The Mondial de l’Automobile, the Paris Auto Show, is one of the most important to be held in Europe. It’s been a biennial event since 1976, taking it in turns with Frankfurt, both of which are carefully timed to be around six months from the annual Geneva Show meaning that there is usually plenty that is new to be seen. Not surprisingly, there is still a very strong bias to the home manufacturers to both the Frankfurt and the Paris Shows, and in both cases, the “home” brands usually manage to time launches of key new products to maximise the interest and ensure that their stands are among the busiest of the lot. The Paris Show is held at the Porte de Versailles, an exhibition site which comprises a number of large, separate display halls, grouped together in a complex which has plenty of outdoor space as well. I’ve been several times now and have taken to flying into Orly Airport and staying in a hotel at the airport, as there is not much accommodation near the Porte de Versailles itself, then using a combination of the OrlyVal, the RER and a tram for the journey to the Porte de Versailles, something which takes around an hour, but which is easy to do. I usually manage to combine a visit to a Paris event with a day of enjoying the city as well. On this occasion, mindful of the crowds that typically attend the Show at the weekend, I flew in on a Thursday evening, spent the Friday at the Show, leaving a whole weekend to do other things. Although I knew before setting off that quite a number of brands had elected not to display at the 2016 Show – Ford, Mazda and Volvo from among the Big Names, and Aston-Martin, Bugatti, Lamborghini, Lotus and a few niche marques and specialists among the smaller ones – I was still excited to spend a whole day looking at the latest products and technologies of the industry. I was not disappointed, and after spending an entire day there from opening time to when the lights dimmed, can present this report with nearly 950 photos.
The very first stand I visited was also that which appears alphabetically first, Abarth. The Scorpion brand had a relatively small area adjoining that of Jeep, but there was still enough space to display the latest models in the range along with accompanying displays on the sporting heritage of the brand. The production version of the eagerly awaited 124 Spider went on sale a few weeks ago, but few will have had the chance to see the car close-up yet. The performance-focused version of the Fiat 124 Spider has been developed with the Abarth Racing Team and gets more aggressive styling with a matte black bonnet, 170bhp and a limited-slip differential. It’s powered by a tweaked version of parent brand Fiat’s four-cylinder 1.4-litre MultiAir II engine, punching out 170bhp and 184b ft of torque, paired to a six-speed short-throw manual or six-speed automatic gearbox with paddle shifters, and includes a “Sport” driving mode. Abarth claims a 0-62mph time of 6.8sec and a top speed of 143mph, and the “Record Monza” exhaust system comes equipped as standard. The car will be a rival to the Mazda MX-5 which, with a list price of £24,295 for its top-spec 2.0-litre engine, undercuts the 124 Spider by some way. However, the quoted performance figures for the Abarth beat those of the 158bhp MX-5, which has a 0-62mph time of 7.3sec and a top speed of 133mph. The two-seat, rear-wheel-drive Abarth 124 Spider weighs 1060kg and has a 50/50 weight distribution, according to the manufacturer, which also says it has a class-leading power-to-weight ratio. Suspension and damping has been tweaked from the Fiat 124, with the Abarth version getting double-wishbone front suspension and five-link set up for the rear, which the Italian manufacturer says has been tuned to offer greater braking and cornering stability. It also gets front aluminium calipers. Inside, the interior is clad in Alcantara. Standard equipment includes climate control and cruise control, while a 7.0in infotainment system with DAB, sat-nav, Bluetooth and reversing camera can are counted among the optional extras. I grabbed the chance to sit in one, once the stand had recovered from the onslaught of others who wanted to do the same. The driving position felt spot on for me. Let’s hope that it is as good once underway as it felt sitting in it on the stand. Early indications are that it should do.
Also here were a couple of the latest 595 cars. After rumours had circulated all winter 2015 following the launch of the facelifted Fiat 500, Abarth finally unveiled the Series 4 at the end of May 2016. Initially, we were told that the cars would not be available in the UK until September, but that came forward somewhat, with dealers all receiving demo cars in June, and the first customers taking delivery in July, so I’ve seen plenty of these back on home soil now. Three regular production versions of both the closed car and the open-topped C were initially available, all badged 595, and called Custom, Turismo and Competizione, as before, though numerous limited edition models have since appeared and in most case disappeared. The most significant changes with the Series 4 are visual, with a couple of new colours, including the much asked for Modena Yellow and a different red, called Abarth Red, which replaces both the non-metallic Officina and – slightly surprisingly – the tri-coat pearlescent Cordolo Red. as well as styling changes front and rear. The jury is still out on these, with many, me included, remaining to be convinced. At the front, the new air intake does apparently allow around 15 – 20 % more air in and out, which will be welcome, as these cars do generate quite a lot of heat under the bonnet. Competizione models for the UK retain the old style headlights, as they have Xenon lights as standard, whereas the Custom and Turismo cars have reshaped units. At the back, there are new light clusters and a new rear bumper and diffuser. Inside, the most notable change is the replacement of the Blue & Me system with a more modern uConnect Audio set up, which brings a new colour screen to the dash. Mechanically, there is an additional 5 bhp on the Custom (now 145) and Turismo (now 165 bhp) and the option of a Limited Slip Diff for the Competizione, which is likely to prove a popular option. Details of the interior trim have changed, with a filled-in glovebox like the US market cars have always had, and electric windows switches that are like the US ones, as well as a part Alcantara trim to the steering wheel in Competizione cars.
For many years, Britain had the three wheeler, exemplified by the Reliant Robin, as a “car” with tax advantages, which finally became too insignificant compared to the acquisition cost of the car and its mediocrity, but France has persisted with its special form of light or micro-cars, which can be driven without a full driving licence, and Aixam was one of two marques whose surprisingly wide range of products were on show. Laugh all you like, but these awful things do still sell, and you encounter them put-putting along the roads at speeds which get in every one’s way more often than you would like. There are a number of different models on offer, most of them styled to ape the design of a wide range of proper full-sized cars.
A car I particularly wanted to see was the new Alfa Romeo Giulia. Announced in July 2015, but then with a massively long wait before the car went on sale, it is now available in Europe and UK deliveries will start around the turn of the year. There was a new version added to the range here, the Giulia Veloce, positioned between the range-topping Quadrifoglio and the more modest Giulia models. The new Alfa Romeo Giulia Veloce will be available with two engines, a turbocharged 2.0-litre petrol with 280 PS (276 HP) and 400 Nm (295 lb-ft) of torque and a 2.2-litre diesel with 210 PS (207 HP) and 470 Nm (347 lb-ft) of torque. Both of them channel their power via an eight-speed automatic gearbox to all four wheels. Alfa Romeo takes great pride in the Q4 AWD system, saying that it only adds around 60kg (132 lbs) and unlike other systems of its direct competition, it remains 100% rear-driven under normal driving conditions. If needed, the system will shift up to 60% of the torque to the front axle. Alfa Romeo claims a 0-62mph (100km/h) time for the petrol Giulia Veloce in 5.2 seconds, which sounds fast enough for most customers that can’t necessarily stretch for the potent Quadrifoglio model. Other versions in the range including the sensational Quadrifolgio were also on the stand.
The other models in the range were not forgotten, and there were examples of the MiTo and Giulietta, both of which received mild updates earlier in the year, as well as the image-making 4C in Competizione and Spider guises.
AMERICAN CAR CITY
This was a small area in Hall 3 which was rammed (sorry for the pun!) full of what to Europeans mostly look like the over-sized machines that they are. There were a number of the massive RAM trucks, one of the three best-selling vehicles in America. Joining them were some passenger cars including a Mustang or two.
Audi had a large stand in Hall 4, where it was at one end of a line of stands which embraced all four of the main VAG brands. With a very extensive range of cars with the 4 rings on the grille now on offer, there was not space to showcase anything more than a representative sample of the range, with a focus on brand new and recently released models.
Among these was the brand new RS3 Saloon, the most powerful RS3 model in history during this year’s, packing 400 PS and 480 (354 lb-ft) of torque. It’s not only more powerful than the current RS3 Sportback with its 367 PS and 465 Nm (343 lb-ft) of torque, but it also outperforms, at least on paper, the Mercedes-AMG CLA 45 4MATIC. The Merc has 381 PS and 475 Nm (350 lb-ft) of torque, and will hit 100 km/h (62 mph) in just 4.2 seconds. The new RS3 Sedan can do it in 4.1 seconds and even though that’s barely noticeable, it does give Audi their bragging rights back. Power comes from an updated 2.5-litre TFSI engine which is also 26 kg (57 lbs) lighter than before, mated to a seven-speed S-tronic dual clutch gearbox deploying power to all four wheels. To put things into perspective, the RS3 Sedan is just as fast to 100 km/h (62 mph) as an E90 BMW M3 DKG, and we’re talking completely different segments here. Naturally, Audi didn’t just focus on straight line performance with this car and what they’ve done with the wheel-selective torque control (which brakes the inside wheels during fast cornering) is that they’ve helped the car feel more stable when pushed towards its limits. Aesthetically, the new RS3 Sedan is an “Audi RS” car throughout, as its aerodynamically-sound body kit increases the car’s presence on the road, as well as its performance on the track.
Other models from the now very extensive A3 family that were on show included the hybrid-powered eTron model and the open-topped Cabrio.
Entry point in the Audi range is the A1 supermini, offered in three and five door guises, with a variety of different petrol and diesel engines, and with the addition of the S1 model at the top of the range, a large spread of prices.
The first of the B9 generation of A4 models was launched in the autumn of 2015, and Audi has gradually been adding additional variants to populate a range which is now very similar to that of the B8 family that this model has replaced. The Avant version was launched at Geneva and available now are two further models, as shown here, the S4, in Avant guise and the A4 Allroad.
Making their debut here were a second generation of the A5 and S5 range. The styling of the new A5 Sportback range closely mimics that of the Coupe, updated and revealed just a few months ago. As such, the front end of the car is dominated by the German marque’s trademark hexagonal grille and complemented with a redesigned bumper incorporating a different lower lip and fog light clusters. Compared to the outgoing model, the headlights have also been thoroughly revised and now incorporate a slight curve on the upper edge. Other styling changes over the current model include a reshaped hood with prominent creases, tweaked styling down the vehicle’s sides as well as a refreshed rear end with different taillights. Underpinning the new A5 Sportback range is the same MLB platform as the Coupe. However, the wheelbase has been lengthened from 2,764 mm to 2,824 mm, increasing legroom at the back. In terms of powertrains, the 2017 A5 Sportback family is available with the same array of engines as the coupe. The entry-level model, dubbed the g-tron, is therefore powered by a 2.0-litre TFSI engine delivering 167 hp and 270 Nm of torque. It is then joined by two additional variants with the same engine, with 187 hp/320 Nm and 248 hp/370 Nm of torque respectively. The final petrol-powered model comes in the form of the 2017 S5 Sportback. Its 3.0-litre TFSI engine pumps out 348 hp and 500 Nm of torque. As for the diesels, there are four models on offer. Both the 2.0 TDI and 2.0 TDI ultra have 187 hp and 400 Nm of torque on tap while the base 3.0-litre TDI is driven by 214hp and 400 Nm. Finally is a more powerful 3.0-litre TDI with 281 hp and a monstrous 620 Nm of torque. Front and all-wheel drive models are available, depending on the selected engine, and can be mated to either a six-speed manual, seven-speed dual clutch or an eight-speed auto. Inside, the same array of features welcomed by the new A5 Coupe range are found within the Sportback. That means entry-level models have a 7.0-inch infotainment system while high-end models utilise an 8.3-inch screen and the company’s 12.3-inch virtual cockpit display. A 19-speaker Bang & Olufsen surround sound system is available as an option. All up, the interior of the new model has grown by 17 mm in length while shoulder room is up by 11 mm and there is now 24 mm of additional leg room at the rear. Additionally, luggage capacity sits at 480 litres which Audi claims is the best in its class. One particularly interesting addition to the new A5 Sportback is an advanced Stop&Go adaptive cruise control system. In slow-moving traffic at up to 65 km/h (40 mph), the car can brake and accelerate by itself and on good roads, even take control of the steering. Both the S5 Coupe and S5 Sportback were on show here.
As well as the regular A7, Audi were showing a research project based on the top spec RS7 with the latest in autonomous driving technology incorporated.
Joining the likes of one of the most awaited RS models of the year, the RS3 Sedan, the all-new Q5 was unveiled here, too. Audi has given the second generation Q5 an evolutionary exterior design that mirrors the Q7 on a smaller scale. Inside, there is an entirely new 12.3-inch instrument cluster available on the options list, which comes to replace the analog dials, and drivers have the possibility to order a head-up display as well that can project critical info straight onto the windscreen. Audi’s larger and lighter 2017 Q5 uses the MLB Evo platform, which underpins the latest A4 and Q7 and will also be found on the next generation A8. The architecture opens up the possibility of adding numerous powertrains, but the brand with the four rings will only offer one petrol and four diesels, at first, with an SQ5 to join the lineup later, possibly followed by a range-topping RS. Prospective buyers have to wait until early 2017 to see the new Q5 at European dealers, and while the full pricing data has yet to be released, the Germans did say that the most basic variant carries a price tag of €45,100 in its local market. North American sales will start later in 2017.
A couple of models down Audi’s crossover range is the Q2, which made its debut earlier in the year at Geneva, and which has now gone on sale across Europe.
Audi’s sports car were represented by a couple of examples of the TT, including the potent RS version as well as the recently released Spyder version of the second generation R8 supercar.
Completing the display was Audi’s 2016 Le Mans car.
BMW have a large stand, like the other premium German brands, and even so this is nothing like enough to be able to show more than one version of most of the models on offer. Attracting lots of interest were the M badged cars, with the M3 and M4 here, as well an M4 GTS.
Joining them were the smaller M2 as well as a version used as the Safety Car in the Moto GP race series.
BMW is refreshing the entry level cars in their range with new and more powerful M240i and 230i Coupes and Convertibles, and, for European and other international markets the hatch also moves upto a new name as the M140i. The M140i and M240i models make use of a new 3.0-litre straight-six featuring the latest TwinPower Turbo technology to gain 15hp (14PS) and 39 lb-ft (53Nm) over the previous M235i and M135i cars, delivering 335hp (340PS) and 369 lb-ft (500Nm) of peak torque. The new engine helps the 2017 models trim their 0-100km/h (62mph) time by up to 0.3 seconds while also lowering their fuel consumption by as much as 7 percent. Among other improvements made to the new straight-six are a new coolant pump that operates only as necessary and a map-controlled oil pump, while the cars get a stop/start system and brake energy regeneration technology too. The rear-wheel drive M140i 3-door and 5-door complete the dash from 0 to 100 km/h (62 mph) in 4.8 seconds with the standard six-speed manual, or 4.6 seconds with the optional eight-speed automatic, while their xDrive siblings that come with a standard 8sp auto, do the same in 4.4 seconds. All these figures represent a 0.3 second improvement over the previous models. The M240i Coupe powers from 0 to 100 km/h (62 mph) in 4.8 seconds (automatic: 4.6 seconds) – or 4.4 seconds in all-wheel-drive guise (0-60mph in 4.2 seconds), an improvement of 0.2 seconds in both cases. BMW highlights the fact that the M240i and M140i offer the same output and performance levels as the 2011-2012 1 Series M Coupe. What it doesn’t say is just how close they come to the new 365hp (370PS) M2 Coupe that hits 100km/h (62mph) in 4.5 seconds with a manual and 4.3 seconds with the automatic, which makes us wonder if a power boost is in the horizon for the next model year. Further improvements were made to the M Performance models six-speed manual gearbox that now features a rev matching function. The newer 8-speed automatic gets a wider gear spread for better internal efficiency while also allowing multiple downshifts at a time. Automatic models are equipped with a new Launch Control function that offers predictive shift strategy by working in conjunction with the GPS to deliver the best traction on different surfaces. The M140i Hatch and M240i Convertible were both on show here.
The rumour department has been predicting that the next generation 5 Series model would make its debut here, but it did not, with a reveal planned for later in the year. That meant that were was less of a distraction from commercially important cars from the middle of the range. These varied from the front wheel drive 2 Gran Tourer to the 4 Series seen in Gran Coupe and Cabriolet guises as well as a 6 Series Convertible.
There was a strong showing of high end 7 Series cars here, with the 760Li joined by the new 750d xDrive as well as the plug-in hybrid 740Le. The middle one of these is new, So what’s better than a tri-turbo straight-six diesel? Why a quad-turbocharged version, of course, and that’s what BMW is bringing to the table with their 750d and 750Ld xDrive saloons. The new 3.0-lirtr engine features multi-stage turbocharging with four turbochargers and common-rail direct injection delivering 400PS (395hp) and peak torque of 760Nm (560 lb-ft), making it the world’s most powerful six-cylinder diesel. Its serves up over 450Nm (332 lb-ft) of torque at just 1,000 rpm and puts its maximum 760Nm (560 lb-ft) on tap between 2,000 and 3,000 rpm. Whereas BMW’s older tri-turbocharged 3.0-litre inline-six that’s still used in the M550xd and X5 M50d models producing 381PS (375bhp) and 740Nm (546 lb-ft), has a pair of compact low-pressure turbochargers and a single large low-pressure turbocharger, the new diesel unit has two pairs of compact turbochargers. “Generally speaking, the two low-pressure turbochargers and one of the two high-pressure turbos are permanently in action,” says BMW. “Only under hard acceleration from idle will the two low-pressure turbochargers be bypassed by means of a flap control system. This allows boost pressure to be built up even more quickly. The second high-pressure turbocharger is brought into play at an engine speed of about 2,500 rpm.” Connected to a standard eight-speed automatic and BMW’s xDrive all-wheel drive, the new quad-turbo diesel accelerates the regular wheelbase 750d to 100km/h (62mph) in 4.6 seconds and the long-wheelbase 750Ld in 4.7 seconds, an improvement of 0.3 seconds over their predecessors. Not only are the new models faster and 5 percent more powerful, but they’re also 11 percent more fuel efficient returning a combined fuel consumption between 5.9 and 5.7 l/100km (47.9 – 49.6 mpg) and CO2 emissions between 149 and 154 g/km, depending on the model and tyre specifications.
With the Coupe SUV X6 and smaller X4 models proving to be quite a success, it is no surprise to learn that BMW is planning to extend the thinking down a size, as evidenced by the X2 Concept that was unveiled here. At present it is officially a design study, but BMW were not disputing suggestions that a very similar looking production version will be available to buy by 2018. The high-riding crossover shares most of its components with the latest generation X1. What this means is that, despite carrying a more athletic design (keep in mind, it will be softened down before it hits the assembly line), it will have to do with front-wheel drive in the most basic version, but the company’s xDrive all-wheel drive system will be offered either optionally or standard on higher-end models. An M version, which could target the Mercedes-AMG GLA 45, would be an interesting addition to the lineup, but BMW will likely stick to the usual four-pot petrol and diesel mills, at the time of its launch, at least. However, later on, it could adopt an M-Performance variant, according to Autocar, which could use a 2.0-litre, four-cylinder turbo unit, producing somewhere in the neighbourhood of 300 horsepower, while a petrol-electric plug-in powertrain is not out of the question either.
