gold you might say? Nearly £10,000 worth in the inside alone. It’s not a one-off either, since Carlsson is planning to make 25 of these things, and has found 10 buyers already. Personally, I would’ve thought a German company would be too sensible to make something like this.
Cars are fantastic, there’s no denying it. Anyone who tells you otherwise is a liar or a fool. The problem is, cars are not good for the planet and the overwhelming majority rely on an ever-dwindling, finite fuel supply. The Biofore Concept is designed to be environmentally friendly from start to finish. Instead of plastic, manufacturing employs renewable biocomposite and thermoformable wood, and the car runs on wood-based renewable diesel. Most importantly, it doesn’t compromise on safety, and weighs 150kg less than a test-model made from conventional materials. I’m just glad it’s not another “environmentally-friendly” hybrid.
Koenigsegg Agera One:1
Ooh boy, this car has some serious power behind it, boasting an incredibly 1322bhp and a power-to-weight ration of 1:1 (hence the name). But these stats on their own are meaningless, so let it put it this way: The One:1 has a reported top speed of 273mph, which, if true, would make it the fastest production road car in the world. Koenigsegg hasn’t released a price, but it doesn’t really matter since they’ve sold every single One:1 already.
Skoda Octavia G-Tec
The Octavia G-Tec will be the second Skoda that will be fueled by Compressed Natural Gas (CNG), a fuel that is pitted as being more environmentally friendly than petrol. The car can reportedly travel 255 miles on gas, with an additional 572 miles from petrol. 826 miles on one tank? That’s pretty damned impressive if you ask me. CO2 emissions average at 97g/km, for comparison the emissions from an average new car is around 133g/km. Sadly, this car will not be available in the UK thanks to our poor infrastructure (there are apparently only five CNG fueling stations here), but it is a cool concept nonetheless.
Rolls Royce Ghost Series II
No list of cool cars would be complete without a Rolls Royce in there somewhere. The Ghost hasn’t had much in the way of a facelift, but that doesn’t make it look any less pretty. The Series II has had an upgrade in the way of gadgetry, with built-in multimedia screens with a touchpad controller, and the real clincher — built-in Wi-Fi. I don’t know about you, but I wish my car had Wi-Fi in it. Well maybe I wouldn’t, if I saw the bill…
Token Un-Cool Car: Toyota Aygo
Toyoh-ah as anowncd dis ride dezind fo da yoof.
Ok sorry, I promise I will never, ever, talk like that again. This isn’t exactly a new car, nor is it that cool, but I felt I had to mention the utter pointlessness of the new Aygo. The car has been redesigned to appeal to a “young and urban” market, with emphasis on it being a car “to have fun in.” So you have a multitude of customisation options, so you don’t void your warranty sticking on a cheap body kit, and an X-motif on the nose that makes your car look like an X-Men reject. Toyota definitely has this “down with the kids” thing mastered, doesn’t it?
Our newest offspring Gizmodo UK is gobbling up the news in a different timezone, so check them out if you need another Giz fix. [clear]