Week in Review: Geneva's A-Comin'
Next week, automobile manufacturers, executives, and journalists from around the world will gather in the snowy confines of Geneva, Switzerland. There, they will ignore the lake, the scenery, and pretty much everything else that makes this historic city, well, historic, and instead gather into a convention center (which looks like every other convention center in the world), and stare at a bunch of cars. Welcome to the glamorous world of automotive journalism, by the way. Anyhow, in what has become a modern tradition, pretty much everything that will "debut" at the Geneva Motor Show has actually already been released and shown online. New Ferrari, anybody? How about an Infiniti aimed squarely at that Ferrari? Or maybe a luxury sedan from...Kia? All that and more happened this week, so let's roll back the clock and take a look. Monday, February 27 Infiniti may be an established luxury brand in the United States, but the rest of the world still just sees a bunch of expensive Nissans. The company is on a mission to change that. First, it moved its world headquarters to Hong Kong. Next, it will unveil this exotic supercar at the Geneva Motor Show next week. But this isn't just any ol' run-of-the-mill exotic. No, the Infiniti Emerg-E it's actually an extended-range electric vehicle, relying on a 1.2-liter four-cylinder engine to recharge a battery pack based on the Nissan Leaf's. Either way, motivation will come from electric motors. The problem is, none of that sounds all that, y'know, fast. We'll learn more next week. Tuesday, February 28 Speaking of established luxury brands in the U.S., Kia definitely is NOT one of them. In fact, the company is still busy shaking off its previous reputation as a purveyor of transportation so cheap it was borderline disposable. But that's not stopping the company. They're launching outstanding vehicles these days that are competitive in their own right, not just because they're inexpensive. Corporate cousin Hyundai has a pair of rear-wheel drive luxury cars in the Genesis and Equus, so why no make a Kia version? Known as the K9, the big Kia will move the brand deeper into the premium category, but it also begs the question: If Hyundai is the upscale counterpart, why is Kia getting a luxury sedan, too? Wednesday, February 29 This is the Ferrari F12 Berlinetta. It is the fastest production car Ferrari has ever made. These are a bunch of other words, because really, that's all you need to know about this V-12 supercar. With a top speed in excess of 211 mph, a 0-124 mph time of about 8.5 seconds, and a luxurious cockpit, the sensuously styled F12 Berlinetta is already the star of the Geneva Motor Show, a full week before it's even unveiled. In a way, it's just not fair to every other manufacturer at the show. But very fair to anybody who loves cars. Thursday, March 1 You may have heard that Toyota is back in the business of making fun cars again. No, seriously. It had to buy a stake in Subaru to do it, and turn over a bunch of the engineering work to them as well, but the Toyota GT 86—to be sold in the U.S. as the Scion FRS and the Subaru BRZ—is a lightweight, front-engine, rear-wheel drive sport coupe from the same company that's made billions on Camrys. Now, word is leaking out that there will be a convertible version as well. We think that the Mazda MX-5, a.k.a. Miata, just got its first real competitor in, well, ever. The only question: Will it come here, and will it be a Subaru or a Scion? Friday, March 2 With all this talk of exotics, convertibles, luxury sedans and the like, Ford brought it back to reality with the Ford Focus Electric. The MPGe numbers for the electric Ford were announced on Friday: 110 MPGe, the highest of any car tested by the EPA so far. But what exactly does that mean? We break it down for you, to help demystify those numbers. If they work out in real life, the Nissan Leaf is going to lose its crown as the king of the electrics as soon as the Focus EV hits the market. Of course, neither will have the same overall range as a Chevy Volt, but that's another argument for another time.
Just when the inter-webs began to forget, the messiah of douchery, Charlie Sheen, has been given new life.