Every international auto show has its own aura.
Frankfurt is all business. Geneva is about the future. Detroit sets the North American tone for the coming year.
And then there is Paris, which happens every two years and is very much about style.
Primarily aimed at a European audience, there are nonetheless many vehicles that are the harbinger of what will be new in North America next year.
The Paris Motor Show ran true to form this year and here are some of the new cars shown there in alphabetical order.
The next generation Audi TT Roadster is shorter overall and longer in the wheelbase and launches with two turbocharged four-cylinder engines - a TDI and a TFSI – leaving the most powerful four-cylinder TFSI for the TTS Roadster.
Unexpected was the unveiling of the TT Sportback concept, which adds 29 centimetres to the length of the “standard” TT to incorporate its extra rear doors.
This four-seat show car takes the famous silhouette in another new conceptual direction with 400 hp engine, seven-speed dual clutch transmission and permanent all-wheel-drive resulting in a 0-100 km/h time of 3.9 seconds.
When it comes ultra premium amenities with topline performance, nothing quite comes close to the Bentley Mulsanne Speed.
With its 530 hp twin-turbo V8 it is capable of 0-100 km/h in 4.9 seconds, it has a top speed of no less than 305 km/h.
In the inside, it is a combination of quintessential British luxury with dark tint accents to exterior detailing hinting at the Speed’s powerful character with leading-edge on-board technology and connectivity that are discreetly integrated with the finest materials.
Ferrari is expanding its highly successful 485 Spider with the 458 Speciale A of which only 499 will be built.
The 458 Speciale A sports the most powerful naturally aspirated V8 engine ever built by Ferrari.
The new car sprints from 0-100 km/h in just 3.0 seconds.
Its aluminum retractable hard top takes just 14 seconds to deploy or retract.
The Fiat 500X Crossover, if and when it comes to Canada, will be available with five- and six-speed manual transmissions, as well as advanced six-speed twin-clutch and nine-speed automatic transmissions.
Three drivetrain options, front-wheel drive, “Traction Plus”-equipped front-wheel drive or advanced all-wheel drive with fuel-saving rear axle disconnect, will also be offered.
A prototype of the Honda HR-V sub-compact SUV is important to Honda in Canada because it is the first in this segment.
Borrowing much from the Fit sub-compact hatchback, the fuel tank is under the front seats, making it possible for Honda’s patented Magic Seat system to offer a wide range of seating configurations with the ability to fold the second row seats completely flat for added cargo space.
The Q80 Inspiration concept reveals the brand’s attempt to create a premium, top-of-the-line car that makes a statement about Infiniti.
The four-seat fastback has no side-door mirrors to break up the aesthetics of the design.
A simplified driver interface and unique heads-up display (HUD) keep the complex algorithms of the intuitive technology hidden from view.
The front passenger also has an HUD for display of external information via a smartphone connected to the vehicle's telematics system. Each rear passenger has a touch screen positioned on the rear of the front seat rest to tap into their on-board entertainment package.
One of the brand’s top sellers in Canada is the Kia Sorento which bowed as a third generation model at the Paris Motor Show.
Slightly longer, wider and lower that the current model, the 2016 Sorento will be available in five- or seven-passenger versions with a choice of a 2.4-litre four-cylinder or available 3.3-litre V6 engine.
A major redesign of the interior features a wrap-around instrument panel and leading edge connectivity.
Who would have expected a plug-in hybrid from Lamborghini but there was the Asterion 910-4 on the stand with a V10 engine and three electric motors combining to produce an astounding 910 hp, 0-100 km/h time of 3.0 seconds and a top speed for 320 km/h.
Asterion is seen as a technology demonstrator representing a Lamborghini model that could be realistically produced today, using technologies currently available and drawing on Lamborghini's own expertise.
The Land Rover Discovery Sport signifies the first member of the new Discovery family, part of Jaguar Land Rover’s strategy to introduce 50 new products or updates in the next five years.
The Discovery Sport offers seven-passenger seating in a 5+2 configuration with a 240 hp 2.0-litre turbo engine, nine-speed transmission and standard all-wheel-drive.
Newly developed technologies such as Autonomous Emergency Braking and a new touchscreen infotainment system will be seen for the first time.
It also boasts the brand’s renowned all-terrain capability, with the ability to scale a 45-degree incline.
MINI literally came out of the box with the Superleggera Vision embodying a pioneering interpretation of the tradition-steeped roadster concept that blends British style, Italian flair, purist design, consistent lightweight construction and purely electric power.
The roadster's signature MINI proportions blended with the lines and surface finish that are typical of Touring Superleggera, the famed Italian design studio.
Many journalists remarked that, if there was one concept they they would like to see come to fruition, this was it.
The C-HR Concept is Toyota’s take on a hybrid-powered compact CUV that gives a hint at where the brand is going and the kind of vehicle it wants to bring to market in the near future.
The C-HR Concept introduces Toyota’s new design approach with a diamond styling theme. Beneath the cabin profile, the lower bodywork has been sculpted to create faceted surfaces like the precision cutting of a gemstone.
Also on the stand was the all-electric I-Road Personal Mobility Vehicle, a three-wheeler with remarkable agility and very avant-garde styling.
Volkswagen continues its very aggressive entry into the electric car segment with the Passat GTE, the first Passat with a plug-in hybrid drive system.
With a combination of a turbocharged direct injection gasoline engine with an electric motor, it has an up to 31 miles range in all-electric mode with zero emissions.
The Golf Alltrack is a wagon that includes 4Motion all-wheel-drive and a higher ground clearance and can also tow up to 2,000 kg.
The big surprise was the XL Sport two-seat concept employing a Ducati Superleggera V-Twin engine that revs to 11,000 rpm, creating 197 hp with a top speed of 168 mph.
The chassis incorporates high-strength steel sub-frames which house upper and lower control arms at the front with pull-rod actuation for the dampers. The control arms at the back have pushrods—similar to the layout for a racing car.
The central monocoque and most of the body panels are manufactured in carbon fibre-reinforced polymer (CFRP) using the RTM (Resin Transfer Molding) process.
The monocoque features slightly offset seats for the driver and passenger.
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