The all-new BMW 3-series – “the core of the BMW brand” says the firm – is all set to be the big hitter at the 2018 Mondial de l’Automobile, otherwise known as the Paris Motor Show, which opens on 2 October (public days October 4th-14th).
Paris Motor Show 2018 A‑Z – everything you need to know
At first sight it appears it may not have much to beat as star of the show. Motor shows are increasingly not what they used to be – too many other opportunities to launch a new car these days – and from what we know of the debutants so far, this year’s Paris salon seems to prove it. Ford, Volkswagen, Nissan, Vauxhall/Opel, Mini, Volvo, Alfa Romeo and Fiat won’t be there at all.
Of the manufacturers present, many of their new offerings have already been seen and written about. Which doesn’t make them any less interesting or important, but it does dilute the surprise factor. There will be some surprises for sure – Renault is bound to do something special – but here’s what we know so far…
The electric e-tron – full story here– is huge news for Audi and this is the first chance to see it in production form in the flesh. Audi’s Tesla fighter and answer to the Jaguar I-Pace and Mercedes EQ C, the e-tron is the brand’s first pure electric car and forerunner of a 12-model battery-powered line-up that will be in the showrooms by 2025. You will be able to buy an e-tron in 2019 for £70,800.
Other expected Audi news is the new A1 Sportback, facelifts for several models, most notably a larger new Q3, and one for lovers of fast baby SUVs: a 300PS SQ2 flagship modeL for the Q2 range. All wheel drive, 0-62 in 4.8 seconds and on sale next Year.
It’s not a wild concept, it’s not electric – it’s just a real-world, petrol-powered, in-the-showrooms-soon production car in conventional four-door saloon form. Boring? Not when it’s the latest all-new iteration of the BMW 3-series, the archetypal sports sedan now about to enter its seventh generation. Its mission: to claw back lost ground to the Mercedes C-class. Its weapons? Watch this space…
There will be no shortage of other new models in the BMW hall in Paris, chief among them for enthusiasts being the new Z4, now reinvented with the emphasis on being a serious driving machine. See our story on the new Z4 here. Also in Paris, the latest X5 including a plug-in hybrid variant with claimed electric range of 50 miles, and the M5 Competition.
E-Tense is DS-speak for electrification, in the manner of e-tron for Audi and EQ for Mercedes, and in Paris the “style-led” brand will be showing four new E-Tense cars: the DS3 Crossback, the larger DS7 Crossback, its single-seat Formula E race car, and, perhaps most intriguingly, DS’s vision of what its cars will look like in 2035. Hi-tech and avant garde for sure, also apparently very asymmetrical…
Fiat and Alfa might not be at the show but Ferrari definitely will be, and with the car we all want to see: the new Monza, in both SP1 single-seat and SP2 two-seat forms. Sexiest cars of the whole show? Good chance. Meanwhile, see pictures and story on the 799bhp V12 front engined latterday barchetta here. Also on the Ferrari stand will be the 448 Pista in Spider form.
Sporty Hyundais get an “N” (for Nurburgring) in their name and in Paris a new N will be taking its bow: a more sporty, fastback version of the i30 N. Hyundai says it inherits much from the i30 five-door hatchback, such as, er, five doors and a hatchback. But with the fastback body. The version for the UK gets a 2.0-litre turbo motor with 275PS (271bhp) for 0-62mph in 6.1 seconds. “Grin Control” adjusts available drive modes from eco to a broadly-smiling N setting.
We have seen Project Black S before, as a Q60 coupe-based design study in 2017, but for the Paris show it has evolved into what Infiniti is specific about calling a prototype – which bodes well for production. Especially since it’s electrified and the upmarket Nissan brand is working towards all its cars having an electrical side from 2021. The prototype is a joint project between Infiniti and the Renault Sport Formula 1 team and uses a petrol-electric hybrid drivetrain with an F1-style energy recovery system. It has the regular Q60’s 3.0-litre V6 under the bonnet and three motor generator units harvesting otherwise wasted energy – topping up power to the tune of 571PS (563bhp) for 0-60mph in 3.9 seconds.
