With no home-grown auto industry to call its own, Geneva is truly neutral ground for the world's automakers to convene and display their latest hardware. Geneva is the United Nations of international auto shows, with global manufacturers attempting to out-posture, -maneuver, -brag, and -flank their corporate competitors. Almost all of the world's major automakers exhibit here and many of Europe's most noted tuners show off their latest high-performance efforts. Jump to the 2004 Geneva Motor Show coverage.
The demise of the Turin show in Italy has left Italy's fabled design houses without their native showcase. This leaves Geneva as their adopted home and all have major premieres -- both concepts and production-based cars and trucks.
Speaking of trucks, it seems that Europeans are having their own love affair with SUVs and multipurpose vehicles, yet all are smaller in size and scope than their U.S. counterparts. While there are more SUVs on display than ever before, when it comes to two-box designs, the traditional station wagon reigns supreme on the continent, being the vehicle of choice in a land where petrol averages about $4.00 per gallon.
While station wagons show the practical side of European tastes, expressive convertibles were evident on several stands. If a trend appears to be developing, it's that retractable hardtops are gaining favor as the cost to manufacture is making them practical for mainstream models. Could this trend appear stateside anytime soon?
Over the next several days, Motor Trend will bring you all the best from Geneva, including vehicles we'll see on our side of the Atlantic and others that will remain guilty pleasures to be savored from afar.
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At first glance, the radically styled Chrysler Airflite looks like a coupe but it's actually an under-5-meter-long four-door hatch that shows the RWD version of the Chrysler LX has overseas aspirations. While Chrysler's Trevor Creed says the Airflite is a concept, and is not the clear picture of Chrysler's version of the upcoming LX (as was the Dodge Magnum sports tourer), the Airflite clearly indicates Chrysler's future design direction. While the four bucket seats may be an impractical throwback to the 1966-1967 Dodge Charger, its variation of the Crossfire's rear deck gives us reason to suspect that the Airflite is close to reality.
If Maserati can give its interpretation of an SUV, why not Alfa Romeo? With the Kamal, Alfa has taken a stab, and with the Kamal offers a six-speed, 250-horsepower, 24-valve V-6 SUV that's sure to get any Alfa fanatic's blood boiling. While the look is "all terrain" it's still an Alfa, absent far too long from the US market (although rumors abound that it's about to return). The Kamal gives force to Alfa's concept of "elegant sportiness" attempting to mate elements of an SUV and a European MPV with a sports car; the result is a concept that covers new ground, and probably one that could find a home on this side of the Atlantic.
With the GTC Genève concept, Opel is making a design statement, giving us a preview of its future design language -- the new automotive buzzword. GTC stands for Gran Turismo Compact, and it combines taut lines, clear surfaces, three-dimensional headlights, wide wheel arches, and crafted details. The GTC features a tinted, transparent roof that stretches from the windshield to the rear window. This is combined with a curved roofline and low silhouette that creates a bold and powerful image, enhanced with large 19-inch wheels and 245/40-19 tires. The GTC's interior is sporty, functional and stylish. Hopefully similar elements and qualities will be incorporated into the forthcoming redesign of the Cadillac CTS interior.
The Opel Signum, built off of GM's flexible Epislon platform, is a segment buster, with its long wheelbase and stretched body-style offering maximum interior flexibility and high individual passenger comfort, especially in the rear. The new Signum is being offered with four ECOTEC gasoline and three ECOTEC diesel engines offering from 100 to 211 horsepower. The most noteworthy of the available engines is Opel's first gasoline direct-injection engine, a 155-horsepower unit that offers 10 percent more low-end torque while burning six percent less fuel. Look for the Signum's proportions and powertrains to influence future domestic GM products.
Leave it to Rinspeed Design to come up with a unique variation on the evergreen Porsche 911. Like a transformer toy, at the push of a button the Rinspeed Bedouin can be transformed from a roomy two-seater pickup into a sporty yet spacious four-seater wagon. The design cues culled from SUV influences hide the fact that the Bedouin is powered by clean-burning natural gas Porsche Boxer six. It claims to be the fastest natural gas vehicle in the world capable of sub-6-second sprints from 0 to 60. The entire body is made from from Pre-Preg composites, combing a low specific weight with extraordinarily high strength.