Crossover/SUV BMW models that you can buy now include the familiar X1 and X3 which were on show here as well as an X4 M40i.
And finally there were the all-electric cars. The recently upgraded i3 was here in a very special finish, called the i3 Garage Italia CrossFade. There was an i8 Garage Italia concept here as well and the two cars are meant to represent a specific colour design first brought to life with certain painting genres during the late 19th and early 20th century. “Lapo Elkann is a pioneer in linking the disciplines of fashion, automobile and design. As a designer, I find this comprehensive approach particularly exciting,” stated BMW Group head of design Adrian van Hooydonk. “With BMW i, we have been successful in overcoming previous restrictions in automotive design through the use of entirely new materials. So the progressive expressiveness of the Garage Italia CrossFade Edition is perfectly in keeping with the BMW i3 and the BMW i8.” These aren’t the first cars BMW have worked on alongside Garage Italia Customs. The two companies previously showcased the BMW i8 Futurism Edition back in June, which also featured an exterior inspired by painting. However, the design of the Paris concept cars was more of an optical colour mix, a technique used in Pointillism back in the late 19th century. This technique involves “the creation of motifs using small and evenly distributed dashes of colour.” The color of the i8 Garage Italia CrossFade switches between Protonic Blue metallic and Protonic Dark Silver metallic, in turn underscoring the lines and surface contours of the i8’s aggressive exterior. Its interior also features a smooth transition between dark silver and blue on the Alcantara textile that covers the central tunnel, side panels and headliner. As for the i3 Garage Italia CrossFade, the colour transition flows in a vertical direction as opposed to horizontal like on the i8. But, just like with the i8, the colour design can also be found inside the cabin where the high-quality textile and Alcantara surfaces help emphasise the car’s premium character.
There were three version of the i8 sports car here. As well as the standard model, there was one liveried up as a Safety car and there was a new special-edition model. Called the Protonic Dark Silver Edition, it’s the second such special take on the hybrid sports car following the Protonic Red edition revealed earlier this year in Geneva. Like the scarlet version, this latest example is distinguished primarily by its unique paint job, only this time it’s decidedly more subtle. Rather than limit production to a specific number, BMW is set to build as many as customers order before the books close at the end of the year. Production is set to commence in December at BMW’s plant in Leipzig.
Star of the Citroen stand was a new concept which was unveiled about a month before the show, but which was now being seen in the metal for the first time. After successfully launching the DS brand in global markets, Citroen is now looking to modernise its current vehicle lineup, and the new CXPerience study could be a foundation stone for its future models. This study could eventually serve as a replacement for the aging C5 or even a brand new C6, but if that happens, then Citroen will most probably tone it down a notch or two. In its current form, it’s a five-door hatchback, even though the automaker refers to it as a ‘two-box saloon’ and it’s about the same size as a Ford Mondeo, albeit much wider and lower, spanning a 3m-long wheelbase. The design speaks for itself, as the CXPerience is an impressive car to look at, and adding up to that drama are the rear suicide doors, which open up to 90 degrees, but as futuristic as it may look, the corporate grille brings it back to earth. Once inside, the yellow mesh fabric seats surround you, along with the mix of premium materials and the latest technology, joined by a 19-inch screen that proudly sits in the middle of the dashboard to control functions like the sat-nav, air-con and media. Citroen is making sure that rear passengers don’t feel left aside and offers a tablet that can be used to adjust the seats, audio system and climate control. As expected, the Citroen CXPerience is a hybrid, one that combines a front-mounted petrol engine with an electric motor and an 8-speed automatic gearbox. The company claims that the zero-emission range sits proudly at 60 km (37 miles).
One of the most significant new cars at the Show, certainly for the French market, where it can expect to sell in large numbers is the new, third generation C3. It follows the lead of the C4 Cactus, with the new C3 wearing the latest design language of the French company, complete with the signature airbump protection panels on the doors. Overall, Citroen’s new supermini looks very modern and it will be offered in 36 different combinations made out of nine body colours, three roof options and four interior themes. Customers will be able to get a new C3 with a wide range of engines, including the PureTech 68 PS (67 HP), 82 PS (81 HP) and 110 PS (108 HP) three-cylinder petrol units and the BlueHDi 75 PS (74 HP) and 100 PS (99 HP) diesels. Depending on the engine, the compact Citroen will come with a five- and a six-speed manual, with a six-speed automatic also to be available. The cabin follows the funky mood of the exterior, with simple forms and vivid colour and trim options. There is also the obligatory touchscreen display for the infotainment system which can come with 3D satellite navigation system with real-time traffic info, rearview camera and the brand’s SOS service with live assistance. Sales will start almost immediately.
Citroen have lost no time in developing a new WRC car based on the new C3. and this was also on show. This car will start competing in the 2017 season and Citroen are hoping it will continue the successes they have enjoyed with previous WRC cars, based on the DS3 and the C4 Elysee.
There will be a new car to replace the C3 Picasso in the coming months, but the established model continues for now, and so this small and quite stylish crossover model was on show.
The C4 badging is used on the regular hatch, the more characterful C4 Cactus hatch and the regular Picasso and larger 7-seater Grand Picasso. All four were here.
Top and bottom of the range were also here, the diminutive C1 city car and the large C5 in Estate form. Also here was the Berlingo, a passenger version of the popular van.
Also making its debut was the new E-Mehari, proof that French car makers are still building quirky cars. Citroen wanted to capture the essence of the old Mehari into a contemporary electric vehicle, that’s why it teamed up with Bollore and came up with possibly the most eccentric car on the market. True, there are even more preposterous offerings out there, but they’re built by small car makers, not a mass manufacturer like Citroen. Now, the E-Mehari is actually a Bollore Blue Summer in funky clothing, it has no airbags, uses plastic body panels, and it’s powered by a 67 hp all-electric powertrain, juiced up by lithium metal polymer batteries that promise an urban driving range of 200 km (124 miles) – although LiPo batteries are not as sophisticated as Li-ions and must be recharged every 48 hours. Like the original Mehari, it is a no-nonsense, fun-based activity buggy. Available for sale only in France (for now), the E-Mehari costs €28,000 ($31,308) – a little steep for something so spartan. Plus, the price doesn’t include the battery pack, which must be leased from Bollore for €79 ($88) per month.
There can be no doubting the fact that Dacia has been one of the success stories of recent times, with their value for money products finding plenty of buyers and little in the way of competition as previous budget brands have all moved steadily upmarket. And nowhere is that more true than in France, where the cars regularly gain places in the top 10 sales lists and if you look at private at opposed to fleet buyers, they are right up there at the top. Presented in a premiere here were some minor updates to the range, aimed at making them appear more stylish, with changes to both the exterior and interior designs. Flashier to look at and mimicking the front end of the Duster, the Sandero Stepway has received a similar grille, complemented by the new lighting units, tweaked LED daytime running lights and different bumpers, which can be found across the Sandero and Logan MCV as well. The aforementioned models have received a slightly updated cabin too, dominated by the new steering wheel and satin-effect chrome finish on the air vent surrounds and centre console fascia, along with an additional 12-volt socket and an extra cup holder, for the rear passengers. Perhaps the most important addition to the lineup is the 1.0-litre SCe three-cylinder petrol engine, which produces 75 PS (74 HP) and is offered on the most basic version, paired to a manual transmission, or the optional Easy-R automated manual gearbox. While the Sandero, Sandero Stepway, and Logan MCV have been reworked by Dacia, the Romanian automaker has decided to give the Duster a feature that customers always wanted: a new six-speed automatic dual-clutch transmission. This is available solely with the 1.5-litre dCi diesel engine, rated at 110 PS (108 HP), which promises an average fuel consumption of 4.5 l/100 km (62.8 mpg). Besides the addition of a new gearbox and some modest revisions made to the colour palette and trim levels, the 2017 Dacia Duster also features a rear view camera, which will assist drivers when manoeuvering the budget SUV into a tight spot.
Star of the DS stand was the e-Tense concept, a futuristic design which was unveiled earlier in the year, in Geneva, as a concept which is supposed to forecast what the French automaker could be making 17 years from now. That is, if the year 2035 holds the promise of performance EVs running amok on our city streets. The DS E-Tense concept car is a two-seat, high-performance GT, a further signal of DS’ intent to cement its image as a luxurious top-end manufacturer away from its mainstream parent company. The E-Tense has been made to production standards and everything on the concept is entirely viable, from the all-electric drivetrain to the way that pedestrian impact standards have been considered in its design. Despite this, there are no official plans to put it into production. After doing its tour of duty at various shows, the concept will be put to work as a technology demonstrator, proving it can deliver on DS’s claims of a 4.5sec 0-62mph time, a 155mph top speed and a 220-mile range. The E-Tense is built around a central carbonfibre tub, with aluminium subframes at each end. Suspension is by double wishbones at all four corners and under the rear bodywork are two Siemens AC electric motors that produce a total output of 402bhp and 381lb ft of torque. Rather than a one-motor per-wheel set-up, however, both motors turn a common shaft, with the thinking being that two motors are lighter and easier to package than a single high-output motor. Drive goes into a three-speed gearbox and then an active differential that biases torque across the rear axle. Power comes from a 53kWh lithium-ion battery pack mounted under the floor, itself fed by a rear-mounted high-speed charger.The battery weighs less than 500kg and the total weight of the car is around 1800kg. The car is 4.72m long and 1.29m high, and its swooping, fluid design echoes the styling of the Divine DS concept from 2015 and shares elements with its predecessor, such as having no rear windscreen and instead using digital rear-view technology The elegant lines were produced using a state of the art live CAD system, which enabled virtual aerodynamic modelling. The slightly Lamborghini-like side profile is designed to help channel airflow at speed. A large carbonfibre diffuser is used at the rear to improve aerodynamic downforce. There’s no rear window. Instead, a rear-view camera system relays an image from the back of the car to a ‘mirror’ display in the cockpit, a feature which is already destined for production in at least one future DS. The E-Tense also has windscreen wipers and door mirrors. The headlights have four jewel-like movable units that allow for different intensity and beam patterns while it also gets active LED daytime running lights that can rotate 180 degrees and which are likely to be used on future DS models. Eric Opode, DS’s product development boss, said they are patented and production ready. The tyres are Michelin Pilot Super Sports (305/30 R20 at the back) and have a chamfered finish, designed to make them feel like velvet. The striking interior features a central display screen mounted on an elaborately shaped dashboard extrusion. Hand-painted leather panels and seats have taken nearly 800 hours of work in a prototype trim shop. There’s also an in-built, centre console-mounted BRM watch which an owner can remove when they leave the car. The manufacturer claims its interior took 800 hours to design, test and produce, and it has collaborated with French luxury brands Moynat, BRM Chronographes and Focal, to design a helmet harness, the centre-console timepiece that can be detached and worn as a watch, and a nine-speaker audio system, respectively. Plenty of people have eulogised over the design. I am not among them.
DS models you can buy include the DS3 available and presented here in Hatch and Cabrio guises as well as the DS4 seen in regular and Crossback format and the larger DS5.
The Ferrari stand is always popular. Access is strictly controlled, though you can usually gain admission if you queue up, but even getting a view of the cars from around the perimeter can be a challenge, so this was one I headed to early in the day. And there was plenty that had not been seen before. The Italian automaker unveiled their celebratory anniversary logo here, meant to represent 70 years of history while also pointing to the brand’s future. Naturally, the logo will only be used on a small number of cars. The first to get it will be the LaFerrari Aperta hypercar, Ferrari’s latest limited-edition special series, which also represents a unique model in terms of technology and styling. Another huge announcement is the 70 different individual liveries created by the Tailor Made atelier, which are to be used to create a maximum of 350 unique cars – where each can be used once on one example of five models from the current Ferrari range. Naturally, some of these liveries made it to Paris so that people could admire the likes of the “Stirling” F12berlinetta, “Schumacher” 488 GTB, “Steve McQueen” California T, the “Green Jewel” 488 Spider or the 1953 375 MM-based 488 Spider featuring a three-layer Bianco Italia exterior. To start things off, the F12berlinetta “Stirling” is of course inspired by the Stirling Moss-driven 250 GT Berlinetta SWB, a former winner of the 1961 Tourist Trophy. The F12 sets itself apart by sporting a Blue Scuro racing livery which comes with its own horizontal white stripe and number roundel.
“The Schumacher” on the other hand, which is a 488 GTB, is an homage to the F2003-GA F1 car that took home the Constructors’ title back in 2003 with Michael Schumacher behind the wheel.
As for the California T “Steve McQueen” and 488 Spider “Green Jewel”, the former is inspired by the 1963 250 GT Berlinetta lusso, while the 488 features the signature green livery of a British David Piper Racing team 365 P2.
A open-topped version of the LaFerrari has been widely rumoured for some time, and the car, called the LaFerrari Aperta made its debut here. According to the carmaker itself, Ferrari’s core values are technological excellence, performance, style, and exclusivity, and the new roofless hypercar ticks all the boxes. Launched to commemorate the company’s 70th anniversary, the LaFerrari Aperta comes with both a soft top and a carbon-fibre hardtop, the latter being optional. Under the hood, it’s the same 800 PS (789 hp) 6,262cc V12 engine coupled to a 120 kW (161 hp) electric motor that boasts a total output of 963 PS (950 hp), but imagine how it sounds now, with the roof down. Moreover, the powertrain control software has been optimized for increased efficiency, thanks to the expertise gained by Maranello’s with the LaFerrari. Ferrari says the biggest challenge when designing the car was to produce a convertible that could be on par with the coupe’s performance capabilities. Even the company’s styling centre concentrated on retaining as much of the original design as possible. The result is described as the peak of the synergies between the engineering and development departments, with the Aperta sporting modified elements only above its waistline, creating a carbon-fibre ‘flying bridge’ – in Ferrari’s own words – hunkered into the main volume. Since the car delivers the same torsional rigidity and beam stiffness characteristics as its closed-top counterpart, its performance figures are somewhat similar. It tops out at speeds over 350 km/h (217 mph), but not before accelerating from 0 to 100 km/h (62 mph) in in under 3 seconds and 0 to 200 km/h (124 mph) in 7.1 seconds. Moreover, improvements to the aerodynamic set-up ensure that drag figures are unaffected with the roof open and side windows up. Wait, is that Ferrari’s way of telling us it goes over 350 km/h with the roof down? They do say that a sophisticated wind-stop system, designed to improve aerodynamic and acoustic comfort, allows occupants to easily carry on a conversation even at high speeds. I would love to find out!
The new GTC4Lusso T is Ferrari’s answer for those looking for a less powerful, Maranello-bred four-seater. So, how does 610 PS (602 hp) sound? The V12-powered GT4Lusso might be a little too much for a daily driver, that’s why Ferrari came up with a more efficient variant, animated by its award-winning V8 engine. Developing 610 PS (602 hp) at 7,500 rpm, and 760 Nm (560 lb-ft) of maximum torque between 3,000 and 5,250 rpm, the 3,855 cc powerhouse is described as being compact, responsive, and fuel-efficient. It also has a specific output of 158 ps/l (156 hp/l), all thanks to new, high resistance aluminium alloy pistons and con-rods, (created to maximise pressure inside the combustion chamber) more linear high- and low-pressure air ducts in the intake system, and a new intercooler. Like the other models powered by the same unit, the GTC4Lusso T guarantees an instant throttle response and excellent performance across the entire rev range due to a flat-plane crankshaft, compact turbines, and a three-piece cast exhaust manifold. Moreover, thanks to its Variable Boost Management, a control software that adjusts torque delivery to suit the gear selected, the car is 30 percent more fuel efficient than the V12-engined model – all while retaining an unmistakable soundtrack. On the other hand, the model lost its all-wheel-drive system, but a lower overall weight and increased weight bias towards the rear allowed the adoption of a specific set-up for the 4WS and SCM. That’s another way of saying it has rear-wheel steering. The model also benefits from a plethora of systems designed to make it more controllable, grippy, fun to drive, and almost as fast as the V12 model. On the outside, no one will know the difference.
The 500C Riva is the latest of a long line of limited edition versions of the Fiat 500. The new model supposedly combines the exquisite style of Riva yachts, with the dinky dimensions of the diminutive city car. It includes many accents that have been inspired by Riva yachts, including a unique paint used known as Sera blue, a double aquamarine line running around the middle of the car, and brand new 16-inch alloy wheels. Chrome plating has been used to further enhance the visual link between the two; with the mirror caps, door handles and bonnet trim all getting a mirror-finish. The interior has also been changed to fit the Riva theme, with Sera blue featuring again on the sides of the ivory leather seats and on the edges of the ivory coloured seatbelts. The most notable change to the interior is the introduction of premium quality wood as used by Riva. Mahogany and Maple, for example, have been used to carve a new dashboard, while the gear knob has been carved out of solid Mahogany. Riva has made sure to stamp its name on this special edition of the 500, with a logo on the bonnet badges inside and out. Whilst some of the limited edition 500s have been not to my taste, this one is. It looks very classy indeed.
Also from the 500 family was the 500S, a high end model which bridges the gap between the less potent 500 models and the Abarth versions.
Fiat’s new entrant in the C-segment was here with all three body styles present, the Hatch, Saloon and the versatile SW (estate).
Fiat’s popular Panda city car has received some mild updates for 2017 in order to remain fresh against its tough competition. The Italian company left the design pretty much unchanged and concentrated on giving a good revamp on the interior options instead. The only new features for the exterior is the addition of two new colour options -the pastel Amore Red and the metallic Colosseo Grey- and a pair of new alloy designs. Starting from the dashboard, Fiat added new graphics on the instruments, making them more modern and easier to read. All of the seat fabrics are refreshed with new graphics and colour options for all trim levels. Basic Panda versions get a fabric upholstery with geometric elements while the 4×4 and Cross models feature shot fabric in the middle of the seats to make them look more robust. The class-leading room inside remains unchanged, with the 2017 Fiat Panda able to accommodate up to five people while offering a 225 litre boot capacity. On the tech front, the new Panda offers a new solution for an infotainment system. Fiat calls it the Uconnect as with the rest of its models, which uses through a dedicated app the driver’s smartphone as a gateway to all the usual services, and includes Bluetooth, audio streaming, USB data located in the glove compartment, voice recognition system, recharging port with USB port on the dashboard, AUX port, MP3, and the “Panda Uconnect” interface via Bluetooth. The engine range also remains unchanged and includes a wide range of options: a 69hp 1.2-litre offered in petrol and petrol-LPG versions, the twin-cylinder 0.9-litre Twinair available in three power levels (65hp, 85hp and 90hp, a 80hp petrol-methane version and the 95hp 1.3-litre diesel.
Completing the display were examples of the 500L. in Trekking guise and the 500X.
