Geneva 2019 Reflections – What’s That Coming Over the Hill?

Today, our Geneva correspondent casts a horrified gaze over some of the more polarising Palexpo fare on offer. [Text amended and additional images added – March 8. 13.40 GMT]

bmw
Meet Bane. (c) Christopher Butt

For centuries, monsters and myths have been for the most part, indivisible in our consciousness. We console ourselves that it’s the latter rather than the former which represents the true state of affairs, but in this, as with so many fondly-held assumptions we are mistaken. Ogres truly walk amongst us, and as alarming as that prospect may be to those of us of a more sensitive nature, we are fortunate that our Hamburg correspondent is on hand to confront the true horror on our behalf.

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Geneva marks the European debut of a car which, as our reporter pointed out on these pages a number of weeks ago, is resolutely targeted elsewhere. Just as well really, because familiarity has not lent the Siebener’s outrageously flared nostrils (poor departed Kenneth Williams would undoubtedly have sued), much by way of further enchantment.

Our resident Auto-didact didn’t spare his withering disdain either, saying, “this is a vile looking thing“. The obvious fakery of the upper section of the Seven’s botoxed visage it seems lent particular offence, leading Christopher to exclaim, “Jawoll, we can do cheap and nasty just like that Musk guy!” Indeed, such was his indignance he admitted, “I almost feel compelled to write a letter of apology to Gorden“.

Mercedes
(c) Christopher Butt

Or perhaps not. Perusing the press day highlights in the company of a number of OEM manufacturer’s designers, our reporter noted their reaction to AMG’s so very now fastback Coupé-cum-sedan. “They all laughed and rolled their eyes at it.” Maybe hold that letter…

senat
(c) Christopher Butt

But amongst the better connected of the oligarch set, further delights await. Take Russian carmaker Aurus, who showed their Senat sedan – as endorsed by the current Russian President – who is believed to have several amidst his stable. The production saloon, which makes its European debut at Geneva measures an ample 5.63 m in length, but even this is dwarfed by the long wheelbase, armoured Putinesca model, which comes in at a decidedly Brobdingnagian 6.63 m.

A curious amalgam of current Goodwood and Crewe styling cues, the Senat presents a suitably dictatorial, if somewhat schizophrenic demeanour – our observer noting, “the Russian Phantom almost makes Cullinan seem well proportioned. Almost.

And while we’re on the subject of conspicuous consumption…

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Rolls-Royce brought their giant rock along to the Palexpo’s reinforced floor for the assorted press and dignitaries to fawn over – a matter which may have influenced the colour choice – perhaps the Cullinan’s only saving grace in this setting.

Our visiting dignitary managed to maintain his, when confronted with a giant lump of carbon, suggesting, “I suppose it is a quality in itself nowadays that a car’s owner isn’t able to look over its roof. On that front, Cullinan certainly delivers. Even though it is far less absurd a sight within the confines of Palexpo than in the outside world: I spotted a black Cullinan on the road whilst on the way to the airport. It looked like the world’s most pretentious UPS delivery vehicle“.

A minor point, but one can’t help wondering if Cristal might not have been a more target customer-appropriate beverage to adorn the Cullinan’s rear perch than Perrier Jouet’s finest cuvée? (Simply for the purposes of accuracy, you understand).

Meet ze Monsta

rolls royce
Does one pay extra for the wonky looking grille bars, one wonders? (c) C. Butt

But like all genres, true horror is best left to a master of the craft. And who on earth does this kind of thing better than enhancement atelier, Mansory. This limited edition of the so-called Cullinan SUV Coupé, is to be built in collaboration with Billionaire – a fashion brand aimed at “playboys, fortune-makers and empire builders – mature men who are unafraid of who they are and who they want to be.” Heavens!

According to the reassuringly expensive clothing retailer, the “outstanding limited edition” Cullinan (only 13 will be made) embodies the “Whisper of Exctasy” (sic) [somebody really ought to proof-read their website], and given this “top-premium vehicle’s” exclusivity will quite naturally command a suitably outrageous price – that will be from €785,000. Ooooh! Suits you sir.

Words can’t do it justice“, spaketh our man on the Palexpo floor, clutching a perfumed silk handkerchief to his nose. Can anything? Run screaming!

Author: Eóin Doyle

Founding Editor. Content Provider.

8 thoughts on “Geneva 2019 Reflections – What’s That Coming Over the Hill?”

  1. It says something about the state of automotive design that I feel no sense of shock about anything on display at Geneva, just weary resignation.

    The Aurus Senat’s greatest crime is that it blatantly derivative. If the Phantom and Ghost didn’t exist, we would probably regard its geometric formality is quite appropriate to its role. As it is, I rather like it. (Sorry!) Even the LWB version avoids the “hen night stretch limo” look that sunk the Maybach. I can almost forgive it those wheel covers that look like they either came from Halfords, or off an old Austin Montego.

    Is the AMG four-door coupé really that bad? By Mercedes-Benz standards, it’s quite smooth and restrained, if hardly distinctive. The rear three-quarter view is its best aspect because it means you don’t see the usual Mercedes-Benz ham-fisted treatment of the bonnet, wings and front valance shut-lines.

    I can’t help feeling that Mansory is one huge (and hugely expensive) practical joke being played on those gullible and moneyed enough to fall for it. I mean, who in their right mind would buy this:

    The wonky grille bars on the Cullinan suggest that, questions of taste aside, the execution is pretty casual, which adds another element to the prank. On the (rare) occasions when watching a horror film, as we approach the denouement my partner is wont to exclaim ” Never reveal the monster, it’s always a disappointment”. It’s a shame that Mansory don’t follow this advice.

    1. I’d completely forgotten about Count Li’l Alarm Clock (which would be the literal translation of the name) – that terribly misplaced coachline illustrates just how little all the people involved cared about matters of taste. Amusing, as long as its a fringe phenomenon.

      Admittedly, the rear is the AMG GT saloon’s best aspect. But that doesn’t distract from the poor stance and woeful detailing, particularly around the front end. And then there are those wheels – not to mention THAT side vent:

      View this post on Instagram

      An opera of quality. Sound design: Yan-Alexandre Damasiewicz. http://www.auto-didakt.com #autodidaktblog #mercedes #mercedesamg #mercedesamggt #quality #sounddesign

      A post shared by Auto Didakt (@autodidaktblog) on

      Years ago, the topic of Mansory came up during a conversation with a RR mechanic, who suggested their build quality is deserving of the prestigious Alejandro de Tomaso Award for Outstanding Carelessness.

    2. Good afternoon, Christopher. I have to admit that I had never heard of Graf Weckerle before seeing Dave’s post above. Having now Googled the company, it appears that its signature “enhancement” is a really badly placed coachline. The example below is so hilariously awful that I had to share it:

      I recall from my youth people doing something similarly cack-handed to their Escorts and Cortinas with a roll of stick-on coach-stripe from Halfords, usually after a Sunday lunchtime trip to the pub…

      Regarding your video, I’m pleased to see there’s someone else out there who performs the “tap test” to check the quality or otherwise of bodywork addenda. I can sense your revulsion at the flimsy nastiness of that grille.

  2. Ye Gods the world has gone mad! Money doesn’t buy taste but by ‘eck does it shout loudly

  3. Could you please blur any masthead or opening photo of the hideousness that is the BMW “thing” – it makes me feel rather ill.

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