Audi S5 Cabriolet quattro (top); Audi TT RS quattro (middle); 1936 Auto Union Type C Streamline. Click image to enlarge
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Article and photos by Paul Williams
2009 Geneva Auto Show
The Geneva Auto Show in Switzerland is rightly regarded as one of the best in the world, but due to its distant location, most Canadians will never visit. If you’re a car enthusiast, though, it’s well worth the trip – and lovers of Swiss chocolate, cheese and luxury wristwatches will also be well entertained.
Unlike Toronto, Detroit and many other car shows, the vehicles at Geneva are conveniently presented under one roof on two levels, joined by a wide staircase. You’ll find most of the major brands downstairs, plus some specialty makers such as Brabus, Ruf and Rinspeed; upstairs, there are more specialty makers and designers like Karmann, Spyker, Sbarro, Pininfarina, ItalDesign, a Vredestein/Giugiaro concept, and Techart, among others. Also featured upstairs are Ferrari, Maserati, Corvette and the entire Volkswagen Group, as it is now called, which includes Bentley, Lamborghini, Volkswagen, Skoda (from the Czech Republic), Seat (Spain), Bugatti (France) and of course Audi.
That group kicked off the show with an event showcasing its vehicles, featuring the singer Pink, who crooned a special song for the new Volkswagen Polo. Miss Pink seemed a charming person, and belted out two other songs for the mostly entranced crowd. Another celebrity, Arnold Schwarzenegger, caused quite a stir visiting the Audi and Porsche stands.
Although the majority of vehicles shown at Geneva will not be seen on Canadian roads, some will arrive this year or next, including the new Audi TT RS Quattro and S5 Cabriolet Quattro. The TT RS, due here next year, is powered by a 2.5-litre, 340-horsepower, five-cylinder turbocharged engine. It takes the second generation TT into very high performance territory, while continuing to offer buyers a generous list of standard equipment. The S5 Cabriolet arrives in late summer of this year, and is powered by a supercharged 3.0-litre V6 that makes 330 horsepower.
The dazzling Audi stand also featured its 1936 Auto Union Type C Streamline, a stunning creation borrowed from its museum in celebration of this, Audi’s centenary year.