Cars with Jan Coomans: the most interesting cars you couldn’t see at the Geneva Motor Show (because it didn’t happen)

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Mercedes-Benz – новый E-класс

The best-laid plans of men and mice often go awry. But even by the usually chaotic standard of reality, the cancellation of one of the biggest car shows of the year came as a bit of a shock. But not to worry. As it turns out, this is the year 2020 and communication technologies are sufficiently advanced that we can almost pretend like the show actually went ahead. In time, perhaps we’ll look back at this as a breakthrough for virtual car launches. For now, though, let’s cover the cars that we would’ve looked at with our own eyes if we could.


At Mercedes-Benz, the big news is the new E-class. I say new, what I actually meant was a big update and facelift of the current generation. Most noticeable are the reworked lights front and rear, but most of the work has actually taken place inside the car. Mercedes claim the interior comfort has been increased and the car has been given a more modern and intelligent feel inside. The analog gauge cluster is now a thing of the past, with all cars receiving the digital dashboard which was previously optional. The E-class now also finally gets MBUX, which stands for the Mercedes-Benz User Experience, their latest multimedia system which also features an AI component. It has a 10.25 screen as standard with a larger 12.3 inch one available at extra cost.

Mercedes-Benz E-Klasse (W 213), 2020


Volkswagen finally showed us their new Golf GTI, which wasn’t a surprise and neither does the car itself look surprising aside from a new font for the GTI letters themselves. But that’s not a bad thing. The GTI has long been the quintessential hot hatch, the gold standard by which all others are measured. It still comes with a 2 liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine which now pumps out 245 horsepower and 370 Nm of torque which is mated to either the 6-speed manual gearbox or the 7-speed dual-clutch DSG transmission. It has a new adaptive chassis control system called DCC which can adjust the firmness of the dampers in the blink of an eye to suit the road conditions and the way the driver is making inputs.

Volkswagen Golf GTI


Audi has a new A3 Sportback (the only body shape available now) and it’s got a sportier look and 21st-century interior. The new car is a little bit wider than the old one, which has increased the space available for its occupants. The A3 also gets LED daylight running lights for the first time and, in the EU at least, mild hybrid versions will be available. On the inside, there’s a clear connection with the new VW Golf as most physical buttons have disappeared and the functionality has moved onto the touchscreen. Later on, we’ll get the performance S3 version with a good 300 horsepower from a 4-cylinder turbo and an RS3 with the beloved 5-pot turbo motor and group B rally soundtrack.

Audi A3 Sportback
Audi A3 Sportback


If there is one car of which new versions appear with clockwork precision, it’s probably the Porsche 911. And this time it was the turn of the 911 Turbo. The Turbo S, in this case, as Porsche likes to start with the most powerful one and then give us the regular Turbo a bit later on. This new 992 generation of the iconic everyday supercar now has an extra 70 horsepower over the previous 991 911 Turbo S, which is pretty massive considering just how unnecessarily fast the previous one already was. The 0 to 100 km/h time is quoted as being a mere 2.7 seconds, and keep in mind that Porsche acceleration figures are often conservative compared to what reviewers measure in the real world. This is a tenth faster than the Taycan Turbo S, which makes you think that Porsche made sure that the fastest accelerating 911 could still top its super quick electric car, on paper. The king is back.

Porsche 911 Turbo S


Meanwhile, at BMW, there was a concept car on display which is rumoured to be sold as the i4 next year. It’s a purely electric 4-door model with its sights set firmly on the Tesla Model 3, promising a driving range of up to 600 kilometers and a 0-100 acceleration in 4 seconds. There isn’t a huge amount of information on it other than that it has 530 horsepower and its synthetic engine soundtrack has been composed by the famous Hans Zimmer. I can’t wait to hear that.

BMW i4


The Bentley car catalog is virtually unchanged, but they did show off a rather unusual new car of theirs called the Mulliner Bacalar. Only twelve of these will ever be built (fortunately?) making it a very exclusive offering. Based on the Continental GT, the Bacalar is made by Bentley’s coach-building arm Mulliner. It only has two seats, no roof of any kind and I would describe the styling as something of an acquired taste, but it does still have the familiar 6 litre W12 engine at the front. This time with 650 horsepower, just because.

Bentley Mulliner Bacalar

Alfa Romeo

Here’s a car that you can’t buy at all in Russia but which gets included by virtue of being ridiculously pretty — the Alfa Romeo Giulia GTA. Yes, Alfas do have a fairly well deserved reputation of not being extremely reliable but I’d still take one of these over any German car in this segment. The GTA is based on the Quadrifoglio and retains its Ferrari-designed 2.9 litre turbocharged V6 but with power now at 540 horsepower. Being the track-focused weapon that it is, it also comes with active aerodynamics and much stiffer suspension. If that’s not quite hardcore enough for you, there’s the GTAm version which removes the rear seats and adds an even bigger rear wing. Hey, if it breaks down you can just get out and look at it. Which would be no punishment at all.

Alfa Romeo Giulia GTA


Finally, let’s give the quirky company Koeningsegg a mention. This most un-Swedish of Swedish companies has been building outrageous hypercars for some time now, but they’ve come up with a very pretty 4-seater concept car called Gemera. It supposedly has 1677 horsepower from a combination of three electric motors and a heavily turbocharged 2-liter 3-cylinder engine which makes 600 horsepower on its own without the use of any camshafts. Let’s see if they ever actually build it.

Koeningsegg Gemera

Making its actual debut though was the Koenigsegg Jesko Absolut — a bit of a mouthful — which they say will be their fastest model ever. And forever, too. Which is weirdly refreshing, especially coming from a company which already holds the outright speed record of 447 kilometers per hour with their Agera RS. Cars, even regular cars, have become too fast for their own good lately if you ask me. Most certainly the performance of cars has gone up much quicker than the driving talents of their owners. So when Koenigsegg say that they won’t build a car faster than the Jesko Absolut, I say good for them and I hope others will follow. It would, of course, have been slightly more meaningful if the Jesko Absolut had not been a car with 1600 horsepower and an ambition to break 300 miles per hour — 483 km/h to you and me. Oh well.

Koenigsegg Jesko Absolut

06 марта 2020
Jan Coomans для раздела Cars