Amazing Autos Unveiled in Switzerland

Cars are appealing for many reasons. Quality and reliability are two of the most common, as are luxury, performance, fuel economy and cargo space. Odds are, however, that no matter how gifted a car is in any or all of these areas, it won’t get anyone’s heart thumping if it doesn’t look good. Among the numerous unveilings at the 2011 Geneva International Motor Show were a slew of drop-dead gorgeous cars, most of which are double threats; they offer superior performance to go with their stellar looks. Here, we present our 10 favorite lookers from the Swiss Alps.

2012 Aston Martin Virage

The Virage splits the difference in the Aston Martin lineup between the DB9 and DBS. With many styling cues from the limited-edition One-77, the Virage is positioned as sportier than a DB9 and more luxurious than a DBS. Highlights include more sharply pointed headlights, complete with LEDs; a clean lower fascia with a blacked-out center section; and pronounced but clean lower side sills. Motivation comes from a 5.9-liter 490-horsepower V12 engine that is capable of vaulting the Virage from zero to 62 mph in 4.6 seconds and all the way up to a top speed of 186 mph.

Audi A3 Sedan Concept

The BMW 1-Series coupe gets big points for fun, but its blocky design is lacking in passion. On the other hand, Audi’s taut and compact A3 Sedan Concept, a possible 1 Series competitor, offers plenty of design zeal. Aluminum body panels keep weight to 3,400 pounds, which helps the 2.5-liter 408-horsepower turbocharged inline 5-cylinder engine launch the A3 Concept from zero to 62 mph in just 4.1 seconds. Audi announced no plans for production, but this is likely the new design direction for the next A3.

BMW Vision ConnectedDrive Concept

BMW used the Vision ConnectedDrive Concept to preview the company’s future design language and connectivity technology. The roadster design features a long hood, with the two seats set close to the rear axle. An asymmetrical hood cutout echoes the driver’s side of the cockpit. Fiber optics are used to highlight the layered design effect. Sharp creases along the sides and up front exaggerate current BMW styling themes. Mobile networking, connecting the car to its environment, is among the vehicle’s tech highlights. While the Vision ConnectedDrive is purely a concept, it may foretell the look of the next Z4 or an even longer 2-seat roadster.

Maserati GranTurismo Convertible Sport

Maserati showed the GranTurismo Convertible at the 2009 Frankfurt Auto Show, and at Geneva the company unveiled a higher-performance version, the GranTurismo Convertible Sport. This curvy sex symbol can be distinguished from the base model by the black grille, headlight bezels and wheels, as well as the more pronounced side skirts. It uses the same 4.7-liter V8 engine as its stablemate, but horsepower is increased from 433 to 444 horses and torque is bumped from 361 to 376 lb-ft. The car also gets a quicker-shifting version of the standard ZF-sourced 6-speed automatic transmission and sportier suspension settings.

Ferrari FF

Can a wagon really be good-looking? If it’s the Pininfarina-designed Ferrari FF it can. Replacing the 612 Scaglietti in Ferrari’s stable, the FF is the first all-wheel-drive Ferrari. FF stands for Ferrari Four, which refers to the car’s four seats and 4-wheel drive. Its design features a nose inspired by the 458 Italia, with the long hood and short deck that have been trademarks of sports cars since their inception. Under the hood lies a 6.3-liter V12 engine that makes 651 horsepower and 504 lb-ft of torque. Zero to 62 mph takes just 3.7 seconds and the top speed is 208 mph.

Lamborghini Aventador LP700-4

Lamborghinis are anything but subtle. Since the Countach of the 1970s, they’ve been like a naughty girl: fun when you’re alone together, but you really don’t want to marry. The new Aventador certainly announces its presence with authority, but it has the kind of purposeful lines that scream serious engineering, including carbon-fiber monocoque construction, Formula One-type pushrod-and-spring suspension, and a 6.5-liter 700-horsepower V12 engine mounted behind the cockpit. It all adds up to a zero-to-62 mph time of 2.9 seconds and a top speed of 217 mph.

Pagani Huayra

Named after the South American god of wind, Huayra Tata, Pagani’s new Huayra features low, flowing lines meant to cut through the wind on its way to speeds exceeding 200 mph. Providing the go is a Mercedes-Benz AMG-sourced 6.0-liter 700-horsepower twin-turbocharged V12 engine. The car features a carbon-titanium monocoque structure and a body designed like a wing. Pagani says that the front end can be raised or lowered dynamically and that each corner of the car has control flaps that are automatically adjusted based on driving conditions.

Toyota FT-86 II Concept

A passion for design and performance has been lacking at Toyota for quite some time. The company has been building solid, reliable and soft passenger cars that have provided what most of the public needs. Here, Toyota is showing a 2+2 sports coupe, the FT-86 II Concept, and it looks the part of a true performer. A rear-drive, front-engine sports car, the FT-86 is the result of an alliance with Subaru. Power will be provided by a Subaru boxer engine, likely a 2.0-liter turbocharged four, set as far back as far as possible to improve weight balance. A 6-speed manual transmission will be offered.

2012 Jaguar XKR-S

With its low, sweeping lines, the Jaguar XK coupe is a beautiful car. So how do you make it better? Add power, that’s how. The Jaguar XKR-S, a step beyond the already high-performance XKR, is the fastest production Jaguar ever built. Lurking beneath the hood is a tweaked version of Jaguar’s supercharged 5.0-liter V8 engine. It makes an estimated 550 horsepower and 502 lb-ft of torque, and can catapult the car from zero to 60 mph in just 4.2 seconds. While the XK is stylishly unadorned, the XKR-S wears some exterior details that let you know it goes fast.

Koenigsegg Agera R

Driven by a 5.0-liter twin-turbocharged V8 engine, the Koenigsegg Agera R makes 940 horses on 95-octane fuel but requires E85 to produce the whole 1,115 ponies it promises. The show car features a white paint scheme with red graphics. Koenigsegg says the low, aerodynamic shape is purely functional, and the Agera R has the full array of intakes to prove it. We like the serious stance and crisp lines, and we’d certainly get a kick out of a 2.9-second zero-to-60-mph romp. Koenigsegg says it plans to sell the Agera R in the U.S.