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Supercars stole the limelight this year — new models from Bugatti, Lamborghini, Ferrari, Porsche, McLaren and Aston Martin don't usually arrive at once — but the surge of small SUVs was the news behind the hype. Europe is embracing city-sized "faux-wheel-drives" and, as in Australia, they are on track to overtake sales of regular hatchbacks. Here are the highlights, big and small.
The successor to the world's fastest car, the Chiron has a whopping 8.0-litre W16 (two V8s back-to-back) quad-turbo producing 1103kW/1600Nm, equivalent to four Holden Commodore V8s or 11 Toyota Corollas. It can reach 100km/h in less than 2.5 seconds and top speed is in excess of 420km/h. The previous model could hit 431km/h, so Bugatti clearly has something up its sleeve. It also makes the 566kW Lamborghini V12 Centenario and the new Aston Martin DB11 with a twin turbo 5.2-litre V12 look tame.
Those crazy guys at Swiss tuning house Rinspeed tooled up a BMW i8 plug-in hybrid supercar, added some autonomous driving tech, fitted a steering wheel that folds away — and supplied a drone for good measure, to check traffic ahead. Police may not appreciate you operating a drone from the driver's seat. Be warned: this is only motor show tease. For now.
The boss of Opel told Australian media the Opel GT is one of its "dream cars" — before quickly adding the company likes "dreams to become a reality". If the Opel GT wins enough favourable reviews from the show, Opel says it will find a way to build its compact, front-engine, rear-drive sportster rival for the Toyota 86. It may need more grunt than the 1.0-litre three-cylinder turbo in the concept car built by Holden to an Opel design. Opel also showed the new baby Mokka SUV which will eventually replace the Trax.
One of the world's best hot hatches just got a little hotter. The Fiesta ST200 1.6-litre turbo boosts power from 134kW/240Nm to 147kW/290Nm. On Ford's trademark "overboost", output climbs to 158kW/320Nm for 15 seconds. A shorter diff ratio cuts the 0-100km/h acceleration time from 6.9 to 6.7 seconds. Retuned suspension and steering and bigger rear brakes also aid handling. The current Fiesta ST has notched 1200 sales — more than the company ever expected — but Ford isn't saying yet whether the ST200 is headed our way. Fingers crossed.
Not as wild as the 2014 concept from Paris, the production C-HR (compact high-rider) is still an edgy design for a conservative brand.
Aimed at Mazda's CX-3 and Honda's HR-V, the little SUV will arrive in Australia early next year. The Toyota is longer and wider than those rivals, which are both based on smaller city cars. The C-HR is bigger than a Corolla and only 4cm shorter than the previous generation RAV4.
It will be powered by a 1.2-litre, 85kW turbo petrol engine, with six-speed manual or CVT auto with two- and four-wheel-drive. A hybrid may follow.
Civic hits double figures; the hatch unveiled at Geneva will be the 10th to wear the badge. Honda's lower, wider and longer five-door goes on sale in Europe, where it's manufactured, in April next year. It will reach Australian showrooms later, after the launch of the Asian-made sedan.
Honda Australia boss Stephen Collins confirms a Type-R version will join the new hatch line-up. Australia chose not to import the red-hot 228kW 2.0-litre turbo version of the present Civic hatch launched last year.
Regular versions of the 2017 Civic hatch will have downsized turbo engines. Honda Australia is likely to opt for a more powerful 1.5-litre turbo four to replace the current 1.8.
The next generation XV should arrive in local showrooms in the first quarter of next year, based on the global platform that underpins the new Impreza, which is due in December.
Design boss Mamoru Ishii says the XV concept is "pretty close" to the production version and has greater emphasis on a "go-anywhere stance".
As with the Impreza, the XV is likely to have a revised version of Subaru's current 2.0-litre engine and a more attractive, well appointed interior. Automated emergency braking and blind spot monitoring should be available.
The concept's 1.0-litre turbo engine puts out 81kW.
VW chairman Herbert Diess says VW can "well imagine putting such a convertible on the market as a production model" that would be fun and affordable — "a genuine ‘people's car'."
The Korean giant's answer to Toyota's Prius, the Ioniq will arrive in Australia early next year after global production was delayed. Unlike the Prius, the Ioniq could be available here in plug-in hybrid and full electric guise.
Hyundai Australia boss Scott Grant says the brand is interested in all variants, although it is believed the full EV version is least likely to get the nod.
The Ioniq hybrid uses a more advanced battery than the Prius — lithium-ion polymer instead of nickel-metal hydride — and Hyundai claims it can provide short bursts of all-electric driving at up to 120km/h. The plug-in claims 50km of electric range, the EV more than 250km.
What's your favourite car from the 2016 Geneva motor show? Tell us in the comments below.