In March I managed to visit the Geneva Motorshow for the first time. I have fond memories of the British Motorshows at Earls Court and the NEC – vast halls stuffed full of people admiring the shining products of the leading manufacturers of the day. That the British Motorshow is no more is a sad state of affairs. We are told people no longer want to come and look at stationary cars. No one seems to have told that to the huge crowds of Swiss, Germans and French at the Geneva show!

Amongst the new hatchbacks and saloons the stars of the show were the supercars – in particular the new McLaren P1 and the ridiculously named LaFerrari. The cars, like their manufacturers, are great rivals. Each is limited to a production run of 500 and each manufacturer makes great play of the F1 technology that they have included in their fearsomely quick hybrid stars.

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The Ferrari, in traditional Corso Roso red, looked stunning. Some of the detailing looked fiddly when compared to the sublime Ferrari 458, but overall the Ferrari had the edge on the McLaren in the looks department.

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One can’t help but feel that McLaren, stung by the criticism that the MP4-12C was not as dramatic as a Supercar should be, pulled all the stops out when it came to the P1. Certainly it was no shrinking violet with its bright yellow paintwork and swooping lines. But overall the effect was just a bit too much, like they had tried too hard.

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Each car costs in excess of a million pounds. Ferrari have, however, sold all theirs. McLaren have a few hundred left. So in commercial terms it looks like the tradition and looks of the Ferrari have triumphed over the technological focus of the McLaren. But in reality would you want either car? If you want to buy a Supercar do you really want a complex hybrid transmission and KERs technology? Do you really care about emissions and fuel efficiency in a car that you will drive a few hundred miles a year? I suspect not. Personally I would rather save £800k and buy an MP4-12c or 458. And of those two it would be the McLaren, with its restrained looks, that would get my money.

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