Fleet News

Stars come out in a Geneva preview

CAR manufacturers have been offering sneak previews of the stars of the Geneva motor show just weeks before their unveiling.

MINI will unveil its new convertible at next month's show, almost three years after the launch of the hatchback range.

The MINI One Convertible and MINI Cooper Convertible will be built alongside the rest of the range in Oxford, while a MINI Cooper S Convertible will follow later in the year.

All will have fully automatic roofs as standard with an initial 40cm sunroof opening after pushing the button once, then fully retracting behind the rear seats after pushing the button a second time.

Convertible versions have a drop-down boot lid reminiscent of the classic Mini, that also doubles as a loading platform and can hold a weight of up to 80kg.

Alfa Romeo will unveil the Crosswagon – a four-wheel drive crossover vehicle based on the 156 Sportwagon.

##Crosswagon--none##

With a torque bias to the rear wheels the show car will be equipped with 150bhp versions of the 1.9 JTD 16-valve and will go on sale later this year.

It rides more than two inches higher than the standard 156 Sportwagon, but Alfa promises handling in keeping with the marque.

Meanwhile, Fiat will show a new small car concept called the Trepiùno, which echoes the original Cinquecento.

##Trepiuno--none##

It features thin front seats to maximise interior space and seats that can be reconfigured to a three-plus-one set-up. The revised Multipla will also make its world debut at the show.

Subaru will be taking some of the lessons learned with the rally-inspired Impreza and applying them to the Legacy.

Called the Spec B, the prototype is based on the Legacy 3.0R and uses the six-speed manual transmission used in the Impreza STi – the production version of the Legacy 3.0R is only available as an automatic.

It also features suspension modifications for improved high-speed control as well as 18-inch alloy wheels.

Nissan will unveil the Qashai concept car – a compact crossover vehicle with an electronic four-wheel drive system, and the first complete design project to have come from Nissan Design Europe's facility in London.

The interior of the car reflects the varied role it would have to play, with a folding seat arrangement allowing bikes, outdoor activity equipment and the weekly shopping to be easily stowed.

The car is an interpretation of how a medium-sized Nissan would attract customers whose tastes are evolving away from traditional market segments. Renault will show a concept roadster called Wind (pictured below), a possible future Renaultsport model which could make it into production.

##RenWind--none##

Renaultsport's first car project was the Spider two-seat race car which was made into a road car, and it currently produces high performance versions of the Clio and the Megane. Wind is an exercise to test public reaction for a production model.

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