The British sports car firm’s Paris news was the debut of the Exige Cup 260, a fresh high performance derivative of the two-seater coupé. Tipping the scales at 38kg less than the standard car – it weighs just 890kg – it will hit 62mph in 4.1 seconds.
The company also announced a new race series called Lotus Cup Europe.
The Maserati stand featured the Italian firm’s current range of models, including the Quattroporte and Quattroporte S, plus the Granturismo and Granturismo S.
The expansion of the brand continues with the fourth MINI model, the Crossover, which hints at a future compact SUV. It’s got two conventional doors on the passenger side, but only one on the driver’s. Behind it is a sliding door for easy loading and access. The fact that it’s not just a Clubman with raised ride height was noted by the media.
The big news was the heavily revised Colt. It goes on sale here from mid-November. Power will come from 1.1 or 1.3 petrol engines – there’s no diesel this time. A flagship Ralliart model is also due in January. The Colt gets the jet-fighter grille from the Lancer, and a revised back-end - in particular the new light clusters.
There will also be a 'Colt Cler-tec' - a lower emissions 1.1 litre variant that will fit into Category A. It should arrive here next March.
The Lancer Sportback also made a motor show debut. The rear hatch version of the new Lancer looks the part. It goes on sale here next April.
Also vying for attention on the Mitsubishi stand was the electric version of the ‘i’ city car.
This version i car will launch in Japan in Q1 2009 with 12 vehicles coming to Europe in early 2009 for testing. One of these vehicles will be coming to Ireland. It will have a 144km range and can be charged through an ordinary electric outlet. All going well, we could see the electric 'i' city car on sale here in 2010.
The NuNu is a new urban electric car that's less than three metes long. The NuNu accommodates three - the driver, then one offset passenger seat behind, plus a third opposite that.
And while it is a concept, it is described by Nissan as “entirely credible”. Nissan have even put a date on its launch – the middle of the next decade.
Available sooner will be the Pixo a four-seater, five-door city car that’s on sale from next spring or early summer. Designed to sit below the Micra, the 1.0-litre petrol model is built by Suzuki in India. The Pixo is based on the new Suzuki Alto.
Elsewhere on the Nissan stand you’ll find the revised Note. And the popular 1.5-litre diesel now dips to 119g/km CO2 emissions. The tweaked Note is also the first car to get Nissan’s new multimedia 'Connect' system.
Finally, also on display are Nissan’s latest SUVs, the elongated Qashqai+2 and the European specification Murano.
The production car debut was the 308 CC, which will go on sale in the spring. Peugeot also unveiled the Prologue - a crossover concept which points the way to a new compact crossover SUV to rival the Nissan Qashqai. Is it the forthcoming 3008 model?
The last of the French firm’s trio was the RC HyMotion4, a four-door GT - a stylish 4WD concept. It has a 1.6-litre turbocharged petrol engine driving the rear wheels with 218 bhp; and a 95bhp electric motor up-front, driving the front wheels. You can have any combination of the two power sources to a maximum output of 313bhp through all four wheels, or in urban environs, you can have the benefit of zero emissions when engaging the electric motor only.
There was also a three-wheeled scooter concept (125cc engine and electric power through the two front wheels ) and a Hy Prologue, a diesel-electric 'crossover concept'. It is based on the 308 platform and its hybrid powertrain means CO2 emissions of 109g/km.
Making its motor show debut alongside the full range of facelifted 911s was the Cayman S Sport. Power is up from 295 to 303bhp, and the car features a sports exhaust, remapped throttle mapping and xenon headlamps. Only 700 are being built, with around 20 per cent expected to come to the UK and Ireland.
Stars of the Paris show were the all-new Megane, on sale in Ireland from later this year, but also the Coupé variant. The sporty Laguna coupe with a choice of V6 power (a 235 bhp diesel and a 240 bhp 3.5 V6 petrol ) and all-wheel steering as standard was making its motor show debut. It is expected to be on sale from January.
Renault also showed a shortened (3.8m long ), three-door Kangoo Be Bop. It has a retractable rear roof section and screen, and is due here next spring.
Renault also had two new concepts on display - the Ondelios grand tourer and the Z.E. electric car. The Ondelios attracted a lot of attention. It’s a concept that could hint at the new large crossover model that is known to be at some stage of development.
There was no new product from Rolls-Royce at Paris. But the company has revealed that a concept version of its new entry level model - known only by the codename RR4 – will be at the Geneva Motor Show next year. The production model will also make its debut in 2009.
Saab used the Paris Motor Show to unveil a convertible concept, the 9-X Air. It features an innovative new type of roof – the canopy top – which incorporate the C-pillars and folds away into the boot when not required. The car is fast too; despite having a 1.4-litre engine under the bonnet, it will hit 62mph in only 8.1 seconds. Just what Saab needs.
Two new versions of the Ibiza were the centre-piece of the Seat stand, and at opposite ends of the scale. For environmentally aware drivers there was the MkII Ecomotive (original not offered in Ireland ), powered by a 1.4-litre diesel engine with particulate filter and offering CO2 emissions of 99g/km. It returns an impressive 76.3mpg consumption figure.
Also new was the sporty Cupra, with a twin-turbo 1.4-litre petrol unit developing 180bhp. And it also gets the VW's seven-cog DSG box as standard. Combined, this gives you a 7.5 seconds to 60mph figure, 140mph top speed, and a welcome 42mpg and 159g/km CO2.
Both the Cupra and Ecomotive Mk II will arrive in Irish showrooms in 2009.
Also on show was the Exeo, Seat's first D-segment saloon.
The MkII version of Smart’s electric ForTwo was the main attraction on the Paris stand. It gets lithium ion batteries for the first time, which are more compact that the nickel metal hydride ones, have a longer life and are quicker to recharge. A pilot project in Berlin, with 100 of the vehicles, has just been launched.
The Korean firm best known for the Rexton and Rodius has unveiled its smallest SUV to date, the C200. It’s the first to feature a front-wheel drive platform and monocoque construction, with both 4x4 and 4x2 transmission options.
It is SsangYong's first front-wheel drive car, and it features a new 175bhp 2.0-litre turbodiesel engine, with a new six-speed manual transmission and intelligent four-wheel drive.
The car, which will go on sale next year and sit below the Rexton, is powered by a 2.0-litre 175bhp diesel engine mated to a six-speed manual gearbox.
The C200 is a surprisingly smart looking machine.
Who? you might well say. The American firm’s zero-emission Roadster has made it one of the most talked about manufacturers of 2008, and there was huge interest at Paris. There was no new version on the stand, but production at Lotus HQ in Norfolk is due to increase to 40 units per week early next year.
DRIVe is the badge that will appear on Volvo’s cleanest cars and Paris marked the range’s official debut. One diesel version of the C30, S40, and V50 will get the designation, thanks to a sub-120g/km performance.
The improvements are down to aerodynamics, low rolling resistance tyres, and higher gear ratios. Volvo also announced it will launch a front-wheel drive XC60 with a revamped 2.4-litre diesel engine next year.
A facelifted version of the Octavia – Skoda’s biggest selling model – received its world premiere at Paris 2008. With revised bumpers and front and rear light clusters etc. cued from the new Superb, the new-look Octavia is expected to go on sale in January. It also gets the Superb's centre console and instruments.