Ah, the Paris Motor Show. A show most have probably forgotten about. Do you remember what big car was launched at the last Paris Motor Show? No, I don’t either.* It’s in the awkward place in the motor show calendar of being near the end but not really.
Most manufactures use the early shows such as Detroit and Geneva to show off their new cars for the rest of the year, while shows like Los Angeles and Tokyo (which takes turns with Paris and is held every second year) preview cars for the following year.
The other motor show held in the middle is Frankfurt (passenger cars are shown every second year) which usually has more of the significant mid-year launches. So the Paris show is generally one of the smaller ones. It was no different this year with many manufacturers skipping Paris. Manufacturers such as Volvo, Ford, Mazda, Lamborghini, Bugatti, Bentley, Aston Martin, McLaren, and Rolls Royce didn’t show any cars, new or existing, at all.
So with a lot of manufacturers absent, were there any new cars worth paying attention to from this year’s Paris Motor Show? Well yes, there were quite a few. Here’s a quick round-up of some of the new car launches from the 2016 Paris Motor Show.
Ferrari LaFerrari Aperta
Undoubtedly the star of the show, the LaFerrari Aperta is Ferrari’s 70th birthday present to itself. In an usual turn of events, for the first time Ferrari has made a second road-going variant of one its special limited-edition supercars. It’s also the first open top special Ferrari since the F50. 200 LaFerrari Apertas will be sold to Ferrari’s “most passionate clients” while an extra 9 cars will be kept by the factory for display and event purposes. Despite having no roof, Ferrari promise the Aperta will be as rigid and as fast as the coupe. So expect the same sub-3 second time from standstill to 100 km/h and the same 350 km/h top speed. The LaFerrari’s epic 6.3-litre V12 and electric motor hybrid system will be carried over with the same 963hp/708kW power output and 900NM of torque. Most importantly, it’s as dramatic looking as ever.
Mercedes-Benz Generation EQ Concept
This SUV concept marks the beginning of a new era for Mercedes-Benz as it’s the beginning of Stuttgart’s new ‘EQ’ sub-brand for EV cars. EQ, Mercedes says, stands for ‘Electric Intelligence’. Obviously not that intelligent since it should be EI. But what’s in a name? Anyway, this SUV has around 400hp/294kW of power and a range of 500km. The EQ cars will be built on a new scalable platform made from steel, aluminum, and carbon-fibre. Future EQ body styles could include more SUVs/crossovers, sedan, coupes, and cabriolets. Of course, being “intelligent” and “modern”, these EQ cars will be able to talk to each other and to the internet. Expect around 10 new EQ cars by 2025.
On a side note, Mercedes also used their Paris stage to announce their plans to build a new F1-inspired hypercar, dubbed ‘R50’. That’s something to keep an eye on in the coming years.
Land Rover Discovery 5
Say goodbye to the slab sided, boxy shaped Land Rovers. That’s so 20th Century. Say hello to the new, sleeker, and posher Land Rovers of the 21st Century. This is the new Discovery and it looks very similar to the Vision Concept from two years ago. It’s also made from very lightweight modern materials (85% of it is made from something called ‘aluminum’). That results in a 480kg weight loss. Of course, the Disco retains its three-rows of seating with more room inside than before. There’s also more cargo space, with the rear-most row seats folded down there’s 1137L of capacity in there. Being a Land Rover it can still do the rough stuff. Theres 283mm of ground clearance and the wading depth is 900mm. The Disco will be powered by JLR’s four and six clyinder petrol and diesel engines.
Renault Trezor Concept
Why have Renault named this fantastic looking sports coupe after an Ivy League frat boy? Never mind, because this one good looking concept car. Don’t get too excited though because like the similarly good looking DeZir Concept from many years ago, this won’t make it into showroom floors. Instead it’s a design study to preview were Renault’s design direction will be heading in the future. What exactly that direction is I can’t quite tell from this concept. Should we expect massive bonnets on Renaults in the future? Perhaps red tinted windows? Or maybe an opening canopy instead of doors? I’m not sure. But expect a lot of emphasis on the Renault logo front and rear. The Trezor is also an EV, of course it is. Using Renault’s Formula E expertise, the Trezor concept uses a 350hp/260kW electric motor that can take this gorgeous coupe from 0-100 km/h in under 4 seconds. Let’s hope some of this make it into production.
Honda Civic Type R Prototype
If you’re thinking “hold on, wasn’t there just a new Civic Type R yesterday?” You’d be right. But that Type R won’t be available in New Zealand so you’ll have to wait another year for this one to come. No worries though as it’ll carryover the current Type R’s 306hp 2.0-litre turbo VTEC engine, albeit with more powaaaahhhhh to keep up with newer rivals. It’ll also get a lot of sporty upgrades such as variable steering and a modified rear suspension setup to make it lap the Nurburgring as fast as possible, or at least faster than the GTI Clubsport. Even though the 10th generation Civic is a ‘world car’, the Type R has been kindly pre-JDM’d by Honda’s designers for you.
