Geneva, Switzerland is one of the most affluent places in Europe. It’s where the elite go to bank, to shop and to show off their wealth. But for just over a week every year the world’s attention is focussed on one event: the Geneva International Motor Show.
This year it runs from Thursday the 7th March to Sunday the 17th of March. On display will be everything from classics, custom coachwork and bespoke tuning houses to the latest supercar and even a smattering of concepts to give us a glimpse into the future.
2019 is looking to be a stellar year for unveiling new metal to the public. Naturally Ferrari comes first.
The Ferrari F8 Tributo will be a turbocharged V8 producing 710 BHP, making it the most powerful turbocharged road car Ferrari have ever built. A new design language has been employed for this model, sleeker lines and fussier styling have prevailed to make it one of the prettiest Ferrari’s in years.
There’s no word on pricing yet, however the motoring press are under the impression that the prancing horse is gunning for a piece of the McLaren pie; so a price around the same as the 720S isn’t out of the question as the F8 is going to match the McLaren in nearly every way. Its cost will be announced at Geneva.
Next up are Bugatti. With only two cars in their stable, the brand has to find ways to keep up the hype and excitement. This is where their one-off builds and concept cars come into play. This year it’s the turn of something simply known as the ‘Atlantic Tribute’; a single build machine created to honor the ex-Volkswagen chairman who instigated Bugatti’s revival way back in 1998. The name comes from one of the rarest and most valuable classic cars in the world, the 1936 Type 57 Atlantic.
Swedish car maker Koenigsegg is also releasing their Agera RS successor. Everything has been kept tightly under wraps until Geneva, where the name, power, performance and top speed will be announced. So far they’ve only released this teaser image.
Pagani is also remaining tight-lipped about their unveiling at Geneva. The brand launched the Zonda at the show 20 years ago, so no doubt it will be something special.
Esteemed British car maker Morgan is bringing a new ‘wide body’ model to Switzerland. It comes after the demise of the much loved V8 that’s powered some of their most dramatic cars in recent years. Rumor has it that the ‘wide body’ will pay homage to the likes of the gorgeous Aero 8.
As always the Geneva International Motor Show is held at Palexpo, a building that sits adjacent to the airport in the heart of Geneva. Palexpo is like any other arena type venue, consisting of huge interlinked halls which house incredible stands built for one week only.
Top tip; head to Porsche for the best food – you might need an invite though.
PARKING & TRANSPORT
Most visitors will fly into Geneva, which means a short walk outside the airport, along a path, over a bridge and into Palexpo. It takes just half an hour from being seated on the plane to entering the show doors.
Flights from Europe are plentiful with British Airways, Lufthansa and SWISS offering business class from numerous destinations on the continent.
Parking isn’t great at Geneva, unless you’re a VIP or exhibitor. Most visitors are forced to park away from the airport in areas marked P-48 & P-49. Parking charges are CHF 20 per car and include a free bus service to get you to the show, although P-49 is only a five-minute walk from Palexpo.
If you’re already in Switzerland, then train is probably the easiest way to get to the motor show. Almost all of the trains continue past the town center and terminate at the airport station which is next to the entrance for Palexpo.
Geneva gets incredibly busy around the time of the motor show so expect to pay a premium for any rooms that are still available.
Our choice for a night would be the Hotel d’Angleterre that sits on Geneva’s lakefront. It’s the place royalty, heads of state and celebrities normally grace. Built in 1872, the d’Angleterre is five-star all the way, you’ll also have views of Mont Blanc and the Jet d’Eau. Rooms for the week of the show are around £700 a night.
Another opulent stay can be had at the Mandarin Oriental – this was the first hotel to be built in Europe after the Second World War. It features an early modernist, semi Art Deco style. This has been preserved over the years and was renovated when the Mandarin Oriental took ownership. Prices during the motor show are roughly £1,000 a night.
Naturally the biggest attraction in Geneva is its spectacular lake. One of the largest in Western Europe, it’s actually split between France and Switzerland. The border runs right down its middle – however, custody of the lake belongs to Switzerland and is celebrated with the huge fountain, or Jet d’Eau. This spectacular fountain can be reached by a stone jetty, but beware of the wind – a slight change in direction can leave you soaked to the skin, so bring your yachting gear just in case.
Day trips can also be arranged to visit Chamonix and Mont Blanc, making Geneva and the motor show a great excuse for a few days away skiing.
TICKETS & TIMETABLES
The show opens to the public on the 7th March and runs until the 17th March. Doors open at 10am on weekdays and close at 8pm while weekend hours are 9am to 7pm.
Tickets for adults cost CHF 16, children CHF 9 and Pensioners CHF 9. Groups of 20 cost CHF 11 per person.
If you purchase your ticket after 4PM you’ll receive a 50% discount.