Perhaps one of the most important motor shows of the year, the Paris Motor show or Mondial de l’Automobile if you’re French, is a bi-yearly motor show that swaps with the Tokyo Motor Show every second year. Its placement in the motoring calendar makes it one of the most important shows of the year as it previews what cars to expect in the first few months of the new year as well as rounding up the year in cars. This year the Paris Motor Show (I refuse to abbreviate it with a three-letter acronym) had some great reveals, surprises and star cars. Some of the new cars shown and concepts gave us a sneak peak into the future of cars. Others were for the here now and are great examples of what makes cars and engineering fantastic. From a hybrid Lamborghini to a cute Fiat crossover and everything else in between, here’s a quick round up of the highlights from this year’s Paris Motor Show.
No surprises what my star car is from this year’s Paris Motor Show is. Yup, my favourite debut is from Mercedes’ in-house tuners AMG with their new GT; the spiritual successor to the SLS AMG. It’s smaller, lighter, and to my eyes prettier than the SLS but has less power and and 1200cc fewer. Still, with 510bhp 4.0-litre bi-turbo V8 it should still be adequate for tail happy shenanigans and a spot of Porsche 911-bashing.
Volkswagen XL Sport
Remember the XL1? It was that incredible looking car that could achieve an equally incredibly 1L/100km thanks to a 800cc turbo diesel hybrid powertrain. Well as a surprise for the this year’s Paris motor show, VW have literally put the motor in motor show. Terrible pun aside, VW have actually put a 1.2-litre Ducati engine in this awesome looking body. That’s a 197bhp 1199cc V-Twin engine from a Ducati Panigale Superleggera (even the name sounds fast) and mated to a VW 7-speed DSG. Top speed is 270 km/h and 0-100 in 5.7 seconds. The best bit though is it redlines to 11,000 rpm!!!!!
Lamborghini Asterion LPI910-4
You can always expect a jaw-dropping surprise at Paris Motor Shows and Lamborghini have delivered well. The Asterion is the company’s first front-engine GT in nearly four decades and their first hybrid. Yup, this 900bhp super GT mates the Huracan’s 5.2-litre V10 with three electric motors. Oh and it can run on EV mode for up to 50km too allowing for a 5.5L/100km fuel economy figure. Impressive.
Audi TT – Roadster & Sportback
Audi are set on an onslaught of new models to fill every niche possible. Expanding the well-known TT name is a good start. We’ve already seen the Allroad Shooting Brake and Offroad SUV Concept Waldorf this year. A Roadster model was to be expected but the 395bhp Sportback was a nice surprise. It’s a looker and will give the Mercedes CLA a good fight too. 2-Series, your move.
The first motor show appearance of the Mazda MX-5. It’s always nice to see it but the big news is Mazda has confirmed one of the rumours that’s been going around. Mazda has confirmed that a new 1.5-litre SkyActiv engine will be found under the bonnet of the new ND MX-5. However, they’re still pretty hush hush about figures for the engine and on a larger 2.0-litre engine.. For now.
Possibly the most important car to come out of the United Kingdom this year, this is Jaguar’s answer to the BMW 3-Series and Mercedes C-Class. A successor to the unfortunate X-Type, the XE doesn’t have big shoes to fill but has a lot riding on it. Engine choices range from a 2.0-litre diesel, a 2.0-litre turbo petrol, and a 3.0-litre V6.
Vigger, volder, and more vutch than before. Okay, that didn’t work. It’s hard to find three adjectives that start with ‘v’ to describe the new Volvo XC90. But it is bigger, bolder, and more butch than before. It’s also more handsome too. Engine choices range from 2.0-litre turbo petrols to a 3.0-litre turbo V6 with diesels and hybrids in the mix too. Yes, for the first time there’s an option of a hybrid which has some impressive figures.
Bentley Mulsanne Speed
Just when you thought a Bentley Mulsanne couldn’t be more extravagant, Bentley goes and adds more speed to it. Top speed is 304 km/h. At 530bhp it “only” has 25 more bhp than the standard car but has 1100NM of torque to make up for it. That literally makes it more powerful than some countries.
Land Rover Discovery Sport
Part of a reshuffle of Land Rover’s model line up the Discovery Sport is the first in a new breed of Discovery and a replacement for the Freelander. This 7-seater SUV should prove to be a sales hit for Land Rover. It’ll arrive on our shores early next year with a choice of petrol and diesel engines.
Ferrari 458 Speciale A
Oh that’s more like it. A yellow Italian supercar with a stripe and no roof. My kinda show car. This is the 458 Speciale A and it marks end of Ferrari’s naturally aspirated V8. Think of this as a hardcore version of the 458 Spider, or as a convertible version of the Speciale. Either way you look at it the Speciale A is going to be fast and special. Powering it is the same 4.5-litre naturally aspirated V8 from the 458 Speciale. With 597bhp and 540NM of torque, it’ll get from 0-100 km/h in 3 seconds flat and on to a top speed of 324 km/h. The roof is equally fast taking only 14 seconds to open or close. The next 458 will most likely be turbocharged but what a swan song. Only 499 Speciale As will be made, that’s as many as there will be LaFerrari. Get in quick.
Mercedes-Benz S500 Plug-in Hybrid & C63 AMG
I like the idea of a Plug-in Hybrid limo. The ability to travel in this much luxury with producing zero emissions and in absolute silence sounds like the perfect way to rationalise buying a car costing as much as a house. Or you could go the other way and get a car with a 4.0-litre bi-turbo V8 with 510bhp. Something like a rear-wheel drive only C63.