After the mixed reception that the Pikes Peak concept received in Detroit, Audi returns swinging with an elegant, yet powerful, luxury car. Named in honor of racing legend Tazio Nuvolari (the last Auto Union driver to win a grand prix race), the Nuvolari quattro concept study is classic 2+2 GT coupe featuring the most powerful engine ever installed in a road-going Audi, a 5.0-liter/600-horsepower V-10 'biturbo' with FSI direct fuel injection. Audi claims a 0 to 60 mph sprint of four seconds with a top speed governed at 155 pmh. Power and torque is delivered to all four wheels according traction needs via a six-speed automatic transmission using shift-by-wire technology controlled manually by paddles mounted to the steering wheel. Visually striking, the space-framed Nuvolari concept introduces the design direction expected to be carried by the next-generation A6 range.
Bounding back under GM ownership, Daewoo displayed an attractive "lifestyle" vehicle with production appeal. Despite its compact appearance, the Scope is a seven-passenger crossover. Ingress and egress for these riders is aided by the absence of a B-pillar. Once inside, a flexible seating arrangement can accommodate varying people and cargo needs. The adventure-seeking troop can be entertained en route via radio, TV, DVD, or the display from an outside camera. The Scope is powered by a 156-horse DOHC six-cylinder sourced from GM Daewoo XK product line.
Sharing their all-aluminum body and chassis, the Challenge Stradale joins the 360 Modena and the 360 Spider in the Ferrari eight-cylinder range of road cars. Following the Ferrari tradition of making road cars directly derived from the race cars, the Challenge Stradale draws upon the racing expertise earned in the Ferrari Challenge International Championships and the FIA GT races. The strong links of the Challenge Stradale road car to racing are underlined by a significant weight reduction, obtained also through additional aerodynamic contents, enhanced braking performance, and F1-style gearbox. The engine is the same 3586cc V-8, with five valves per cylinder and titanium conrods. The color this Stradale is the new "Rosso Scuderia," the same red of the Formula 1 cars, with decorations recalling Ferraris used in customer races of the past.
Renowned Italian designers Giorgetto and Fabrizio Giugiaro have a tradition of unveiling a dramatic interpretation of an existing car. In Geneva, the Italdesign house showed two Moray concepts built as a tribute to the Corvette's 50th anniversary. The Giugiaros explain, "We vowed to honor the rhetorical principles that dictated the American muscle-car of excellence era: simplicity and pragmatism, handlasting with the hedonist concept of sportiness evolving beyond the restraints of time." Daring and controversial, the Moray reminds of a time when concept cars were more fanciful and the GM Motorama auto show wowed enthusiasts. This 6.0-liter-powered car does not reflect the C6, but rather, an Italian interpretation of an American icon.
By the number of Mazda 6 variants we've seen clogging Europe's roads the past week, it looks like Mazda has a worldwide winner. Attempting to strike quickly, while the irons are hot, Mazda used Geneva to introduce the MX Sportif, a sharply styled five-door hatchback. This C-segment vehicle, aimed at the heart of the European market, is powered by a two-liter four that includes a revised intake-exhaust layout, a variable intake system, a tumble swirl control valve, and a high-flow port head. The result is substantial low-end torque and outstanding driving dynamics. The styling and overall design probably hints at the next generation Mazda Protege, due in 2005.
Unveiled within eyesight of a classic Mercedes W 111/112 cabriolet from the 1960s, the new CLK Cabriolet line will feature five different engine options throughout the world. Power output from unprecedented range of four, six and eight-cylinder engines range from 163 to 367 horsepower. The top-of-the-line CLK55 AMG boasts a 0-60 mph time under 5.4 seconds. Eschewing the popular folding hardtop used in the current SLK and SL, the CLK retains the soft folding top that is completely concealed when retracted. Premium features include Distronic intelligent cruise control, Linguatronic voice-control for phone/audio/navigation systems, and Thermotronic auto climate control with solar sensor.
The French automaker that has become known for stylish, small cars rolled out a daring off-roader that looks like 21st-century Chenowth fast-attack vehicle. Beyond its sporty, head-turning design, the Hogger boasts serious firepower from two clean-breathing diesel engines. Few dunes or trails could pose much of a challenge for the big-tired Hogger, with the engines' combined output is a feisty 360-horsepower with 590 lb-ft of torque. Lift the gullwing doors to expose a high-tech interior trimmed in aluminum and leather, and outfitted with navigation system and inclinometer. This is pure concept, though Peugeot claims styling cues will appear on a future production model.
