Technology Continues to Drive Geneva Motor Show

As one of the most important global motor shows on the calendar, the Geneva Motor Show typically gets the best of the best from every automaker. The stage is set for each performance car company’s attempt to one-up the display next to them.

At 2016’s show, McLaren took their existing Ultimate Series model and, instead of giving it a fancy new paint job, went with a bare carbon fiber finish for an even more spectacular presence. Now that the Senna has taken over as the ultimate McLaren road car in 2018, it gets the same treatment, with a price tag of more than $400,000 on top of the base price.

The Senna “Carbon Theme” seamlessly combines the championship past of Ayrton Senna with the modern McLaren architecture built of carbon fiber. Solar Yellow and Laurel Green accents are thoughtfully applied inside and out, further paying tribute to the driver whose name inspired the car. But the biggest impression comes from the Visual Carbon Fiber bodywork, with the 67 individual panels accounting for nearly 1,000 hours to complete. The functionally aggressive supercar is intensified by the carbon fiber look, but it’s not just for aesthetics with this edition.

Further carbon fiber application is at the wheels, and that’s especially vital in the environment that the Senna will be natural in. The center-locking hybrid wheels are constructed of forged aluminum and carbon fiber, resulting in a 10 percent weight trimming at each corner. This will produce improved acceleration and braking, as well as steering response when driven at higher speeds. But even with all the small touches that improve track-based performance, it was nothing like the overhaul that the Senna GTR received.

Unveiled alongside the standard Senna was the GTR variant, which has a historical backing of motorsports performance. Like the F1 GTR and P1 GTR before it, McLaren has taken the road-worthiness out of the Senna for the sake of uncompromising racing pedigree, and the Senna GTR now establishes itself as the fastest McLaren ever on a track, aside from a Formula 1 car. This is achieved by an expected bump in power, but more so by visually stunning aerodynamic enhancements. An extended front splitter and rear diffuser work in tandem to stick the Senna to the track, and provide an even more dedicated presence from the standard road car. 75 units will be accounted for in 2019.

Similarly, Porsche extended its motorsports heritage to the new GT3 RS, but the brand’s innovation didn’t just come by way of the track. Porsche is not only changing the performance landscape of its brand, but the everyday commute as well. Through the Mission E concepts, Porsche is finalizing its plans to electrify its future.

The original Mission E concept made bold statements in 2015, claiming more than 600 horsepower and a charging time of a little more than 15 minutes. The newest Cross Turismo concept, unveiled at Geneva, utilizes the same underpinnings but in a capable crossover package. The reintroduction of Mission E to the market reaffirms Porsche’s commitment to exploring the feasibility of future technologies.

Advancing technologies don’t just help cut down track times, they transform the everyday driving experience. With McLaren and Porsche leading the way in both of these fields, it’s exciting to witness the transition from future to present.