You get loads of cars like this at the Geneva Show, from brands you’ve never heard of, most of which sink without trace almost as quickly as they appear, but at Paris, this was the only one of the genre. Meet the seriously quick and efficient G4 supercar, built by Japanese company Green Lord Motors (GLM), originally founded by former Sony CEO Nobuyuki Idei. Some people call this brand the “Japanese Tesla”, which is about as high a praise as you can get considering how nobody’s actually managed to get close to what Tesla does on a production level. GLM did need to work alongside Dutch company Savage Rivale in order to build the G4, and you can definitely see the similarities between this concept and the Savage Rivale petrol-powered car – except that one is powered by a GM-sourced 6.2-litre V8. With the G4, we’re talking full electric power where the batteries have been split between the two axles so that overall balance could be as on point as possible. Also, according to Autoblog, having former Nissan and Toyota engineers work on the G4 project definitely helped GLM. Of course, since this is a supercar, we’re guessing you’re all curious to know how fast it can get from 0 to 100 km/h (62 mph), and the answer to that question is 3.7 seconds. It’s all thanks to a total output of 540 HP (from the two electric motors), plus a hefty 1,000 Nm (737 lb-ft) of torque. Its range is said to be around 400 km (248 miles), which is pretty darn impressive.
We’ve had a while to get used to the rather bold styling of the tenth generation Honda Civic, as the car made its debut in America some months ago. Initially that market got the US-built sedan, but during the summer they started to receive the Swindon-built hatch model, long before the car made its European debut. Although the silhouette of the duo is quite similar, the hatch features even more fussy detailing than the saloon, hard though that may be to believe. Finally, at this show, the European-spec model was on show. The hatch is expected to take the vast majority of European sales, but the sedan will be offered in select markets as well, European cars being built at the marque’s production facility in Gebzé, Turkey. For the most part, 2017 Civic models that will be sold throughout Europe will look almost identical to those already available in the United States. The only obvious styling changes are the implementation of clear indicators rather than the orange ones required in the United States. In Europe, Civic hatchback customers will initially have two engines available. The first is the company’s small 1.0-litre, three-cylinder turbocharged VTEC petrol engine that delivers 129 PS (127 hp) at 5,500 rpm and 200 Nm of torque at 2,250 rpm when coupled with the six-speed manual. That torque figure drops marginally to 180 Nm between 1,700 rpm and 4,500 rpm with the available CVT. Also on offer is the larger 1.5-liter turbo-four that offers up 182 PS (179 hp) at 5,500 rpm and 240 Nm of torque between 1,900 rpm and 5,500 rpm, a figure which falls to 220 Nm for the CVT model. Underpinning the new Civic hatchback is the company’s latest platform that is 16 kg lighter than the previous-generation Civic all while have 52 per cent greater torsional stiffness. The platform also means the 2017 Civic hatch is longer and wider than previously, with its wheelbase now extending an additional 30 mm. What this means is that occupants can enjoy increased interior space as well as improved visibility. For 2017, the driver seats 35 mm lower than previously while the dashboard itself also sits 65 mm lower, therefore improved forward visibility significantly. Shoulder room has also increased, by 10 mm to be exact, for occupants at the rear while rear seat shoulder room is up 20 mm. Legroom at the rear is also up by a significant 95 mm. Honda says that the 2017 Civic hatch continues to lead its class for trunk space with it sitting at 478 litres. The 60:40 folding/split rear seats also aid in making it easier to carry large items into the rear of the car. Elsewhere in the cabin owners can enjoy Honda’s latest Connect infotainment system. It incorporates Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration and can be specified with Garmin satellite navigation that includes pre-loaded maps, lane guidance, real-time traffic avoidance, 3D building and terrain views and free map updates for five years. In terms of audio, Euro-bound 2017 Civic hatch models can be optioned with a four-speaker 160 watt system, an eight-speed 180 watt setup or an 11 speaker, 465 watt surround sound system. Key safety technologies found within the car include Lane Departure Warning, Road Departure Mitigation, Collision Mitigation Braking System, Lane Keeping Assist System, Traffic Sign Recognition and Adaptive Cruise Control. Sales start in early 2017, though there will be a longer wait for a diesel version.
Honda may call it a prototype, but you’re actually looking at the upcoming Civic Type R in, if not all, 99 percent of its might. Seen for the first time at the Show, this wild looking machine previews the Japanese car maker’s hatchback missile that’s scheduled for a European launch in the second half of 2017. It won’t stay exclusive to the old continent, though, as it will complete the comprehensive Civic line-up in North America along with the Civic Si from next year as well. The Civic Type R Prototype looks closer to a race car for the road than to the vehicle that spawned it. Sure, the standard model’s design is still distinguishable, although buried under a pile of Nurburgring-bred muscle, and carbon fibre bits and pieces. There’s a lot happening on every square inch of the car’s body, and the overall design could be overwhelming for some, but this is Honda’s way of hinting (although not subtly) that the car means business. Sadly, the Japanese car maker didn’t offer any details about the vehicle’s powertrain, but rumours suggest that it will use an upgraded variant of the familiar 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbocharged VTEC engine, currently found under the outgoing model’s hood. So, more than 306hp and 400Nm (295 lb-ft) of torque are expected. “Type R epitomises Honda’s racing DNA, our challenging spirit and the highest levels of performance engineering. Coming to Europe during the second half of 2017, we’re now set to embark on the next chapter of the ‘race car for the road’,” Senior Vice President Philip Ross said.
Honda were also displaying the current version of the Civic in both hatch and estate guises.
There were examples of the rest of Honda’s European range here, too, from the latest Jazz to the HR-V and CR-V crossovers and the NS-X which finally went on sale here during the year following an agonisingly long wait, or so it seemed.
Entry level model in the now extensive Hyundai range is the i10 city car and the covers came off a facelifted version here before sales of the tiny city car commence in the UK in January, The refreshed i10 is the first time the model has been updated since the second-generation car launched in 2013. While the updates are minimal, the company hopes they will help the i10 better rival the Kia Picanto, Volkswagen Up, Seat Mii and Skoda Citigo. At the front, the 2017 Hyundai i10 includes a tweaked grille and a new set of LED daytime running lights. These changes are complemented with a new bumper design and a set of 14-inch steel or alloy wheels. Styling tweaks to the rear end include a new bumper, different materials on the taillights, round rear fog lamps and a subtle black inlay. The biggest changes to the new car come in the cabin. For starters, a seven-inch touchscreen navigation system is standard in high-end models and includes Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The navigation system also comes with a seven year free subscription to the company’s life traffic monitoring system. Additionally, Hyundai has added a front collision warning system to the car as well as a lane departure warning system, both of which work thanks to front camera sensors. In terms of engines, the 2017 i10 will maintain the current car’s 1.0-litre and 1.25-litre petrol engines mated to either a five-speed manual transmission as standard or a four-speed automatic ‘box.
One size up and you reach the i20, a neatly styled supermini that arrived in its latest guise back in 2014. Good to look at, well finished, and apparently quite decent to drive, it has struggled to make the sales breakthrough in this most competitive of classes, perhaps undeservedly so.
This is the new i20 WRC, the car with which Hyundai intends to challenge the 2017 World Rally Championship. Like the new Citroën C3 WRC – also revealed here (albeit in concept form) – it’s all flared wheel arches, oversized wings, air scoops, and attitude. And it looks downright awesome, even with (or perhaps because of) the partial camouflage, which is not something we’re used to seeing on the floor of a major auto show as much as we are, say, in spy shots, or manufacturer-issued teasers. Will the look of the thing help it win any rallies or championships? Heck no, not even a little. But today it’s not competing in a rally. Today it’s sitting still on a show stand for us to look at it. And it looks good.
Hyundai debuted the third generation of the i30 hatchback at the Show, perhaps one of the most commercially important models for the Korean company. The new Hyundai i30 is also the first generation which will spawn a family of vehicles, including a crossover and the i30 N hot-hatch derivative. Measuring 4,340mm (170.8 in.) long, 1,795mm (70.7 in.) wide, 1,455mm tall and with a 2,650mm (57.3 in.) wheelbase, the new i30 may be 15mm (0.2 in.) shorter than its predecessor but Hyundai claims it now offers the most spacious cabin in the segment, including a 395 litre boot capacity. The engine range includes three petrol and three diesel units; base models get a naturally aspirated 1.4-litre petrol with 100PS (99hp) & 134Nm (99lb-ft) of torque. Next up we got a turbocharged 1.0-litre petrol with 120PS (118hp) and 170Nm (125lb-ft) of torque while the range-topping petrol version is powered by the brand’s new turbocharged 1.4-litre T-GDI with 140PS (138hp) and 242Nm (178lb-ft) of torque. Those who prefer a diesel powertrain better, can choose from a 1.6-litre unit available in three states of tune: 95PS (94hp) & 280Nm (207lb-ft) of torque, 110PS (108hp) & 280Nm (207lb-ft) of torque and 136PS (134hp) with up to 300Nm (221lb-ft) of torque. All engines, both petrol and diesel ones come with a six-speed manual gearbox as standard, while the 1.4 T-GDI and the two most powerful diesel versions can also be paired with a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission as an option. The new Hyundai i30 also comes with a wide range of active safety systems, including Autonomous Emergency Braking with Front Collision Warning System, Smart Cruise Control, Blind Spot Detection, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Lane Keeping Assist System, Speed Limit Information Function and High Beam Assist. Inside there is a new standard 5-inch touchscreen for the infotainment system which comes with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, with customers offered the option of an eight-inch touchscreen. The new generation of the Hyundai i30 will become available from early 2017 in the European market.
This concept previews the Korean company’s first high-performance N model; the i30 N – a car nurtured on the Nurburging and rumoured to enter production in early 2017. The production-spec i30 N will be a four-door hot-hatch pushing roughly 260 hp through its front wheels via a 2.0-litre turbocharged four-pot, and not a hybrid between a WRC racer and supercar like the RN30, so the outlandish styling features are out, but it will probably use some of the tech available on the concept. As a no-compromise showcase of the company’s resources and expertise gathered from years of rallying, the RN30 sports incredible performance stats and solutions, as well as an army of driving-aiding systems. It’s powered by a slightly upgraded 2.0-litre four, which sends 380 PS (374 hp) and 451 Nm of torque to all for wheels. It also sports a wet-type dual-clutch transmission (DCT) with paddle shifters, which may or may not be available on the i30 N as an optional extra.
The i40 SW has been on sale for a while now, and has enjoyed modest success. It certainly looks good, is well finished and with Hyundai’s reputation for reliability and their generous warranties, which means that the ownership proposition will be excellent.
There are growing numbers of the Ioniq now appearing on our roads, This model’s arrival was well timed, as it was perfectly placed to take up those who found the new Prius’ wacky looks to be just too polarising. It is offered as a hybrid, a PHEV and an all-electric model.
For those who want a different technology all together, Hyundai have the hydrogen-powered ix35 Fuel Cell car. This is based on the old Tucson/ix35 car, but is very different under the skin. The biggest challenges at present as the cost and the lack of fuel recharging stations.
Hyundai also had the latest Tucson model on show.
I first saw this concept at the New York Show back in April, and rather lined it, so it was good to see it again. Called the New York Concept, strictly speaking, this is a Genesis and not a Hyundai, the significance of which will become more apparent as Genesis goes from being a model name to a stand-alone brand, as the Korean car maker follows a similar path to Nissan, Honda and Toyota in trying to be considered as a make of truly premium products. This striking luxury sports sedan concept provides some strong hints as to where it is heading with a much-rumoured future entry in the compact luxury car market. What Genesis really wants us to take away from the study is its design language, which will be applied on the G70 that will challenge the BMW 3-Series, Mercedes-Benz C-Class, Audi A4, Jaguar XE and Cadillac CTS, among other entries in the populated segment. The concept is sleek, has powerful shoulders and a confident and aggressive front end, which almost compliments the elegant rear in the same way that Mercedes-Benz managed to do with the AMG GT supercar. Genesis say that this concept is supposed to offer “the unexpected” from a visual perspective and we tend to agree as there aren’t a lot of sports sedans out there right now that look like they would belong in a futuristic Gotham City. Inside, a production-ready car would make do without things like the four individually sculpted single seats or the open steering wheel. But the fact that the Genesis brand is already thinking ahead at future models that might one day turn this futuristic cabin into “the norm”, is an exciting thought. This concept also offers us a glimpse into the next-gen driver interface, which Genesis call the Human Machine Interface (HMI). I’m not sure about the positioning of the large curved 21″ horizontal display, but spec-wise, with 4K resolution and advanced In-plane switching technology, it’s still cool enough for any tech junkie to admire. I look forward to seeing the production G70 model, which is probably a good eighteen months away yet.
Inifiniti were showing their QX Sport Concept model, which they premiered earlier in the year at the Beijing Auto Show. Inspiration for the model clearly comes from a need to replace the now ageing QX70 SUV. Described as an elegant and powerful expression of progressive SUV design, the concept’s sleek, simple design lays down some markers for future QX models. The vehicle’s design stands out with its taut lines and muscular haunches, sporting a long bonnet and a raked, coupe-style roofline and silhouette, inspired by Infiniti’s “Powerful Elegance” form language that embeds the car maker’s style hallmarks – the signature double-arch grille and so-called, “human-eye” headlamps. “The QX Sport Inspiration is a statement of intent from Infiniti, showcasing a daring design philosophy and a demonstration of our capabilities in the mid-size SUV segment”, said Roland Krueger, President of Infiniti. Offering a 230 mm (9.1 in) ground clearance, short overhangs, a wide stance, a 1,900 mm (74.8 in) width, and a 4,600 mm (181.1 in) length, the concept promises true off-road versatility – as the automaker says – although it’s difficult to imagine an Infiniti out on the trail. That said, the SUV’s aerodynamic crafted body oozes more urban sophistication on top of everything else, and that’s where we’ll probably see most of the production-variant models – if the concept’s form and style comes to fruition, of course.
An Infiniti that you can buy now with quasi Crossover looks is the Q30 and very similar QX30 model, a number of which were on show here. These cars share much with the Mercedes GLA, though they are built in Sunderland alongside some more humdrum Nissans. The car certainly looks more interesting to my eyes than the GLA, though how that translates behind the wheel I have yet to find out.
Infiniti has brought a number of enhancements to their Q50 sports saloon for 2017, which include new exterior and interior design features as well as new in-car technologies. The 2017 Q50 is available with a trio of new metallic colours for the exterior. They are Midnight Black, Pure White and Dynamic Sunstone Red, which replaces the old Venetian Ruby. Q50S 3.0t models powered by the automaker’s new 400 HP 3.0-litre V6 twin turbo VR engine will also receive red brake calipers to go along with their fresh exteriors. Inside, buyers can now choose a new Designer Pack, which is available on both Sport and Sport Tech trims. It boasts new Graphite or Java Brown colours for the leather upholstery, a new dark wood veneer, dark chrome trim and a black roof lining. “The Q50’s refined interior sets the car apart in dramatic fashion thanks to its natural elegance and the brand’s signature craftsmanship, attention to detail and premium materials. In the design, there is a clear focus on the person behind the wheel, reinforcing the driving appeal at the heart of every Infiniti,” said company design director Matt Weaver. In terms of tech, the 2017 Q50 also comes with a new Bose Performance Series sound system with 16 speakers and all-new electronic architecture featuring high-performance components such as Bose Advanced Staging Tech, Bose Centerpoint, 2.0 surround technology, Bose AudioPilot 2.0 noise-compensation technology and Bose SurroundStage circuitry. European markets will receive the 2017 Q50 with a new Telematic Control Unit, allowing owners to remote-control certain elements of their car (horn & light activation, car locator, stolen vehicle tracking) via Infiniti’s InTouch Services smartphone app. The 2017 Q50 will go on sale in select markets later this year.
Completing the display was the new Q60, effectively a Coupe version of the Q50. There was a long time interval between the launch of the saloon and this, but following its European premier at the Geneva Show back in March, it is here now, offering something a bit different for those who have defaulted to a 4 Series BMW or C Class Coupe Mercedes.
Confined to the Pickup market these days, Isuzu sell their D-Max based on value and the fact that their product has a reputation for being quite tough. A number of different models were on show, but there was nothing new here.
Jaguar had nothing that was brand new for the Show, but there has been a lot of change in their range in the last few months so everything here still feels fresh. The commercially crucial F Pace, the brand’s first SUV, took centre stage, and this car is now starting to appear on our roads at a rate that you do see them quite frequently now. I was pleased that the production car looked almost identical to the much praised C-X17 concept , and if it drives as well as we are told, then it should find favour and those critical additional buyers that Jaguar so desperately needs.
All three saloon models were here, the XE, XF and larger XJ, a fine-looking trio that apparently drive as well as they look. I hope to find out just how good that is in due course, though after my difficulties in getting anything meaningful out of the local Jaguar dealer earlier in the year (even a price seemed to be too hard) it may have to be from a rental fleet that I do so.
Completing the range is the F Type, and a new top model, the SVO was added in the summer and that is the car which my camera found here.
This year’s Paris Show was a big one for Jeep as the company celebrates its 75th anniversary and to mark the occasion, brought along a selection of updated models.
Headlining Jeep’s presence was the 2017 Grand Cherokee. Adorned with a host of restyled components, the new Grand Cherokee will start to arrive in dealerships from December. The new model is now available with the Trailhawk trim level, similar to the Cherokee and Renegade Trailhawk models. The vehicle will also be offered in the Summit trim level when it hits showroom floors.
Also here, Jeep had two special edition models, dubbed the Renegade Desert Hawk and Cherokee Night Eagle II. The first of these models has a more rugged appearance thanks to custom decals, a matte black front grille, 17-inch black aluminium wheels and a rear tow hook. The interior of the model is then adorned in black leather and cloth seats complete with white stitching.
The Jeep Cherokee Night Eagle II on the other hand gives the firm’s mid-size SUV a more sporty and aggressive look. This comes thanks to the selection of black styling cues, 18-inch wheels and black leather interior. Jeep will also bring along a Wrangler and Renegade model upgraded by Mopar.
Paris also marked the introduction of the company’s new Dual Dry-Clutch six-speed automatic transmission mated to its 1.6-litre Multijet II engine. This gearbox was previously only coupled to the 1.4-litre engine and promises seamless shifts without any loss in torque.
Jeep and Mopar brought a number of “Moparized” vehicles here which aimed to demonstrate what Jeeps are capable of and what Mopar can bring to the table. First up was a Wrangler Rubicon that features a MoparONE package and done up in Hyper Green with a black leather interior. It includes a 2-inch lift kit, steering damper, guard plates, and blacked-out 17-inch alloys wearing knobby Hankook Dynapro rubber – all part of the kit that can be purchased straight from the dealership. The customised Wrangler also packs a black light bar with halogen off-road lamps, a hood scoop, new grille, half-doors, and more.
The Rubicon was joined by a similarly “Moparized” Renegade, done up in yellow with an army-style star on the door and matte black trim. It suspension has similarly been lifted by an inch and fitted with all-season tyres.
Beyond its vehicular display, Jeep also offered attendees the chance to experience what Jeep is all about thanks to Oculus virtual reality technology and a number of interactive, 360-degree videos.
It used to be the case that the Japanese brands had the shortest model cycles, but that is no longer the case and it is the Koreans who change their models more often than anyone else, typically around every 5 years against an industry average of 6 to 7 years. So that meant that it is time for a new Rio, the last one having debuted in 2011. And sure enough, here it is. The latest generation car features plenty of new tech and a surprisingly sporty design to go with efficient downsized engines that include a 98hp and 118hp 1.0-litre turbocharged three-pot, 82hp and 90hp 1.25-litre naturally-aspirated fours, and a 1.4-litre turbo diesel in 69 and 88hp versions. With the new Rio, Kia says they have one of the most spacious cars in the segment, and that’s something small car buyers appreciate in today’s age. Same can be said about the Rio’s connectivity features since it has full Apple and Android smartphone integration, as well as live traffic updates through Kia Connected Services. Future customers need to wait until the first quarter of 2017 in order to place their orders though.
