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Auto Show:  2013 Geneva Auto Show

2013 Geneva Auto Show: A Car Buyer's Perspective

author photo by Colin Ryan March 2013
  • Geneva 2013 goes big on exotica
  • But there are some regular cars as well
  • Trickle-down technology starts here

It's been a great 2013 Geneva Auto Show, if you're rich. Lamborghini unveiled its Veneno, a supercar with production limited to just three examples and a price of around $4 million. (They've already been sold.) McLaren's P1 costs approximately $1.2 million. And the latest Ferrari, the LaFerrari costs around $1.3 million.

The new Bentley Continental Flying Spur sedan will probably go for the best part of $250,000. A new generation of Porsche 911 GT3, now with 4-wheel steering, has an anticipated price in the neighborhood of $180,000.

For the rest of us -- here are some models to get excited about ...

The 2014 VW GTI, based on the seventh-generation VW Golf (which was just named European Car of the Year), has a healthy 220 horsepower to throw around. But it's still about a year away for American customers.

The VW Golf Variant -- a wagon version -- debuted in Geneva. There's perhaps a chance that it could become the next Jetta Sportwagen in the United States. It might even have the option of all-wheel drive.

Another world debut for Geneva, the BMW 3 Series Gran Turismo -- longer and taller than the sedan, and with a tailgate -- goes on sale in the United States this summer in 328i (240 hp) and 335i (300 hp) versions.

Flying the Stars and Stripes for a moment, the 2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray Convertible made its world debut here and goes on sale in the fall at something like $60,000. That's fairly affordable considering the type of performance the new Corvette delivers.

Looks like it really might be Alfa's time to make a comeback. The 2014 Alfa Romeo 4C has all the hallmarks of a supercar -- mid-mounted engine, rear-wheel drive, carbon fiber and aluminum construction -- but the projected $75,000 price makes ownership more feasible for a dentist or a lawyer. Much of the buzz at the Geneva show centers on this being the model that comes to the US later this year, albeit only at 500 units. Many potential Alfa dealers will already have the FIAT franchise. If this one fares well, there could be cheaper and more readily available Alfa Romeo models in the pipeline.

On that note, there isn't any other 2-seater convertible that currently offers the same package of reliability, affordability and accessible rear-drive thrills as the Mazda MX-5 Miata. So if Toyota's FT-86 Open concept ever became a production reality -- which Americans would recognize as a model based on the Scion FR-S or Subaru BRZ coupe -- Mazda could finally have some competition. And whenever there's competition, the ultimate winner is always you, the buyer.

Plug-in diesel hybrids and all-electric vehicles have made a strong showing as well. The deeper message from this show might be: It's fun to dream of exotics, but most of us live in the real world. Thankfully for us, Fuel-saving technology exists. It's just going to take some time before it becomes mainstream.

What it means to you: Geneva 2013 may not have seen the debut of your next car purchase, but maybe the one after that.

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2013 Geneva Auto Show: A Car Buyer's Perspective - Autotrader