Volvo explores the potential for a premium wagon, likely to complement the S80 sedan, with the 250-hp Versatility Concept Car (VCC). The clean Scandinavian styling draws from Volvo heritage, with a tailgate inspired by the P1800 ES and dramatic grille from the 1964 164. However, this is a thoroughly modern take on Volvo traditions, with an emphasis on earth-friendly engineering and passenger-protecting safety systems. Numerous clever touches reveal production possibilities, like thin A-pillars to enhance visibility, sensor-driven headlamps that move with turns, sliding cargo load floor, and ambient air cleaner to scrub hydrocarbon. The digital frontier is charted with an audio system dependent on downloading content (rather than being fed CDs), navigation system display superimposed on electronic instrument panel, and "webpad" controls for each passenger to surf the Internet.
BMW has brought the lightweight M3 CSL concept car from the 2001 Frankfurt show into a production reality. The CSL weighs in at 243 pounds lighter than a tradition M3 through the use of exotic materials, like carbon fiber and sheet molding compound (SMC). The roof, front air dam, rear diffuser are all made of a carbon-fiber reinforced plastic. The hood is aluminum, decklid SMC, and rear glass is extra thin. Digging deeper into the car, engineers shaved ounces through clever means, like using a paper honeycomb "sandwich" panel for the trunk floor. The weight savings is complimented by a prodigious power gain to 360 horses. Handling is significantly advanced through wider track, modified suspension geometry, and 19-inch Michelin Pilot Sport Cup tires. Factor in an SMG transmission with track mode, and this is BMW's ultimate driving machine.
Mini masterminds John Cooper Works in the U.K. have cooked up an exciting performance package that will push the supercharged model past the 200 horsepower mark. Available through Mini dealers, the warranted package will feature include a reconfigured cylinder head, uprated supercharger along with special engine electronics and a performance rear muffler. To be offered through dealers shortly, the U.S.-market details were not revealed. However, the Brit-spec car boasts a 6.7-second 0-60 mph time and 141 mph top speed. Their package includes also sports seats and special JCW 18-inch wheels. Expect a few interior dress items and badging to round out the package when this mighty Mini comes Stateside.
Saab distinctive 9-3 Convertible has been a cornerstone in the company's portfolio, and the automaker is confident that the new Epsilon-platformed 2004 9-3 Convertible will expand the model's appeal. The cloth-topped Swede is powered by an all-aluminum, four-cylinder 2.0-liter turbocharged engine capable of making either 175 or 210 hp, depending on configuration. The four-seater matches these force-fed engines to a variety of transmission choices, ranging from a standard five-speed manual, up to a new compact six-speed manual gearbox and a "smart" five-speed automatic transmission with Sentronic shifting. The hydraulically powered "one-touch" soft-top deploys fully in just 20 seconds. In the event of a rollover, passengers are protected by Saab's "DynaCage" with pop-up rear roll bars, front seatbelt pre-tensioning, and substantial A-pillar reinforcement. The new 9-3 convertible will reach the U.S. market in the fall of 2003 as a 2004 model.
Subaru's B11S sporty concept combines sophisticated design with roomy interior space to create a new type of four-door coupe. Developed to demonstrate future design direction and strengthened design capabilities, the Subaru B11S exhibits flowing curves tempered by crisp detail lines. The B11S promises superb driving performance, ensured by a five-speed tranny with Subaru's electronically controlled variable torque distribution system, symmetrical AWD, and a horizontally-opposed twin-turbo engine six-cylinder engine. Two pairs of side doors open like gates and latch in the middle without a conventional B-pillar, an arrangement that allows easy access to its spacious four-seat interior. The frosted glass roof inspired by the design and construction of traditional Japanese umbrellas provides an open-air feeling, and creates a pleasant soft light that enhances the look of its interior.
Named for maximum comfort, maximum confidence, and maximum control, the C-Max builds on the established strengths of the Focus, offering a sleek aerodynamic body, flexible ergonomic passenger space, and state-of-the-art entertainment, navigation, and safety systems. When it is released in Europe later this year, it will offer a choice of 1.6-liter/110-hp or 2.0-liter/135-hp diesel engines jointly developed with Peugeot-Citroen, or a 1.8-liter/120-hp gasoline engine. Additional features will include a new six-speed manual transmission, four-wheel disc brakes with ABS, passive anti-theft system, Sony audio systems, and dual-stage front airbags, side airbags, and side-curtain airbags.
