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  • irishtimes.com - Posted: September 30, 2010 @ 1:11 pm

    Live from the Paris motor show part 4

    Michael McAleer

    If Nissan and Mitsubishi are leading the electric charge in Ireland then Renault is not far behind. As it prepares for the launch next year of the e-Fluence, an electric version of the saloon car already on sale in Ireland, it has also previewed its new Zoe concept at the Paris show, effectively 95 per cent production ready according to company executives. A Clio-sized full electric car it will be weith us in the next few years.

    Renault Zoe

    The firm is also showcasing its sports car concept, Dezir. From the drawing board of its new design chief Laurens van de Acker – formerly of Mazda – the car features some of his design traits, like the fibrous wave grilles. It’s less a template for a sports car and more the start of a major design offensive as the brand is desperate to add some desirability to the look of its cars, which some regard as rather dull in comparison to rivals like Citroen, for example.

    Renault DeZir

    Over at the chevron brand, the centre of attention is the new C4 and its more muscular derivative, the DS4. While we’ve already reported on the test drive of the C4, the DS4 is a very different beast. Part small SUV/part coupe/part hatchback, Citroen is eager to stress that it crosses several niches and is perhaps pitched best at the sort of buyers who took to the Nissan Qashqai in big numbers.

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    The look is more adventurous than the relatively conservative C4, with its Irish arrival pencilled in for June next year. The regular C4 will be in Ireland from January 4th and the French hopes it will finally challenge the big players like Ford’s Focus and VW’s Golf. It’s low emissions engines will help, for it aims to have the 1.6-litre e-HDI diesel model to market with 110bhp and 109g/km at launch, but developments during the year will bring that down to under 100g/km before the end of next year.

    The 16-litre e-HDI will feature across the range, coming in the C3 with 93g/km and the C4 Picasso with 130g/km.

    The good news on emissions doesn’t end there. This engine is being constantly improved and while initial versions will feature the mediocre EGS semi-automatic transmission a manual version – but still with sub-100g/km emissions  – will be on sale by 2012.

    Prices for the new C4 are likely to start at €20,000, with the DS4 estimated closer to €25,000.

    Citroen also has a version of the Mitsubishi i-Miev on offer from January and are finalising plans to offer a lease deal on it. If the UK offer is anything to go by then expect a four-year deal for about €450 a month, after which Citroen will offer to sell the car to the customer or offer second four-year lease deal at a lower price.

    Mercedes carried on from where it left off yesterday with more details on the striking looking new CLS. A new multi-link suspension and new electric power steering system feature on the car, alongside the low emission engines. However, the news was not so good on the electric A-Class, where 500 are being built, all in left-hand drive and on the roads with pre-determined test owners, very much along the lines of the way Mini introduced its electric prototype. It seems that it might be some time yet before your local Mercedes dealer is selling anything with a plug attached.

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    Probably the star of the show so far is the stunning Jaguar C-X75 which has four electric motors and is capable of 330km/h, has 780hp and 1600Nm of torque.

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