The cars set to shine in Paris

Wed, Sep 29, 2010, 01:00

PARIS MOTOR SHOW PREVIEW:Alongside Detroit and Geneva, it’s one of the biggest motor shows of the year, but what cars does Paris have to boast about this autumn? Our motoring writers preview the ones they’ll be elbowing others out of the way to see when the doors open on the show this week

THE TREND towards pre-show previews means that we often get a full briefing and some professional tyre-kicking well in advance of the actual event. However, there is still plenty of new cars battling for the limelight.

FERRARI’S star at the 2010 Paris Motor Show is the oddly-named SA Aperta (above). It might not have the catchiest moniker but from the images alone it’s set to be amongst the star attractions. And as is so often the case with a new Ferrari, all 80 of the cars due for production have already been sold.

Ferrari has resisted the urge to make this a weighty car with a folding metal hood – there is a light cloth roof instead. Power remains the same, at 670hp from the mighty V12.

Not to be outdone in the exclusive stakes, PORSCHE will make just 356 versions of its 911 Speedster, which is also debuting at the show. Power comes from Porsche’s 3.8-litre flat-six engine, this time tuned to pump out 408hp via the companys well-known seven-speed PDK, dual-clutch automatic gearbox.

Paris also represents a peak at the new direction for JAGUAR. While it tried to grab some entry-level premium buyers during its years under the Ford umbrella, the X-Type is reaching the end of the road and the British big cat is planning to redirect its focus on the upper end of the premium market.

With that in mind, this week its expected to pull off the covers on a new sports car and the rumours are that it will have a hybrid powertrain. We don’t expect the show car to be a production model, but it will herald the arrival of a new more aggressive performance car that will come in above the current XK range and target the likes of the 911.

Staying with the performance end of the market, LOTUSwill reveal their spiritual successor to the Esprit – the Elite. The name harks back to a previous iconic model from the 1970s and remains a a four-seater, front-engine, rear-wheel-drive coupé. The roof is a folding hard-top and up front there’s a five-litre V8 engine, supplied under the firm’s ever-growing ties with Toyota. While this is only still a concept and a production version isn’t due until at least 2014, the over-riding question remains: can Lotus really hope to compete with the big guns of the supercar market?

Back in the real world of mainstream motoring, FORDwill reveal their new Focus line-up to European buyers, having launched the car to the world at Detroit earlier this year.

The range will include five-door and Estate versions, with the range topped by a new 250hp ST version, which is now a five-door and features the excellent 2.0-litre EcoBoost engine. There is no three-door model as yet, sales of which have traditionally been slow.

With all the focus on its upcoming Leaf electric car, NISSAN’S latest urban mobility concept, called the Townpod, is set to debut at the Paris Motor Show. And yes, it’s electric and designed for “home-based, innovative entrepreneurs who are creative and tech-savvy”. So now you know.

It will be on display alongside the facelifted Nissan X-Trail, the pair making up Nissans only all-new cars in Paris.

Being the home show for the French brands, all of them are using it to showcase important new models.

PEUGEOT’Sreplacement for the 407, the 508 (above right) makes its debut on home soil. The new model will be available as a saloon and an SW estate.In terms of style, the 508 adopts a single floating grille and what Peugeot calls “piercing” headlamps which are a clear link to the stunning SR1 concept car. Interior dimensions are on a par with what was Peugeot’s previous flagship model, the 607, but the 508 offers much greater legroom than the 407 in the rear. Under the bonnet, there is a choice of four diesel and three petrol engines offering a power output from 112bhp up to 204bhp. The 508 engine range will also include the latest Peugeot HDi developments, including a stop-start system that helps reduce emissions to just 109g/km.

The new car will go on sale in Europe at the beginning of 2011 and in Ireland by April 2011.

The rebirth of the French motor industry continues over at the chevron brand, where the second model in CITROËN’Sreinvented DS line, the DS4 (above) crossover, will be unveiled to the public alongside the car it’s based on, the new C4. While bearing many similarities to the new C4, it sits higher and has more flamboyant styling features. Five engine options will be available at launch. HDi diesel power comes from either 1.6- or 2.0-litre units, with 110hp or 160hp respectively. Petrol alternatives are a naturally aspirated, 120hp 1.6-litre, or turbocharged versions of the same unit, with either 155- or 200hp.

While OPELis lacking a “big bang” launch at Paris, the firm is finally showing its long overdue three-door Astra, called the GTC Concept but likely to be almost identical to the production model.

The Astra GTC has always been considered to be one of the better-looking hatchbacks and this new version features LED lights front and rear and a 2.0-litre turbocharged engine with Stop/Start technology.

An OPC version is due to arrive at the same time as the bread-and-butter models. It’s likely to get an increase in power over the outgoing car and feature an electronic limited-slip differential.