Europe will finally get its own version of the beloved New Beetle convertible when it goes on sale there later this spring. Making its European premiere, the four-seater boasts a hydraulically powered Z-folding soft top that opens or closes in 13 seconds. Euro models will be powered by an entry-level four-cylinder 74-hp gas engine, with optional 1.6-liter/102-hp or 2.0-liter/115-hp gasoline engines available; a 1.9-liter/100-horse four-cylinder turbodiesel is scheduled to arrive later this year. While U.S. models rekindle nostalgic flower power passions with colors like Aquarius Blue and Mellow Yellow, black is the resounding favorite among more than 3000 preorders. The New Beetle convertible is currently on sale in America.
Now under Volkswagen's corporate umbrella, Bentley has introduced its first all-new model, the Continental GT. This luxury coach is a mechanical tour de force with a 6.0-liter/560-horsepower twin-turbocharged W12 propelling all four wheels, with power routed through a paddle-operated six-speed sequential automatic gearbox. This drivetrain can accelerated corporate moguls from 0-60 mph in a scant 4.7 seconds and reach a 190 mph top speed. The relatively compact engine allows for a commodious wood-and-leather trimmed interior with a true back seat for first-class transport. The well-appointed Continental GT goes on sale in the fall at $149,000 - a relative bargain for a Bentley.
Volkswagen adds a third minivan to its European lineup as the Touran joins the Sharan and Multivan this month. Seating five or seven passengers, the Touran exudes versatility with reconfigurable seats that flip, fold, slide, turn, and remove as needed. The optional rear seat fold flat into the load floor when not needed. Three is the magic number for trim lines and engines, with thrifty 1.6, 1.9 diesel, and 2.0 diesel powerplants. Each engine will be available with a six-speed Tiptronic transmission. In additional to front, side, and head airbags, the Touran counts among its safety features electronic stability program (ESP) and brake assist.
Citroen entered the Geneva Motor Show proudly boasting wins in two of the three World Rally Championship (WRC) races this year with the Xsara WRC. Termed a concept car, the C2 Sport reveals the look for a "potential" future Citroen racer, complete with flared wheel arches, low stance, large rear spoiler, and roof air grabber. Wild body work and decals are backed up by a 1.6-liter engine squeezing out 225 horsepower and mated to a six-speed sequential gearbox. Look for the C2 Sport to drift sideways into a video game and likely WRC in the not-too-distant future.
Not all concept vehicles on the show floor were fresh from a skunk works garage; the 370-horsepower GM Firebird I dates back to 1954, when it became the first gas turbine automobile ever built and tested in the United States. Built as a rolling laboratory, the Firebird I was designed by legend Harley J. Earl, who know lives on designing great Buicks postmortem in TV commercials. Like Earl, the Firebird I has been enjoying a revitalized public life, having recently motored around the speedway before the 2003 Daytona 500. (The Firebird I is immortalized atop the Daytona 500 trophy.) In Geneva, this classic concept reminds of the decades old tradition of building fantastic vehicles to drive technology and automotive passions.
Mini expands its range with addition of a fuel-efficient diesel engine to the entry-level One model. The 1.4-liter four-cylinder engine produces 75 horsepower and 133 lb-ft of torque. The real powerful number here is the fuel economy, measured at 58.9 mpg during a mixed duty (city and highway) cycle. A six-speed manual transmission aids in eking a 0-60 mph time in a lorry-like 13.8 seconds. The One D is can be distinguished from the gasoline-engine motivated One by its larger front air intakes, rear skirt that conceals the exhaust pipe, S side sills, and obligatory badging. The One D will go on sale this summer in Europe, with no plans announced for offering Stateside.
Mitsubishi continues to roll out variations of its CZ theme, with pocket-sized sporty cars looking like they escaped from a video game. No mystery here, Mitsu is clearly serious about offering a fun 2+2 droptop, and we hope it packs the Evolution drivetrain as exhibited in the Tarmac Spyder concept, seen recently in Detroit. Refined and appearing ready for primetime, the CZ2 Cabriolet demonstrates a more restrained application of the open-air theme with its world premiere in Geneva.
