Take a trip with Brian Cooley to Geneva as he wraps-up the cars and technology at the International Motor Show.
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2010 Geneva Auto Show Review
Now unlike a lot of tech categories CNET covers, the car business isn't typified by just one show every year. There are many big ones, but Genera's always one of the most interesting. For example, we saw some incredible new technologies for connected cars, but not from big expensive carmakers like Mercedes or BMW, from MINI and Smart.
MINI has what they call their connected platform where you plug in your iPhone via USB, and, of course, it charges and plays music, but also falls in connected services over the Internet including Web Radio. Little light on the details right now, but it's definitely real. Smart has an app that looks absolutely hot that has four basic and very impressive categories of in-car connected technology, and, in this case, they're using your iPhone to make up for the fact that they don't have any advanced LCD based head units. But if you've got an iPhone, you kind of already have an advanced head unit. It's just in your pocket. Once you cradle it and integrate it with the vehicle's functions, bingo, you're there with one device in car and out.
The super car and high performance makers went hybrid nuts. Look at Ferrari, a 599 hybrid. None for production yet, but it's not some wild concept either. It shows they're serious about a hybrid production car relatively soon. And then Porsche pulled a rabbit out of its hat, surprised everybody, with this, the 918 Spyder. Very concepty stuff, for we're talking about a 500 horsepower V-8 and two electric motors, front and rear, for 2118 more horsepower. Yes, 718 horsepower all in high performance, but also high efficiency depending on what mode you put it in. And they brought out the new Cayenne third generation including a hybrid that'll be out late summer, early fall.
Over to Lotus where they tend to make a lot of things for other carmakers, now they're showing off their own Evora, 414E hybrid. Little three-cylinder engine, runs a generator, powers the batteries that run the motors that turn the wheels. So it's a range extender like a Chevy Volt. And it's got a Harman Kardon synthetic engine sound system that's kind of convincing and kind of strange. And Hyundai does what a lot of folks have been asking about-putting a diesel together with a hybrid. Why not? This turbo diesel hybrid electric iFlow concept is just that, a concept, but shows that they want to put two of the most efficient power plants known into one vehicle.
An interesting stuff from Volkswagen, as you'd expect at a European show. The Polo is their car below the Golf. It's their real little car. Europeans, and most of the rest of the world love this car, and look at this GTI version with lots of the classic GTI queues and both the turbo and the super-charger to get a 140 horse out of just 1.4 liters. And did you know VW makes a pickup truck? This is it-the Amarok. Not coming to the US, so don't get too excited, but got those nice VW lines and appointments and sort of subdued design in a pickup that can be had in a dual cab or, later, a single cab for a longer bed.
And finally we had a pretty good blast of mini-crossovers. That trend is by no means petering out. Here's the Mitsubishi RVR or ASX, depending on what part of the world it's being sold in. It has that good-looking Mitsu front-end and very affordable. Don't know pricing until it is definitely slotted for the US, but it will be. And this is Nissan's new Juke, which slots below the Murono, below the Rogue as their new ultra-mini compact crossover. One thing I like about it is it'll come standard with that four inch multi- information display screen that is more than just dumb stuff like odometer and outside temp and fuel consumption.
Now, as you can see, there's a lot more than just those few stories at the show. We've got those plus about a dozen more that are really compelling for folks who love cars and tech when they intersect. Don't we all? To find them, go to cnettv.com and just search Geneva auto show.