SKODAwill unveil its next generation of Greenline models.The new line will see two new engines – a 103hp 1.6 TDI and a 74hp 1.2 TDI – with stop-start and braking energy-recuperation technology fitted. The Fabia and Roomster gets the 1.2-litre engine with 89g/km in the Fabia and 109g/km in the Roomster. The Octavia, Yeti and Superb employ the new 1.6-litre with emissions from 99g/km to 114g/km in the Superb estate.

MERCEDES-BENZ will mark the Paris show by unveiling its new CLS – a dramatic new look for the car that mixes coupé styling cues with the four doors of a saloon. The CLS’s styling has been updated to incorporate the company’s current design themes and first impressions are very positive.

While it will almost certainly debut with a 5.4-litre V8 in CLS 500 guise, for Irish buyers the four-cylinder 250 CDI model will boast an emissions rating of just 139g/km. That makes it the latest large premium car to qualify for an annual motor tax bill of just €156. Even the higher-powered 350 CDI only pushes emissions up to 159g/km and an annual tax bill of €447.The car arrives here early next year.

HONDA will reveal a hybrid version of their Jazz supermini. The car will feature the same engine as the Insight hybrid – a 1.3-litre i-VTEC engine combined with a CVT gearbox, with an electric motor sandwiched between the two to create a parallel hybrid system.

The hybrid Jazz , like the Insight and Civic Hybrid models, will be capable of running on the electric motor alone under some medium and low speed conditions. Emissions of 104g/km will be possible and fuel economy of 4.4l/100km.

The car is expected to come to Ireland in April but might not be cheap given the fact that the concession for standard hybrid cars ends on December 31st.

At the premium end of the market, AUDI had a last-minute change of heart with their performance version of the forthcoming A1. The 185hp version was due to be called S1, but it was decided that the S-monicker would be reserved for a quattro version which is now expected to top 200bhp.

The version on show at Paris will now be the A1 1.4-litre TFSi 185 instead. It will feature an S-tronic transmission and S-line specification as standard.

BMW will have a busy Paris stand, the star of which is expected to be the new 6-Series. But as usual, you can expect a number of surprises from the Bavarian brand.

The 6-Series has a much more svelte look than the model it replaces and bears much of the current family design. Expect to see turbocharged in-line six-cylinder and V8 petrol units to replace the current 630i and 650i, along with a turbocharged six-cylinder diesel as a follow-up to the 635d.

In addition to the gorgeous 6-Series Coupé Concept there is the new X3, the electric Concept ActiveE and updates for the 5-Series range, which might include four-wheel drive versions and perhaps a reveal of the M5.

Ahead of its official global debut at the Paris Show this week, LAND ROVER has been previewing the car to selected audiences and drip-feeding details.

In front-wheel drive form emissions are just 130g/km so it will sit in motor tax band B. Power will come from new petrol and diesel engines with Start/Stop technology. The 2.2-litre diesel comes in 150hp and 190hp outputs, the former achieving the sub-130g/km figure and the latter around 145g/km (Band C). There’s a turbocharged 240hp petrol engine too with direct injection, capable of the 0-100km/h sprint in 7.1 seconds. It’s expected to arrive in Ireland next summer.

VOLVO will be introducing the new V60 estate version of the recently launched S60. In addition to the V60, they will also be showcasing the new R-Design versions of both the S60 and V60, more sporty styling that might suggest a revival of the R performance range of models from the now Chinese-owned brand.

Back again in the mainstream, TOYOTA will try to put their bad year behind them and reveal the new Verso-S, which marks a return of the brand’s into the compact MPV segment. The new model will take on the likes of the Opel Meriva and arrives in Ireland in early 2011. There will also be upgrades to the Aygo and iQ models.

VOLKSWAGEN’S star of the show, certainly from an Irish perspective, is the new Passat. Already regarded as one of the more upmarket offerings in the mainstream saloon segment, the Passat is set to gain even further refinement, bringing it closer to its Audi cousins.

The new car is expected to get new bodywork but will share its basic structure with the current car, with the addition of features such as a city emergency braking function and automatic fatigue detection system.

Power will come form a variety of engines ranging from 122hp 1.4-litre petrol to 140 and 170hp 2.0-litre diesel. The car will arrive in dealerships in Ireland in December in time for January sales.

HYUNDAI will reveal a mildly refreshed version of their i10 city car at the show which gains a new 1.0-litre engine that has emissions of just 99g/km, but the big news is the ix20 MPV, which will be the Korean brand’s entrant into the compact MPV market. The new model is expected to arrive towards the end of this year.

Over at sister-brand KIA, the stand will feature an electric town car concept called the POP. It’s a three-seat car only slightly longer than a Toyota iQ, which sits two up front and one behind. We don’t know about the powertrain but we would expect it to be electric. The company will also give the new Optima saloon its European debut, a car due to replace the Magentis next year.


Follow the opening day of the Paris motor show live on our Motors Blog. We’ll be updating throughout the day with news, comment and our opinions from the show floor

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