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RAC Cars - Geneva Motor Show 2014

By raccars Published

The 2014 Geneva Motor Show is underway right now – and the headlines from the world’s most influential motor show are being grabbed by several manufacturers including Maserati, Alfa Romeo, Jaguar, Land Rover, Audi, Infiniti and McLaren. RAC Cars was there to watch it all…

Jaguar gathered one of the biggest crowds at the Geneva Motor Show not to reveal an all-new production car, but to reveal its name… yes, the new ‘baby Jaguar’ rival to the BMW 3 Series will be called the Jaguar XE.

But then, to the crowd’s amazement, it followed the announcement by JLR CEO Dr Ralf Speth up with a first glimpse of an apparently production-ready Jaguar XE in bright metallic red!

The image was only shown for a few seconds before fading away but RAC Cars has sourced it and revealed it above: this, we learnt at the Geneva Motor Show, will be the fact of the new £30,000 baby Jaguar to compete with the Audi A4, BMW 2 Series and Mercedes-Benz C-Class.

Jaguar also showed the 550hp XFR-S Sportbrake estate and the new F-Type Coupe that RAC Cars drove in prototype form back in January. Sister brand Land Rover, meanwhile, showcased a new 285hp Range Rover Evoque Autobiography high performance variant.

That wasn’t the only news from Land Rover, though: the firm also revealed the Discovery model is to become a family of cars from 2015. In a similar way to how the Range Rover line is a family of luxury Land Rovers, so the Discovery brand is to become its versatile, family-focused model line.

Across from Jaguar Land Rover, Volvo was showing the gorgeous Concept ES Estate, which many people have tipped to win concept car of the show. Meanwhile, one-time parent of both firms, Ford, was showing its facelifted Focus for the first time – compete with new Aston Martin style grille.

Another British sports car brand, McLaren, revealed the new open-top spider version of the 650S at the show. This is an additional model line that brings a P1-style front end to the popular McLaren 12C. The 650hp car boasts performance stats that beat the iconic McLaren F1 and, in coupe guise, will costs just under £200,000.

Alfa Romeo also revealed an open-top sports car at the show – the 4C Spider, which in coupe form Richard Hammond was so enamored by on Top Gear recently. Really, it’s more of a targa than a full open-top car, but it will still bring new opportunities to a brand that’s been in the doldrums for too long now.

The firm’s premium sports car sister company, Maserati, pulled out a real surprise of the show when it revealed the Alfieri. It’s a car named after one of the Maserati brothers (not Alfa Romeo!) and is said to possibly preview the look of a new Maserati rival to the highly popular Jaguar F-Type. If the production version looks anything like this, Jaguar should be worried – it’s a fantastic looking car.

Continuing the sports car theme, Audi pulled the covers off the all-new TT at the Geneva Motor Show. To many, this was no surprise, as the appearance is very similar to the current car – definitely evolution rather than revolution. However, Audi still believes it’s done enough to ensure the top-selling sports car thrives; typically laden in boundary-pushing technology, there’s certainly plenty there to keep customers interested.

Elsewhere in the show there was the usual mix of real world and exotica. Peugeot was proudly showing off its new Car of the Year Award for the 308, for example, while Infiniti was delightfully showing off the Nissan GT-R twin-turbo V8 engine that it’s installed in the Eau Rouge concept car. Please build this car, Infiniti..!

During the show, SEAT announced it had broken the 8-minute barrier for fastest front-wheel drive lap time around the Nurburgring, with a time of 7 minutes 58.4 seconds. Two potential challengers to this new crown were announced at the show – the Honda Civic Type-R Concept and the Vauxhall Astra Extreme.

Honda engineers have already stated they want to beat the Nurburgring front wheel drive lap record time. Right now, they are working out just what’s needed to do this – the concept car isn’t the finished article and more styling and aero changes may be needed as the car continues to pound around the Ring.

The Vauxhall Astra Extreme is more of a surprise. Again a concept, this would be a limited volume car in account of its ‘extreme’ engineering: carbon fibre roof, wheels, engine ay components, you name it. Vauxhall says it will have more than 300hp and, when it goes on sale (expected before the year is out), it’s expected to be quite a weapon.

RAC Cars is at the Geneva Motor Show throughout press and preview days: come back later to read more from the top international motor show!

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