Report from the 84th Geneva International Motor Show

By Christian Stampfer on 4 March 2014
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BMW 2 Series Active Tourer

BMW 2 Series Active Tourer

GENEVA — The Geneva International Motor Show or Salon International de l’Auto marks the start of the year in Europe as the first significant motor show for car manufacturers. The show celebrates its 84th anniversary in 2014 and expects to welcome more than 700,000 visitors this year, as well as showcase multiple European and world premieres.

Since the economy in Europe, along with the European car market, seems to be improving, car manufacturers are predicting stability if not growth, unlike in past years where numbers were declining.  Nonetheless,  a rising cost of living and in particular higher fuel costs continue to make for a challenging car market in Europe.

Here’s a look at key announcements and premieres this year.

BMW GROUP

The Bavarian automaker’s show floor was the site of no less than two world premieres and three European premieres. During the 15-minute press conference on the first day of press previews, Ian Robertson, BMW’s head of sales, was obviously in a rush to present the newest additions to his company’s product lineup.

At the first glimpse of the new BMW 2 Series Active Tourer at the Mondial de l’Automobile 2012 in Paris, the front-wheel drive BMW Concept Active Tourer caused a furor in the  automotive world. Would BMW move, in part, away from its rear-wheel drive philosophy and introduce a front-wheel drive model under the BMW badge? One and a half years later, BMW introduced the production-ready version of the BMW 2 Series Active Tourer, which joins the BMW 2 Series Coupe in the all-new 2 Series model lineup. Alongside the new front-wheel drive 2er, BMW also introduced a new generation of powerplants with a choice of fuel-efficient three and four-cylinder engines.

Along with the 2er, the BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe celebrated its launch Tuesday and joined the 4 Series Coupe and Convertible in the new 4 Series line. The four-door mid-size coupe embodies and combines the design philosophy of a sporty and luxurious coupe with the day-by-day usability and space of a BMW Touring model. In its market segment it will compete with the Audi A5 Sportback and the Mercedes-Benz CLA. The diesel-powered BMW 418d Gran Coupe will become the entry-level model in the lineup alongside the BMW 420d Gran Coupe.

Next came the European premieres of the BMW 2 Series Coupe, the BMW M3 Sedan and the BMW M4 Coupe. The BMW 2 Series Coupe was introduced with three diesel variants, the 218d, 220d, and 225d. All three diesel models are powered by the same two-liter four-cylinder diesel engine that provides a different power output for each model type. For the North American market, BMW will launch the BMW 228i and M235i, both powered by a turbocharged gasoline engine.

Additional highlights on the BMW floor include the presentation of the BMWi model family and the updated 2015 BMW X3, which received its life-cycle refresh. The new design includes exterior modifications, such as the new twin circular headlights featuring full LEDs, as well as turn signals integrated in the exterior mirrors. Under the hood, the X3 is now, for the first time, available with a diesel-powered 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine to U.S. customers. The BMW X3 xDrive28d develops 180 horsepower and offers 280 pound-feet torque.

MERCEDES-BENZ

The Sindelfingen-based automaker celebrated on Tuesday the world premiere of two all-new vehicles and the presentation of the new V-Class . The Mercedes-Benz S-Class Coupe and the C-Class T-Model are joining existing models in their respective lineups. Additionally, Mercedes presents the new V-Class as the successor to the outgoing Viano.

The Mercedes-Benz name has always been synonymous with exclusive and luxurious automobiles and the all-new Mercedes S-Class Coupe will only expand on that reputation. The new coupe displays a sporty and elegant appearance and may be ordered with optional headlights that feature 47 built in Swarovski crystals. The S-Class Coupe arrives with the Pre-Safe brake assistant with pedestrian detection, Active Lane Keeping Assistant and several other safety options, maintaining Mercedes’ reputation as a safety innovator

The new Mercedes-Benz V-Class was being described by Dr. Dieter Zetsche, chairman of the board of Management at Daimler, at the end of January as “a Mercedes sedan for up to eight people.” With the launch Tuesday, at the Geneva Motor Show, customers in Germany can order the new van. At launch, Mercedes will offer four and six-cylinder diesel engines for the new vehicle. A 2.1-liter four-cylinder diesel engine with common rail direct injection is available as is a six-cylinder diesel that powers the V 250 BlueTEC. The first deliveries are expected to be in late May.

(Photos: Accura Media Group)