The outgoing Rio was here, too, as this is the version you will still be able to buy for the next few months. It remains a good looking car and not a bad one to drive, either.
Familiar models that are part way through their current model cycles range from the diminutive Picanto to the Venga, the C-Segment Cee’d, seen in Hatch and SW guises, to the larger, and slow-selling Optima, now offered as an attractive SportWagon as well as the fastback-shaped Saloon.
Some say that the Kia Carens and the BMW 2-Series Active Tourer look suspiciously similar, and this hasn’t changed much with the facelifted version that was shown here, either. Presented by the automaker over the web prior to its dealer arrival by the end of the year across Europe, the MPV now features an updated ‘tiger-nose’ grille, revised front and rear bumpers, different fog lamps, new patterns for the 16-, 17- and 18-inch aluminium alloy wheels, and a fresh colour, called Mysterious Blue. Kia has yet to release any images of its interior, but states that the seven-seat layout has been enhanced with black or beige upholstery, carbon-effect dashboard trim and glossy black accents on different parts of the cabin. The list of updates includes new seat upholstery, 7- or 8-inch touchscreen HMI (human-machine interface) with TomTopm navigation, rearview camera, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, and select models will also get a JBL Premium Sound system, with a subwoofer, amplifier, and six speakers. The most economical 2017 Kia Carens is powered by a 1.7-litre diesel engine, rated at 114 horsepower, and features revised gear ratios, stop/go technology and low rolling resistance tyres, emitting 109 g/km of CO2 when paired with a six-speed manual transmission.
Making its debut here, in advance on going on sale across Europe by the end of the year, was the facelifted Kia Soul which comes with a new petrol engine. Powered by the 1.6-litre T-GDI, which comes straight from the Cee’d GT and Pro_Cee’d GT, it becomes the most powerful Soul ever engineered by the South Korean brand with 201 HP that are directed to the front wheels through a new 7-speed dual-clutch transmission. From 0 to 60 mph it needs 7.5 seconds and it can go up to 122 mph (196 km/h). Stopping power comes from larger brakes and drivers can choose between Normal, Eco, and Sport modes. Making sure that this version of the Soul stands out are a series of exterior modifications, such as the red highlights on the bolder front bumper and side sills, tweaked grille, twin exhaust pipes at the rear and 18-inch aluminium wheels, with a 10-spoke design. The appealing design continues inside, where the most powerful Soul carries a distinctive colour scheme, with black and cloth leather upholstery and orange stitching, orange-painted gearstick, orange highlights and a ‘D-shaped’ steering wheel. As for the rest of the 2017 Kia Soul range, this benefits from a series of upgrades too, which include the different bumpers, metallic skid plate, optional bi-function HID headlights with LED DRLs integrated into the front bumper, updated ‘tiger-nose’ grille, redesigned taillights and reflectors. Gloss black, metallic highlights and switchgear are found inside, along with the HMI (human-machine interface) that works with a 5-, 7- or 8-inch colour touchscreen to provide smartphone-style control over the audio-visual navigation system, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The vehicle also features a rearview camera, new USB port in the rear, 8-way power adjustment for the front passenger seat, and rain-sensing wipers, while dual-clutch gearbox-equipped models have the Drive Mode Selector. Blind Spot Detection with Rear Cross Traffic Alert has been added for the first time to assist drivers on motorways and during parking manoeuvres. Kia were showing the soul EV, the all-electric version here, as well.
Completing the display were the big-selling Sportage, the larger Sorento and the hybrid-powered Niro.
Key exhibit here was the new fifth generation Discovery which was launched at the Show To say that the Discovery is a vital product for Jaguar Land Rover would be like saying the Pope is kinda into religion. The one model alone accounts for roughly one in eight vehicles the entire company sells under both brands. And this despite the current model having been around since 2009 – and even then, it was essentially an update (albeit a fairly comprehensive one) of the model launched way back in 2004. Land Rover, then, was in desperate need of a new Discovery. And here we finally have it. Previewed by the Discovery Vision concept from 2014, the new Discovery slots in above the smaller Discovery Sport that’s been driving Land Rover’s sales since its recent launch. This one is bigger, though, with three full rows of seating and room for seven adults. But thanks in no small part to its aluminium construction – something that JLR has gotten very good at – the new Discovery weighs over 1,000 pounds less than the model it replaces. The new form packs all the latest electronics for entertainment, information, safety, and off-roading. There’s a range of gasoline and diesel engines on offer as well, but you can read all about that in the reveal post we brought you yesterday. All you need to do now is scope out the live images of one of the most important new vehicles to come out of the UK in over a decade, sitting on the show stand in Paris. Come the middle of next year, you’ll start seeing it in dealerships and traversing a wide range of the earth’s surface in the grandest of Land Rover style and the truest spirit of Discovery.
The popular Evoque is now available in three different bodystyles, with the established 3 and 5 door models joined by an open-topped Cabrio. All were presented here.
Completing the stand were examples of the Discovery Sport, Range Rover Sport and the full-fat Range Rover.
Star of the Lexus stand was this UX Concept. Penned by the company’s ED2 design centre in the South of France, the UX Concept is previewing the new direction Lexus is about to follow with its future models. The really sharp appearance wants to combine the presence of a tough off-roader with the usability of a crossover, employing sculptural surfacing with the brand’s now-traditional huge spindle grille. Lexus calls it the ‘Inside-Out’ design approach, which offers a strong synergy between the exterior and the interior of the car. The company opted for a four-seat setup in the cabin which is divided into two distinct sections: the front part of the interior represents a sporty, driver-focused atmosphere while the rear is the comfort zone, employing a ‘welcoming, soft-lounge sofa’ which wraps around into the rear suicide doors. Lexus even added fins made out of polycarbonate to the thin aluminium A-pillars to give them a see-through ambience, blurring the boundaries between the inside and outside. Front seating is dealt from a pair of Kinetic Seats, a concept that was announced a few days ago. The instrumentation on the dashboard gives a highly three-dimensional feel. The central infotainment screen is mounted further up the dashboard while climate controls are closer to the driver to make the cabin feel larger. The driver’s instrument binnacle houses a floating transparent globe, just like a hologram does, and combines analogue and digital information. All switchgear is electrostatic and housed under transparent covers, with the front passenger getting a separate track-pad control unit built into the door’s armrest panel. Lexus didn’t reveal what kind of powertrain is hiding under the UX Concept’s dramatic skin but what we do know is that the company is going to bring it to production as a replacement of the CT 200h hatch in the coming years. If you don’t like what Lexus has done styling- wise in recent times, I can’t see this one changing your mind, but no doubt some will love it. Not me, for sure!
Current entry point to the range is the CT200h hatch, which has been on sale for a number of years, as a sort of Lexus version of a Prius, It was not that well received by the European press, and sales have been limited across the continent.
The facelifted 2017 Lexus IS range is celebrated its European debut here, five months after the refreshed model was revealed online. For the 2017 model year IS, Lexus opted to remain true to the outgoing model’s bold design, but have updated it on a few fronts. For starters, the front fascia has been revised and now incorporates updated headlights with a slightly different shape, a revised version of the Japanese marque’s customary spindle front grille as well as a different bumper with larger air intakes. The new dark chrome front grille of the updated IS range also now incorporates functional brake ducts on either side. Elsewhere, the exterior of the model has been updated with new 16-, 17- and 18-inch wheel designs as well as a reshaped character line stretching the length of the car. Changes at the rear include new taillights, rectangular and chrome-finished exhaust tips. In Europe, Deep Blue Mica and Graphite Black have been added to the exterior paint palette. Inside, the facelifted range enjoys a larger multimedia display, now measuring 10.25-inches rather than seven. Refinements have also been made to the speedometer and tachometer while new cupholders have been installed. Select markets will also receive optional Nuance Black and Noble Brown colour schemes. In Europe, the range of engines go unchanged. That means the IS 300h will continue to utilise a 2.5-litre four-cylinder petrol engine mated to an electric motor. On the European combined cycle, it returns 65.7 mpg UK and emits 97 g/km of CO2 emissions. Alternatively, European buyers will be able to opt for the smaller 241 hp, 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder coupled with the same eight-speed automatic transmission as the potent RC F.
Rather more exciting is the GS F version of the GS range of executive-sized saloons that are pitched against the 5 Series, E Class and the A6, among others. European sales have been negligible, as the cheapest model in the range is a relatively thirsty petrol, with the more frugal and CO2 benign 300h and 450h models costing rather more. I drove a GS450h in F Sport trim earlier in the year and was relatively underwhelmed by many aspects of the car. That the lease costs came out as considerably more expensive than the Ghibli I chose was a surprise but certainly helps to explain its lack of success.
It’s the same story with the coupe models, the RC 300h and F. A moderate interest in the RC F soon fizzled out and these cars now trickle out of the showrooms in penny numbers across Europe.
Lexus are rather hoping that the new and rather costly LC500h might find more favour, though clearly it is in a sector of the market where sales volumes are not great anywhere. Certainly there has been far less criticism about the looks of this one compared to all the other Lexus models on show here. We shall see when sales start in the coming months.
Following on from the CT and IS, the NX is the latest Lexus to receive the ‘Sport’ badge. Making its debut at the Show, the styling changes are minor but help give the NX some added street presence. The exterior changes consist of a distinctive set of black 18-inch alloy wheels, black wing mirror housings, a blacked-out front spindle grille and a black grille frame. Inside, the Lexus NX Sport includes a number of silver inserts and a choice of leather-effect upholstery finished in Black or a special fabric offered solely for the Sport. Customers will be able to order the Sport package for both the existing NX 300h and NX 200t models but no performance changes have been made. That means the NX 300h Sport maintains the standard model’s 2.5-litre inline-four mated to an electric motor and delivering a combined 194 hp. The NX 200t Sport, meanwhile, is powered by a 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder mated to a six-speed auto ‘box and offering up 235 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque.
Completing the display was the latest version of the RX 450h. This new version was released earlier this year and looks certain to find favour among those who bought the old one, though whether it will achieve much in the way of conquest sales remains to be seen.
Like Aixam, Ligier offer a series of diminutive low-powered cars that can be driven without a full driving licence. A vast array of them were on show, and the different models seem to have been designed to look vaguely like a number of “real” cars. Bizarre in the extreme!
Maserati had a stand with examples of each of the models in their range. The Quattroporte has been given a subtle but quite significant update for 2017. Starting with the exterior, the new Maserati flagship can be recognised by the redesigned bumpers and the sharper front grille which features new vertical chrome elements. A set of matte black side skirts and restyled door mirrors complete the changes. The cabin has also been updated for a cleaner look, with the dashboard now incorporating a high-resolution 8.4-inch infotainment display with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay and a new climate control system and a new storage compartment sitting underneath it. The centre console has also been redesigned and now features a new rotary knob for the audio system, a new lid and phone storage compartment. An electrically adjusted air-shutter is now fitted behind the front grille, between the air vents and the engine’s radiator. The system works in conjunction with the new front and rear bumpers, air conveyor and flat bottom in order to reduce drag by 10 percent. The range of engines remains as is, meaning a twin-turbo 3.0-litre V6 engine available with two power outputs -350hp and 410hp in the Quattroporte S. The latter is optionally available with the Q4 all-wheel drive system. The range-topping GTS model is powered by a twin-turbo 3.8-litre V8 with 510hp and 523lb-ft (710Nm) of peak torque, giving it a 0-62mph time of 4.7 seconds and a top speed of 192mph (310km/h). There is also the Diesel version which uses a 3.0-litre V6 with 275hp and 442lb-ft (600Nm) of peak torque. All engine options are paired to a ZF eight-speed automatic gearbox. Maserati also changed their range strategy with the launch of the updated Quattroporte, adding two unique trim options, the GranLusso and the GranSport. The former focuses on the luxury side of the Quattroporte, featuring exclusive materials and special features in the finest tradition of Italian craftsmanship among others. The GranSport trim level on the other hand enhances the sporty side of Maserati’s flagship. Customers will also now get the option of a new package of Advanced Driver Assistance Systems. This includes safety features like Adaptive Cruise Control with Stop&Go, Lane Departure Warning, Forward Collision Warning with Advanced Brake Assist, and Automated Emergency Braking.
Also here was the Ghibli in updated 2017 form. This I am familiar with, as my own car, which I received a few days before this Show opened was one of the very first of these to reach the UK. For 2017, Maserati is adding more on-board tech and driver assistance systems, as well as new Luxury and Sport packages to their Ghibli range. The most obvious changes are inside, where the central dashboard has been redesigned to hold a high-res 8.4″ screen with multi touch function. The new infotainment system is also compatible with both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, while the lower console now hosts a rotary knob to control volume and functions, plus a new lid and a new phone storage compartment. All Ghibli versions now come equipped with Air Quality Sensors which calculate the external pollution levels and prevents polluted air and toxic gases from entering the cabin. The previously mentioned Luxury and Sport packages were conceived to “satisfy individual customer styles,” says the Italian automaker. The Luxury pack adds 19″ ‘Poseidone’ wheels, black brake calipers, exclusive Zegna Edition Silk or Full Premium Leather interiors and 12-way power comfort seats with memory function. The Sport pack on the other hand includes 20″ Urano machine polished wheels, red brake calipers, Skyhook Adaptive suspension, 12-way power sports seats and a sport steering wheel. Finally, the exterior Carbon package includes the door handles, external mirrors, B-pillar/C-pillar covers as well as the trunk spoiler. On the road, the Ghibli’s new Advanced Driver Assistance Systems pack is available as an option and features Adaptive Cruise Control with Stop & Go, Blind Spot Alert, Lane Departure Warning, Forward Collision Warning and advanced Brake Assist and Automated Emergency Braking. The additional Surround View Camera is only available as an option in combination with the ADAS package. Powering the Ghibli and the Ghibli S is a Ferrari-built twin-turbo 3.0-litre V6 engine mated to an 8-speed ZF automatic gearbox. The Ghibli is now also good for 350 HP (20 more HP than in the previous model year), and is able to accelerate from 0 to 100 km/h (62 mph) in 5.5 seconds. The flagship Ghibli S is of course quicker (0-100 in 5 flat) thanks to its power output of 410 HP. Furthermore, when fitted with the Q4 all wheel drive system, the Ghibli SQ4 will hit the 100 km/h mark in just 4.8 seconds. As for the diesel versions, there are two, rated at 250 HP and 275 HP respectively, boasting 600 Nm (442 lb-ft) of torque each.
Completing the display were the new Levante SUV and the familiar and established GranTurismo seen here in the MC12 Stradale form.
Third of the German brands with a massive range, far too extensive to be able to showcase it all in the available space, there was lots here of interest, with a mix familiar models (at least in outline) as well as new production and concept models.
Familiar cars included the B Class and the related (under the skin) CLA, a car which promised far more than it has actually delivered, though its sales record is far more impressive than the product. I am definitely not a fan of this 4 door car in which it is very hard to get into the back seats and once there to be so cramped that you realise you are buying external styling and a badge rather than merit here.
The C Class is better, though the US market car I drove earlier in the year had a very disappointing 4 cylinder petrol engine and a terrible ride which completely spoiled the car. New engines are on the way, apparently, but the message would seem to be to spec your car with care. Seen here were Saloon and Coupe models.
Visually very similar to the C Class is the latest E Class which arrived, initially as a Saloon car earlier in the year. Gradually the range is expanding to mirror that of the preceding W212 family, and it was the Estate model which was making its debut here.
After announcing plans to add a hotter AMG version to the new GLC Coupe’s range back in June at the presentation of the series, Mercedes-Benz has formally introduced the GLC 43 4Matic Coupé. Like a number of other 43-badged cars in Mercedes-AMG’s lineup, the sporty crossover makes use of a 3.0-liter bi-turbocharged gasoline V6 that is rated for 362hp (367PS) and 383 lb-ft (520Nm) of peak torque. It’s paired to an nine-speed 9G‑TRONIC automatic with shortened shift times and the AMG Performance 4MATIC all-wheel drive configured with a rear bias torque distribution (31:69). This results in a zero to 100km/h acceleration time of 4.9 seconds (0-60mph in 4.8 sec), an electronically limited top speed of 250km/h (155mph), which coincidently, matches BMW’s rivalling 355hp (360PS) X4 M40i, and a combined fuel economy of 8.4l/100km on the European cycle, equal to 33.6mpg. To sharpen the drive, there’s a host of Mercedes-AMG improvements and upgrades, including a tweaked chassis that benefits from a dedicated sports suspension with AIR BODY CONTROL and adaptive damping, a speed-sensitive sports steering with a variable ratio, and larger perforated discs in size 360 x 36 mm with 4-piston fixed callipers up front, and 320 x 24 mm discs with 1-piston fixed callipers at the rear. If you ever plan to take the GLC 43 4MATIC Coupe off-the-road, Mercedes says it can handle it, offering a fording depth of 300 mm (11.8 inches) along with an approach angle of 19.8 degrees and departure angle of 20.8. It also has a braked towing capacity of up to 2460 kg or 5,423 lbs. The half-fat Mercedes-AMG model adopts a few aggressive cues on the outside with 19-inch five-spoke alloys in tires size 235/55 front and 255/50 rear or even larger 21-inch rims as an option, a diamond radiator grille, gloss black and chrome details and a four-pipe exhaust. Inside, AMG gave the GLC 43 a black interior with contrasting red features, aluminum trim, dedicated instrument panel graphics and sports steering wheel and front seats. Following its world premiere at the Show, the Mercedes-AMG GLC 43 4MATIC Coupé will go on sale in Europe in December this year, and in North America and other countries around the world, in the first quarter of 2017. It won’t be the last we hear from Mercedes-AMG on the GLC Coupe, as the Germans are said to be working on a full-blown ‘63’ badged model with a turbocharged V8 producing over 500 horses.
This Generation EQ concept was undoubtedly one of the more significant concepts at the Show, signifying not only the birth of the new EQ sub-brand but also is the first solid proof of what Mercedes is planning for the next few years. The new electric crossover concept is powered by a pair of electric motors, good for 402hp and 516 lb-ft (700Nm) of torque, allowing it to accelerate from zero to 62mph (0-100km/h) in under five seconds. Mercedes claims a driving range of up to 310 miles (500km) on a single charge, with the battery pack sitting low between the axles. Mercedes didn’t reveal the exact capacity of the battery pack, mentioning only a model-specific total figure of over 70kWh. The all-electric concept can be charged either wirelessly or via a cord, and is even compatible with fast-charging standards. The company even claims that in the future and when a 300kW charging capacity is introduced, their car will be able to gain 100km (62 miles) of range with just five minutes of charging. The design approach of the car is rather simple and elegant, with the Generation EQ getting a clean shape and an overall figure that isn’t much different than that of the Mercedes GLC. It even pretends to have exhaust pipes for no apparent reason. One of the highlights is of course the Black Panel front grille which hosts a white-illuminated Mercedes star and keeps all the front lighting elements under the same cover. The production version of the Generation EQ is scheduled to hit the market in 2019, with the asking price said to be at the same range “of a reasonably equipped Mercedes GLC”. One of the most obvious rivals of the car will of course be the Tesla Model X but also Audi’s production version of the e-Tron Quattro which is reportedly going to use the Q6 nameplate.
