Get Excited for Geneva 2016: Executive Cars


Don't worry, these are way more interesting than a BMW 320d sedan!

It's very easy to fall back on national steotypes when picturing a country, and Switzerland is no exception. If you don't automatically associate the Swiss with nice watches and hole-riddled cheese, you'll know them for its banking services. Still, there's some truth to every cliche, and there's no denying a lot of people make their living in Switzerland's financial sector. As a result, the Geneva Motor Show is the prime place to unveil a load of high-end, executive repmobiles that wouldn't, at first glance, look out of place in the parking lot of a business estate.

As this is the Geneva Motor Show, though, the sedans revealed here aren't your standard Audi A7s and Mercedes-Benz E-Classes. While the hybrid Kia Optima sedan does give us a smartly-styled dose of humble pie to tuck into, the big-hitter at this year's Geneva auto expo come in the form of the BMW M760i - a car that's, for all intents and purposes, a BMW M7. It's certainly got the specs to warrant a full-on M-car status: the 6.6-liter twin-turbocharged V12 produces 600 hp, the extra traction from the xDrive all-wheel drive system helps this hunk of executive metal hit 60 mph from rest in under four seconds and we wouldn't be surprised if, once ECU tuners disable the top speed limiter, the M760i could comfortably crack the 200 mph barrier.

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The most incredible aspect of the BMW M760i, though, is that it might actually be upstaged by another sporty 7 Series. Instead of BMW's M skunkworks, this one comes with Alpina in 'B7' guise, and runs the BMW incredibly close performance-wise. Power is identical (though the Alpina's 600 hp comes from a 4.4-liter turbocharged V8), and 0-60 mph for the all-wheel drive version we'll be getting in the States is rated at 3.6 seconds. There's also no electronic speed limiter, meaning the B7 can storm its way all the way up to 193 mph, should you find a road that's long enough for the Alpina to properly stretch its legs on. Even the gear ratios have been arranged to perfectly suit the forced-induction nature of that powerful V8 engine.

Further down the pecking order (as well as being from a completely different car company) is the new Mercedes-Benz C-Class Cabriolet. As it's name suggests, it's a drop-top version of the current C-Class range, and will finally give Mercedes an answer to the likes of the Buick Cascada, Audi A4 Cabriolet and BMW 4 Series Convertible. Apart from those aspects, though, there's little else to really get your blood pumping over the convertible C-Class - especially when Mercedes' current 'Russian Doll' approach to car design means it'll probably look like a shrunken down E-Class Cabriolet. Still, rumors abound that an AMG version of the rag top C-Class will be unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show, so there's always that to anticipate.

Rounding out our executive car preview is the Lexus LC500h; the flagship hybrid version of the stunning 2+2 coupe that was unveiled at the Detroit Auto Show earlier this year. Its naming conventions suggest a meaty powerplant under the hood (like, you know, the 5.0-liter 467 hp V8 in the LC500), though instead we're getting a 3.5-liter V6 that's paired to an electric motor. The tech behind it, though, is extraordinary - the engine itself only has four forward gears, but the motor is paired up to a CVT that's designed to simulate a six-speed auto. According to Lexus, such a setup gives smoother gear changes and is lighter than a conventional automatic, which probably just goes to show how heavy gearboxes can get when you start cramming extra ratios in them.

Lexus may be bigging the LC500h up as a sporty car, but we're not buying that billing at the moment. It's a great big four seater, after all, that's bound to weigh the thick end of two tons unless Lexus makes extensive use of the carbon fiber know-how it accumulated when working on the LFA supercar. As a result, it's probably best to see the LC500h as an executive grand tourer - which, when its closest competitors are all German, nowhere near as exciting to look at, and are a pretty common sight for $50,000+ vehicles, could be quite an appealing ownership prospect for bank branch managers looking at possible candidates for their next company car.