Sports and supercars to the fore at Geneva

As the first major European show of the year the Geneva Motor Show always has an array of glittering car launches. But, this year it seems to have excelled itself with new models and a number of tantalising concepts.

One of the stars has to be the Bentley EXP 10 Speed 6 concept car. Following the news that Bentley are to move into the SUV market with the awkwardly-named Bentley Bentayga, the Speed 6 concept signals that the marque may be aiming to take on supercar manufacturers like Aston Martin at their own game.

That’s not such an out-of-character move as it might at first appear. Yes, in recent years we have tended to think of Bentley as producers of luxury saloons and grand tourers, thanks to the many years the company spent producing what one might rather unkindly call badge-engineered Rolls Royces. But Bentley was very much a sporty marque in its early days, with five wins at Le Mans between 1924 and 1930.

Bentley EXP 10 Speed 6

The EXP10 Speed 6 is a two-seater sports car that combines advanced technology with Bentley’s tradition of craftsmanship and Bentley say it could be a future model that they would offer alongside the Continental GT.

It certainly has the hallmarks of success. The design combines supercar features with a look that is distinctly Bentley, with the signature mesh grille and four round headlamps.

The concept is designed to utilise a performance hybrid powertrain and, of the performance, Bently simply say: “Performance goals including top speed are set to challenge competitors and define a new segment benchmark”.

Meanwhile, Aston Martin, who must be directly in the sights of the Speed 6, have their own concept at the show. The DBX Concept is aimed at extending Aston Martin’s appeal with a wider global audience.

Aston Martin DBX Concept

Unveiling the concept Aston Martin CEO Dr Andy Palmer said: “The DBX Concept is a challenge to the existing status quo in the high luxury GT segment. It envisages a world, perhaps a world not too far away, when luxury GT travel is not only stylish and luxurious but also more practical, more family-friendly and more environmentally responsible”.

The DBX concept features four-wheel-drive and is designed to seat four passengers in comfort, with what Aston Martin describe as “generous luggage capacity”, thanks to space front and rear. This is because the DBX concept has no engine compartment, because it is driven by electric motors inboard from the wheels, powered by lithium sulphur cells.

Audi has taken the wraps off its second generation Audi R8 at the Geneva Show. It will be available to order from May 2015 with prices ranging from £119,500 for the 540PS V10 (the power is boosted from the 525PS in the current R8 V10 which I drove on this blog). There will also be a 610PS V10 which will cost £137,500, with first deliveries in late 2015.

Audi R8 launch

Performance is 0-62mphg in 3.2 seconds, with a top speed of 205 mph, making this the fastest and most powerful Audi ever put into series production.

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