Paris Motor Show 2014 - an A-Z preview

Ahead of this week’s automobile bonanza, we look at the new arrivals the big brands will be sporting

A big show for Audi this one, as it continues its relentless march into every motoring niche. The facelifts of the A6 and Q3 will get their first public airings, and we'll more than likely get a first look at the all-new Q7 – and maybe even its sporty Q8 spin-off. The TT cabrio will also probably take a bow, as will an A7 BiTurbo TDI Competition – a special edition to celebrate 25 years of Audi TDI technology. It gets more power and an RS-like body kit. There'll be a super-hot RS3 hatch and saloon too, packing a 350bhp turbo engine, and there's also a slim chance that we may get to see the new R8 mid-engined super car. Those waiting to see the A9, will have to wait for the Los Angeles motor show later in the year.

Aston Martin
Aston Martin will be bringing along a mild update of its Rapide four-door saloon as well as the striking, Middle-East-only Lagonda saloon. We may also get a first peep at a new version of the Vantage coupe featuring a Mercedes-based V8 engine.

Will this be the full unveiling of Bentley's hotly-anticipated (and occasionally derided) Falcon SUV? Possibly, although that may well switch to Geneva next year, but Bentley will definitely be bringing along a sporty Speed version of its Mulsanne limo: 1,100Nm of torque anyone?

Two big debuts in Paris for BMW will be the rather attractive (and, hurrah, cloth- roofed) convertible version of the 2 Series coupe, and an all-new X6 sporty SUV. Given how good the taller X5 is to drive, this X6 could be seriously brilliant on-road, even if we may still baulk at its styling.

Citroen's Divine DS concept marks a major departure – it will be sold purely as a DS model, and you'll struggle to find a single double-chevron Citroen badge on it. That said, the core brand isn't being ignored; there's a clever C4 Cactus Airflow concept that promises 2-litres per 100km fuel consumption (that's 141mpg) thanks to better aero, lower weight and PSA Group's clever HybridAir technology.

With a positive reception this past week for its sister car, the Jeep Renegade, Fiat will be hoping to make a big splash with its first all-new car in more than two years – the 500X compact crossover. Based, distantly, on a Punto platform and going up against the likes of the Nissan Juke and Peugeot 2008 from early next year, the 500X will be pitched as an affordable family crossover with 1.3 and 1.6 diesel engines and the brilliant little 900cc two-cylinder TwinAir petrol. Expect prices to kick off at about €19,000 when it arrives.

Starved of proper new product for some time now, Ford of Europe will be attempting to make waves at the Paris show. We've seen the new Mondeo on the show circuit for more than 18 months already but at last, as it appears in Paris, you can now actually go out and buy one. There's also a much-updated C-Max and Grand C-Max and, the star of the Ford stand, the all-new S-Max sporty MPV. We may also get to see the new Galaxy (which shares its structure with the S-Max) and we'll definitely get to see the definitive Euro-version of the Edge SUV, which is being transplanted over from the US. All that, and the Mustang too? The Ford stand is going to be busy.

Honda will be hoping to woo European buyers (something it's been conspicuously failing to do recently) with a new compact crossover, the Jazz-based HR-V. The 'new' Jazz, which has actually been on sale in Japan for some time already, will also make a Euro-debut at the show as will an updated and mildly face-lifted version of the Civic hatch and Tourer estate. We may also get a proper look at a production version of the long-anticipated Civic Type-R hot hatch – and surely the long-awaited NSX supercar will be on and around the Honda stand somewhere?

The debut of the all-new i20 is a massively important one for Hyundai – taking the Korean brand into the heart of the hugely significant supermini segment with, at last, a car that looks like it can take on and maybe even beat the likes of the Fiesta, Peugeot 208 and VW Polo. Slick looks inside and out and a range of frugal engines should help, as should a sportier-looking (and driving?) three-door version. We'll also see significant facelifts for the i30 hatch and estate and probably a glimpse at the upcoming ix25 – a rival for the Nissan Juke.

We've already had the all-singing, all-dancing (literally) launch of the XE, Jaguar's 3 Series rival in London, but here is the first chance to have a proper look at the most important new Jag since 2008's XF. The stunning F-Type Project 7 roadster will also make an appearance and expect Jaguar's tuning arm, Special Vehicle Operations, to bring something special along as well.

Kia's biggest debut at the show is also its biggest car – an all-new version of the Sorento SUV. Kia says it's longer, lower, safer, cleaner, greener and more spacious, and that the interior has been "inspired by Swiss watches". Also putting in appearances will be mid-life updates of the Rio supermini and Venga compact MPV. Don't expect massive change but both cars will get new interiors, including a the introduction of a 7-inch touchscreen infotainment system.

Land Rover
Not content with giving the Jaguar XE its public debut, Jaguar Land Rover (nowadays a conjoined company under Indian conglomerate Tata) will also be bringing along the new Discovery Sport. Not a direct replacement for the departing Freelander, this is a larger, seven-seat family SUV that expands the Discovery from single model into the Range-Rover-style family. Too family oriented for you? Worry not: the insane 550hp Range Rover Sport SVR has been busy pummelling Nürburgring test track lap times into submission. Expect also to see a final minor update for the big Discovery 4 before it's replaced in 2016.

Mazda will be bringing two crucial models to Paris as it seeks to build on its strong recent sales performance with the likes of the 6 saloon and 3 hatchback. The new 2, based on the gorgeous Hazumi concept car, keeps the looks and will hopefully keep the pin-sharp driving dynamics of its predecessor. Speaking of pin-sharp dynamics, there's the new MX-5 too – much more aggressive looking than before. Mazda still isn't saying what engine lies beneath, only that it's pushed far back enough in the chassis for it to count as mid-engined. It won't go on sale until next year but Mazda will be celebrating the MX-5's 25th birthday at the show. Feel old, now?