Rather different is this Vision Mercedes Maybach 6. Originally revealed in Monterey, this bright red study measures 5.7 metres (225 inches) long and ticks all the right boxes a futuristic two-seater luxury coupe should tick. Under the impressive bodywork lies an electric powertrain made out of four electric motors mounted, each driving a wheel. With a total output of 750hp, the Vision Mercedes-Maybach 6 is able of a sub-4 second time for the 0-62mph procedure and a 155mph top speed while offering over 310 miles (500km) of range. The body also features a pair of gullwing doors while the cabin offers a lounge-like atmosphere and a windscreen that also acts as a display of important information for the driver. Although Mercedes didn’t share if the Maybach 6 concept previews an actual production model, it reveals the general direction to be followed by the high-end brand.
And finally there was the latest addition to the Mercedes-AMG GT range, the flagship AMG GT R, and it’s every bit as impressive and aggressive as the German automaker has hinted that it would be. To start off, it’s 90 kg (199 lbs) lighter than the AMG GT S, meaning it weighs just 1,554 kg (3,428 lbs). Its 4.0-liter biturbo V8 engine now puts down 585 PS (577 HP) and 700 Nm (516 lb-ft) of torque, which is a much needed bump in power considering the competition. The seven-speed dual clutch gearbox has also been tweaked to deliver faster shifts, helping the car get from 0 to 100 km/h (62 mph) in 3.6 seconds, before maxing out at 318 km/h (198 mph). This makes it faster than the GT S by 8 km/h (5 mph) and quicker off the line by 0.2 seconds. However, it’s not just about straight line speed when it comes to this car. After all, Mercedes-AMG engineers didn’t do all those rigorous tests at the Nurburgring just to have the GT R win some drag races. Visually, it all starts with the stance, which is a lot more aggressive now – something even Lewis Hamilton noticed as he was bringing the car out during its official unveiling at the Goodwood Festival of Speed. The body kit is partly inspired by the AMG GT3 race car, as is the new vertical slatted grille. Also noticeable are the chunky air intakes, the large rear wing, double rear diffuser and the new lightweight 10-spoke 20″ forged wheels, wrapped in grippy Michelin Cup 2 rubber. Mercedes has also given the AMG GT R an all-new active aero profile in the underbody, concealed almost invisibly in front of the engine. When in RACE mode, a carbon component weighing just 2 kg (4.4 lbs) automatically moves downward by about 40 mm (1.5 in) at speeds of over 80 km/h (50 mph), changing the airflow considerably. The result is that front-axle lift is reduced by around 40 kg (88 lbs) at 250 km/h (155 mph). Also, the new AMG GT R is now better when cornering at high speed and exhibits superior directional stability compared to the previous AMG GT S flagship. Its new three-mode adaptive suspension setup was specifically designed to aid the car when out on the track. One of the true surprises with the AMG GT R is its Active Rear-Wheel Steering system, turning the rear wheels in the opposite direction to the ones at the front up to 100 km/h (62 mph) and then in the same direction if the driver accelerates any further. Speaking of “further”, there’s even a new 9-way traction control system where those behind the wheel can make minor adjustments to the level of slip. “With the new AMG GT R, we have reached the next level of driving performance,” said Tobias Moers, CEO of Mercedes-AMG. “This road-going sports car with motor-racing genes and innovative technical solutions offers an ultimate driving experience that allows people to feel our motorsport origins in every fibre. It combines the driving dynamics of our AMG GT3 racing car with the everyday practicality of the AMG GT. Those with petrol in their veins will be thrilled by the radical longitudinal and lateral acceleration, the precise turn-in, and the sensational grip. We have modified all performance-relevant components and linked them together intelligently for maximum driving dynamics.” Inside, the GT R comes with manually adjustable AMG sports bucket seats, upholstered in nappa leather. They’re very light and offer necessary lateral support even in extreme driving maoneuvres, according to the German automaker. Other details include yellow contrast stitching, yellow seat belts, gloss black trim and the AMG Interior Night package as standard (gloss black shift paddles, steering wheel bezel, door sills and boot cross member). Finally, the AMG GT R’s specially developed exhaust system sounds absolutely bonkers. Of course, what we call “bonkers”, Mercedes calls a “genuine race car sound”, but either way you should watch the video and hear those amazing crackles whenever Lewis Hamilton (he was behind the wheel) lifted his foot off the throttle. The noise depends on what the exhaust flaps are doing, which can be open and closed depending on the selected AMG DRIVE SELECT mode – as well as controlled individually using a separate button. You’ll need to have the car in Sport Plus or RACE mode in order to get it to sound like the “Green Hell Beast” Mercedes designed it to be. The new Mercedes-AMG GT R goes on sale on November 21st 2016, with its European market launch scheduled for March 2017.
Final car on the stand was a reminder of Mercedes’ continued commitment to Formula 1.
As expected, the six-door Mini Clubman has been given the Works treatment to bring it in line with the other members of the burgeoning BMW division. The Mini John Cooper Works Clubman joins the hardtop, convertible and Countryman models in getting the hotter engine and more aggressive styling befitting of Minis top performance models. But in the Clubman’s case, it gets standard all-wheel drive (All4 in Mini-speak) to go with the latest 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder that puts out 228hp (231PS) and 258 pound-feet of torque. According to the company, the Works Clubman is capable of 0-100 km/h (62mph) in 6.3 seconds with either the standard six-speed manual or optional 8-speed automatic. Brembo brakes, a sport exhaust system and lots of Works badging is also part of the package. Inside, the Works Clubman also gets the more aggressive racing seats found on other hot Minis. The regular Clubman S with its standard tune 2.0-litre turbo is quite a lively performer despite its 189 horsepower falling noticeably short of cars like the Volkswagen Golf GTI and Ford Focus ST. But it’s also already a grown-up Mini, which in theory puts it at odds with previous Works models that have heightened the old Mini go-kart appeal. With nearly 230 horses, the Works will fall somewhere in the middle of the VW and Ford, but its mandatory all-wheel drive is bound to make for a different experience – and add to the Clubman’s already lofty sticker price.
The display had plenty of examples of the rest of the range, with the 3 and 5 door hatch, the Cabrio and further examples of the Clubman as well as the Countryman all on show.
First seen at Geneva, the eX Concept was making another appearance here. This model is said to have design cues for the next generation of Mitsubishi SUVs, a range which is set to grow as the ASX will be replaced by two vehicles, one smaller and one larger than the current offering. This all-electric vehicle gives good clues, we are told, to the smaller of these, which we are likely to see in a couple of years in production form.
Also here was the GT PHEV Concept, which apparently gives us a very early of the next Outlander, with a bit of concept pizzazz. The GT-PHEV (where GT stands for Ground Tourer) is moving Mitsubishi’s new design language on by introducing an even more massive grille and a set of headlamps where the upper half actually houses the daytime running lights and turn signals, while he lower half takes care of the high and low beams. Other external features that stand out are the relatively high shoulder line, horizontal hood, flat roofline and of course the “white metallic” finish which seems to easily burn right into your camera lens when taking its picture under other bright lights. The rear houses a lamp combo that stretches across the width of the tail. The lamp units house the brake lights, indicators and reverse lights and are displayed in a vertical unit shape adding to the car’s contemporary effect. Inside, the GT-PHEV is all about ergonomics, refinement and technology. The way Mitsubishi went about creating an airy and open feel within the concept’s cabin was by building a horizontal dashboard which in turn provides a forward panoramic field of view. For the concept, the Japanese automaker has chosen a plug-in hybrid electric set-up combining a 25 kWh battery pack and three electric motors (one 90 kW motor at the front, two 45 kW motors at the rear) with a 2.5-litre petrol engine. These doors notwithstanding, it will be interesting to see how much of the GT-PHEV concept will make its way into the ‘s next Outlander – that front end is pretty bold, for sure.
As a reminder of what the current Outlander is like, there were several of them on the stand. This has been something of a lifeline vehicle for Mitsubishi with strong sales especially of the PHEV version which had the field all to itself when first introduced, though others are starting to catch up now.
One size down in the range, and you come to a vehicle that in Europe is known as the ASX, but which in America is called the Outlander Sport, and there was a refreshed version here. Mitsubishi revealed the revised Outlander Sport almost a year ago at the 2015 LA Auto Show, but it’s taken until now to slap an ASX badge on it and get it over to Europe. Whatever you want to call it, the crossover sports a new front end with the brand’s “Dynamic Shield” design first seen on the 2014 Outlander PHEV Concept-S. It also benefits from a new shark-fin antenna, better-padded rear seats, and new fabric upholstery. Otherwise, it’s essentially the same as the model available until now, which has been a big success for Mitsubishi. The company has sold over 1.1 million of them around the world since its launch in 2010 – 237,564 of which were sold in Europe, where the ASX is Mitsubishi’s second-most popular model, behind the bigger Outlander.
Also here were examples of the tiny i MIEV, an all-electric city car, the SpaceStar (known as the Mirage in the UK), the Pajero (Shogun) and the L200 pickup truck.
The big news on the Nissan stand was the presentation of the new 5th generation Micra. Unlike past models, the new Micra looks sharp and it’s certainly not lacking any active safety features that its rivals might have been able to hold over its head. Its interior also represents a complete departure from what we saw on the previous version, and let’s face it, that one was a bit too plasticky regardless of where you felt it up. The dramatic new look is not entirely a surprise, as it takes its inspiration from the Sway concept Nissan brought to Geneva last year, plus company CEO Carlos Ghost did say that the 5th-gen model would be revolutionary and would eventually raise expectations for the entire segment. Still, we are talking about Europe’s ultra-competitive B-segment in Europe, where the likes of the VW Polo, Ford Fiesta, Opel Corsa, Renault Clio, Peugeot 208, Toyota Yaris, Skoda Fabia, Citroen C3, Seat Ibiza, Hyundai i20, Kia Rio, Suzuki Swift, Mazda2 and even the Dacia Sandero make for a very crowded atmosphere. The Micra does have a few aces up its sleeves that should separate it, at least on paper, from most of its competitors. We’re talking about safety features like lane departure prevention, intelligent emergency braking, traffic sign recognition, high beam assist and blind spot warning. We should also mention how its 7″ colour touchscreen display helps drivers access not just the sat-nav and audio system but also Siri through voice control via Apple CarPlay – and that’s something you don’t currently get in most B-segment cars.
Familiar models on show included the Pulsar C-segment hatch, the popular Juke and larger XTrail, as well as the latest versions of the tyre-smoking GT-R seen here in regular and Nismo guises.
An electric Mini Moke? What’s not to love? Well, for starters, there’s the 13.4-hp electric motor, which can only wind the NOSMOKE up to a max speed of 75 kmh—a much less impressive figure when measured in miles per hour (just 46.6 mph). The batteries? Sealed lead-acid gel units, with an expected lifespan of 3-4 years. Range? A mere 62 miles, if you keep your average speed to 31 mph. Charge time is 7-8 hours. But hey, electric Moke!
Making another appearance here, having been seen at the Geneva Show earlier in the year was this Concept GT, a two-seat coupé which its maker described as “a template for future sports car”. Although it is broadly similar in size and mechanical layout to a Mazda MX-5, it looks smaller than that. Maybe that is an optical trick due to the ultra-modern, flowing lines and a fixed roof. It is so pared down and “unashamedly avant-garde” that it doesn’t even need door handles or exterior mirrors. It does, however, employ the classical long-bonnet, short-boot proportions used by ‘emotional’ rear-wheel-drive sports cars through the ages, although its mechanical components are distinctly modern. The car’s infotainment system is operated purely by voice control, but a touchpad controller is included as a backup. The voice-controlled system is described as being able to learn a driver’s habits or adapt to their needs, and can even respond vocally to commands, and the Human-Machine Interface can allegedly even select appropriate music for passengers. The instrument clusters can display 3D content in a variety of colours, a development of the system first shown on 2013’s Monza concept. The system displays different content depending on the situation. At high speed, for example, the system displays g-force values. The system can also issue spoken warnings on upcoming obstacles. As on many concept cars, the GT eschews traditional door mirrors in favour of cameras. A 144bhp turbocharged version of Vauxhall’s 1.0-litre three-cylinder petrol engine drives the rear wheels through a six-speed sequential gearbox, which is also controllable by column-mounted shift paddles. Vauxhall-Opel design chief Mark Adams, who led the project, said the GT Concept unashamedly pays homage to two influential European concepts of the mid-1960s – the Vauxhall XVR and the Opel Experimental GT – both of which had a big influence on the design of the production cars that followed. In particular, the Vauxhall XVR – a long-nosed coupé produced under legendary British design boss Wayne Cherry – used and refined design influences from the US-built Mako Shark II concept of 1963, which six years later went into wide circulation in the Chevrolet Corvette C3. Then came the Vauxhall Equus, another promising Cherry design, plausibly based on the Chevette city car. As well as echoes from the past, this latest GT Concept also carries influences from Vauxhall-Opel’s Monza sporting estate, a 2+2 plug-in hybrid concept shown at the Frankfurt motor show in 2013. Company officials admitted at the time that the car might eventually be the precursor of a new-generation Manta in production. “It’s difficult to reinvent iconic concepts like these,” said Adams of the Vauxhall XVR and Opel GT, “but just as each of them was avant-garde back then, so is this GT Concept today. It’s pure and minimalistic, yet bold and uncompromising.” The GT Concept’s rakish looks are backed by a very contemporary mechanical package. The 1.0-litre, all-aluminium 144bhp engine (used in various guises in the Adam, Corsa and Astra) also packs an impressive 151lb ft of torque in the GT’s turbocharged form. Ready for the road, the GT is tipped to weigh less than 1000kg. A 0-62mph time of less than eight seconds and a 134mph top speed are promised. Perhaps the GT Concept’s most striking design features are the large doors, whose side windows integrate seamlessly into the body surface without the need for conventional sills. They are opened via roof-mounted touchpads in the red signature line, which flows on either side from the GT’s eye-catching red front tyres, along the tops of the front wings and over the roof on to the rear, enclosing a see-through roof. Another unique feature is the GT’s use of integrated headlight/indicator units that develop the technology used for the new Astra’s glare-reducing IntelliLux matrix lighting to its next level. The large doors have space-saving hinges ingeniously mounted in the front wheel arches that allow the door to open wide, even in tight parking spaces. Although most observers will see the GT Concept’s use of red front tyres, mounted on ‘rollerskate’ wheels, as an avant-garde feature, they are also a subtle reference to an iconic Opel motorcycle from the 1920s called the Motoclub 500, which had red tyres front and rear. The wheels are steel, which is lighter and cheaper, and can have clip-on centres to provide different looks. The wheels are 18in, the same as an Astra’s, with relatively modest rubber. But because the car is small and relatively narrow, they look fairly large. The square steering wheel is intended to imply a quick-rate rack of variable ratio, enabling you to perform most manoeuvres without the need to take your hands off the rim. Vauxhall-Opel bosses are saying very little about the GT Concept’s prospects for production. Spokesmen say they have “heard of no plan” to build it, but they also say they will “judge reaction” to the car before deciding whether it has any production future. At present, the company lacks a suitable front-engined, rear-drive platform on which to base a production GT. But Vauxhall-Opel has a history of putting rule-breaking sports cars into production. It turned the Opel GT from concept to production car in the late 1960s. It also built a Vectra-engined Lotus Elise in the 1990s and called it the Vauxhall VX220/Opel Speedster. Most recently, it turned the US Pontiac Solstice roadster into a second-generation Opel GT. The concept was a real star of the show, and is something that would doubtless help the brand which is still churning out a range of worthy but dull cars which lack any real “want one” factor.
Said to offer “the feistiness of a sports car” and an impressive zero-emission driving range of more than 500 km (311 miles), the Opel Ampera-e is an Open model that you can buy now, or at least very soon.
Chevrolet Bolt’s European brother promises to offer at least 200 km (124 miles) of additional range on top of the BMW i3, in the NEDC test cycle, but since this “does not truly reflect everyday reality“, as the Germans admit, the WLTP (Worldwide Harmonized Light-Duty Vehicles Test Procedure) driving cycle has been used and the results are now “closer to real driving behaviour“. After taking into consideration the road characteristics, weather conditions, load influence and the most important factor – driving style, it has been estimated that the all-new Opel Ampera-e can travel for more than 380 km (236 miles) in the real world, thanks to the 60 kWh batteries, which are integrated in the underbody. “Our Ampera-e is not eco-luxury, not a gadget and not just a second car. Opel is showing that electro-mobility is also achievable for a much broader audience thanks to the most innovative technology – Opel is democratizing the electric car with the Ampera-e“, said Karl-Thomas Neumann, Opel’s CEO. Offering space for five passengers and a boot capacity that is said to be similar to a five-door compact car, Opel’s EV uses an electric motor, which is good for 204 horsepower and 360 Nm (266 lb-ft) of torque. It can cover the 0 to 50 km/h (31 mph) sprint in just 3.2 seconds, while from 80 to 120 km/h (50-75 mph) it needs another 4.5 seconds. Give it enough space and it will eventually top out at 150 km/h (93 mph).
Even though the Ampera-e is arguably the star of the Opel stand during this year’s Show, it was not the only new model on the stand, as also making its debut was the Karl Rocks. Now, while the Karl Rocks might not be breaking any ground in terms of safety or fuel efficiency, it remains a worthy addition to Opel’s sub-compact range, especially for those looking for a small city car with an off-road character. What makes the Karl Rocks capable of leaving the safety of perfectly paved roads is its 18 mm (0.7 in) increased ride height, the integrated skid pads found in the bumpers, plus front and rear wheelhouse mouldings. It also has functional roof rails and unique 15″ bi-colour wheels, except those are more for practical and aesthetic purposes respectively. As far as we can tell, the model Opel is showing off in Paris is identical to the one from the official press images the automaker released a couple weeks back. Same can be said about its interior of course, which features ‘Favo’ fabric upholstery for the seats, front sill plates, and a high-gloss frame for the optional Radio R 4.0 IntelliLink system – which by the way features Android Auto & Apple CarPlay compatibility, plus Opel OnStar connectivity and service assistant. There will be an equivalent Vauxhall Viva Rocks for UK market customers.
There has been a Rocks version of the Adam for a while now. Its arrival did little to enhance the appeal of this slightly odd proposition which its maker thought would present a serious challenge to the Fiat 500, MINI and the DS3. It has not. The Opel badge probably does not help, but the reality that underneath it is just a rather undistinguished Corsa has probably been the real killer. The regular car was here as well.
Opel refreshed the Corsa a couple of years ago. At the time they tried to tell us that it was “all new”, which fooled absolutely no-one apart from the press who faithfully described it as this at launch. Whilst it is not a particularly bad car, it competes in a class of much better ones, so it now sells on a mix of loyalty and value.
Sitting above it in the range are the Astra – a Car of the Year winner in its latest guise, and seen here in Hatch and Estate guise, as well as the larger Insignia and the Mokka X.