Renault Eolab & Espace
While the name sounds like a virus this concept car looks great and possibly points toward a new Megane. It has a clever and modern plug-in hybrid powertrain too. Going away from tradition the pioneering MPV, the Renault Espace, has gone all crossover-y in its fifth generation. It’s a great looking thing and could’ve been a great alternative for families after something practical but don’t want a SUV. Unfortunately there’s no plans to produce if in right-hand drive. Anyone keen to protest?
Nissan Pulsar Nismo
I’ve never managed to finish writing about the Nissan Pulsar before because by the time I get to the ‘l’ I dose off. Luckily I have managed to get past the whole name because of the five letters that follow it; Nismo. Yes the vanilla bland Pulsar has been given the Nimso treatment and it seems to have been converted into a completely different beast. It looks like it could be ready for some fun. How it’ll compete with the likes of the established hot hatch elites such as the Golf GTI, Megane RS, and Focus ST will be interesting to see. Nissan haven’t released any official specs but expect a 1.6 turbo and around 200bhp.
BMW 2-Series Convertible
Taking the top off a coupe based on a hatchback sounds like a recipe for disaster but the new 2-Series Convertible actually looks quite nice. There a subtle classy elegance about it. It comes with a fabric roof too, unlike the slightly awkward looking metal folding roof on the 4-Series Cabrio. The old 1-Series Convertible proved to be a sales success for BMW as it offered drop-top BMW motoring for a reasonable amount of money. This new 2-Convertible seems to be on the right track of following its predecessor’s success if not bettering it. It just looks so nice. The 306bhp M235i Convertible should be a hoot.
A 7-seater MPV isn’t exciting but it does raise a good question: why don’t more people buy them? Especially if they’re half decent looking like this. Would you like to see this being sold here in NZ?
Honda HR-V & Civic Type-R
The answer to the question above can be answered quite easily – no. A majority of buyers are switching to crossovers such as the HR-V. Based on the Jazz this is Honda’s first crack at the segment. Better late than never. It’l come with Honda’s clever ‘Magic Seats’ and more or less the same engines as the Jazz. The HR-V is due here in NZ in 2015. Fingers crossed we’ll get the Civic Type-R too. This 276bhp hot hatch puts the R in ‘grrrrr’.
Smart fortwo & forfour
A smart pair aren’t they? Sharing the same platform as the Renault Twingo these are the new generation of city cars from Mercedes’ city car subsidiary. They’re cute, sweet looking things. Sharing the same platform as the Renault Twingo, these rear-wheel drive cars will have two engine choices that’ll be placed at the rear. One is a Mitsubishi sourced 999cc three cylinder and a turbo 898cc Renault engine. An electric powertrain will also follow in the near future.
Infiniti Q80 Inspiration
A sort of Porsche Panamera rival, the Q80 inspiration points towards a much needed flagship car for Infiniti. Like a few other concept cars shown at the Paris Motor Show, the Q80 adopts a hybrid powertrain. It features a new generation 3.0-litre twin-turbo V6 that develops 444bhp and mates it to a 99bhp electric motor giving it a total output of 543bhp. Not too shabby. Oh and it will go into production too in “three to five years”.
Remember the Vitara? I don’t. I forgot they still make these (yes, you can still buy one new today). But don’t because there’s a new one coming soon and it looks… Quite nice. I have to wonder though, what do engineers at Suzuki do all day that it takes them 12 years to come up with a new car. And well, I’m a bit underwhelmed. This could’ve literally come from any other manufacturer… Umm specs. It’ll come with Suzuki’s four-wheel drive AllGrip system and 1.6-litre petrol and diesel engines from the S-Cross.
If the Vitara’s styling is a bit off for you then here’s the solution. It’s the new 500X and is the final piece in the 500 jigsaw. This mini-crossover shares the same platform as the Jeep Renegade and tops the 500 line up above the 500, 500C, and 500L. It takes the best bits of the 500 (cutesy retro styling, compact dimensions, and endless personalisation options) but to a more practical crossover shape. It’ll be available with many choices of petrol and diesel engines. Front and all-wheel drive and a variety of gearbox options including a 9-speed auto. Is it wrong if I say I’m falling slowly in love with it? Bring it here Fiat!
Citroen Divine DS
Keen eyed readers might chuckle at the name. Divine DS, or dessesse, roughly translates to ‘Divine Goddess’. As if there was any other kind of goddess. Name aside Citroen have a lot of faith in this concept car. It previews the next generation DS cars which will branch out to become a separate entity from Citroen.
Oh what a surprise, another hybrid crossover. This time it’s from Toyota. Based on the Auris it’s a sort of Nissan Qashqai-type car. I’m not sure I like this new Toyota design or not but kudos to the design team for being bold and taking a chance. That, I do like. Maybe if they keep experimenting with crazy concepts like this they could stumble upon a new design language that works.
It’s a new Skoda Fabia. Looks decent. Sits on VAG’s MQB platform so it should be good to drive. Unfortunately there’s no plans for a vRS version in the near future. A shame as I would’ve loved a lime green one. With a vRS badge of course.
Peugeot Quartz Concept
Yet another hybrid and yet another crossover concept. But this is no ordinary hybrid crossover. With a 270bhp 1.6-litre turbo and two electric motors producing 114bhp each, the total output is a frankly ludicrous 493bhp! In a crossover roughly the same size as a Peugeot 308! That’s mental. To top it all off it looks great too. Come on Peugeot, don’t be a tease.