Today the Paris Motor Show opens its doors to the world’s media and details of new models are, like Champagne from a newly opened bottle, pouring back to Blighty. Below are a few hors d’œuvres which have got us talking so far.
Perhaps the biggest (and if you read the press release, longest) story from Paris comes in the shape of the Jaguar XE – very much the plat du jours.
This 3-Series challenger has already caused a few ‘zut alors’ among the industry commentators with its bold use of aluminium to keep the weight – and CO2 emissions – as petite as possible. Performance hasn’t been forgotten, however, with both diesel engines and both petrol engines sending the Jag’ to 60 in under eight seconds. The 335bhp supercharged V6 adds even more joie de vivre to the already sprightly saloon.
(Almost) making a splash on Twitter was the new Land Rover Discovery Sport, which was revealed in an almost in-Seine way via a barge on Paris’s famous river – replete with over-sized wellingtons. Of course, the Sport is essentially the new Freelander, but it’s no pastiche as it brings with it various improvements over the Freelander including more tech, more room and more performance for lower emissions. It also gets the off-road ability we expect from a ‘Landy, though in reality it’s only likely to undertake some gentle urban parkour.
Away from the British showing, Mazda is debuting its all-new, fourth generation MX5. Embracing the spirit of vive la difference, Mazda is doing what most carmakers are not by taking the ‘5 back to basics. Stripping out weight, reducing its physical size and giving it a range of small but peppy Skyactiv engines will hopefully return the world’s most popular sports car back to what made it great back in 1989. C’est parfait, we think.
Of course, being France’s only major motor show the native manufacturers have a veritable montage of new cars on show. Renault has served up a goût de l’avenir with a nod towards what a future Clio could look like in the Eolab concept which would use an innovative powertrain to achieve around 282mpg. More relevant to what may end up in continental showrooms next year is the new Espace concept. Pitching it tête-à-tête with cars like the Nissan Qashqai+ and Hyundai Santa Fe, the Espace returns as a cross-over style vehicle. At the moment, however, there are no plans to import it to the UK.
In the GForces office, there has been much talk and excitement over the new Mercedes C63 AMG. Certainly no escargot, this German hot-rod packs a brand new 4-litre, twin turbocharged V8 to pump out between 470bhp and 503bhp, depending on the version. What’s more, despite the immense performance on offer, the C63 can achieve a scarcely believable 35mpg and puts out a (relatively) clean 194g/km of CO2. There’s even an estate version for those trips to Burgundy for fine wines, cheese and other assorted delicacies.
We’ve only scratched the surface of what’s happening in Paris, but sufficed to say there’s plenty of exciting, innovative and down-right bonkers cars that will make their debuts at the show. We’ll be keeping our eyes peeled to make sure that what’s going on sale over the coming months and years hasn’t passed us by. But for now, bon specticale and amusez-vous bien!