No new product at Paris 2008 so the 8C convertible took centre stage. Production of the limited edition two-seater has now all but sold out. Also vying for some attention was the recently revised and stunning 159.
There was nothing new on the Aston stand save for the Project One-77 car. And just a corner of the front wing of it was visible for the duration of press day. The company also revealed DBS owners will soon be able to lock and unlock their vehicle via a wristwatch.
Premiering a concept version of the forthcoming A1, Audi gave a clear indication how the production model will appear when it hits showrooms in 2010. Expect to see three and five-door versions of the new entry level Audi model range. Word at the show was that Audi is also considering a soft-top and a hot 200bhp S1 versions. Whispers of a hybrid version by 2011 were also overheard.
Grabbing attention too was the unveiling of the new S4 and S4 Avant. Each will be powered by a supercharged V6 instead of a naturally aspirated V8.
The curtain is about to fall on the Arnage, but it’s not leaving without one final swansong. In an exclusive run of 150 hand-built models, the Arnage Final Series will combine the performance elements of the T model with the refinement of the R.
BMW gave the new 7-Series its first motor show outing and took the wraps off the concept car that points the way to the forthcoming X1. Expect to see the production model of this compact SUV – a baby brother to the X3 and X5 – at the Frankfurt Motor Show in 12 months. It will arrive in showrooms from early 2010.
BMW gave a world premier to the Lexus challenging 7-series active hybrid. It combines a V8 petrol unit with electric hybrid power and promises 15 per cent better fuel economy. It is expected in early to mid-2009. About the same time, expect to see an active hybrid X6.
BMW also gave a world debut to their 320d Xdrive Touring and the 125i coupe from BMW’s Performance range was also attracting a lot of attention.
Taking centre stage on Cadillac’s Paris stand was the CTS sport wagon, making its European debut. There will be a 2.9-litre turbodiesel in due course, though launch vehicles will be powered by a single petrol engine, a 3.6-litre V6.
The GM-owned brand premiered two new models, the Orlando and the Cruze. The former is a compact seven-seat MPV that may never be produced, while the latter is a four-door production saloon, built on the new Astra platform.
The Cruze is stylish and as one colleague remarked has a very well finished interior. It is expected to be on sale here in late spring next year.
Chevrolet also gave Europe its first glimpse of the production-ready Volt electric car and the 6.2-litre V8-powered Camaro. It currently has a range of 40 miles on electric power alone, a few hundred more when the tiny petrol engine fires up to charge the battery, and a super-low 40g/km CO2 figure. It will go on sale here at the end of 2011 or early in 2012.
It wasn't all 'Eco' vibes from the GM Chevrolet stand - the European version of the Camaro attracted attention. I heard a colleague from across the Irish Sea say that they expect to sell about a thousand Camaros in the UK in the next two years.
Although Chrysler had nothing new on show, it was celebrating 25 years of the minivan. On its stand were several historical models running through to the current Grand Voyager.
Playing to a home audience, Citroen pulled out all the stops with a huge stand of cars.
The C3 Picasso was unveiled in Paris. It is a five-seater with a particularly roomy interior. It is due to go on sale here next summer.
The Hypnos is a luxury diesel hybrid crossover concept based on the C5 platform, while the GTbyCitroen is a joint venture with the makers of the Gran Turismo computer game.
A hybrid World Rally Championship car was also on display. And the van-based seven-seater Berlingo MPV and five-seater Nemo Mini-MPV also made their Motor Show debuts.
Nothing really new to see, but the students of France’s International Fashion University Group had been brought in to individually paint all the cars on the Daihatsu stand.
On display at the Dodge stand was the all-electric ZEO, a zero emissions concept vehicle capable of delivering a driving range of 250 miles. The car was making its European debut, having already been seen at Detroit back in January.
One of the Paris show-stoppers was undoubtedly the Ferrari California. The 4.3-litre 454bhp V8 engine comes wrapped in a Pininfarina-penned GT coupe-cabriolet bodyshell with aluminium folding roof. Stunning was the generally consensus. Ferrari also used the exhibition to announce its extending its bespoke programme to include the 599 GTB Fiorino.
Fiat used the Paris Motor Show to spell out the virtues of its EcoDrive system, which allows drivers to see how economically they’re driving. It also showed off a 500 city car which had been trimmed as part of a collaboration with jeans firm Diesel.