BMW X2 Concept
I’m really losing the will to write about this. It’s a sportier version of the X1, like the X4 is the sportier version of the X3 and the same with the X6 and X5. It doesn’t even look particularly BMW-ish, more Korean if anything. But it’ll sell in large numbers to people who love BMW’s X cars. The production car will probably on slightly resemble this concept.
Mitsubishi GT-PHEV Concept
What you’re looking at is very possibly what the next Outlander could look like. Bold? Striking? Different? Unusual? Sea creature like? All of the above? But in all honesty, Mitsubishi have been rolling out concepts left right and centre at the last few motor shows but have yet to produce an actual production car from those concepts. Mitsubishi claim this GT-PHEV, will build upon the successful Outland PHEV car and will feature a larger battery and updated engine. It’s said to have 120km of EV range and a combine 1200km range. Which would be exceptional, if they can make it work.
Volkswagen I.D. Concept
This, according to VW, is their next Beetle/Golf moment. The production I.D. will be with us in 2020 and it’ll be the start of VW’s all new electric sub-brand. Sound familiar? Everyone who’s anyone these days will have an electric sub-brand. VW will invest in a new modular platform bespoke for its electric cars that’ll use a flat floor storage system for the batteries. That should mean cars on this platform will get between 300-500km of emission free autonomous driving. I doubt even Volkswagen could falsify zero-emissions from electric cars. The I.D. is said to have a 125kW electric motor and a range from 400-600km.
Okay, it’s not exactly the most exciting car in the world but just look at it. And then look at the car it’ll replace. That’s a huge difference. The Micra is all grown up and puberty did wonders to it. Still, will it have enough to take on the likes of the Honda Jazz, Mazda2, and Skoda Fabia?
Hyundai RN30 Concept
Let’s play a word association game. Ready, go. Hyundai. Performance… Cool… Desirable… Hot Hatch… probably not words you’d say in regards to Hyundai but that’s all about to change. Hyundai are serious about their ’N’ performance brand and this RN30 Concept shows their determination. Okay, this 374hp hot hatch concept probably won’t make it to production but it’s an extreme version of what to expect in the coming years from Hyundai. But expect the i30N to have “lightweight plastic materials” and an electronic variable exhaust system for noise. Power is expected to be around the 250hp mark. So, a Hyundai hot hatch? Why not? If we’ve learnt anything in the last decade, don’t underestimate Hyundai and Kia.
Lexus UX Concept
It’s another crossover concept showing what an ‘entry level premium crossover’ from Lexus could look like. Okay, maybe it won’t look exactly like this but it does hint Lexus are thinking of having a crossover below the NX in its lineup. This is also the car with the funky seat concept.
Porsche 911 GT3 Cup Car
In continuing our great consumer coverage of the Paris Motor Show, here’s a racecar you can buy. But what it does show is what the facelift 911 GT3 could look like. Or at least what the new front bumper will look like. The GT3 Cup also gains a new 4.0-litre flat six pumping out 485hp/357kW. Not bad for a car weighing only 1200kg. Oh how much do you want to drive one of these?
Audi RS3 Saloon/A5 Sportback/Q5
Finally, Audi launched not one, not two but three (3!!!) new cars at Paris this year. It was literally a bombardment of new Audis. Or at least I think they’re new. The new Q5 looks, unsurprisingly, like a Q5. No, it just looks like the car it replaced with the front of the Q7 plastered on. Sure, it sits on the new MLB platform used by the A4 and Q7 but imagine having to explain to all your friends that this really is a new car.
The A5/S5 Sportback was also launched. I’ve always rather liked the A5’s design and the new one looks more or less the same. So that could be good or bad depending on how you see it. Being the four-door version of the Coupe version of the A4 sedan, the A5/S5 carries over the same engines. Meaning there’s a 345hp 3.0-litre supercharged V6 under that creased bonnet.
But what we’re all interested in is the 400hp RS3 Sedan. It’s the return of the fast RS sedan. Not only is this (to my eyes anyway) better looking than the hatch, it’s also more powerful thanks to the TT-RS’s new five-pot engine. That means this little pocket rocket can get from 0-100 km/h in a hilarious 4.1 seconds. You get 370mm brakes up front, 310mm at the rear, and the all important prominent ‘quattro’ badging on the grille. Oh, and you can also have it with Audi’s Virtual Cockpit. Yeah, I’m a fan.
So that’s the 2016 Paris Motor Show wrapped up. What were your favorite new cars from the show?
*The Mercedes-AMG GT was launched at the 2014 Paris Motor Show