#Daily Round-Up - Day 6 & 7
Welcome back to Geneva and the coverage of the show courtesy of S.A.M., where the beautiful city has been basking in March sunshine, making for some very pleasant test drives. We’re covering Tuesday and Wednesday in this round-up.
And with that, on with the coverage!
Today’s musical accompaniment is Pick Up The Pieces by Average White Band
Cornaldie revealed a new luxury sedan called the Echelon. Sharing many looks with the recently revealed Solatia, this four door mini land yacht is a 489 hp AWD car made for wafting around the streets of Paris in superb comfort. However, like the Solatia, we aren’t quite sold on the looks. Driving the thing though is much more rewarding; soft and pliable, but very comfortable. Perfect for cruising at high speed, though hard coerning should not be attempted.
Engine response is nice, and the V8 makes a very pleasing rumble as it gurgles up to 8000 rpm. Pricing is a little unusual at $52k - it costs almost as much as the average limousine, but has a regular executive sedan wheelbase, meaning it’s fitting into the budget luxury niche. Whether it’s exclusive enough to be right for this market, we can’t tell, but it’s still a solid car nonetheless.
Oddball company Ray Cars launched a new premium coupe for Japanese and British markets today. Called the Shibatron, this 4 seat fastback sports lightweight construction, good efficiency and nice performance. The looks aren’t quite there if we’re honest - from some angles, the front is unusual to say the least, though the rear is much more pleasing. Two trims are on offer, the CJ for Japan and the GTB for Britain (no, not that GTB), with the British trim being noticeably faster.
On the road, the Shibatron CJ is a little underwhelming. Certainly drives well, but it’s not particularly exciting. Then again, I’m not sure if it should be, as it seems to be more focused on being comfortable. Yet, it’s not the best at doing that either, falling into a normal/premium centre-ground. The GTB trim is certainly a lot nicer, with much more power courtesy of the 3.4l i6 and sequential gearbox. It’s certainly the one we’d recommend, perhaps just for the brilliant comfort and great performance.
Monolith unleashed some fury today in the form of the M161 Turbo 30 Dakar. Quite a mouthful, but just saying it and you know it’s something special. Displayed alongside a film documenting their history in the Paris-Dakar rally, Monolith explained how this special edition of the M161 is powered by a tribute act to the incredible 8l+ V12’s they ran with back in the 80s, in the form of an 8.0l Turbodiesel V12. Producing 1400Nm of torque, we’re fairly convinced it could tow a cruise liner. Better still, it’s coupled to a manual gearbox.
At $250k, it’s really a very exclusive vehicle, but for anyone lucky enough to afford it, we’d certainly consider it over some of the current high-end supercars. You aren’t going to experience that kind of torque anywhere else unless you start looking into decommissioned military vehicles.
This morning, OAM launched the Traveller II. Now powered by some more reasonable engines, this smart four-door, fast back-esque compact is a great combination of muscle-inspired design with everyday practicality. Both US and EU specs come with a manual gearbox, the latter being powering by a 510hp V8 and the former 265hp i6 - at just under £26k for that EU model, it’s a serious bargain.
Don’t think they’ve skimped however - on the road, it’s well mannered and good to drive. Perhaps on the heavy side, but that’s due to its plush interior, which is packed with a great range of features. Economy is a little on the weak side, which will deter the commuter buyers found in this area of the market, but as a bit of fun practiaclity, it’s great. It should certainly give the many hot-hatches in this price range a run for their money too.
Znopresk showed us their latest venture into WRC with the ZRP version of the Zap! supermini. More aggressive and more powerful than other variants, this Homologation special will be limited to 250 examples, and comes with a V6 engine, redesigned suspension and all-wheel drive. The result is lots of fun. A nippy, chuckable and lightweight car that handles sublimely and goes like no tomorrow.
And a V6 soundtrack, in a Znopresk! It’s really quite something. We cannot wait for the proper WRC version later this year, where ZRP are hoping to make a grand re-entry into the discipline. I wonder what EADC will have to say about that…
Cornaldie made a surprise announcement today and introduced a new car called the RU-1 Rally Support Vehicle. A 632 hp off roader, this performance SUV looks fantastic, and is designed to travel along side rally teams in the WRC. While we’re a little concerned that the intercooler is very exposed at the front, it is a lot of fun to drive. Quite hard to handle, and far happier off-road that on road, but all that power in such a monster of a vehicle is quite something. It’s incredible light for what it is too thanks to partial-carbon fibre construction.
Then came something we’d all be looking forward to, a proper DSD show. Unveiling the new Puissant to the sound of the estatic Babymetal, it was quite the spectacle, but even more shocking was the price. An entry level model of this sports coupe will cost $9990! Retro-chrome styling packed into a tiny, ultra-light weight packed make this thing a blast to drive, especially the entry level Osaka trim. 65 hp isn’t much, but in a car that weighs 889 kg, it feels like a lot, with some extra boost coming from its electric motor hybrid system.
The Monaco and Aubagne trims add minimal weight and a lot more power, hitting 228 hp with the latter. That means its good for 0-60 in 5.6 seconds, which for $17500, is brilliant. All of the trims handle very well, with the Aubagne feeling like a bit of go-kart with all that power. Truth be told, our favorite was the Osaka. Sure, it’s fairly barren in the interior, but the way this thing goes is just so much fun. The Puissant is pure joy. That is all.
[EADC] closed the day with the unveiling of the Sjourner Concept. This new sports-off roader is well equipped yet light weight, still somehow managing to cram in the 3.5l i6 from the Corsair which should make it nice and powerful. We’ll see a full release in the summer hopefully. A special version called the Dakar Special was unveiled, powered by a remnant of the Group B 2.8l V8 of the Vole Mk III. It’s good for 0-60 in 3.2 seconds and is packed with racing parts, though few details have been given about how it’ll compete. We’d certainly love to see an EADC/Monolith battle at this year’s rally though, just saying…
And with that, day 7 is done! I’ve extended the deadline for any cars for the photoshoot until tomorrow, so if you have a sports car or supermini/city car being displayed at the show, send it in for some hopefully sexy photos alongside the Genevan water front.
Bye for now!
- Gavin Anderson