Sports car, supercars, and hot hatches – oh my!

I don’t know about you, dear reader, but personally, I’m still catching my breath after all the awesomeness that was the 2017 Geneva International Motor Show. Of course, GIMS has traditionally been the place where the bulk of annual vehicular hotness rolls out, but this year saw the debut of so many awesome autos, it’s a little hard to keep track of them all. But keep track we did, and the result is the following extended list of the brightest stars to shine in Switzerland.

Now, I say “extended” because this year was so jam-packed with top-notch debuts, we had to add additional slots to the list beyond our customary top five. And although there’s still a bit of debate amongst the staff as to which of the following cars deserve a mention (yes, Ciprian, I included the Ferrari!), we think you’ll agree – Geneva brought the goods this year in a big, big way.

So with that, let’s get to it. But one final thing – we wanna know which of the following debuts stands out as the best to you, dear reader. Alternatively, perhaps we included a debut that we shouldn’t have, or maybe your favorite went missing? Make sure to post your opinions in the comments section, and we’ll be happy to argue with you in a very public manner.

Continue reading for the best debuts from the 2017 Geneva International Motor Show.

Renault Alpine A110

2017 Renault Alpine A110 High Resolution Exterior AutoShow
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Let’s kick things off with something safe. Now, when I say “safe,” I mean something you’d be hard-pressed to dislike, something with an affable personality and a history of making enthusiasts smile.

Enter the Renault Alpine A110, a lightweight, mid-engine sports coupe designed to reintroduce the world to all the sporty goodness that is the Alpine brand.

While there were plenty of opinions getting tossed around the office during show time, the new Alpine A110 was never really a point of contention. In fact, Kirby chose it as his overall favorite, although it wasn’t easy –

“How do you even pick the best when there’s so much show-stopping machinery?” he asks. “It’s like picking my favorite Game of Thrones character. There are just too many choices to make.”

While a concept or boutique supercar may have been the obvious choice, Kirby decided to go with a production model that was a little more accessible. “What the Alpine A110 represents is a rebirth for the once famed brand and the opportunities that it represents,” he explains. “For a car that took years to finally get to where it is, the A110’s much-hyped debut at the 2017 Geneva Motor Show was worth the wait, even if it had to fight for attention in a sea of concepts and supercars.”

Ciprian also likes the A110, citing the inspiration it takes from the original, and its potential as a Porsche Cayman killer. He also likes how it looks.

“It has the classic rear-engine appearance you don’t see in modern cars,” he says. “I don’t know how to explain it, but you don’t see that long decklid like on the Alfa 4C, or heavily raked rear glass like on the Cayman. It’s a combination of both and the design is tasteful.”

That said, there are only two things we don’t like about it – first, there’s no option for a manual transmission (boo!), and secondly, it probably won’t be sold in the U.S. (double boo!). But that’s okay; we’ll give it a pass for now. And a spot on this list.

Welcome back, Alpine.

Read the full review here.

Toyota Yaris GRMN

2018 Toyota Yaris GRMN High Resolution Exterior AutoShow
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I’ll let Mark explain this one –

“What? A Toyota Yaris for best in show at Geneva? Yeah, it’s admittedly a stretch. But if we consider the overarching ramifications of a supercharged four-cylinder with ‘more than 207 horsepower’ designed to compete with the Ford Fiesta ST and VW Polo GTI coming from Toyota, it’s a big deal.

“For too long Toyota has coasted by making family haulers and SUVs, foregoing the high-performance segment with the exception of the 86/BRZ coupe. This hot-hatch Yaris could be the start of something fun – a TRD-filled era with high-strung four-cylinders and manual gearboxes. Perhaps Toyota will prove it can party.”

Ciprian agrees – “Come on, you know you like it and you want one! The subcompact hatch market is poor when it comes to performance cars, so this should be interesting. I also think that Gazoo Racing is doing wonders with just about every vehicle they touch.”

Sure, it’s not the prettiest thing around, but with a decent wallop waiting under the hood and a nod to Toyota’s return to the WRC, I’m glad the Yaris GRMN is a thing.

Read the full review here.

Lamborghini Huracan Performante

2017 Lamborghini Huracan Perfomante High Resolution Exterior AutoShow
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I know there are at least a few of you out there that were waiting with bated breath for this thing to drop. Well, breathe easy, because now it’s here – the Huracan Performante. Making its debut three years after the original replaced the highly successful Gallardo, the Huracan Performante is framed as a more hardcore, track-ready iteration of the ever-popular entry-level Italian supercar.

Making it go is the most powerful 5.2-liter V-10 the Raging Bull has ever produced. Mounted just behind the cabin, this fire-breathing lump makes a sizable 630 horsepower at 8,000 rpm and 440 pound-feet of torque at 6,500 rpm, propelling the machine to 60 mph in less than three seconds.

It looks the part too, with new styling outside to go with all that speed. But it’s not just about turning heads – as Ciprian points out, the Performante is equipped with advanced active aerodynamics to help up the downfroce while attacking corners, or lower the drag while cruising on the freeway.

