10 Geneva Show stars

8 Mar, 2012 3:28pm Luke Madden

There were 180 world and European debuts, but here are our 10 favourite cars from the 2012 Geneva Motor Show

A quick walk around the Geneva Motor Show hall can change your outlook on the big unveils of the day. Some cars won't look quite as striking in the flesh, others will look even more striking and a handful of them will completely surprise you.

With this in mind, we've chosen our 10 most important cars at the show. Tell us your favourites in the comments below...

There aren’t too many surprises at motor shows these days, but Lamborghini certainly surprised us with the Aventador J. Everyone was expecting a roadster but no one was quite expecting the J – and no one was expecting it to be road legal. Underneath the bright lights of the show hall the drop-top Lamborghini looked more menacing than anything else at Geneva, and we couldn’t help but feel a pang of jealousy for the lucky buyer of this £2million one-off.
We’ve been following the Renault ZOE since the very first concept was introduced at the Frankfurt Motor Show in 2009. It showed a lot of promise then, and the car unveiled at Geneva is a great loking car. The ZOE boasts a range of 130 miles and will cost just £13,650 – making it the cheapest electric car on sale in the UK.
Some patent drawings for the Emerg-e were leaked ahead of the Geneva Show revealing what looked like a slightly out of proportion, awkward looking sports car. In reality, it turned out to be one of the best looking cars at the show and one of the most interesting, too. The Infiniti team on the stand told Auto Express that this 402bhp plug-in hybrid is being considered for production. Based on public reaction at the show, we think it's likely.
There was always a crowd surrounding the big Bentley 4x4 and if you stuck around long enough you would – eventually – hear someone say that they actually quite liked it. It’s fair to say the vast majority of opinions were negative, but I think a slightly toned down version of this car, with alloys smaller than 23-inches and a subtler front-end could look quite nice - maybe even elegant. The rest of the package seems spot-on, with the effortless 600bhp W12 engine and intricately detailed cabin.
If you were ever under any doubt about how significant a new Ferrari launch is, the amount of attention the F12 Berlinetta got at the show will convince you it’s definitely a major event. It replaces the 599 and produces 730bhp from a 6.3-litre V12, which is enough for 0-124mph in 8.5 seconds. It’s faster than any other Ferrari road car around the Fiorano track - and it looks stunning too. 
The all-new Porsche Boxster isn’t exactly a visual revolution compared to the old car but it does look absolutely fantastic. It should drive well too, with Porsche promising this car will lap the Nurburgring 12 seconds faster than the Boxster it replaces. Standard cars come with a 2.7-litre flat-six with 261bhp, while the Boxster S gets a 3.4-litre unit with 311bhp.
The new Mercedes A-Class has got the mark of an eye-catching new car. In fact, it still looks like a concept car. Everything from the sharp creases to the intricate lights and inverted grille on the AMG model looks futuristic, which should really help this car stand out on the road. It’s got substance too, with a good range of engines – including a 99g/km model – and an impressive range of gadgets.
The Ford B-MAX brings something new to the compact MPV segment with its B-pillarless design and sliding rear doors. Despite the novel construction the new model is aiming for top class crash test results and class-leading driving dynamics. There’s also a clean 94bhp 1.6-litre TDCi engine capable of 70mpg to go with a 1.0-litre turbocharged EcoBoost engine.
The Peugeot 208 GTi was one of the most exciting cars at Geneva because of what it promises to be. Lightweight, simple and fun; we’re expecting the 208 GTi to recapture some of the magic of the 205 GTi. And while it’s still called a concept for now, it won’t be long until we can find out if it has what it takes. The 208 GTi won’t exactly be cheap though, with an expected price tag of around £18,000. 
If the 208 GTi is to sell big, it will have to compete with the all-new Ford Fiesta ST which also made its debut at Geneva. We already love the way the standard Fiesta handles so this 178bhp model with sports suspension and torque vectoring should be very special indeed. Sales will start early in 2013, with a price of around £17,500.