Nissan's European design team explores the potential future for a segment-defying, C-segment family car. A mix between minivan and sports car, the Evalia lacks a central B-pillar, creating a large side opening for loading travelers and their road gear. The front doors swing open, while the rear doors slide back almost parallel to the body, more like a Transformer than a minivan. The interior has minivan-like packaging, with abundant storage and passenger space. But for the driver, the Evalia is focused on driving fun, with a car-like driving position, contoured bucket seat, three-spoke steering wheel, aluminum pedals, and responsive, lowered suspension. Not as radical as the Quest, the five-door Evalia strikes a nebulous middle ground known as "crossover."
Oh, no! Not another 'Ferrari Red' Italian supercar... That's what we thought until we got up close and personal with the Fioravanti F100. The design goal was to reduce the tiresome air turbulence found in most high-performance open cars. To solve this problem, Fioravanti designers developed an innovative multispherical-type windscreen, using aerodynamics that guide air flow to the rear of the vehicle, thus shielding the heads of the passengers. Besides fulfilling this aerodynamic function, the streamlined hull behind the passengers serves as a roll-bar and incorporates engine air-vents and helmet storage. A perforated depression zone ultimately releases the displaced air from the bonnet.
Startech, the Chrysler Group side of the famed Brabus German tuning house, used their booth in Geneva to take the wraps of a Euro-interpretation of the Dodge Ram, a continental SEMA-style tuner truck. Stainless steel accentuates the design (two front tube guards, matching illuminated side-sill guards and rear quarter bumpers), in this case applied to a basic black, four-door Ram. Like any good SEMA-style show truck, wheels remain the dominant visual element, in this case the OEM 20s are upgraded with a 10x24-inch light alloy Startech Monoblock design, mounted with 305/35R24 tires -- just the right amount of overkill if there's another black Ram on your block.
One of the great pleasures in attending a major auto show, especially Geneva, is walking through the tuner-car area. In the BBS booth, we encountered the classically-styled, BMW Z3-powered Wiesmann Roadster, the work of brothers Martin and Friedheim Wiesmann. This individually hand-crafted $77,000 sports car, having now reached the milestone of its 300th series production unit, combines retro styling elements with a contemporary chassis and proven powertrain, including a sequential gearbox with steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters. If you're thinking Panoz and Morgan, with a bit of Avanti II mixed in for good measure, you're not far from the mark. A coupe version is on the way and Martin Wiesmann revealed that U.S. distribution plans are currently being discussed.
While the heavily publicized-in-advance Giuguaro Moray drew a bigger crowd for its Day 1 premiere (and struck many observers, as just a bit over the top), the Bertone Birusa concept car was much better received on Day 2. Dominated by the wing-like doors, the wedge-shaped design bristled with high tech components, hallmarks of recent Bertone efforts. This included voice controls for the doors and sunroof, a Bose-designed Dolby Surround multimedia system, semi-adaptive headlights, and infrared night vision. The rear 'boot' contained a combination drawer/ramp from which a Segway personal transporter could roll out. Of all this year's high-profile efforts of the Italian design houses, the Birusa was arguably the best realized.
Attempting to expand the appeal of the original smart beyond its original microscopic origins, the smart division of DaimlerChrysler has recently begun selling innovative roadster and roadster-coupe models in Europe. Where the original smart was designed for the tight urban jungle, the new models are designed with longer distances in mind. The mid-ship mounted four-cylinder engine grants spirited performance, while the innovative retracting cloth top with removable side rails, give a unique open-air motoring environment. Although there are no plans to bring the roadster or coupe-roadster to the U.S., smart has announced tentative plans for bringing the next-generation, slightly larger product to America, possibly starting in 2005.
The Aston Martin AMV8 Vantage is the near-final form of a smaller Aston Martin model, due to be launched in 2005, giving Aston Martin a three-model line-up. The AMV8 Vantage is a two-seater sports car that retains a classic front mid-engine/rear-wheel drive layout and while it bears a passing resemblance to the two current models, the DB7 and Vanquish, it is the design effort Henrik Fisker, Aston Martin's Design Director. The design of the cabin has been focused to ensure that everything the driver and passenger touch is of the highest quality and doesn't appear as if shared with other PAG vehicles. The all-new engine is a 4.3-liter, all-alloy V8 unique to Aston Martin. This new V8 will use the latest technology to deliver outstanding performance in all environments.
