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GENEVA — Understated is not the word to describe an international auto show that witnessed the introduction of the most ferocious Ferrari ever and an ostentatious Bentley SUV rolling on 23-inch rims. But the 2012 Geneva Motor Show certainly felt understated.
For all the outlandish supercars and concepts on the show floor, there were many quiet, thoughtful ideas for making good, efficient cars. Easing our reliance on fossil fuels is an incredibly tough nut to crack. While hybrids and electrics undoubtedly will play a growing role in the equation, the Geneva Motor Show was all about a holistic approach to sustainable motoring: Efficient engines driving lightweight, uber-aerodynamic vehicles.
Well, that and supercars. Geneva being Geneva, no show is complete without the glorious irreverence, if not irrelevance, of a 700-plus horsepower carbon-fiber wedge designed to carry no more than two people at absolutely eyeball-compressing speed.
With that in mind, here’s a look at the sensible superminis, creative concepts and sublime supercars of the 2012 Geneva Motor Show.
The Fiat 500L highlights the issues inherent in building a sub-brand around a single iconic car — or, in this case, the reimagining of a single iconic car. The 500L is a five-door hatchback with the proportions of a minivan and the Fiat 500’s smiling face and cute headlights. This thing looks big enough to carry an original Fiat 500. But if Mini can get away with building cars that are anything but mini, Fiat should have no problem building a family-size 500. Good news: The 500L will have the option of a tiny two-cylinder TwinAir turbo engine, which hews more closely to the original’s character than, say, a 1.3-liter diesel.
Photo: Peter Orosz/Wired.com
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