There was plenty that was new on the Peugeot stand, with new versions of two of their crossover/SUV models making their Show debuts here. Commercially the more significant is the new second generation 3008 which was revealed earlier in the year. The new 3008 is now positioned as a proper crossover to rival the likes of the Nissan Qashqai and the Seat Ateca. This is the brand’s first model to feature the new generation Peugeot i-Cockpit design language which includes a series of measures to make what Peugeot hope we will all think is a car with its cabin that is one of the friendliest places to sit in the segment. The interior now features things like sensory buttons, advanced ambient lighting, a 12.3-inch digital display for the driver’s gauges and a separate 8.0-inch touchscreen display for the infotainment system. Thanks to the EMP2 modular platform, the new Peugeot 3008 claims to be up to 100kg lighter than its predecessor. Despite measuring 4450mm in length, the new model also features an 80mm longer wheelbase, improving the room inside the cabin and the boot space which is now set at 520 litres, 90 more than the outgoing model. Customers will get to choose between two turbo petrol and four diesel options, with six-speed manual or automatic transmissions. The petrol range consists of the entry-level 1.2-litre PureTech 130 and the 1.6-litre THP 165. Diesel options include the 1.6-litre BlueHDi with 100PS and 120PS and the 2.0-litre BlueHDi with 150PS and 180PS. The range-topping petrol and diesel versions are offered exclusively with a six-speed automatic gearbox. The new crossover will also offer the option of a folding electric scooter or a folding bicycle with electric assistance, designed to integrate perfectly into the boot of the new 3008, with the car recharging their batteries when running. As you would expect from a modern crossover, the new 3008 comes with a wide range of active safety systems, including Active Safety Brake and Distance Alert, Driver Alert Warning, Automatic High Beam Assistance, Adaptive Cruise Control with Stop function, Active Blind Spot Monitoring System and Park Assist. Deliveries start in the next few weeks.
The new 3008 is joined by a new 5008, which also made its debut here. The new 5008 has transformed into an SUV as well. It hasn’t forgotten its practical roots, with Peugeot describing it as the first model of its kind to offer the modularity of an MPV. The 5008 offers the same engines as the 3008, features the i-Cockpit philosophy and is lighter than its forebear because it sits (you guessed it!) on an enlarged version of the new EMP2 platform. There will be a slightly longer wait for this one, with sales starting in Spring 2017.
By bringing their year-old Fractal Concept to Paris, Peugeot confirm that this little concept was something worth revisiting. The Fractal was shown at the 2015 Frankfurt Motor Show, where this car stood out not only because of it’s funky and futuristic appearance, but also its interior. The cabin of the Fractal features an evolution of the French automaker’s i-Cockpit design, an innovative 9.1.2 sound system, plus 3D-printed parts used on over 80% of the interior trim surface. On the outside, this concept is extremely compact at just 3.81m long and 1.77m wide, though the large 19″ Tall&Narrow wheels do give it that Hot Wheels-like appearance that inevitably draws your gaze. Powering the Fractal are two electric motors located on the front and rear axles, combining for an output of 204 PS (201 HP). Driving range is a respectable 450 km (280 miles) and it’s all thanks to its 30kWh lithium-ion battery located in the central tunnel. In a straight line, it’ll hit 100 km/h (62 mph) in 6.8 seconds, covering a full km (.62 miles) in 28.8 seconds from a standing start. Another cool thing about this concept is its variable ground clearance which helps it adapt to different types of terrain. On the highway for example, the Fractal uses a 70mm (2.7 in) clearance for better aerodynamics and improved battery life, however in the city, ride height can be increased all the way to 110mm (4.3 in).
Quite unlike any of the Peugeots you can buy was the winner of the Dakar Rally 2016, the 2008DKR. A joint venture between Peugeot, Red Bull and Total, the Peugeot 2008 DKR shares an unmistakable family resemblance with Peugeot’s road-going crossover, albeit with more muscular forms and more imposing overall proportions that have been honed to meet the challenges of one of the worlds toughest events, in which Carlos Sainz and Cyril Despres were to compete. The 2008 DKR features an aggressive stance dictated by the technical constraints associated with its mission. There was a very precise brief for Peugeot’s Style Centre, with the basic key dimensions, as well as other information such as the cabin space required, plus the wheel size and the suspension travel. There was also aerodynamic data resulting from early simulation work. One question that Peugeot Sport’s design team had to answer at a very early stage concerned the new beast’s transmission: four-wheel or two-wheel drive? The decision effectively influenced the car’s design in two key areas: Having carried out an in-depth analysis of what already existed in the world of cross-country rallying and weighed up the benefits of the different solutions, Peugeot opted for an approach that was quite different to that of the competition. Given the off-road capability of two-wheel drive transmission and its ability to run on sand, that was the choice. It enabled the fitment of bigger wheels and allowed more suspension travel. The 2008 DKR consequently sits on 37-inch diameter Michelin tyres. A further bold choice as to use a diesel engine, making this car unlike its main rivals. The decision to go for a two wheel drive solution has another advantage: far less weight, as allowed by the regulations. The bigger wheels provide a certain advantage when it comes to coping with the many pitfalls associated with the type of terrain that will be encountered, and it is possible to minimise the front overhang. The 2008 DKR can practically climb vertical walls! And that’s not all! Longer suspension travel – 460mm instead of 250mm – enhances its ability over dunes and when soaking up uneven ground, a key asset on an event like the Dakar! Another advantage of the larger wheel size is a system that enables the tyre pressures to be adjusted remotely from inside the cockpit upon entering a zone of dunes – a tactic that could yield a gain of precious minutes! In order to exploit these benefits fully, Peugeot Sport’s engineers put their creativity to the test to come up with an extremely compact car. With its 340bhp, V6 twin-turbo diesel mid-rear engine, the 2008 DKR resembles a muscular feline ready to pounce and soak up obstacles. Fitting all of the vital assemblies into such a small space gave the designers quite a headache, but as small cars tend to perform more comfortably over twisty WRC-type stages, this arrangement increased the potential of two-wheel drive cars in situations where the 4x4s tend to have the edge. The car went on to win the event.
Also here was the 208 T16, an R5 rally car developed by Peugeot Sport. which made its debut in 2014. It is based upon the Peugeot 208 road car and is the successor of the successful Peugeot 207 S2000.
Making another appearance, having been seen earlier in the year at Geneva was the 308 R Hybrid. Still just a concept, the R Hybrid develops 493bhp and 538lb ft of torque from its petrol-electric hybrid powertrain, which sees the 267bhp 1.6-litre petrol engine from the Peugeot RCZ R mated to two electric motors. Combined, the car has a 0-62 mph sprint time of 4.0 seconds, but emits just 70g/km of CO2. The 308 R Hybrid has been adapted to cope with the extra power on offer, with the front and rear tracks both widened by 80mm. It sits on 19-inch alloy wheels, clad with 235/35 R19 tyres. Power is sent to all four wheels, and there are upgraded brakes front and rear. There are four driving modes: Hot Lap; Track; Road, and ZEV. Hot Lap mode is designed to make the most of the car’s power, while Track only allows access to 395bhp. Track uses the petrol engine and the rear electric motor, with the front one acting as a booster for acceleration. Road mode has 296bhp and uses the petrol engine, supplemented by the rear motor for acceleration, while ZEV only runs on the electric motors. Peugeot has not said how far the car can travel on electric power alone, but has said it can be fully recharged on a fast charger in just 45 minutes. At the front, the grille has been modified and features a chequered pattern, while the bonnet has two air scoops, one on either side. It is more understated at the rear, with a narrow spoiler at the top of the tailgate. There are two more air scoops on the bumper, which help keep the battery cool by drawing out hot air. The two-tone paint job is familiar as this also appeared on the earlier 308 R concept that first appeared at the 2013 Frankfurt motor show, although it is blue and black on this Hybrid. The paint contains glass particles to add shine, while the colour scheme is normally only used on French competition cars. Inside, the cockpit is familiar to the rest of the 308 range in many ways, with the same instrumentation. However, it gets four individual sport seats, in fawn leather, while the dashboard is covered in a soft-touch fabric that Peugeot uses on its concept cars. It has the same small steering wheel as the rest of the 308 range, but with 308 Hybrid R badging. The six-speed automatic gearbox is controlled by paddles behind the wheel, and a head-up display projects the crucial data into the driver’s eye-line. Production is still very much a possibility.
Attracting lots of interest, as this France, and French cars still dominate the market were examples of the rest of the range, starting with the 108 city car, lots of examples of the 208 including the GTi, its 2008 crossover derivative and the large 508 in both saloon and clever RXH guises.
For all its merits as a luxury sports saloon, the original Panamera Mk1 could never escape its bloated and lacklustre looks, something that Porsche has strived to amend with the all-new second generation model unveiled here. Porsche says it systematically improved the Panamera concept redeveloping and redesigning it “down to the last detail” as it goes after a wide variety of luxury saloons, from the Mercedes-Benz S-Class to the Maserati Quattroporte. Porsche strongly hinted at what it had in store for the new G2-codenamed Panamera as early as 2012 with the Sport Turismo Concept, a study that also previewed an upcoming addition to the family, a shooting-brake style estate that will launch sometime within the next 18 months. While still recognisable as a scion of the first Panamera that came to life in 2009, the new liftback-style saloon has a sportier silhouette that’s aided by a more coupe-like roofline that reduces the height above the rear passenger compartment by 20mm (0.8 in.) and a 30mm (1.2 in.) longer wheelbase to eliminate the previous model’s hunchback styling and awkward proportions. Together with the shorter front overhangs and sharper styling details, including the front and rear lights, the new Panamera gives the impression that it’s closer related to the 911 than the Cayenne – and that’s a compliment for its design. The same can be said about the 2017 Panamera’s interior that exhibits a completely new design influenced by the latest 911, but with additional tech features including high-resolution displays and an array of touch-sensitive surfaces that replace the previous car’s classic buttons right up to the louvres of the central air vents that are electrically adjusted by touch-sensitive sliders. Continuing the digitalization trend that started with the 918 Spyder, Porsche fitted the new Panamera with a single analogue rev-counter flanked by two high res screens, while on the center console, there’s a 12.3-inch touchscreen of the next generation Porsche Communication Management (PCM) system. Even rear passengers get a digital screen when opted with a four-seat layout. The saloon offers a 40:20:40 split of the folding rear bench backrests and a luggage capacity of 495 litres that can extend to 1,304 litres with the rear seats folded. New equipment options include a panoramic tilt roof, massage seats, ambient lighting and a 3D high-end sound system from Burmester. As well as looking sharper, Porsche claims that the new Panamera will also be better on the road, reconciling “two contrasting characteristics more than ever before: the performance of a genuine sports car and the comfort of a luxury saloon”. The second iteration of the Panamera is based on Porsche’s newer MSB (modular standard architecture) platform and comes packed with chassis tech. These include a number of optional and standard systems such as an adaptive air suspension with new three-chamber technology, including Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM electronic damper control), enhanced Porsche Dynamic Chassis Control Sport (PDCC Sport) system with Porsche Torque Vectoring Plus (PTV Plus) and active roll stabilisation, as well as a new electromechanical steering system. Also, for the first time, the Panamera will get Porsche’s rear-wheel steering pioneered in the 918 Spyder and 911 Turbo, while the Germans claim that brake performance has been improved over the previous model. Powering the launch versions of the Panamera are Porsche’s new turbocharged 2.9-litre V6 and 4.0-litre V8 gasoline engines, and for the first time, a 4.0-litre V8 diesel in conjunction with permanent four-wheel drive. All engines are paired to a new eight-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox and a re-worked version of the previous Panamera’s all-wheel drive system. The 2.9-litre V6 biturbo petrol engine of the Panamera 4S produces a maximum power of 440PS / 434hp (+20hp) and 550Nm / 406 lb-ft (+30Nm), enough to push it to 100km/h (62mph) in 4.4 seconds or 4.2 seconds with the Sport Chrono Package, and on to a top speed of 289km/h (180mph). It returns a combined fuel economy of between 8.2 – 8.1 l/100 km (186 – 184 g/km CO2) representing a fuel saving of up to 1.0 l/100 km or 11 percent over the previous 4S. Sitting at the top of the range for now is the new Panamera Turbo with a 550PS / 542hp (+30hp) and 770Nm / 568 lb-ft (+70Nm) 4.0-litre biturbo V8 petrol. With a power-to-weight ratio of 3.6 kg/hp, the Turbo hits 100km/h (62mph) in 3.8 sec or 3.6 sec with the Sport Chrono Package, topping out at 306km/h (190mph). Porsche says it consumes between 9.4 – 9.3 l/100 km on average, or up to 1.1 l/100 km less than that of the previous model, with CO2 emissions of 214 – 212 g/km. A new addition to the lineup is the Panamera 4S Diesel with a 422PS (416hp) and 850Nm (627 lb-ft) 4.0-liter V8, making it the most powerful production diesel Porsche ever. With a top speed of 285 km/h (177mph), it’s also the world’s fastest production vehicle with a diesel. It can reach the 100 km/h (62mph) speed mark in 4.5 seconds (4.3 seconds with the Sport Chrono Package), while promising combined fuel consumption of 6.8 – 6.7 l/100 km (178 – 176 g/km CO2). Additional powertrains will be added to the range further down the road. In Europe, the new Panamera can be ordered now with first customer deliveries on November 5. Prices in Germany start at €113,027 including VAT for the Panamera 4S, €116,954 for the Panamera 4S Diesel and €153,011 for the Panamera Turbo.
With a 4-litre, six-cylinder flat engine at its disposal, the new Porsche 911 GT3 Cup is ready to put down 485 PS on any given racetrack. Built specifically to be used in the 2017 race season, the 911 GT3 Cup Porsche brought to Paris is not just about performance, but also increased efficiency. In order to boost that aspect, for the first time, Porsche have utilised a valve drive with rigidly mounted rocker arms and a central oil feed. Furthermore, the car uses an integrated oil centrifuge to optimise oil de-foaming in the naturally aspirated engine. On the aero side of things, downforce is improved by the new front apron as well as the new rear end, the latter featuring the same massive 184-centimeter (72 in) wide rear wing found on the previous model. Also, on the track, the new 911 GT3 Cup will weigh just 1,200 kg (2,645 lbs), approximately 295 kg (650 lbs) less than a GT3 RS. Safety was also emphasised during the development stages, which is why the driver is protected by a solid safety cage as well as an innovative, bucket-style racing seat. In case of an accident, the car’s enlarged rescue hatch (in line with FIA standards) will make it easier to provide treatment and recovery. Since 1998, Porsche has produced some 3,031 units of the 911 GT3 Cup in either 996, 997 or 991 form. This latest iteration will make its debut in the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup, followed by the Porsche Carrera Cup Deutschland.
The regular 911 range was also much in evidence on the stand.
Porsche also announced a new Performance package for the range-topping Macan Turbo, adding a bit more poke to an already seriously fast crossover. The twin-turbo 3.6-litre V6 petrol engine now delivers 434hp (440PS), almost 40hp more than the standard Turbo model, with peak torque risen to 442lb-ft (600Nm) which represents a 37lb-ft increase. The 0-62mph (0-100km/h) sprint now takes just 4.4 seconds, 0.4 of a second faster, while top speed is set at 169mph (272km/h). Moving on to the chassis, the new Performance package adds 30 mm larger brake discs at the front, measuring 390mm in diameter, which are gripped by six-piston calipers. The suspension now offers a 15mm lower ride height, with the optional self-levelling air suspension also lowered by 10mm. The Sports Chrono Package and sports exhaust system are offered as standard. The new Porsche Macan Turbo with the Performance package is also offered with a new range of equipment options, including the Turbo Exterior Package with 21-inch 911 Turbo wheels, LED main headlights with the company’s Dynamic Light System Plus. Also available is the Turbo Interior package which adds a black leather interior with Alcantara elements, colour appliqué highlights and carbon details. Customers can now order the new range-topping Porsche Macan in the UK and Ireland, with prices set from £68,073 and €122,512 respectively. First deliveries are expected toward the end of the year.
Even though we’ve had countless concepts from multiple automakers being associated with the famous Batmobile because of their looks, now we finally have one that actually opens up like Batman’s ride. The Trezor’s “upper” pushes up and slides forward in order to make room for its two occupants, which is exactly the type of gimmick that will get you noticed at a car show as important as the one in Paris. Another important thing to note about the Trezor concept is the powertrain. It’s got a Formula E-derived electric motor, good for 350 HP and 380 Nm (280 lb-ft) of torque, helping it hit 100 km/h (62 mph) in less than four seconds. Yet another Batmobile worthy trait. Performance and futuristic looks aside, this concept also features a fully-autonomous driving mode which allows the steering wheel to stretch in order to offer the driver a fresh new perspective of the dashboard and its layout. Speaking of the dash, it comes with a slightly curved large central screen boasting OLED technology (like on high-end Android smartphones) with Corning Gorilla Glass. All in all, this is one of the most futuristic, innovative and visually aggressive concepts Renault has ever built and if they ever produce anything even remotely similar, we reckon the masses are going to be impressed.
This is the Renault Sport RS 16 Concept which has been produced to celebrate Renault Sport’s 40th anniversary and return to Formula 1. It is based on the regular production RS200 model, and grafts the Renault range’s highest-performing engine into a Renault Clio and features the colours of the 2016 R.S. 6 F1 single-seater. It was unveiled at the Monaco Grand Prix a few weeks prior to this event. “Our aim was to produce a concept car with genuinely outstanding performance credentials,” notes Patrice Ratti, Managing Director of Renault Sport Cars, leader of the project which particularly inspired the development team’s specialists. “On paper, producing a Clio R.S. powered by our most potent engine – namely the 275 bhp two-litre power unit which delivers peak torque of 360Nm – was an extremely appealing idea, but we had to make sure it was feasible.” Thanks to new working procedures involving teams from the worlds of motorsport and road cars, the development of the highest-performance road-going Renault Sport car ever took just five months from start to finish. Finding the ideal way to house the engine, transmission and cooling system of the Mégane R.S. 275 Trophy-R was a significant challenge. The exhaust system was also revised as a function of the engine’s potential, while the suspension was engineered to match the car’s outstanding performance characteristics. Careful attention was paid to the sound produced by the car, too, and an Akrapovic twin exhaust system was selected. The design and development team dealt successfully with the constraints inherent in the Clio R.S.16 project (body widened by 60mm, 19-inch wheels and optimisation of the engine cooling system) to produce an expressive, sporty stance. The result is enhanced by an LED R.S. VISION chequered-pattern lighting signature featuring exclusive multi-faceted reflector technology. Renault Sport’s trademark Liquid Yellow has been combined with gloss black details to mirror the livery of Renault Sport Formula One Team’s R.S.16 F1 single-seaters. It is not clear whether the car will reach production.
