The Geneva Motor Show is the auto industry's only neutral-ground show. It is in Switzerland after all. Why's that important? Well, at the Detroit show it's all about a show of force from the Americans. By contrast Paris is the stomping ground for wild French concepts and the newest Renault, while in Frankfurt the Germans go nuts with new models.
In Geneva, every manufacturer tries hard and that's good for anyone after a new car, and even those who aren't: because from good-looking concepts to road-ready supercars, the full spectrum is covered. It's a visual treat – you only need to click through to our show gallery on this very page to get a look at the best (or, in some cases, most "interesting") on display.
In 2015 Geneva was a show all about performance. The big news was at the properly exotic end of the market. We've reported in depth about the new Ferrari 488 GTB, the McLaren 675LT and new Audi R8 V10. There was also a new coupe concept from Bentley in the form of the EXP 10, which is perhaps our personal show highlight.
Bentley XP 10 Speed 6 concept
But beyond that, we got to see (take a deep breath) the last ever Bugatti Veyron, two super-high performance Porsches in the form of the Cayman GT4 and the 911 GT3 RS, the new Koenigsegg Regera, Mercedes' race-derived AMG GT3, the European debut of the Ford GT, and various special one-offs like the Glickenhaus SCG 003.
Thankfully there was performance on show for those without £100K+ to spend. New hot hatches were out in force – most obviously in the form of the crazily-winged Civic Type R, finally showing itself in production form. Just across the hall the Ford Focus RS boasts 4-wheel drive as standard for the first time. All the hot hatch body kits shout their intent, but if you're after something a little more subtle, Audi's RS3 will out-point them both, albeit at much greater cost. Renault's maligned RS Clio gets a major upgrade in the form of the 220bhp Trophy special edition, which should sharpen up what's been a perennial hot hatch favourite.
Honda Civic Type R 2015
If you're more concerned with moving your family about than burning rubber (and let's face it, that's the reality for most of us), there were some important new cars. BMW's first ever MPV (the 2-Series Active Tourer) got a stretch to make it a full 7-seater, and with that came a new name: the 2-Series Gran Tourer. Pity it looks so ugly then. Which is why if you're not so bothered about the badge, on looks alone you'd be better off with the sharp new VW Touran, or the stylish Renault Kadjar – competing with its cousin, the Nissan Qashqai, for most bizarre new car name ever. Speaking of strange name's Vauxhall's new city car is called the Viva – nothing too weird about that, until you realise that in Europe it's badged as an Opel… and called the Karl. Ugh.
We thought this Geneva show might see some major technology breakthroughs, but as usual we had to go on the hunt for such content, as flashy metal got centre stage. Nonetheless, the Volkswagen stand had a nice demonstration of how Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and Mirrorlink will all integrate and work through Volkswagen's touchscreens. It'll cause a riot in the various forums, but the surprise for us was how much nicer and more elegant an interface Android Auto seems than CarPlay – which on the VW at least features an awkward corner-placed home button, to get you back to the menu. Ultimately, for all the promise, if this is the next step of the interface then we can see why Apple might be working on its own car. It feels rather like the Motorola Rokr with iTunes we got when we'd been hoping for the iPhone back in 2005.
Edag Light Cocoon concept
In the cars, there's a slow return to haptic knobs and buttons, in addition to some much more clever integration of the analogue and digital – with Bentley, Kia and Lexus all showing some nice new ideas. Check out the snow falling on the Lexus LF-SA concept's speedo ring if you want a bit of digital cheesiness.
Or, going one further, the Edag Light Cocoon is a car with illuminating panels. Uh huh. Or, if you want to pilot something more spaceship-esque, then take a look at the Aston Martin DBX crossover concept which looks entirely bonkers – especially on the inside.
From the tech side of things, perhaps most interesting of all is the Audi Prologue Avant. Shown previously only in LA, the Prologue's interface features Samsung's curved screen tech, a hologram cluster and 4K displays. It's not perfect, but it's beautifully integrated into the interior design and was undoubtedly one of the most interesting pieces of tech at the show.
Audi Prologue Avant concept
It's just a shame all of this stuff remains so off-limits, especially if you're just a regular visitor. At the show the Prologue is behind a small, but very impenetrable barrier. If the car companies really want to compete on their own terms with whatever Google and Apple are planning long term, they really need to think about how they present and communicate these concepts, and let people have some hands-on time beyond just the dealerships.
Lots to see in Geneva then, but nothing that was massively shocking (except for a few price tags) – which is a shame given the show's history. This year it's a veritable speed-fest. Thank the cheap price of oil, and the fact many markets are finally growing for that. Just don't mention the fact that most of the green cars seem to have gone on the back burner, and that oil prices are on the way up again.
If you're after a new fast car, the show floor of the Palexpo is the place to be. And as it's open to the public until March 15 there's still time to take a look. Although for the not-super-rich among us, instead feast your eyes on our full gallery instead to get the inside line.