Then of course we have Lambo’s claim to the highly coveted production car lap record at the Nurburgring, and well, as Ciprian says, “talk about making an entrance with a bang.”

Read the full review here.

Pagani Huayra Roadster

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Full disclosure – I’m a big fan of Pagani. Not only does it produce cars that are outrageously quick, but the designs it brings to the table elevate car-making to a whole new level of artistry and beauty. Pagani merges engineering and craftsmanship with an eye for drama that even Lamborghini and Ferrari can’t quite match, and the latest example is the new Huayra Roadster.

Rather than simply chopping the top off the successful coupe model and calling it a day, Pagani actually took its time in building this thing properly, imbuing the Roadster with an upgraded chassis, less weight, and more power. The exterior styling takes after the Huayra BC (minus the rear wing), while the 6.0-liter V-12 mounted in the middle is tweaked to produce 753 horsepower – 33 horsepower more than the coupe. It’s also almost 200 pounds lighter, even though it’s lacking a roof for added chassis rigidity. Meanwhile, top speed remains at a figure well over 200 mph.

Read the full review here.

McLaren 720S

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Look. We all love supercars. The aesthetic, the speed, the natural assumption that anyone who owns one has unbelievably good taste… sure, why not? Not that long ago, the supercar universe was populated by just a few choice models, but these days, you can get yours in a huge variety of shapes, flavors, and sizes, not to mention several gradients of “hardcoreness.”

The McLaren Super Series is the British automaker’s medium-grade offering, slotting between the entry-level Sport Series and the world-eating Ultimate Series. The latest entry in this space is the 720S, which just dropped in Geneva as a second-gen replacement for the outgoing 650S. All told, it looks good, with active aero elements complementing the standard performance cues outside. It’s no slouch either, packing over 700 horsepower and nearly 570 pound-feet of torque thanks to a newly developed 4.0-liter V-8 powerplant. Paired with a lightened curb weight, and this thing should be nearly as fast as the might P1 hybrid hypercar.

Not only that, but as Ciprian is quick to point out – “think of all the cool special editions that are sure to follow.”

Read the full review here.

Ferrari 812 Superfast

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Believe it or not, but this one was a bit of a controversy around here. But I’m writing the list, so guess what – it’s going in.

And honestly, how could I not include the latest 12-cylinder Prancing Horse? Sure, the styling probably isn’t for everyone (I like it, but some folks think it’s a little too close to a Corvette or Viper), and the name is a little cheesy (heritage, people! Her-it-age!), but put all that aside for just one second and consider the specs – under the hood is a naturally aspirated 6.5-liter Italian choir making 789 horsepower and 530 pound-feet of torque at the rear axle through a seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox. Properly motivated, it’ll hit 60 mph in less than 3 seconds, and go on to a top speed in excess of 211 mph.

Pair all that with unending grip thanks to several F1-derived aero tricks and electronic driver’s aides, and this Grand Tourer is a bold mix of modern go-fast tech and traditional Maranello attitude. No, seriously.

Read the full review here.

Honda Civic Type-R

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Amidst all the uber-expensive supercars and outrageous horsepower claims, it’s easy to forget about this – the Civic Type-R. In the run-up to the show, this was undoubtedly one of the most hotly anticipated models to debut, and we certainly didn’t forget about it. It’s got the sort of look that’ll make eyebrows raise all over town, with big wings, swoopy curves, and three honkin’ exhaust pipes mounted out back. Huge multi-spoke rollers fill the cavernous wheel arches, barely hiding plus-sized Brembo brakes. Inside, there’s faux carbon trim, giant lateral bolsters in the seats, and critically, three pedals.

That’s because there’s a six-speed manual ‘box nestled in the nose to enable owners all the fun associated with rowing your own. Motivation comes from a high-strung 2.0-liter four making over 300 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque, which properly routed to the front axle, yields 60 mph in roughly 5.7 seconds. Wind it out, and you’ll see 167 mph in the top end.

And here’s the best part – Honda will actually sell it here in the U.S. You know, like at a dealer. For money. Attention JDM lovers – the embargo has officially lifted.

Read the full review here.

Aston Martin’s New AMR Division

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While AMR isn’t an actual “car” per se, it is worthy of a mention on this list of best in show from Geneva. Why, you ask? The answer is simple – more fast Astons.

AMR (Aston Martin Racing) is tasked with one job – make the British brand’s current offerings more exciting. That goal is accomplished through sprightlier handing, more power, and more aggressive styling elements. To demonstrate, AMR brought two new concepts to Geneva, including the Rapide AMR and the Vantage AMR Pro.

“I think that the AMR division will prove crucial to Aston’s future in the performance market,” explains Ciprian.” It will build both road and track cars and I think it will enable the brand to compete against Ferrari and McLaren.

Read the full story and get a preview of the AMR concepts here.

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