The regular Clio is very much in production and this is not just France’s best-selling car, but also now the second most popular car in Europe after the Golf. A mid cycle update was announced in the summer, though it will take a keen eye to spot the alterations, which include small visual design changes, better quality and an updated colour palette. The front end now hosts a new LED lighting signature with optional C-shaped DRLs while the grille is slightly redesigned to give the new Clio a broader and more modern look. Renault has added four new colours in the existing selection (Intense Red, Titanium Grey, Pearly White and Iron Blue) as well as new alloy designs. The cabin is now made by higher-quality materials, reserved usually for the company’s more expensive models. The steering wheel, door panels and the gear lever have also been redesigned to match the greater quality feel. The new Clio is now available in more than 30 different colour combos, with customers able to choose from five roof decals and four exterior customisation packs. The company also offers three different infotainment options: the R&Go system which uses a smartphone as the system’s screen, the Media Nav Evolution with a seven-inch touchscreen display and the R-Link Evolution with high-definition graphics, TomTom navigation and more. The engine range now includes the 1.5-litre dCi 110 diesel mated to a six-speed manual transmission with the TCe 120 petrol unit also gaining the manual gearbox option. Those looking for a sportier version but not for the proper RS model can opt for the GT-Line model which adds dark metal air scoops in the front bumper, lateral sills and exclusive 16- or 17-inch wheels. There is an Estate model offered to European buyers and that was here along with the 5 door hatch version.
Renault has one of the largest line-ups of electric vehicles in the business. Arguably chief among them is the Zoe, its only proper dedicated EV. And it brought out a vastly improved version at the Paris Motor Show. With the new ZE 40 battery pack, the latest Renault Zoe is rated to travel 400 km (250 miles) on a single charge. That’s based on the New European Driving Cycle, by whose standard the Zoe was initially rated at little over half that (210 km or 130 miles) when it first launched in 2012. The manufacturer itself has slightly more conservative expectations of its battery-powered hatchback, saying it will realistically go for 300 km (or 186 miles) before needing to plug in. That would be enough to drive from Paris way up to the north of the country to Calais on the southern bank of the English Channel without having to stop. It also puts it (almost) within spitting distance of the Chevy Bolt and some Tesla models, and well ahead of the rest of the field – including the recently updated Leaf from Renault’s corporate ally Nissan. It is bound to increase the model’s popularity still further.
Coinciding with the launch of the all-new Scenic, first seen at Geneva earlier in the year, Renault introduced a limited edition of the compact MPV, dubbed Edition One. Based on the Intens grade level and available in Pearlescent White with a contrasting black roof, it features higher-end equipment such as the premium Bose audio system with 12 loud speakers, panoramic glass roof and Easy Park Assist. Moreover, the Renault Scenic Edition One also packs Light Grey leather upholstery with Grand Comfort headrests, massage function for the front seats, which are also heated and electrically adjustable, grey-bordered carpet mats, aluminium boot sill guard and signature Quartz wheels. Aside from the limited edition Scenic, the MPV will be available in four equipment levels by the time it will reach French dealerships, in mid-October. These count the Life, Zen, Business and Intens, which pack a raft of useful technologies that include the Overspeed Warning with Traffic Sign Recognition and Automatic Emergency Braking System with Pedestrian Detection, from the entry-level model upwards. As for the engine lineup, this comprises of a wide choice of diesel and petrol units, with output ranging between 95 PS (94 HP) and 160 PS (158 HP), mated to either a six-speed manual, a six-speed dual-clutch EDC or a seven-speed EDC.
The Twingo was represented by the new GT version, and it was joined by the big-selling Captur and the fourth generation Megane, a model which was launched last year in France but which took a long time to reach UK shores.
Also here were a number of Renault models which are not offered to UK buyers. The Talisman, sold as a conventional saloon and estate, is the replacement for the Laguna and has been around for a couple of years now, and the examples of this were joined by the fifth generation Espace, a commodious MPV that has traded some interior space for a little more style, and which now looks like an elongated version of the new Scenic.
Renault’s commitment to motorsport was represented by this pair of racers, dramatically displayed in vertical positions, cars from Formula 1 and the more recent Formula E.
There was a SEAT stand indoors, but whenever I venture onto it, it was busy, so there are no photos from there at all, but SEAT also had an outside presence in a construction in the central concours area, and the focus here was very much on their well-received Ateca. A new version was announced at Paris, the Ateca X-Perience, and it was introduced to the media, apparently in quite an unusual way, using the virtual world for its official presentation. “The audience will be immersed in a 4D experience in the interior area, created by SEAT through which it will be possible to see the new SEAT Ateca X-Perience in a totally new and unprecedented way, and, on the outdoor area the attendees will have a place for socialising, a press centre and a chill-out zone“, the automaker explained right before the show kicked off. Moving on to the SUV, the Ateca X-Perience sets itself apart from the regular variants through its scratch-resistant green paint, higher ground clearance and a beefed-up body kit, complemented by the roof rails and exclusive 18-inch alloy wheels. Inside, the Seat Ateca X-Perience has suede-trimmed sporty seats, Easy Connext, Seat Full Link connection, 8-inch screen with Media System plus, Connectivity box to enable in-car charging for smartphones, and the brand’s exclusive app, ConnectApp. It comes with a 2.0-litre TDI diesel engine churning out 190 horsepower that’s connected to a 7-speed dual-clutch gearbox and a four-wheel drive system. Pricing has yet to be announced.
Following an extensive marketing campaign, sprinkled with numerous reports, scoops, and even an official presentation, the all-new Skoda Kodiaq is finally here, after a very similar looking concept version was presented earlier in the year. Set to go on sale in 2017, the Czech manufacturer’s first ever large SUV sits at 4,679 mm long, 1,882 mm wide, and 1,676 mm tall, with a 2,791 mm wheelbase. It’s said to have the largest boot volume in its class, at 720 litres, expandable up to 2,065 litres with the rear seats folded down. Strip it down and it will reveal its modular transverse matrix (MQB) architecture, which is found under most mainstream models developed under the Volkswagen umbrella. The platform opens the possibility for both FWD and AWD and allows for the adoption of five powertrains, which at the time of its launch, include three TSI petrols and two TDI diesels. There is plenty of standard and optional equipment available on the Skoda Kodiaq, from Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, to the LTE module, Adaptive Cruise Control and Autonomous Emergency Braking.
There were also plenty of examples of the rest of the Skoda range on display. The ones which my camera recorded include the Fabia hatch, the slightly larger Rapid in its Spaceback version, the Octavia Scout, a Yeti and a couple of versions of the Superb including the commodious Combi and a Tour de France support car.
Smart’s world premieres for the Show were the pure electric versions of the ForTwo Coupe and Cabrio, and for the first time, the ForFour. All three models share the same electric motor producing 82hp (61kW / 83PS) and 160Nm (118 lb-ft) of torque in European specification, allowing for a 0-100km/h (62mph) time of 11.5 sec in the ForTwo Coupe, 11.8 sec in the ForTwo Cabrio and 12.5 sec in the ForFour. Top speed is electronically limited to 130 km/h (80 mph) on all three cars to help maximise efficiency. A Renault-sourced, single speed fixed gear transmission drives the rear wheels, and if you’re wondering, for reverse, the gearbox simple changes the engine’s direction of rotation. A 17.6kWh lithium-ion battery offers a driving range of 160km (100 miles) in the ForTwo Coupe, and 155km (96 miles) in the other two, with a charging time of 2.5 hours in the USA and Britain, which is half as long as the previous electric Smarts. In Germany where a different charger is needed due to single-phase alternating current, the new Smart EVs can be charged 40 percent faster than before via a household socket. From next year, Smart will offer a powerful 22 kW fast charger that can refill the battery in as little as 45 minutes, as an option. The ForTwo Electric Drive models will first go on sale in the USA, where 25 percent of all Smarts sold had a battery-electric drive, before the end of the year. In mainland Europe, the market launch of all three models, including the ForFour Electric Drive which will not be offered in the USA or the UK, will follow in early 2017. There were also examples of the combustion-engined Smart cars on the stand.
The Tivoli Rally Raid 4WD is a FIA-approved, front-engined, 6-cylinder bi-turbo beast of an off-roader, built specifically for covering rough terrain like a bat out of hell. While SsangYong hasn’t revealed a final power output figure, we do know that it sends 740 Nm (545 lb-ft) of torque towards all four wheels with the help of a 6-speed sequential gearbox. Thanks to a multi-tubular steel chassis, the Tivoli Rally Raid weighs in at around 1,750 kg (3,858 lbs), which means it’s 295 kg (650 lbs) heavier than a regular diesel-powered Tivoli SUV. Stopping power comes from a very capable braking system using AP calipers with 360 mm discs, though the rugged Michelin Competition tyres measuring 235 and 245 at the rear, help also. Other features include GPS and Data recording equipment, as well as the hydraulically-controlled chassis – where the elevation can be modified according to the terrain. On a lighter note, sound of if any of you previously figured out that “Tivoli” spelled backwards can say “I Lov It” – as it’s playfully rendered on the side of the car.
Released earlier in the year, the Tivoli XLV is an elongated version of the well-priced and decently capable Tivoli crossover.
SsangYong have set the foundations for a new generation Rexton with the LIV-2 Concept that they showed here. Evolving from the LIV-1 shown three years ago and changing not just its suffix, but much of its exterior and interior design, the study moves a step closer to production, with bits and pieces taken from other SUVs found in the brand’s portfolio, such as the Tivoli-inspired grille, which the company says, resembles the “spread wings of a bird”. The cabin is said to have been designed to emulate an executive lounge and a luxury saloon, and as such, it comes with individual seats with massage functions and mood lighting, along with the usual smartphone connectivity gizmos, a large infotainment screen and Wi-Fi. Some of these features will be carried onto the next generation Rexton, which is said to be introduced sometime next year, but what exactly will be left and what will be dropped from the concept, remains to be seen. Nevertheless, those individual seats, which seem to have been taken from the LIV-1, would make for an interesting addition, be standard or optional.
Final Ssangyong I noted was the Actyon Sports, a pickup version of the mid-sized Actyon which has been offered since 2012.
Subaru had nothing new to present at the Show, hardly a surprise since with the exception of the Swiss market where the cars sell strongly, thanks to their standard all-wheel drive, these have become very much a product with niche appeal, selling in small quantities. There were examples of the current range here for inspection, ranging from the newest of the family, the Levorg, to the more established XV, Outback and Forester.
Suzuki’s stand was focused on the new Ignis model, with several of these little cars presented on the stand. Based on Suzuki’s new lightweight new-generation platform, the new Ignis comes powered by a mild hybrid powertrain which combines a 1.2-litre Dualjet petrol engine with an integrated starter generator (ISG) and a lithium-ion battery pack. A five-speed manual transmission will be offered as standard, with an five-speed AGS (Auto Gear Shift) automated manual gearbox to be offered as an option. Power is sent to all four wheels with the company’s AllGrip Auto four-wheel drive system that automatically distributes the engine torque to the front and rear axles. With the minimum ground clearance set at 180mm, the new Suzuki Ignis promises to offer significantly better off-road capabilities than those of bigger crossovers, continuing the Japanese company’s great tradition on small off-roaders. The new Suzuki Ignis also comes with all the necessary safety features, including a Dual Camera Brake Support system which utilises stereo cameras that detect other vehicles and pedestrians ahead at speeds of 5 km/h or above. The cabin offers plenty of space and practicality, featuring many storage locations while the infotainment system comes with Android Auto, Apple CarPlay and Mirrorlink. A rear-view camera and a navigation system are also available. Sales are scheduled to begin in Europe in January 2017.
Presented alongside one of the Ignis models was a diminutive Suzuki from the back catalogue and one of the first passenger cars that the firm sold in Europe, the model known in the UK as the SC100 WhizzKid.
Current small Suzuki models that you can buy are the established Celerio and the recently released Baleno as well as the Swift supermini. These were joined by the Vitara, a small crossover in its latest incarnation.
Final model in the range is the SX4 S-Cross. Suzuki revealed a facelifted version at an event in Hungary some weeks prior to the model’s public debut at this Show. The compact crossover has received a rather heavy styling revision, featuring a complete nose job with new bonnet, headlights, grille and bumper. The new more prominent and chromed grille resembles the relevant item found in the current Vitara while the new headlights with the integrated DRLs have definitely given the SX4 S-Cross more character, without though being really sure if that’s a good thing. The revisions at the rear are way more subtle, with an updated bumper and redesigned taillights being the only differences we can spot. Suzuki didn’t release any official specs yet but reports suggest that the new SX4 S-Cross will gain the fresh 1.4-litre turbo Boosterjet engine that debuted in the Vitara. The engine makes 138hp (140PS) and 162lb ft (220Nm) of torque in the Vitara’s case and will be available both with FWD and AWD versions of the SX4 S-Cross. There is also a strong chance we’ll see the company’s 1.0-litre turbo under the compact crossover’s bonnet. The 1.6-litre diesel unit will remain unchanged.
There were several examples on the Toyota stand of the new C-HR, the style-conscious crossover that was formally launched in production guise here, following the presentation of what Toyota called a design preview at the Geneva Show. Standing for Coupe High-Rider, the new Toyota model bares a striking resemblance to its concept variant unveiled two years ago in Paris. It’s been spawned to rival vehicles like the Mazda CX-3, Nissan Juke and Honda HR-V. Beneath the skin, the CH-R is based around the Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA) and when it hits the market, will be available in a number of guises. The range-topping model features a 2.0-litre petrol four-cylinder engine delivering 142 hp and mated to a CVT. However, this variant will only be available in select markets. Elsewhere, like the UK, the range will be topped out by a 1.8-litre four-cylinder mated to an electric motor to produce a total of 120 hp and achieving 78.5 mpg over the combined cycle, all while emitting just 82 g/km of CO2 emissions. Last but not least is a 1.2-litre turbo petrol engine already available on the Prius, outputting 114 hp and 185 Nm of torque. This engine can be joined to either a six-speed manual transmission or a CVT and will also be offered in front and all-wheel drive configurations. The model’s exterior design is clearly reflective of the marque’s current design language, combining edgy and eye-catching body panels into a sleek package not dissimilar to the NX offered by Lexus. The car itself measures 4,360 mm long, 1,795 mm wide and 1,550 mm high with a 2,640 mm wheelbase. Inside, the Toyota C-HR has an eight-inch touchscreen incorporating the company’s Touch 2 multimedia system. Also found within are a selection of piano black and satin silver trim and a shallow dashboard design, providing the driver with an excellent field of vision. Numerous safety features come standard on all versions, including Adaptive Cruise Control, Lane Departure Alert, Automatic High Beam, Road Sign Assist and a Pre-Collision System with pedestrian warning. Heated seats are also available as is rear privacy glass, 18-inch alloy wheels and a smart entry system.. Sales start soon. It will be interesting to see how well it does.
European market Yaris models are built in France, and Toyota did not miss the opportunity to remind show go-ers of this fact with large stickers down the side proclaiming the origin of the car. The road going model was joined by a Gazoo racing version.
Other Toyota models on display included the familiar Auris and RAV4 and the recently released fourth generation Prius with its very distinctive new look.
A new version of the Prius was making its debut here. Known in other markets as the Prius Prime, the Prius Plug in Hybrid is part of the Japanese car maker’s goal to bring more emotion and livelier designs to its line-up. Measuring 4,645mm in length, 1,760mm in width and 1,470mm in height, the new Prius is longer, wider and lower than its predecessor. It’s safe to say that the model’s elongated overhangs and front fascia – governed by thin, ultra-compact four-LED (adaptive) headlamp units – give it a unique, distinctive look. One of the reasons the Prius looks like it does its due to its aerodynamic sculpted body. Every awkward crease and line is there to reduce fuel consumption, playing an important role in the vehicle’s 0.25 drag coefficient. Toyota also aims to reduce its fleet’s CO2 emissions by 90 per cent by 2050, and the new Prius represents an important step in that direction. The automobile features sophisticated technology breakthroughs, including a Dual Motor EV drive, a battery warning system, an EV range-extending solar roof, and gas injection heat pump automatic air conditioning. It also has twice the range of the previous Prius, thanks to a new 145-litre, 8.8kW/h battery that weighs 120 kg. Moreover, EV power has been increased by 83 per cent, thanks to the development of a Dual Motor Drive System that uses both the electric motor and the generator to boost the model’s driving power to 68kW. Paired to the familiar 1.8-litre Atkinson-cycle four-cylinder gasoline engine, the rig targets an average fuel consumption of 1 l/100 km (282.5mpg UK) and 22g/km of CO2 emissions– according to Toyota.
Toyota’s rather odd-looking hydrogen-powered Mirai was also on the stand.
Making its debut at Paris after having been seen at last year’s Tokyo Motor Show, the Toyota FCV Plus Concept is all about the future. The first thing noticeable is the Jetsons-inspired body, but unlike the flying cars from the popular cartoon, this study touches the pavement with small wheels, cruising almost silently thanks to a fuel-cell powertrain and four independent in-wheel motors. Since hydrogen is the fuel of choice for setting the Toyota FCV Plus in motion, water is the only emission, but unlike other similar vehicles, this study can also generate electricity from the hydrogen stored outside, in addition to its own tank, and it can therefore be used as a stable source of electric power. Besides allowing users to put hydrogen to use in order to power their home, the FCV Plus can also be integrated into the local infrastructure, when it’s not used for transport, thus sharing its energy with the community. There’s no doubt that some of these technologies will be common sometime in the future, but until then, those interested in hydrogen-powered cars made by Toyota will have to settle for the Mirai.
Something really rather different was the TS050 Hybrid, a racing car developed for the 2016 Le Mans Prototype rules in the FIA World Endurance Championship. The car is the direct successor to the Toyota TS040 Hybrid, which competed in the 2014 and 2015 FIA WEC seasons. The TS050 was revealed at the Circuit Paul Ricard on the 24th March 2016 because of Toyota’s 2-year cycle policy. The engine is a biturbo petrol 2.4 litre V6, wherereas the two previous cars used a naturally aspirated petrol V8. It features an 8 megajoule hybrid system, which uses lithium ion batteries. Toyota started the season with a second place and points finish at Silverstone, and followed up with a good performance at Spa only to have engine trouble hit both cars, later attributed to the unique forces applied whilst going through the infamous Eau Rouge corner. Toyota then had a very strong race at Le Mans, qualifying 3rd and 4th behind the two Porsche 919 Hybrids. The cars worked their way into the lead, setting up what seemed like an inevitable victory, which would be the first for the manufacturer, following four previous 2nd place finishes in 1992, 1994, 1999, and 2013 . As the race drew to a close, the Toyota No.5 had a lead over the No.2 Porsche. With 6:30 left, the gap between the lead No.5 Toyota and the No.2 Porsche was 1:14, with both cars on the lead lap. Delayed radio transmissions by Kazuki Nakajima revealed at about this time that the No.5 was experiencing a severe loss of power on acceleration, and this was evidenced by the No.2 rapidly catching it. With 4:30 to go, the gap had been reduced to 37.580 seconds, and Toyota had to decide whether to bring its car into the pits or to keep it on the race track. The team elected to keep the car on track, and Nakajima had to stop the car, but stopped it just after the start/finish line as the No.5 car’s power gave out entirely, with 3:25 remaining on the clock. The No.2 Porsche passed it a few seconds later to claim the LMP1 and overall lead in what turned out to be the final lap of the race. Nakajima held the No.5 car stationary just past the start/finish line until the 24 hour clock officially ran out, then pushed the car ahead at whatever speed it could manage to complete the last lap. Officially, it took the No.5 Toyota 11:53.815 to complete the final lap of the race, which is above the maximum allowed time of six minutes. This led to the No. 5 car not being classified in the race results and not earning any championship points. The car will be competing in 2017, and Toyota will be hoping for better luck at le Mans.
