March 10, 2003

AutoWeek Magazine announces 2003 Editors’ Choice Awards at Geneva Motor Show

Geneva, Switzerland – AutoWeek magazine has announced its 2003 Editors’ Choice Awards from the Geneva International Motor Show, which each year inaugurates the European auto show season.

AutoWeek Editors’ Choice Awards recognize those vehicles the magazine’s editorial staff selects as the Best in Show, Most Fun, Most Significant and Best Concept models at each major auto show around the world.

The AutoWeek Editors’ Choice Awards from the 2003 Geneva International Motor Show are:

Best in Show — Lamborghini Gallardo — Audi is bullish on Lamborghini and proves it by nearly doubling the size of the Italian company’s plant and developing two new models in as many years. The Gallardo, like the Murcielago, is equipped with all-wheel drive that splits torque 30/70 fore and aft while cruising. Whereas the Murcielago is all carbon fiber and steel, the Gallardo is aluminum through-and-through thanks to Audi’s aluminum expertise. Torsional rigidity is high on the Newton-meter scale, and the fresh all-aluminum V10 — developed in Sant’ Agata with lots of help from Cosworth and quattro GmbH — is a smooth 500-horsepower, 376 lb-ft stormer. Prices start at about U.S.$125,000, and models are due in early summer.

Most Fun — Pininfarina Enjoy — Based on motorcycle and single-seater dynamics, it reminded the editors of weekend club-racing idols like the Caterham Seven and Lotus Elise, which is good since it actually is a Lotus Elise underneath. As recent show cars go, it’s a bit like the Mercedes-Benz F400 Carving (Tokyo, 2001) or Lotus M250 (Frankfurt, 1999). The engine is a 135-horsepower 1.8-liter four sprinkled with Lotus fairy dust. One trick of the Pininfarina one-off is that you can drive it on the street with fenders and all, but then on the track you can move and drop the four fenders for open-wheel thrills.

Best Concept — Bertone Birusa — Bertone calls its Birusa a dream car. It sits on a Z8 aluminum chassis and uses the M-tuned 400-horsepower 5.0-liter V8 from that car and the M5. Compared to the size of the Z8, the GT is much larger, with a long and classic sloping front end and an almost non-existent rear. Big doors open skyward in fine show car style, and the interior is plusher than Zsa Zsa Gabor’s closet. In the tail section, the rearmost panel folds down to act as a ramp when activated by the little remote control hand unit. The wheelbase is a full 11.8 inches longer than that of the Z8. You want a large windscreen on a seriously dangerous rake angle? This is your windscreen, this is your angle. All bodywork is aluminum, and Bertone used the project as a chance to show its ability to work with the temperamental material.

Most Significant — Audi Nuvolari quattro Concept — The Audi Nuvolari is designer Walter de’ Silva’s first creation for the company, and he has made an impression with his modern interpretation of a classic GT. The car also features Audi’s new trademark grille that debuted on the Pikes Peak quattro concept revealed in Detroit. Inside is a comfortable, luxurious interior, keeping the brand’s reputation intact, if not raising the bar a bit. The Nuvolari, named after racing legend Tazio Nuvolari, the last driver to take an Auto Union car to an F1 winner’s circle, is a two-door coupe with 2+2 seating and short overhangs front and rear. Beneath the long hood lies a 5.0-liter biturbo V10 with FSI direct fuel injection (like on the Le Mans-winning R8) that develops 600 hp and 553 lb-ft of torque. The 0-to-60-mph time is 4.1 seconds. Power is directed to all four wheels via a six-speed automatic transmission using shift-by-wire technology. For all of these reasons the car was named our Most Significant. While the Nuvolari is a concept, there’s a good feeling in Ingolstadt the car will make it to production.

The Geneva Editors’ Choice Awards story will appear in the March 17, 2003 issue of AutoWeek.

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