The 81st Geneva auto show will feature nearly 170 global and European car launches this year, confirming the annual event’s reputation as one of the top car shows of the year.

The 2011 show will take place on some 80,000 square meters of exhibition space near the Geneva airport. There will be 260 exhibitors representing more than 700 brands from 31 different countries. About 700,000 visitors are expected.

In a press release, the show organizers said Geneva will have more than 40 premiers that showcase “green” cars or technologies. Among these are a Land Rover diesel hybrid concept, a Toyota electric vehicle based on its small iQ model, and a hybrid version of Porsche’s Panamera S.

Other new models to be unveiled include a range of new Lancias, a Lamborghini supercar and futuristic sports car concepts from BMW and Nissan. BMW will focus heavily on its connected-car strategy.

The Geneva show will kick off with two press days on March 1 and 2. The event will run until March 13.

The Geneva International Motor Show will be officially opened on Thursday, March 3 in the presence of the president of the Swiss Confederation, Micheline Calmy-Rey.