It’s official: there is no longer an apostrophe in the name of Kia’s Golf class challenger. What was c’eed is now Ceed. Still weird we reckon, but at least the next bit of the name for a new version in Paris has a familiar ring to it: GT. The new Ceed GT gets a turbo petrol 1.6 engine with 204PS and 265 Nm along with an optional seven-speed dual-clutch transmission for the first time. There’s also a ProCeed (three-door version) of the GT. That’s lost its apostrophe too.
Eight years ago at the Paris show Lotus surprised everyone by unveiling five new models – none of which ever came to pass. This time Lotus is back with a new (Chinese) owner, new boss (Phil Popham, ex-Land Rover and lately of Sunseeker yachts) and, to start with at least, rather more modest aspirations with a show display based around the Evora GT430, Exige Cup 430, Exige Sport 410 and Elise Sport 220. Important thing is they they are there, waving the flag, in their 70th year – and perhaps showing off the just-released redevelopment plans for Hethel with proposed new customer experience centre, heritage centre and museum.
The newly-named Mercedes-AMG One hypercar will get the cameras clicking but it’s battery power that’s the real news here. Mercedes is unveiling its €10 billion EQ zero-emissions brand with the first production model, the EQ C. It’s the first purpose-built all-electric Mercedes and will be on sale next year. Read more about it here.
If the AMG One at £2m plus is too rich, seek out the equally new AMG A35, first of a brace of new hot hatches based on the new A-class platform. This is meant to be the warm version, but with 306PS (302bhp) and 0-62mph in 4.7 seconds it’s no slouch. All the details on that one here.
Other new A-class variants in Paris will be the saloon version and, promising to be more popular in the UK, the new B-class with bigger and more flexible cabin. Also expect to see the latest Mercedes GLE. SUV lovers click here for more on that.
It’s all eyes straight to the e-Legend concept – a striking modern-day interpretation of the classic 504 Coupe with pleasing heritage cues but a fiercely future-facing attitude. It gets 462PS (456bhp) electric motors, autonomous drive ability and advanced connectivity along with the promise of a fast-charge system offering 300 miles in 25 minutes. Decide what you think of it by looking here. Other new Peugeots include an SW wagon version of the 508 and (as with Citroën and DS) lots of plug-in hybrids. The plug-in Pug has arrived…
People are speculating the new 911 will make an appearance but there’s nothing confirmed. So it’s all eyes on the facelifted Macan. One thing for sure: you’ll look in vain any diesel versions. Will the just-announced 935 make the show? We certainly hope so.
Big news here is the RS sporty version of the popular Kodiaq, the brand’s first high performance SUV in what is already a sea of go-faster crossovers. Skoda is doing things its own way, however, giving the 240PS (237bhp) charger a… diesel engine. But fear not, for Dynamic Sound Boost is fitted which promises a “captivating acoustic experience”. The car also gets full LED lights and a virtual cockpit display.
Full marks if you remember the Smart Crossblade of 2002 – it was a concept car that attracted such interest that Smart made 2000 of them, all completely open without windscreen, doors or hood to get in the way. Completely impractical and wonderful fun. Well, here’s that car’s spiritual successor: the new Smart Forease. Smart, 20 years old at this year’s Paris show, says it is an uncomplicated solution for urban driving fun. It’s electric, completely open, and minimalist. It is based on the EQ ForTwo cabrio but with what Smart calls its “unconventional beauty”, uncompromisingly open cabin and bright colours, it strikes an altogether more carefree note. Like the Crossblade, they’d better make it. If they do it will certainly be electric: Smart has committed to selling only battery-electric cars in Europe from 2020.
The old-stager RAV4 has a striking new look and even if it was first shown ages ago in New York, it’s still a striking look. As for the long-awaited Supra, Toyota’s half of the sports car joint venture with BMW whose new Z4 will be at the show, we shall have to wait and see.
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