THERE’S something about Merc and hip-hop stars.
Tinie Tempah is a friend of the brand, Lewis Hamilton harbours dreams of becoming a rapper, and now I see J Hus inspired Merc’s two big launches at the Geneva Motor Show.
Did you see what I done? Came in a black Benz, left in a white one.
The black car is the AMG C 43, the semi-hot C-Class uprated to 390hp and set to cost around £47,000 when it hits showrooms in August. The red-hot C 63 will follow soon after.
The white car is the all-new 196mph AMG GT Coupe packing a monster 639hp 4-litre V8 turbo. You’ve got a year to find £125,000 for that beauty.
Here’s my at-a-glance guide to the other superminis, supercars and self-driving robots rocking Geneva.
1. Ford revealed the rufty-tufty Ka+ Active crossover costing £12,950. It rides higher and has a boot button . . . on the boot, unlike the current Ka+. Out September.
2. Skoda’s as-yet-unnamed baby crossover is likely to follow the Kodiaq and Karoq in that it starts with a K and ends with Q. But without an O in the middle. Out late 2019, priced around £16,000.
3. You would describe the British-built Toyota Auris as safe, sensible but dull, right? Until now. Auris 3.0, coming next February, looks sharp and there’s a punchy new 180hp hybrid. No more Auris diesels.
4. Honda is adding hybrid power to the C-RV, as well as a seven-seat option. Cracking all-rounder. Out August. Expect prices from £25,000.
5. Now a little birdie tells me Juke 2.0 has been delayed because the new design was “too boring”. But no matter.
The chunky first-gen Juke still sells like hot cakes and this nip/tuck adds Bose sound and more personalisation from May.
6. Audi’s new A6 motorway prowler inherits much of the tech and sophistication of the flagship A8 and can even park itself — with you stood outside the car. All engines are hybrids.
7. The Peugeot 508 fastback looks seriously nice, inside and out, with the brilliant iCockpit (12.3in driver screen, 10in touchscreen), frameless doors and rear light strip with 3D claws. Le French 3 Series, out October from around £25,000.
8. Finally, the Kia Ceed Sportswagon — henceforth the Kia Tardis. It has a bigger boot (600 litres) than a Volvo V90. On sale October, from £22,000.
THE LOOK AT ME PRIZE
THE prize for “Look at me, yeah, I’m so disgustingly rich” goes to the Rolls-Royce customer who asked for this ROSE GOLD Spirit of Ecstasy on a Phantom.
Swank. But without the “s”.
Please, can someone pinch it?
1. In the licence-shredding unreal corner, we have the 211mph McLaren Senna, with yellow and green detailing to match the Brazilian F1 legend’s helmet. The numbers are incredible: 800hp, 0-62mph in 2.8 secs, 0-124 in 6.8, 0-186 in 17.5 . . . and it’s road-legal. Gulp. All 500 cars are sold at £750,000 a pop.
2. Or maybe sir/madam would like the £253,000 Ferrari 488 Pista, the most powerful Ferrari V8 ever (720hp, 0-62mph in 2.8 secs, 0-124mph in 7.6).
3. Or the flat-six naturally-aspirated Porsche 911 GT3 RS (520hp, 0-62 in 3.2, 0-124 in 10.6, top speed 194mph). Price: £141,000.
4. Or how about the two-door Range Rover SV Coupe (5-litre supercharged V8, 565hp, 0-62mph in 5.3 secs, top speed 165mph) at a whopping £240,000. That’s £75,000 more than a Lamborghini Urus — for 50 per cent fewer doors.
THE BEST PEUGEOT LION SCULPTURE PRIZE
AND the prize for “best Peugeot lion sculpture” goes to . . . Peugeot.
This behemoth dwarfed all the Geneva show cars at 4.8 metres tall (Peter Crouch x 2 and a bit more) and 12.5 metres in length (Ford Focus x 3).
1. Renault has form for crazy concepts and didn’t disappoint with EZ-GO, pronounced Easy-Go. It’s a fully autonomous robo-taxi for up to six people.
2. VW unveiled ID Vizzion, a pure electric four-door coupe with no driver controls. But the real car coming in 2022 will have a steering wheel.
3. Aston Martin is turning Lagonda into a luxury electric-only limo maker. This Vision Concept hints at a 2021 road car that could do 400 miles (London to Edinburgh) between charges using solid state batteries — the silver bullet for electric cars.
4. And how about this electric “skateboard” platform with swappable pods for urban transport, burger vans, delivery firms . . . and Merc merch at music festivals.
CAR OF THE YEAR 2018
IT’S the sson wot won it.
Volvo’s baby SUV, the XC40, has been crowned European Car of the Year, after winning the What Car? gong in January and being tipped by The Sun last November.
Top-notch interior and safety tech. Sweden’s finest from £28k.
Get a grip
MUCH of last week’s road chaos could have been avoided – if we used winter tyres, says David Coulthard.
In Germany, drivers follow the “O to O” rule – October to Ostern (Easter) – and switch from regular tyres to all-weather tyres.
The ex-F1 star said: “In Britain we don’t like being told what to do, but we accepted seatbelts.
“Winter tyres would transform the roads in the UK. Central Europe doesn’t grind to a halt when it snows. It keeps moving. The transport minister should make it mandatory, or at least educate people more.
“I’m not saying this because I work with Cooper Tires, I’ve been saying this for years. You are literally investing in your life, in your family’s life. My parents live in Scotland and I put winter tyres on their cars. The first time I tried them, it was like a light coming on, the difference.”
One last question. What does he think about the ban on F1 grid girls?
DC said: “I’ve seen a lot of people who haven’t been doing the job saying it’s degrading and it’s got no place in modern sport.
“But I haven’t seen any grid girls come out and say, ‘I’m so glad that’s been cancelled because I was being forced to be paid to stand there against my will’.”
And that’s from a man who wears a skirt.Lizzie Cundy says being a grid girl was 'the best job she ever had' on Good Morning Britain
Elon or E-Tron?
HAVE news for Tesla boss Elon Musk. Your time’s up. The electric car pioneer can’t churn out cars quick enough and now Audi, Merc, Jag and others are circling with models just as cool – but cheaper.
Audi has just started taking deposits for the e-tron – seen here in camouflage on the streets of Geneva – and it will hit showrooms in November priced around £65,000.
Jaguar unveiled the I-Pace last week and the Mercedes EQ, electric Mini and Honda Urban EV all hit the road next year.
Meanwhile, the only Tesla I spotted at the Geneva Motor Show was a taxi, probably for Elon Musk.
More on that Audi e-tron. You know it’s going to be brilliant. Of course it is. It’s an Audi. When did they last make a turkey?
And it’s going to have cool tech like cameras replacing the wing mirrors.
Audi quotes 260-plus miles between charges and the 0-62mph sprint time is 4.5 seconds. The family SUV harnesses a 95kWh battery with Quattro all-wheel-drive. The Jag is 90kWh. And there will be a family of Audi EVs.
The e-tron will be quickly followed by an e-tron sportback, then a smaller crossover.