VW wants to sell 3 million Electric Vehicles by 2025, concentrating on a brighter, eco-friendly future, and the newly launched I.D. concept represents one of the steps towards the car maker’s goal. Launched at the Show, this futuristic looking I.D. concept actually previews a production model set to hit the market in 2020. It features a completely new design language, developed by Volkswagen specifically for its upcoming electric line-up – which will be comprised of “more than 30 new, purely battery-powered electric vehicles”, scheduled to be launched over the next 10 years. Underpinned by VW’s MEB platform the I.D. draws power from a 168 hp electric motor that can accelerate the car from 0 to 62 mph (100 km/h) in less than 8 seconds, and onto a top speed of 99 mph (159 km/h). It also has a has a range of 400 to 600 km (249 to 373 miles). According to Volkswagen the production-variant of the I.D. will be launched parallel to the Golf, and will be configurable with more or less powerful electric motors as well as well as battery packs with differing capacities – depending on the customer needs, of course. It’s unknown how many of its unique technologies will make it into series production, though, but the I.D. features an advanced head-up display which projects virtual images on the windscreen, self-driving tech, and fast charging.
Making another appearance here, having been seen earlier in the year was the BUDD-e, a concept which recalls the legendary Type 2 Bus. VW keep presenting concepts with more than a passing reference to this much-loved classic. One day they might actually build one. This time the model they have produced is an all-electric concept based on the upcoming MEB platform. It is called the BUDD-e, and it is powered by two electric motors, sending a total power output of 301hp (225kW) to all four wheels, while delivering an EPA-estimated autonomy of up to 233 miles (or 533km-NEDC). Furthermore, according to Volkswagen, the concept can be charged to 80% in just 30 minutes – if “fuelled” by a 150kW charger – and does 0 to 100 km/h (62 mph) in just 6.9 seconds; although its electric powertrain can’t make it go faster than 180 km/h (112 mph). The interior stays true to Volkswagen’s commitment for the future of automobiles: drastically reduced knobs and buttons, a philosophy also embraced on other recent VW concepts. Even the multi-functional steering wheel features pressure or swipe activated functions instead of regular inputs. The BUDD-e could be a very important concept for Volkswagen, offering a glimpse into the future of the car maker. If only they would build it, or something like it!
Electrically powered VW models that you can buy right now that were on the stand include the e-Up and e-Golf.
Other models that I managed to photograph on what was a large stand included the Touran, the latest Passat and the Beetle Dune. Having been shown first as a concept, the Dune was launched at the 2015 LA Show last November, one of two special models, the other being the Denim. The Dune comes with off-road cladding that’s supposed to hark back to the Baja Bugs of the 1960s. and has been added to the range to create some more interest in a car for which interest and certainly sales are dropping right away.
And final VW from the stand was the large Amarok pickup, a model which you would have thought was aimed as much at America as it is Europe, and yet, curiously, it is not sold across the Pond.
ZONE de SPORT
At the back of Hall 1 were a collection of small stands which collectively were described as the “Zone de Sport”. There was quite a variety of cars on show dispersed across these stands.
Needing little in the way of introduction was the first car I came across in this area, a Ford GT of the type made by Ford around 10 years ago.
Rather less familiar is this Tojeiro Jaguar dating from 1958. John Tojeiro moved to the UK with his English mother aged just 18 months after his Portuguese father passed away. After a difficult schooling in the UK, leaving with no qualifications at all, he started his working career as an apprentice for Shelvoke and Drury who made bin lorries. He bought cheap motorcycles, but his first chassis work was at the Fleet Air Arm on the Fairey Swordfish – a 1930s torpedo bomber nicknamed ‘Stringbag’ because of its ability to carry anything, much like someone’s string shopping bag. Tojeiro left the army in 1945, failed to finish his apprenticeship (no great surprise) and started work on an MG TA. The badly burned car was reclothed in aluminium panels, but handled so badly that Tojeiro went back to the drawing board after scaring himself senseless. From there he built the first Tojeiro which was based loosely on Charles and John Cooper’s MG owned by Brian Lister. The self-taught welder produced his first frame, but it was squint before anything was even attached to it. Back to the drawing board, again. Things did improve, though, and with input into the AC Ace that made its (very popular) debut at the 1953 Motor Show the scene was set. Fast-forward to 1956 and the arrival of John Ogier, an Essex farmer. Ogier wanted to pay for a lightweight Jaguar-engined car and the result was 7 GNO. However, despite its pretty looks the aerodynamics needed attention. To solve the aerodynamic problems Cavendish Morton, an enthusiast who painted (yes, really), was brought in. From 1957 he’d style the Tojeiros by producing a painting of it which was then treated as a blueprint (yes, really). Among the Tojeiros were the four Jaguar-powered cars, but none really achieved much in the way of great success. Tojeiro himself told Motor Sport back in 1985 that “the Lister was clearly the best of the Jaguar-engined specials, but I like to think my cars were the best of the rest, just ahead of the HWM and Cooper”. Two had Ecurie Ecosse history after the third car, built in 1958, was loaned to the Scottish team recently celebrated at the Revival. The fourth was built for Ecosse in 1959, which the likes of Jim Clark and Masten Gregory drove. This is one of them.
Far more familiar is this Renault-Alpine A110, a car with an impressive competition history through the 1960s and 1970s and much sought after today.
Also well known is the Peugeot 205 Turbo 16, a car which saw action both as a Group B Rally car and on gruelling events such as the Paris Dakar.
Many of the cars here were selected because of their success in various French motor sport championships, ranging from the DS3 AutoCross to a BMW M3 GTR Mountain racer and a racing Ford Fiesta.
There were other categories represented, too, including a Honda Civic WTCC, and a EuroNascar as well as a Ligier LMP1.
“CARS IN THE CINEMA”
This was almost like a Show in its own right. Hall 8, a few hundred yards away from the other Halls in use for the event was given over to a special display which was called ” Moteur! L’Automobile fait son Cinéma”, and was a celebration of a large number of cars which have starred in movies over the years. Many of these will be familiar to almost anyone around the world, but a few were stars of French films and so it was less obvious to me why they had been included. There were in fact seven sub-themes to the display, with separate parts of the hall, around which you meandered on a path which meant you could not see what was coming next, allocated to these, which were: Secret Agents and Detectives; Comedies; Fiction; Science Fiction; Pursuits and Car Chases; Sport; and “Backstage”.
First car I came across was also the oldest in the entire display, a Renault Type AX that starred in The Tiger Brigade (Les Brigades du Tigre) of 1974.
Perhaps better known, this 1961 Peugeot 403 Cabriolet is the car of Lieutenant Colombo, as played by the actor Peter Falk on screen.
From the 1973 film “The Mentalist” we get this 1973 Citroen DS20 Pallas.
This is the 1999 Jaguar XK8 “Shaguar” from the 1999 film “Austin Powers 2: The Spy Who Shagged Me”.
This rather nice 1962 Facel Vega Facellia F2B is that of Bérénice Bejo in the 2006 film “OSS 117 Le Caire Nid d’Espions”.
No surprise that featuring the “Secret Agents and Detectives” part of the display were several cars which starred in James Bond films. Among them were a couple of Aston Martin models, including the DB10 which was specially built exclusively for the 2015 film “Spectre” and the DBS which appeared in 2008 in “A Quantum of Solace”. Also here were the Citroen 2CV 007 from the 1981 film “For Your Eyes Only” which became so popular that Citroen offered a production version as a limited edition car complete with fake bullet holes and the Renault R11 Taxi which got decapitated in 1985’s “A Licence to Kill”.
“Le Gendarme et les Gendarmettes” of 1982 was were this Citroen Mehari featured.
A second DS, this one is a 1964 Citroën DS19, which featured in the 1965 French film “Fantômas se Déchaine”.
And a third one, this was in the 1968 film “Le Cerveau”
Needing no introduction, surely, this is a version (ish) of the Mini that was used in so many of the “Mr Bean” episodes, memorably piloted by Rowan Atkinson.
This Renault 4 fourgonnette La Poste was in the 1993 Jean-Marie Poiré film “The Visitors” (“Les Visiteurs”)
This Renault Safrane featured in “The Visitors”
Think French films and it is likely that Jacque Tati is the name that springs to mind. This rather fabulous Renault NervaStella featured in his 1949 film “The Big Day” (“Jour de Fête”).
There were plenty more Renault models here, as you might expect, this being France. This Gendarmerie Estafette was used in the Jean Girault’s “Les Gendarmes” series of films from 1964-1982.
And the Renault 8 Gordini was in Georges Lautner’s 1966 “Let’s Not Get Angry” (“Ne Nous Fâchons Pas”).
The Cars movie was sufficiently popular that a sequel soon followed. This is a repllica of Sally Carrera from the first, 2006 film. Sally is based on a 996-generation Porsche 911 with a few bodywork tweaks to give it that caricature appearance.
Another nice duo of Citroen, the H Van was in “Louis La Brocante” and the Citroën SM in “César et Rosalie”
Featured in Claude Lelouch’s 1990 film “Il y a des jours et des lunes” was this Renault Alpine GTA
Starring in the 1967 film “The Graduate” was the delightful and stylish Alfa Romeo Duetto 1600 Spider.
Featured in 1984 in “Ghostbusters” was this 1959 Cadillac Miller-Meteor “Ecto-1”
Starring in the 1983 film “Christine” was this 1957 Plymouth Fury
The DeLorean DMC-12 would have remained something of a motoring obscurity had it not been for its key role in the “Back to the Future” films, this one was labelled as from the 1989 film “Back to the Future II”
And another well known American car, this is the 1982 Pontiac Firebird “KITT” from “Knight Rider” of 1982–1986.
From the 1993 film “Jurassic Park” is this 1993 Jeep Wrangler Safari.
A fabulous exhibit in its own right, this Peugeot 184 Landaulet was borrowed from Peugeot’s own collection and featured in the 2011 film “Midnight in Paris”.
This 2016 Audi R8 can be seen in “Kingsglaive Final Fantasy XV”.
First of two Chevrolet Camaro models was this 2012 “Bumblebee” from “Transformers: Dark of the Moon” dating from 2011
This earlier Camaro, a 1977 “Bumblebee” model was in the 2007 film “Transformers”
This lovely Lancia Aurelia B24 Convertible could be seen in “Le Fanfarron”
This is the 1968 Mustang from the film “Bullitt”.
And another well known car which featured for several years, this is the 1969 Dodge Charger “General Lee”, star of “The Dukes of Hazzard” from 1979 to 1985.
The W116 generation Mercedes 450SEL 6.9 was in “Ronin”
Rather more recent was this current Peugeot 308 in the 2014 film “Lucy”
A couple of cars were from the “Fast and Furious” series of films, This 1994 Toyota Supra was used in the original 2001 film and the 1987 Buick Grand National GNX was in “Fast and Furious 4 ”
It’s not just cars which feature in films, of course. This 1958 Berliet GBC8 Gazelle was in the film “100 000 Dollars au Soleil”
Definitely one of the more unusual vehicles of the display, this is a Renault Alpine Alpine M65 and it featured in Louis-Pascal Couvelaire’s 2003 film “Michel Vaillant”
No surprise to find a “Herbie” here, as this is another iconic move car which has been reproduced and recreated countless times. This 1963 VW Beetle comes from the 1968 film “Herbie and the Love Bug”.
Definitely not something I recognised at first, this is apparently a Peugeot Limovian and it was in the 2013 Michel Gondry film “L’écume des jours”.
This Alpine Vision featured in the Gran Turismo 6 video game of 2015.
And finally there were a few cars that were part of the “behind the scenes” themed area. I loved finding out that this 1969 Porsche 908/2 Spyder was used as the camera car in the 1971 film “Le Mans”.
This Range Rover Top Rider shows some of the lengths that producers have to go to when trying to get the shots they way. It was used in 2015 for “Babysitting”
This Citroën 2CV “Go-Mobile” was used in the 2013 film “Red 2” of Dean Parisot.
And finally, this is film legend Brigitte Bardot’s Renault Floride.
In the back corner of Hall 3, renowned auction house Coys had an area stuffed full of cars, a total of around, which they were auctioning on the Saturday during the Show. There was huge variety among the models on offer, and again this was like a mini show in its own right. These are just a sub-set of the models which caught my eye.
There were a couple of Bentley models here, and quite a contrast between the 1926 3 litre Short chassis with Vanden Plas body and the S Type of some 30 years later.
This was a rather nice looking E30 generation BMW M3. It has covered just 1000 miles from new.
This 1931 Cadillac Fleetwood Drophead Coupe is from the 355 series of cars made between 1931 and 1935. Various bodies were available for these 8 cylinder luxury cars. This one, with a so-called Golfer’s Body, has been covered in real 23 carat gold and is believed once to have belonged to Liberace.
Just as massive, but a bit more restrained is this 1963 Cadillac De Ville Convertible.
This 1965 Citroen DS19 Cabriolet by Chapron was one of two open-topped DS models in the auction. These supremely elegant cars go for big money these days, and it is not hard to see why.
There were lots of Ferrari models among the lots. I spotted a 1964 330 GT 2 + 2 Series 1, from the 1970s a 308 GT4 Dino, a 365 GTC/4, from the 80s a Testarossa and from more recent times, a 430 Scuderia
Another slice of Americana was available with this first generation 1955 Ford Thunderbird.
Jaguar models here included the elegant XK120 and its eventual replacement, the E Type.
Lancia models on offer included an Aurelia GT Coupe, a Fulvia HF Coupe and the more numerous Delta Integrale
This 1963 Lotus Elan is to FIA spec and has French competition papers, somewhat rare for a car you don’t often encounter outside the UK.
Mercedes was one of the most numerous marques in the auction, with this being one of several 190SL cars on offer.
Also up for sale were this Mercedes W111 280SE Coupe and a R107 380SL in US spec.
Classic British models included the now rare Mini Van and a 1963 Morris Minor Traveller.
There were lots of Porsche up for auction, including this 356, the rather rarer (in Europe), VW-Porsche 914 and from the array of 911 models, my camera fixed on a couple of 996 generation cars including the relatively rare Targa.
The Tesla Roadster is a significant car as not only was it the first offering of Tesla Motors, but it was the first street legal all-electric car powered by lithium ion batteries. The Roadster was developed by Tesla to mass-produce AC Propulsion’s tzero concept car. After Martin Eberhard sold NuvoMedia to TV Guide, he wanted a sports car with high mileage, but could not find one. His battery experience with the Rocket eBook inspired him to develop an electric car. The production idea was conceived by Eberhard and Marc Tarpenning who incorporated Tesla Motors in Delaware on July 1, 2003, to pursue the idea commercially. South African-born entrepreneur Elon Musk took an active role within the company starting in 2004, including investing US$7.5 million, overseeing Roadster product design from the beginning, and greatly expanding Tesla’s long-term strategic sales goals by using the sports car to fund development of mainstream vehicles. Musk became Tesla’s Chairman of the Board in April 2004 and had helped recruit JB Straubel as chief technology officer in March 2004. Before Tesla had developed the Roadster’s proprietary powertrain, they borrowed an AC Propulsion Tzero vehicle as a test mule and converted from lead acid AGM batteries to lithium ion cells which substantially increased the range, reduced weight, and boosted 0-60 performance. Tesla then licensed AC Propulsion’s EV power system design and reductive charging patent which covers integration of the charging electronics with the inverter, thus reducing mass, complexity, and cost. However, Tesla was dissatisfied with how the motor and transmission worked in the chassis. Tesla then designed and built its own power electronics, motor, and other drivetrain components that incorporated this licensed technology from AC Propulsion. Given the extensive redevelopment of the vehicle, Tesla Motors no longer licenses any proprietary technology from AC Propulsion. The Roadster’s powertrain is unique. On 11 July 2005, Tesla and British sports car maker Lotus entered an agreement about products and services based on the Lotus Elise, where Lotus provided advice on designing and developing a vehicle as well as producing partly assembled vehicles, and amended in 2009, helped with basic chassis development. The Roadster has a parts overlap of roughly 6% with the Lotus Elise, a 2-inch-longer wheelbase, and a slightly stiffer chassis according to Eberhard. Tesla’s designers chose to construct the body panels using resin transfer moulded carbon fibre composite to minimise weight; this choice makes the Roadster one of the least expensive cars with an entirely carbon fibre skin. Several prototypes of the Tesla Roadster were produced from 2004 through 2007. Initial studies were done in two “test mule” vehicles based on Lotus Elises equipped with all-electric drive systems. Ten engineering prototypes (EP1 through EP10) which led to many minor changes were then built and tested in late 2006 and early 2007. Tesla then produced at least 26 validation prototypes which were delivered beginning in March 2007. These final revisions were endurance and crash tested in preparation for series production. Prototypes of the car were officially revealed to the public on July 19, 2006, in Santa Monica, California, at a 350-person invitation-only event held in Barker Hangar at Santa Monica Airport. The San Francisco International Auto Show, held on November 18–26, 2006, was the Tesla Roadster’s first auto show. It was featured in Time in December 2006 as the recipient of the magazine’s “Best Inventions 2006—Transportation Invention” award. The first “Signature One Hundred” set of fully equipped Roadsters sold out in less than three weeks, the second hundred sold out by October 2007 and general production began on March 17, 2008. The first Tesla Roadster was delivered in February 2008 to Tesla co-founder, chairman and product architect Elon Musk. The company produced 500 similar vehicles through June 2009. In July 2009, Tesla began production of its 2010 model-year Roadster—the first major product upgrade. Simultaneously, Tesla began producing the Roadster Sport, the first derivative of Tesla’s proprietary, patented powertrain. The car accelerates from 0 to 60 mph in 3.7 seconds, compared to 3.9 seconds for the standard Roadster. Tesla’s cumulative production of the Roadster reached 1,000 cars in January 2010, in 43 US States and 21 countries worldwide. A number of changes were made to the 2010 model-year cars and this was when the first right hand drive models were made. The Roadster started at £86,950 and cost about 1.5p per mile.In July 2010, Tesla introduced the “Roadster 2.5”, the latest update of the Roadster. Tesla produced the Roadster until January 2012, when its supply of Lotus gliders ran out, as its contract with Lotus Cars for 2,500 gliders expired at the end of 2011. This is the second one to be registered in Europe, back in 2009, and it has covered well under 2000 miles since then.
I enjoyed my trip to the 2016 Mondial de l’Automobile. There was plenty of new metal, and although there were a few notable absentees, the organisers had done an excellent job in filling the available space with other attractions, so there was no way that you could fell short-changed with your visit. I deliberately went on a weekday, to avoid the crowds, but it would seem I was far from alone in thinking this was the right strategy, as the Halls did get very busy at times (don’t believe what you see in the photos, a lot of them were taken in the first hour or so or the last of the day) and I would certainly recommend this, as had it been any busier, it would have been quite difficult to get close to some of the cars. You can see everything in one day, though you will probably want to get there as the doors open and stay until they close, so given the fact that the venue is about 1 hour from either Charles de Gaulle or Orly airports, and 30 minutes from the EuroStar terminal at the Gare du Nord, you probably need to plan for longer than a day trip from the UK. It is something I will be doing for the 2018 Show.