Geneva is the first big show of the year, giving us a steer as to what manufacturers believe will be big in 2012 with them showcasing new production models and concepts.
This year, times are not quite as rosy and we felt there was a more cautious atmosphere at the show than in the past couple of years.
There was plenty of new metal revealed, but Autoblog took an extended walk round the show to bring you 10 cars that really caught our imagination and which, we believe, will be making news over the year ahead.
10 of the best new cars at the Geneva Motor Show 2012
Our pick of the ten best new cars from the Geneva Motor Show
Okay, we know it looks like the old one, but believe it or not this is the all-new Audi A3. Look closer and you’ll spot the A4-like nose and some sharp surface detailing for the bodywork. Thankfully the changes for the interior of the A3 are far more revolutionary, with a new funky A1-inspired dashboard. Underpinned by the same Volkswagen-Group MQB platform as the forthcoming Golf, it is the Audi that gets to market first and will be powered by the usual choice of petrol and diesel engines. Although, hybrid, gas and pure battery power are also expected to be offered later on. Expect the usual choice of three-door, five-door and convertible body styles.
Just a concept for the moment, but considering show opinion and the fact that rivals have made such a success from SUVs; we'd bet on a toned-down version of the EXP 9 F making production. The EXP 9 F features Bentley-ised Audi Q7 underpinnings and will be powered by the 6.0-litre W12 engine with up to 600bhp.
It seems like every motor show brings us a new Ferrari and this time it is called the F12 Berlinetta. Replacing the 599 GTB Fiorano, Ferrari claim it is the quickest, most powerful production car ever with 730bhp. The 6.3-litre V12 engine gets to 62mph in just 3.1 seconds and the top speed is a supercar-crushing 211mph. The F12 has a shorter aluminium spaceframe chassis, on top of this it has a lower centre of gravity and is lighter yet 20% stiffer. On the outside, the F12 has extremely slippery and attractive styling. Designed in conjunction with Pinifarina, there are hints of FF and 458 Italia in the overall look. Inside, the FF inspiration is more obvious. There's a practical hatchback boot and space behind the rear seats. The F12 will be on sale here by the end of the year, with a price in the region of £250,000
On show in Geneva was Ford's recently revealed baby MPV, the clever B-Class. The most clever design feature has to be the B-pillar, or lack of it. Other highlights of this Vauxhall Meriva rival, include the easy fold seats and the mobile phone-like centre console that was first seen on the Fiesta and Focus.
Basically an estate version of Jaguar’s popular XF, according to Jaguar, the Sportbrakes design was influenced by sports estates of the 70s. All-new from the B-pillars back, the Sportbrake has the same curvy roofline as the saloon, but probably the most interesting part of the design has to be the black C-pillar detailing which is like that first seen on the current XJ. It might look the part, but the Sportbrake also has a useful 550-litres of bootspace. This can be increased to 1675-litres with the split/fold rear seat folded. The Jaguar XF Sportbrake will go on sale later this year, with the usual diesel and petrol engines.
No, this isn't the rumoured convertible version, instead it is a totally bonkers roofless and windscreen-less Aventador. Powered by the same 700bhp, 6.5-litre V12 as its hardtop brother, and is still capable of 186mph. Not a concept car, this special Lamborghini is a one-off and for sale. We expect it has been sold by now though.
A convertible SUV from Land Rover would have seemed impossible if it wasn’t for the fact it is based on the effortlessly stylish, game-changing Range Rover Evoque. Just a concept at the moment sadly, we were suprised at how well the baby Rangie has made the transition from coupe to convertible. If it makes production this car could be the world’s first premium SUV convertible. Rear and boot space are smaller because of the hood, but there should just enough room for two in the back. The tailgate is also the fold-down variety like the MINI Convertible. Despite an extra 75kg of roof stiffening added when the roof came off, Land Rover claim the soft-top Evoque is still sufficiently stiff to match hard top models.
One of the characteristics of the last two generations of A-Class has to be its quirky, SUV-inspired styling. Well not any more, as version three has gone all conventional, with its five-door hatchback styling. Looking like a B-Class from the front, there's some neat metal surfacing along the sides and the new grille detailing is interesting. There will be the usual choice of petrol and diesel engines, with the new A-Class going on sale later this year.
This sleek little hatch is the production version of Renault's electric Zoe. Available later this year, it is also expected to be the cheapest electric car on sale with prices expected to start at £14,000. Top speed is 89mph, with a Leaf-beating 130 mile range.
Designed to replace both the S40 and V50, the V40 is built on a modified Ford Focus platform. Exterior styling cues follow current Volvo styling trends first seen on the S60 and V60 ranges, although there is some interesting surface detailing going on around the rear. Sit inside and although plush, there’s nothing really new apart from the interactive digital dash. Available in the UK later this year, there's a choice of three petrol and three diesel engines.