The all-new MkII Ford Ka made its motor show debut in Paris. It will be available with a choice of two engines – a 1.2-litre petrol or 1.3-litre diesel – with both emitting less than 120g/km of CO2.
It is indeed a stylish replacement for the outgoing model, with the design having more wide-ranging appeal that the Mk1. The time is right for this stylish and modern replacement based on the Fiat 500/Panda. There are two good Fiat engines too, a 1.2 petrol and a very frugal 1.3 diesel.
Elsewhere on the stand, there was the Econetic version of the Fiesta with CO2 emissions of just 98g/km. Ford says that it is the cleanest supermini on sale in this part of the world. Power for Econetic comes from 1.6 TDCi diesel engine with stretched gearing.
When Honda’s all-new Insight reaches Ireland next spring and Honda says that it will be the cheapest hybrid on the market. An exact price for the compact five-door, five-seater will be announced nearer its showroom debut. It is built on an all-new platform but uses the same Integrated Motor Assist hybrid technology as the current Civic hybrid. The Insight will sit between the Jazz and Civic in the Japanese firm’s line-up. Unquestionably one of the stars of Paris 2008.
The new Jazz also got a lot of attention. It houses a new six-speed automatic gearbox - a Honda first for their diesel buyers.
Set to be launched early in 2009, the sleek five-door i20 took its place for the first time on Hyundai’s stand. The i20 has a longer wheelbase and more space than the Getz, which it will replace.
The Korean company also debuted concept versions of a premium seven-seat SUV, the iX55. There was also the Santa Fe petrol-electric hybrid concept and the big Genesis saloon.
The American 4x4 manufacturer had no new product on its stand, and showcased vehicles from its existing line-up.
Infiniti is Nissan's luxury brand, as Lexus is to Toyota. And Infiniti gave their FX37 its global debut.
The crossover will hit 62mph in 6.8 seconds and accelerate on to a top speed of 145mph. In the next 12 months Infiniti plans to open at least 14 purposes-built sites across the UK and as of now, we believe one in Ireland.
The Infiniti range starts with the G37, which comes as a C-Class, 3-series, A4 rival in saloon and coupe form.
Both models will be joined by the folding hard-top convertible in mid-2009. It also features the generic 3.7-litre V6 with 316bhp, but the roof splits into three parts and tucks away neatly, while a seven-speed automatic is on the options list.
An absence of new metal from the British company, but the champagne corks were popping as it celebrated 60 years of the XK, the original Jaguar XK120 at the London Show of 1948.
With the firm promising to do more to improve the quality of its interiors, Jeep showcased the redesigned cabins of the Compass and Patriot. The vehicles are also to get more fuel efficient engines which bosses say will be class-leading.
Jeep Patriot Back Country concept exudes a fresh, youthful appeal and features a redesigned interior, authentic Jeep accessories by Mopar and a blend of unique colors, textures and materials that exemplify an active lifestyle.
The Compass Overland prototype takes the Compass even more upscale with what Jeep calls premium safety, connectivity and audio features, and exterior styling cues from the Overland models of Jeep Commander and Jeep Grand Cherokee. Inside are a redesigned interior and unique, embroidered seats designed for additional comfort.
The new Kia Soul proved a real stand-out car when it made its world debut in Paris. The company say that the compact urban crossover will arrive in right hand drive markets such as Ireland in the New Year. And also on the Kia stand, in their 'Green zone' were petrol hybrid versions of the Soul and Cee’d, plus a Cee’d with stop start technology. There was also a Sportage SUV version powered by a 100kW fuel cell.
Kia is a company on a roll with a funky family car in the Soul. It is a stylish and distinctive car. It is an adventurous move from Kia and when you target the likes of Mini buyers, it is important to have high build quality. It has. There is a choice between 126bhp 1.6-litre petrol and diesel engines. Plus the Soul will be well equipped. If you are young at heart or just want something different, you should check out the new Kia Soul one of the big stars of the Paris show.
The Estoque concept could become Lamborghini’s third model if it gets the green light for production. Revealed for the first time in Paris, the front mid-engined four-door coupé has permanent four-wheel drive. Totally different to either the Gallardo or Murcielago, it was probably the most talked-about car of the Paris press day.
Nothing new to unveil, but Lancia is pushing ahead with plans to launch the Delta in the UK and Ireland mid to late next year. The 1.9-litre 190 bhp diesel engine is what’s likely to be under the bonnet, according to the company.
Besides, a new C-segment concept was also unveiled.
Continued next week.