In Depth

Geneva Motor Show 2019 preview: Peugeot 208, Honda Urban EV and more

Luxury saloons and EV hypercars are heading for their world debuts next month

After a number of significant launches at the Detroit Auto Show last month, carmakers are beginning to switch their attention to Europe’s first major showcase of the year - the Geneva Motor Show. 

Described by Auto Express as “one of the most important dates in the automotive calendar”, the Swiss show always attracts the world’s largest manufacturers to unveil their highly anticipated machinery. 

With the show running from 7 to 17 March, there is just a week to go before proceedings get under way. 

In the meantime, these are the biggest car announcements that are set to take place in Geneva: 

Audi Q4 E-tron Concept

Audi has confirmed that a new addition to its electric E-tron range will be on show in Geneva.

Previewed in a trio of sketches, the Q4 E-tron Concept takes the form of an all-electric SUV. It’s thought to be based on the new EV-only MEB production platform developed by Audi’s parent company Volkswagen, reports Auto Express.  

Judging by the sketches, the car shares a number of design elements with Audi’s recent electric vehicles. These include the swooping lines of the recently released E-tron crossover and the car’s large front grille which is almost identical to the E-tron GT that appeared at the Detroit Auto Show last month.

If a production model is given the green light, buyers can expect the Q4 E-tron to be available with either 48kWh, 60kWh or 80kWh battery pack options, says CarBuyer. The smallest options should deliver around 200 miles of power on a single charge, while range-toppers would be expected to deliver up to 300 miles. 

BMW 7 Series

BMW’s updated 7 Series saloon has already created quite a stir ahead of its public debut in March. 

The German carmaker launched the first set of images for its new luxury saloon in early January and revealed that the car would sport a redesigned grille that is 40% larger than the old model’s. 

While the new grille has divided fans, the rest of the car’s upgrades are less controversial. The cabin has been equipped with a pair of customisable panels, one behind the steering wheel and the other embedded in the dashboard, while parking and reversing assistance comes as standard, says Top Gear

The new 7 Series is due to go on sale in the summer. Pricing hasn’t been announced yet, but WhatCar? estimates a figure of roughly £65,000. 

Honda Urban EV prototype

Honda’s all-electric Urban EV concept stole the hearts of both fans and critics when it appeared at the Frankfurt Motor Show in 2017, prompting the carmaker to develop a production model. 

Now the Japanese manufacturer is ready to show off a new prototype version of the electric hatchback, which should bear a strong resemblance to the final production model. 

Details about power and range are scarce. That being said, Auto Express expects the hatchback to come with a “a modest 200-mile range, mated to the latest fast-charge technology”.

Prices and a release date are expected to be announced following the car’s reveal. 

Lamborghini Huracan Evo

Unveiled online earlier this month, the new Huracan Evo is an extensively upgraded version of Lamborghini’s entry-level V10 supercar. 

Based on the original Huracan LP610-4, the Evo model features an updated version of the standard car’s 5.2-litre V10 engine. Its 630bhp and all-wheel-drive system helps fire the supercar from 0-62mph in 2.9 seconds, matching the track-focused Huracan Performante’s figures, says Auto Express.

The Evo also comes with four-wheel steering as standard, which moves the rear wheels in the opposite direction to the front on twisty roads, notes Top Gear. This dramatically improves turn-in response and stability at high speeds. 

Orders are expected to open shortly after it makes its Geneva debut, with prices starting at £206,000.

Peugeot 208 
Peugeot 208

Peugeot

Peugeot, the French motoring giant, has confirmed that its new 208 hatchback will appear in metal form for the first time in Geneva. 

Unveiled online ahead of its public debut at the show next week, the new 208 has been given a complete design overhaul. It now combines aggressive exterior looks with an interior packed with the latest technology. 

The new car has striking LED headlights and a front grille that’s significantly larger than the current 208’s. The car’s wheel arches are more pronounced than those of its predecessor, giving the new vehicle a sportier feel.

The cabin has undergone a major revamp, too. The dashboard now has a pair of digital screens, one above the centre console and the other behind the steering wheel. The screen in the centre console gives drivers access to the car’s infotainment system, while the other displays the car’s instruments and driving data.  

The 208 can be specced with either a 1.2-litre petrol engine or a 1.5-litre diesel motor, and these are available with both manual and automatic gearbox options, says Autocar

Buyers can also choose an all-electric e-208 model, which offers 211 miles of range and can be charged using a roadside 100kW “rapid charger”, says CarBuyer. This allows drivers to top up their car’s battery by as much as 80% in just 30 minutes.

Pininfarina Battista

Italian design firm Pininfarina, the company behind the iconic looks of the Ferrari Testarossa and Lancia 037, will be taking the covers off its first all-electric hypercar in Geneva.

Named after the company’s founder, Battista “Pinin” Farina, the hyper EV boasts a claimed power output of 1,900bhp and a top speed in excess of 250mph, says Autocar. If the final model backs up the company’s claims, the Battista would become one of the most powerful production cars in the world and the fastest all-electric car ever made.

The Battista is due to go on sale in autumn 2020 and will cost between €2m and €2.5m (£1.5m to £1.9m), the motoring magazine says.

Renault Clio
2019 - Nouvelle Renault CLIO

2019 - Nouvelle Renault CLIO

The Renault Clio may not be as exciting or as luxurious as some of the other cars on this list, but sales for the French hatchback in one year alone would eclipse all of the models above combined. 

In fact, sales of the fourth generation of the car have increased every year since its launch in 2012, hitting more than 450,000 in 2018, says Auto Express. A total of 365,000 were snapped up in Europe alone. 

With such high stakes, Renault had to deliver a new car that provides a notable step up over today’s Clio - but judging by the first official of the car, a snap shot of the city car’s interior, the French carmaker has met that challenge.

The “all-new” interior has been designed around a 9.3in touchscreen display on the centre console, with a digital instrument cluster behind the steering wheel, notes Evo. Ergonomics have also been improved, with the gear level now sitting higher and closer to the driver. 

The new Clio looks “sportier” inside, too, with red stitching on the steering wheel and seats derived from the company’s performance-focused Renault Sport cars, the magazine adds. 

More details about the styling and performance figures will be revealed when the car appears at the Geneva show.

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