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Geneva 2011 - Best in Show

Fri, 04 Mar 2011 00:00:00 -0800

Unlike Detroit, which generated a lot of hype for what turned out to be not as much new product as we'd hoped, the Geneva show was a true return to form, with all new vehicles occupying various different market segments making their debuts.

But Geneva wouldn't be complete without the seemingly never-ending stream of concept cars filling the halls of the Palexpo. Every year the Swiss show's neutrality is the perfect breeding ground for the French, Italian and German automakers to strut their future visions for mobility about.

So as the 2011 Geneva motor show opens its doors to the first public days, we thought we'd share our views of what we consider to be the best designs on show at the event.

Mini Rocketman concept
This was a tough decision to make. With a multitude of concept cars being rolled out in Geneva, there are many worthy candidates for best in show: the BMW Vision ConnectedDrive, Renault R-Space and Captur all spring to mind, but the one that gets my vote is the Mini Rocketman.

Chock full of innovative ideas, the Rocketman brings Mini back to its compact roots while simultaneously exploring the ways people use vehicles in urban areas. Its door hinge mechanism and cutaway rocker panels facilitate ingress and egress, while the rear drawer and tailgate – carved from the Union Jack roof emblem – hark back to the original design's practical aspects.

Unique taillamps and the extensive use of carbon fiber increase the lightweight nature of the design, while the interior accoutrements, with suede and paper materials paired with chrome and ambient lighting, speak to a new level of luxury. Hats off to the Mini design team.
—Eric Gallina, Editor

Renault Captur concept
It's notable how some concepts in Geneva look rushed and lack depth of thought, but the Captur isn't one of them.

This is a deeply impressive follow-on from the DeZir, featuring the same full, voluminous surfacing in the body sides and some truly exquisite detailing. If you're planning on going to Geneva, do make sure you have a good look at the Captur's interior, which is a visual delight.

The design manages to be coherent and well resolved from every perspective, which is a real achievement given how much is going on, especially in terms of the graphics and detailing. More than anything, considered along with the excellent DeZir and R-Space, it illustrates the company's design resurgence under Van den Acker. It cements the return of the true Renault show car: one that has a certain French-ness, doesn't resort to overt aggression, and introduces new aesthetic ideas all at the same time.
—Joe Simpson, Associate Editor

Volkswagen Bulli concept
The VW Bulli initially looks to have fallen into the style-no-substance trap of the new Beetle with its enormous chrome VW badge, two-tone color scheme and crass jukebox-style detailing under its IP.

However, look past the details and what you're left with is a brilliant reinterpretation of a concept that is as relevant now as it was when it first appeared over 50 years ago.

If I had to put my own money down on one car unveiled in Geneva this would be it. It's a vehicle that can transport friends, offer a bed at a festival yet remain handy in size. All without looking funny or trendy but with a real depth of design quality. A true people's car.
—Owen Ready, Associate Editor

BMW Vision ConnectedDrive concept
The BMW Vision ConnectedDrive concept, situated in the farthest corner possible from the doldrums of the press room, is without doubt my car of the show.

The most recent Vision showcar has everything you would expect of a concept car from an on-form BMW. Despite being a clear evolution of the previous Vision EfficientDynamics concept's themes and languages, the ConnectedDrive displayed its own character and identity.

A wonderfully resolved package – from its refined surfacing, proportions and stance, to its minimalist yet technology laden interior – the BMW ticked off every expected deliverable, and then some.

There are a few worthy adversaries in Geneva, but for me, the Vision ConnectedDrive was the star of the show.
—John O'Brien, News Editor

Ferrari FF
All of the above are concept cars, but I thought Pininfarina's shooting brake proposal for the FF also deserved a vote for the best production design at Geneva. Not because it's a Ferrari, but because of what it does: The FF successfully achieves a silhouette that is modern, elegant and refined, moving the new Ferrari flagship into territory previously only occupied by Aston Martin in production form.

Practical and unique in the supercar segment, the Pininfarina design team neatly avoided creating a Panamera or Rapide-like vehicle. And at nearly 5m long (the same length as the Scaglietti, but with a 40mm longer wheelbase), it still manages to look light.

Though Aston bosses clearly aren't pleased in seeing this typology resurrected by their Italian rival, it's a perfectly relevant design for a modern Ferrari. And that's why it gets my production car vote.
—Eric Gallina, Editor

Read more about these and other 2011 Geneva motor show debuts at:

By CDN Team