Report from Geneva: The 83rd Geneva International Motor Show 2013

By Christian Stampfer on 5 March 2013
  • Share
BMW Concept Active Tourer

BMW Concept Active Tourer

The Geneva International Motor Show (Salon International de l’Auto) kicks off the automobile year 2013 in Europe as the first important international auto show for car manufacturers. This year, the show is once again facing the challenge of a balancing act between presenting powerful sports cars and environmentally friendly hybrid, electric, and diesel-powered automobiles.

Because of an unknown economic development in Europe, where the car market is dealing with declining car sales and increasing fuel costs, cars with a low fuel economy and a high fuel range in particular are becoming more and more important.

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


Audi presented two hybrid concept cars, namely the Audi A3 E-Tron and the A3 G-Tron, in Geneva. The Audi A3 E-Tron is a plug-in hybrid with a 1.4 liter TFSI engine and a 75 kW electric motor. Both engines provide a total power output of 204 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. Performance figures for the A3 E-Tron include a top speed of 138 mph and acceleration from 0 – 62 mph in 7.6 seconds. Audi claims that it has a fuel economy of only 156 mpg (1.5 l/100 km) with CO2 emissions of 35 g/km.

The A3 G-Tron uses the same gasoline powered 1.4 liter TFSI engine (optimized for the use of methane gas) as the E-Tron, but has “power-to-gas” technology on board. The power-to-gas engine uses CO2 and electric power and converts them to synthetic methane gas which powers the TFSI engine. The A3 G-Tron can also be filled up with conventional natural gas and has a maximum range of 559 miles (900 km)


Munich-based automaker BMW presented one world premiere and two European premieres at the show in Geneva.

The all-new BMW 3 Series Gran Turismo (GT), the smaller brother of the BMW 5 Series Gran Turismo, is designed for customers looking for the space and the functionality of a 3 Series Touring and the handling of a BMW 3 Series sedan. The BMW 3 Series GT will be available with the common design lines of sport, luxury, and modern, but can also be ordered in the entry-level version.

Two diesel variants, namely the BMW 318d GT and the BMW 320d GT, are available, as are three petrol versions, the BMW 320i GT, BMW 328i GT, and BMW 335i GT.  Further diesel variants, like the BMW 325d GT, are planned for the summer. With a fuel consumption of only 48 mpg (4.9 l/100 km) for the BMW 320d GT and 52 mpg (4.5 l/100 km) for the BMW 318d GT, the Gran Turismo has the fuel economy figures to be the perfect long-distance cruiser.

Another environmentally friendly but totally different car is the BMW i3 Concept Coupé. It was introduced alongside the BMW i8 Spyder and gives the world a first glimpse at the forthcoming BMWi models.

Both models feature BMW eDrive technology, the designation for the drivetechnology used in electric and plug-in hybrid models. In addition, the front-wheel drive BMW Concept Active Tourer, first presented at the Mondial de l’Automobile 2012 in Paris, can be seen in Geneva.


GM is showing the Chevrolet Spark EV.  Equipped with a powerful 100 kW electric engine, the Spark EV accelerates from 0 – 62 mph in 8.5 seconds . The 20 kWh lithium-ion battery provides a maximum power output of 399 pound-feet of torque and needs only 20 minutes to charge with a direct-current power source. The Spark EV’s launch is planned for 2014 in select European countries.


Mitsubishi launched the next stage of its electric powered i-MiEV, which has been on sale since 2009. The concept i-MiEV is designed as a technology carrier for the next generations of Mitsubishi’s electric-powered vehicles. With its ultra-lightweight construction, high-voltage batteries, and improved aerodynamics, the i-MiEV can go up to 186 miles (300 km) with a fully loaded battery.


The 261 mpg (0.9 l/100 km) Volkswagen XL1 plug-in hybrid, announced a few weeks ago, celebrated its world premiere in Geneva. The XL1 is powered by a twin-cylinder TDI diesel engine (48 hp) combined with an electric motor (27 hp) and a seven-speed DSG dual-clutch automatic transmission. With a combined power output of 75 horsepower, the XL1 has a top speed of 100 mph (160 km/h) and can go up to 32 miles (52 kilometers) in an all-electric mode. The XL1 will be available for lease in Germany and Austria within the second half of this year . No more than 50 of the cars are currently planned to be sold.  A spokesman for Volkswagen’s U.S. arm told The Diesel Driver that there are no plans to bring the XL1 to the States

Volkswagen also showed off the seventh generation Golf, including top diesel model, the GTD. The diesel-sibling of the GTI is powered by a 2.0-liter TDI diesel engine which already complies with the upcoming EU6 emission standard. It develops 184 horsepower and 280 pound-feet of torque. According to Volkswagen, the average fuel consumption of the GTD is 56 mpg (4.2 l/100 km). The Golf GTD can be ordered from March 5 onwards in Europe. No plans to bring the GTD to the U.S. have been announced.

(Photo: Accura Media Group)