Geneva brings out my inner middle-aged petrolhead

GENEVA’S a great place to pretend you’re rich and middle-aged.

Not only is it full of banks and infused with a sense of order and tidiness, but it’s also just about the only place in Europe where you can broaden your already sagging waistline with entire shops dedicated to Toblerone. Oh, and once a year there’s a show stuffed with shiny new supercars too.

I’ve just jetted back from my first ever visit to something that ought to be on every car fan’s bucket list. The Geneva Motor Show is where you go to take the pulse of the motoring world because so many manufacturers use it to launch new cars, and it’s where the European Car of the Year gets announced (congratulations Vauxhall, by the way).

Really I ought have been sensible and reported back faithfully to your Champion-reading chums what the new Renault Scenic’s like – but I failed because I got distracted by the shiny supercars. You would too, given the choice between a Scenic and the new Porsche 911 Turbo S.

So I ended up pretending to be rich, middle aged and with just one question – which one car would I forgo the Easyjet flight for and drive back to Blighty? One of the show’s big stars – the Bugatti Chiron – is out straight away because its makers have wimped out of making it the world’s fastest production car by limiting its top speed to (just) 261mph. It’s 11mph faster than a Golf GTI and nearly seven times as powerful – but when it comes down to it it’ll still lose you a game of Top Trumps.

Ford’s GT gives just as much visual theatre for a fraction of the price but the mid-engined arrival that really won me over was Honda’s new NSX. Not only does it use clever hybrid technology to go fast in a vaguely eco-friendly way, but it looks stunning in the flesh. The Nineties original might have been a flop here, but I really hope this one does better.

The NSX is an amazing bit of kit – but the one car that really won me over was a small sports car made not by robots in Japan, but craftsmen in Worcestershire. Morgan’s EV3 might only be a one-off show car for now but I really hope they make it; it’s essentially the slightly bonkers Threewheeler, but with an electric motor rather than a tuned motorcycle engine. Not only does it look completely unhinged and promise to be on the fun side of terrifying to drive, but it’s also the most compelling argument I’ve seen yet for people like me – the petrolheads – to take up eat-your-greens electric motoring.

Count me in.

Originally published in the 9 March issue of The Champion

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