With the economic crisis over, the supercar regained its place at the Geneva show this week. After two press days, it opens to the public on Thursday (3 March).
Ferrari and Lamborghini were among those staging high-profile new model launches.
“Compared to previous years, the Geneva show will be marked by growing optimism among car makers,” Carlos da Silva, of consultancy Global Insight, told news agency AFP. “The motor industry is back on track.”
Clean engines, electric or hybrid petrol-electric, abounded among some 170 new model launches, alongside mini runabouts and five- to seven-seat family wagons. Even Rolls-Royce unleashed a prototype electric-powered version of its limousine.
Although it was still in the company’s trademark bright red, Ferrari nonetheless squeezed four seats into its low slung new FF as well as four-wheel drive for the first time in its history.
“The FF is a fantastic and very important step, a new page in our history,” chairman Luca Cordero di Montezemolo said.
Volkswagen-owned Lamborghini’s new Aventador was slightly less subtle.
“Raw power and feather-light weight,” the company claimed of its carbon fibre, 12-cylinder car, paring a couple of hundred kilos off the Ferrari’s 1,700kg.
That allowed Lamborghini to lay claim to a 20% cut in fuel consumption and carbon emissions over the car’s predecessor.
In keeping with a tradition dictated by the company’s logo, the Aventador was named after a bull that became a legend among Spanish bullfighters.
Rival Porsche offered a hybrid engine in its four-door Panamera coupe.
Spain’s GTA Motor, a racing car specialist, unveiled its first high-tech supercar for the open road, the Spano. It pares down weight thanks to the use of carbon fibre and metals favoured by the aerospace industry such as titanium.
“We’ll just sell 99 cars, each client will have their own exclusive colour,” a company executive told AFP, shrugging off talks of economic uncertainty.
“The car is built in Valencia (Spain) but it’s in emerging economies, in Russia, China, the United Arab Emirates, that we’ll sell,” he added, eyeing the same markets as the major mainstream automakers.
Meanwhile, traditional British car maker Morgan dug even deeper into its roots at the Geneva show.
It revived a 1930s sporting favourite, an open three-wheeler powered by a modern Harley-Davidson motorcycle engine, which can zoom to 60 miles per hour (100 km/h) in just over four seconds.