Audi proudly displayed a two-door 2004 A3 representing the next evolutionary step for the successful compact car range. Now in its seventh year, the A3 has put "premium" into small cars, with sporty dynamics and luxury amenities. This tradition continues in the slightly larger, second-generation products. A total of five engines will be offered, ranging from a 1.6-liter/102-horsepower four-cylinder up to a 3.2-liter/241-horsepower V-6, all offered in either front-drive or all-wheel drive configurations. The performance enhancing, fuel efficient direct shift gearbox introduced on the Golf R32 will be available with some engines, offering a premium six-speed Triptronic transmission. Luxury features like independent suspension, Electronic Stabilization Program (ESP), Bose audio system, TV tuner, and electronic climate control ensure it lives up to the Audi brand character.
After years of speculation and spy photos, the anxious enthusiast world got to meet the so-called "baby Lambo" in Geneva. Drawing its name from a famous fighting bull breed, the space-framed Gallardo is a snorting sports car with manners enough for regular driving, both on the open road and high-speed race track. It features a mid-rear mounted 5.0-liter/500-horse DOHC V-10 that routes power through a six-speed sequential gearbox. The AWD Gallardo features a full, double-wishbone suspension at all corners, with weight distributed 42% front, 58% rear. Developed from an Italdesign-Giugiara style proposal, the Gullardo possess all the sleek elegance of a Lamborghini, complete with scissor-doors and unbridled ego modeled into metal. With gorgeous looks, potent power, and 192 mph top speed, this two-seater won't be known as "baby" for long.
When we first encountering the Stola GTS, in its Sixties-style Gulf Mirage color scheme (powder blue/orange stripes), we were not quite sure what to make of it. Further investigation showed it to be quite possibly the wildest Porsche Boxster-based tuner car on the planet. With a heritage dating back to 1919, the Stola GTS offers the tradition of Turin's coach-builders of transforming standard production cars into custom-built cars. Motivation for the Stola GTS comes from a 480-horsepower biturbo six that gives the 2772-pound Stola GTS a claimed top speed of 186 mph. The benchmark 0 to 60 mph sprint takes just under four seconds.
Volkswagen's venerable Golf has had quite a show season, with the introduction of the high-performance, all-wheel-drive R32 in Europe and the 20th Anniversary Edition GTI at the recent Chicago show. Next up, direct shift gearbox (DSG) for the R32. The 3.2-liter/238-horsepower V-6 can propel the mighty Golf 0-60 mph in 6.6 seconds, reaching a terminal velocity of 154 mph. However, the optional DSG automatic six-speed gearbox can achieve a 6.4-second 0-60 mph sprint. The DSG is both more fuel efficient and quicker than a conventional automatic by removing the torque converter as a ramp-up element. The system works like a traditional Tiptronic, complete with steering wheel paddle shift rockers. The technology will be introduced first on the R32 in summer 2003, then eventually spread through VW's sportiest models.
First shown at Detroit, Kia carves its own interpretation of crossover with its genre-defying KCD-1 Slice concept. Bringing a high cute factor to the mini-SUV party, Slice seats six passengers in three rows of seats that can be folded to accommodate a variety of cargo challenges. Solenoid-actuated "suicide" doors ease side loading and present a large entryway into the vehicle. Inside, the futuristic orange and silver dash features a popup LCD display and cool green instrument glow. A modest-sized vehicle with SUV pretenses and car-like dynamics, the Slice is powered by a 2.7-liter V-6 engine, and rides on an independent suspension. While no production plans have been announced, Kia is sending the Slice on the auto shows circuit to gauge public reaction.
This slippery hydrogen fuel-cell hybrid-electric concept car made its first appearance in Detroit, a sample of advance powertrain technology that could be coming down the road for Toyota. Toyota has announced that it will offer an electric/gasoline hybrid version of the Lexus RX 330 in two years; while that's technically feasible, the Fine-S has gone even further with this geek tech concept wrapped in raw sex appeal. With proportions unlikely to be found with a traditional combustion engined car, the Fine-S illustrates the packaging benefits of a fuel-cell system. This sci-fi dream machine was revealed just one month after Toyota leased Highlander fuel-cell vehicles to the Japanese government and two California universities.