Geneva Motor Show: our picks
Top Gear’s expert panel pick their three favourite cars from the biggest motor show… in the world
Posted: 11 Mar 2013
Tom Ford, Associate Editor (Follow Tom on Twitter)
Rolls Royce Wraith (above)
I know this car was polarising – there was a fair bit of mickey-taking around the show stand – and I know that it isn’t pretty, or particularly useful, or any of the other qualifiers that people use to define ‘best’.
But what it is, is bold. Unapologetic. Ballsy. A posh hot rod. It’s got 624bhp and 590lb ft. It does 0-62mph in 4.6. The interior made me smile, and the exterior made me stand and stare for a good long while.
Ok, so I don’t think that the two-tone in such contrasting shades worked particularly well, but that was Rolls making a point, and easily fixed. In short, I looked at this car and decided that it would be the kind of thing you’d decide upon, spend ages speccing, and then keep for the rest of your natural life. It would have a name. You would fall in love.
This marked an arrival for Kia, for me. On the stand they had plenty of great-looking cooking models which you’d recommend in a second, a couple of very smart hot hatches (the Pro_Cee'd and GT), and an interesting little concept car. They called the small orange and green supermini the ‘Provo’, but that’s a story for another time. So the core proposition here was solidity, and professionalism. What it said to me, most of all, when looking at the Pro_Cee'd and deciding that I’d really like to have a go, was that the Koreans aren’t coming anymore. They’re already here.
Amongst all the supercar hype was the XL-1, which was just as brilliant, just a little less shouty. I’m not a huge fan of super-eco, but here is a car that makes parsimony look like it might be a whole heap of fun. And it made me realize something; if you want people to embrace light-footed eco-cars, reward them by making vehicles that look like earthbound spaceships. Give people surprise and delight, and they will respond. Make it cool, and they will come.