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2013-03-08 14:16

BIG CAHOONAHS: The 2013 Geneva auto show is all about luxury cars fighting for the biggest power figures and fastest speed as being brute is still the new cool on the field.

GENEVA, Switzerland - Huge engine power and speed records remain the name of the game for the many luxury
vehicles on prominent display at the 2013 Geneva auto show which opened on March 5.

German car specialist Stefan Bratzel said: "In super-luxury, there is still a tendency to try to reach new speed records."


Judging from the models unveiled in Geneva, power wars still have plenty of road ahead of them.

Italian automaker Lamborghini, celebrating its 50th anniversary, unveiled its Veneno (Spanish for poison and the name of a legendary fighting bull) - a name that hints at the warrior nature of the sleek machine.

With 552kW under the bonnet and a whopping price-tag, the car turned many heads at the show. Only three models of this bundle of concentrated technology have been made and each already has a buyer - at a stagger-making R35.5-million a pop.


Lamborghini chief Stephan Winkelmann said the car was the fastest non-racer ever built by his company, accelerating to 100km/h in only 2.8 seconds and with a top speed of 355km/h an hour.

Ferrari's brand new hybrid supercar, LaFerrari, is another big attraction at the show.

Car enthusiasts need a fair dose of patience to catch a mere glimpse of the dream machine, made by Italy's Fiat, but once through the crowd, the fiery red descendant of Ferrari's famous Enzo is a heart-stopper, especially with its promise to go to 200km/h in less than 8.5 seconds. It has two engines: one electric and one a thermic 12-cylinder, allowing it to boast 728kW for short distances.

The 499 LaFerraris already assembled have also already found buyers, each willing to pay the hefty price-tag to call the luxury speed dream their own.

LaFerrari's biggest rival on the floor is the P1. The bright yellow model with butterfly doors was built by British McLaren, and is sold for the same price as its Italian competitor at R11-million.

Only 375 of these cars, which also have two engines and promise 673kW, are slated for production.

The symbol of refinement, Rolls-Royce, owned by German BMW, meanwhile unveiled a new four-seat coupe, the Wraith. Boasting 465kW, it aims for high-speed performance and is clearly aimed to take on Bentley's Continental GT.

The Wraith is the most powerful car to ever come out of a Rolls-Royce plant, the carmaker said. With its generous curves and luxurious passenger compartment, it will go on sale in Europe at the end of the year for R2.9-million.

Right across from it, Bentley showed off the Flying Spur, which with a 456kW is presented as the fastest four-door model ever to come from the carmaker. The golden racing sedan is soon to go on sale for just under R2.3-million a piece.

Lifted by the swelling US market and a dynamic Asia, the luxury segment appears to have easily withstood last year's European crisis, and continues to push out superlative-laden press releases.

Polk analyst Bertrand Rakoto said: "The race for power is not over yet at Ferrari and others."


Some carmakers are meanwhile trying to innovate and broaden their product portfolios. Germany's Porsche, for instance, can thank its Cayenne SUV for spurring a spike in the brand's sales.

Several other luxury automakers are also planning an onslaught of new vehicle types, and, following Porsche's example, especially focusing on the highly promising SUV segment.

Bentley for instance aims to launch one in 2015 and Lamborghini expects to do the same by 2017. They are both waiting for a green light from their German parent company, Volkswagen.

Rolls-Royce is also looking at the segment, and Fiat's Maserati is planning to broaden its offerings with a small cross-over as well as a small sedan by 2015.

Read more on:    ferrari  |  geneva auto show 2013

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