The big Benz debut in Paris is the new AMG GT coupe (which actually drops the Benz name and is actually officially referred to as Mercedes-AMG). Merc's new 911-fighter packs a 503hp turbocharged 4.0-litre V8 and a gorgeous, 1950s-inspired shape. No gulling doors this time around though, sadly. Also putting in an appearance will be the AMG version of the impressive new C-Class, using a 450hp version of the GT's V8, plus a face-lifted version of the B-Class compact MPV. We may also get to see, at last, the full-length Pullman version of the S-Class, which is the replacement for the moribund Mayback super-limo as well as the 100mpg S500 plugin hybrid.

Not officially confirmed for production, but looking and feeling pretty-much sales-ready, the Concept-S gets more attractive, more distinctive styling front and rear and a vastly improved cabin with much higher quality materials. Expect it to go on sale within the year.

One of the most significant debuts at the show will be the all-new Opel Corsa. The supermini market in Europe pulls in millions of car buyers every year and the standard for class excellence gets ever higher. The new Corsa will have to see off the challenge posed by the likes of the VW Polo, Ford Fiesta, Hyundai i20 and Peugeot 208 if it's to succeed and Opel is hoping an injection of the small Adam's styling and a high-quality interior will entice the paying public in.

This being the Paris show, the French car makers are pulling out all the stops in an effort to impress, and Peugeot's stand is going to be littered with new models. The 508 saloon is just about to go on sale (and has already made an Irish debut at the Ploughing Championships) but there's much more to come. The new sporty 308 GT will be in Paris, as will a hotter, harder 208 GTI 30th anniversary edition. The gorgeous Exalt concept car has been updated and reworked and there's the Quartz concept – a chunky looking SUV with a 500hp hybrid engine, which is most likely a signpost towards a replacement for the 3008 and a proper Peugeot rival for the Nissan Qashqai.

Having launched the already hugely-successful Macan compact SUV earlier this year, Porsche will now turn its attention to the Macan's bigger brother, the Cayenne. The big-selling big SUV will get a facelift to bring it more into line with the styling of the Macan. Expect to see smaller-engined versions of the Macan too, using 2.0-litre diesel and petrol units, as well as a minor nip and tuck facelift for the 911 range.

Again, you'd expect a French car maker to be wheeling out the big debuts at the Paris motor show and Renault looks like it won't disappoint. The big news will be the joint appearance of the all-new Espace and Renault's own premium-style brand, Initiale Paris. This is eventually to become Renault's answer to Citroen's DS, will begin as a super-luxury trim on the Espace and will spread to other models in the Renault range. Renault will also show off it Eolab concept, which looks like a futuristic Megane but is actually a mobile test-bed for realistic fuel-saving technology. It's Renault's first ever hybrid (a tacit admission that pure electric sales are flatlining?) and uses a plug-in hybrid battery module connected to Renault's compact 900cc three-cylinder turbo petrol engine.

It's all about 4x4s for Seat at Paris. We know the Audi-Allroad-style Leon X-Perience – which uses raised ground clearance, 4WD and big plastic bumpers to give the Leon estate some SUV credibility – will be at Paris, but there's also a very good chance that Seat's first proper SUV, its Qashqai rival, will also put in a long-awaited appearance.

The new Fabia is Skoda's big news for Paris. Sharing a platform with a recently-revamped VW Polo, the Fabia promises a practical 330-litre boot, a frugal (91mpg from the diesel Greenline!) engine line-up and styling partially inspired by last year's Vision C concept car.

The original Vitara was, by quite some length, the first lifestyle 4x4 to go on sale, beating most other car makers to a market they never even knew existed. Somewhat overshadowed by newer rivals in recent years, Suzuki will be hoping that this all-new Vitara, revealed on the model's 25th birthday, will be more appealing to customers thanks to more space, lower emissions and a more high-quality cabin.

Now that we're all mad for compact crossovers, Toyota is going to try and get us to buy a much more environmentally friendly small SUV. The C-HR concept is a thinly disguised version of Toyota's upcoming Qashqai rival. Platform sharing with the Auris Sports Tourer estate, the C-HR uses the Auris' hybrid drivetrain, which promises low emissions and much silent running about town. Don't expect that fast-back shape to make it through to production though, and the version in showrooms will also come with conventional petrol and diesel engines.

Once upon a time, a new Passat would have been the biggest news from Paris. Sadly though, the rise of the MPV and SUV has reduced conventional saloon sales to a mere trickle, compared to their one-time torrent. Still, the Passat is still a big seller for VW, not least because it will be sold in the US as well. The new model looks far slicker and more sporty than the outgoing one, and could well pinch sales from the likes of the BMW 3 Series and Mercedes C-Class. And, er, VW Group's own Audi A4 and A3 saloon. The Passat gets a lot of high-tech options, including the new full-width TFT digital instrument display from the Audi TT, a 650-litre boot and the option of a 1.4 TSI Plugin Hybrid which boasts a 50km electric-only range. VW will also show off its new Polo GTI, with its 190hp 1.8-litre turbo engine, and offer a first glance at the new Touran MPV.

Volvo's stand will be all about the new XC90 this year. The big, seven-seat SUV has become as emblematic for the Swedish brand as once were its estates, and Volvo needs this new version to be as big a sales hit as the 2003 original. Paris will also see something of Volvo's plans for replacing the ageing S80 saloon and V70 estate, too.

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