Which cars will grab headlines at the Geneva Motor Show?
It's time for the big one. Yes, the Geneva Motor Show is nearly upon us and Autoblog UK will be there next week to bring you the latest on new models, concepts and what's happening in the industry.
But before all that we've rounded up 10 of the launches we're really looking forward to seeing and which we think will be the headline-grabbers when they're unveiled at the Geneva Palexpo.
1. Citroen DS4
It was one of our "Cars to look forward to in 2011" and perhaps surprisingly, has recently been voted the "Most Beautiful Car of the Year", but Geneva will be the first chance for us to have a good nose inside and out of the posh version of the C4. DS4 design highlights include the LED lights and a curvier rear end.
2. Ferrari FF
All hail the rebirth of the shooting brake estate with the new Ferrari FF which has to be a good bet for car of the show at Geneva 2011. The FF is a Ferrari of firsts; the first to be fitted with four-wheel drive and the first practical Ferrari with a 450 litre luggage area and folding rear seats to double the space. It might be an estate, but expect performance to match the prancing horse badge. Top speed is 200mph, with 62mph coming up in just 3.7 seconds.
3. Kia Rio
The Rio was always one of the poorer relations of the Kia range when compared to the popular C'eed and glitzy Sportage. Not any more, as this sharp new model will make its debut alongside the Picanto city car on the Kia stand at the Geneva motor show. Looks-wise the new Rio follows current family styling cues, but the biggest news is the 70mm stretched wheelbase, which should equal more interior space and a bigger boot.
4. Lamborghini LP700-4
So far, we've only got a picture of the suspension but this promises to be one of the most exciting cars launched at Geneva. The new car, which is likely to be called the Aventador or LP700-4, will use a horizontally mounted pushrod spring and damper setting inspired by single seater racing cars. However, Lamborghini will be tuning it to meet the needs of a high-performance road-going vehicle. Alongside the new suspension, the new Lamborghini will have aluminum double wishbone suspension, a carbon ceramic brake system and a lightweight chassis.
5. Mercedes C-Class Coupe
The launch of this two-door version of the C-Class means Mercedes now has a rival to the Audi A5 and the BMW 3 Series coupe, which have been unchallenged since the CLK was discontinued in 2009. Believe it or not, the new C-Class Coupe is the same length as the saloon, but it's 41mm lower with rear windows that stretch right towards the back of the car to give it a sporty short rear end.
6. MINI Rocketman concept
We're still hoping that MINI show a production version of the Coupe at Geneva but if that doesn't happen there's always this Rocketman concept. Surely a preview of a new smaller MINI, design highlights of this three-metre long car include the wide-opening doors, projector rear lights and boot that opens into the roof. The Rocketman concept is a lightweight design with carbon spaceframe construction, to this end, it is designed to allow the integration of a drive system which combines further enhanced sprinting ability with average fuel consumption of just three litres per 100 kilometres.
7. Pagani Huayra
In development for over seven years, Pagani will finally pull the covers off its replacement for the iconic Zonda.
Called the Huayra - pronounced 'h-wirer' – it's powered by a 690bhp, 6.0-litre, twin-turbo V12 built for Pagani by AMG and thus continuing the relationship that was forged with the Italian company's first supercar. Longer than the Zonda, the Huayra isn't as distinctively attractive, but then again the whole car is shaped as a wing. So that's the reason for the high front. Still the performance should be as memorable, with a top speed of around 230mph and expect sub-3.5 second acceleration.
8. Smart Forspeed
Anyone remember the bonkers Smart Crossblade from 2003? Well, with its lack of roof, doors, windows and the three-spoke alloys, this Forspeed concept could be a modern interpretation. Unlike the Crossblade, the Forspeed has no engine, instead it's powered by a 30kW (40bhp) magneto-electric motor and a lithium-ion battery pack that delivers 16.5kWh of electrical punch. Together, they help the car go from standstill to 37mph (0-60kmh) in 5.5 seconds. Top speed is just 75mph, but even at this speed, the wind in the hair experience must be fun.
9. Toyota FT-86 II Concept
The MR2 and Celica might be long gone, but Toyota will unveil the latest concept version of its next sports car, the FT-86 II, at the Geneva show.The car seems to have been stuck in development forever, with the original FT 86 concept shown off in March last year, but this version is said to be what the road car will finally look like.The concept remains a joint project with Toyota's fellow Japanese manufacturer, Subaru, although it's anticipated each manufacturer will have its own version of the sports car. The production version of the FT-86 II is due to appear in 2012 and is expected to be powered by Subaru's compact 2.0-litre Boxer engine.
10. Volvo V60 plug in
It might look like a standard Volvo V60, but this is in fact a plug in hybrid version, which is capable of 149mpg and should go on sale before the end of next year. Besides the impressive fuel economy, this V60 also has the ability to cover up to 31 miles on electric power alone thanks to a large 12kW battery mounted beneath the boot. Sadly, there are downsides to the package; the battery does compromise the V60's luggage capacity and it now weighs a heavy two tonnes. Still, the ultra-low 49g/km CO2 emission figure and the ability to tow 1800kg might be enough to tempt buyers.
If you're interested in seeing these and hundreds of other cars in the flesh, the Geneva Motor Show runs from 3-13 March.