Geneva Motor Show
March 2nd - 12th March 2006by Mike Husleag , on
The Geneva Motor Show doesn’t have the most debuts or the biggest attendance, but year after year it always manages to draw plenty of interest from nearly every major auto manufacturer. In addition to the usual suspects, the Geneva auto show also attracts a large contingent of European design houses that use Geneva’s intimate show floor to display their latest designs. Without a home country to dominate the proceedings, there’s guaranteed to be an interesting mix of both production and concept vehicles from every corner of the world. And its place on the calendar each spring gives the European auto manufacturers one last chance to debut new models before the summer selling season.
The Geneva Motor Show is often called "a nice little show" because of its laid-back feel and easy-to-navigate show floor. With only two levels of displays in one giant hall, you can see just about everything on the show floor in one easy lap. Most of the major manufacturers have the kind of large displays you would expect, but the Geneva auto show floor also includes smaller stands where designers and small-volume specialty builders show off outlandish creations that you’re not likely to find in most auto shows.
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Last year at the Geneva Motor Show the big news revolved around the battle between BMW and Lexus. In one corner it was the 2006 BMW 3 Series, the benchmark of the small sport sedan class. It didn’t need car show girls or over-the-top presentations to make news, it just needed to show up. In the other corner was the 2006 Lexus IS 250, a redesigned version of the IS 300 that never really made a dent in 3 Series sales since its introduction. Lexus wanted to change all that and figured it could steal some of the 3 Series’ thunder by making its world debut in the same hall.
Exotics took up their share of the auto show floor at last year’s Geneva auto show. On one stage stood the 2006 Ferrari F430 Spider, the convertible version of the "entry-level" F430 coupe. It looked good top up or down and featured the same 483-hp V8 as the coupe. If there was one car that stood a chance of drawing the press away from the Ferrari stand, it was the 2006 Aston Martin V8 Vantage. Even painted an unflattering shade of yellow, it still looked gorgeous. With "only" 380 hp it would be no match for the Ferrari at the track, but its style, both inside and out, made it look worth the risk. Last on the exotics list was the 2006 Bentley Continental Flying Spur. Essentially a sedan version of the hugely popular Continental GT, the Flying Spur was billed as the world’s fastest sedan. And with 550 hp we didn’t doubt it.