Highlights from the Paris Motor Show.
Audi took the wraps off a concept car that could well be the firm’s answer to arch-rival BMW’s MINI.
The A1 Sportback is tipped to make it into production reality within the next two years.
The concept on show uses a 1.4 TFSI 150bhp petrol engine allied to an electric motor.
This promises 92g/km of CO2 and a 62-mile range in electric mode.
Also on display was the 330bhp S4 in saloon and Avant guises, and a new eco version of the A4 (the TDIe) offering 109g/km of CO2.
The Concept X1 is essentially a scaled down version of the X3 and is a cert to make it into production, as are the hybrid versions of the 7 Series and X6 SUV, both of which use V8 petrol engines with a supplemental electric motor.
This is claimed to boost fuel economy by 15%.
Showed an estate version of the new CTS – an executive model aimed at the Audi A6 and BMW 5 Series.
However, like the saloon it only comes with V6 petrol power for the moment – a 2.9-litre V6 diesel is due next summer.
Plenty of action over at Chevrolet, with the production-ready version of the Volt hybrid.
This can offer up to 40 miles on electric power alone, and very low emissions.
Also new was the Orlando seven-seat MPV concept and the Cruze – a rival for the Skoda Octavia which is due to go on sale next April priced from £11,000.
A mixture of the real world and fantasy over at Citroen.
Two stunning concepts – the GT by Citroen (supercar) and Hypnos (a C5 crossover), were joined by one of the stars of the show – the C3 Picasso.
The latter is a five-seater with adaptable interior space, economical engines and a £12,000 pricetag.
Citroen C3 Picasso
The new Ford Ka made its debut in Paris, and also on show were special ‘Custom’ versions which allow owners to personalise their car.
The wide array of option packs will be available from January.
Star of Honda’s stand was the Insight, the firm’s new hybrid model.
Due to go on sale next spring, the Insight will be priced lower than any other hybrid car on the market, claims Honda.
A busy stand over at Hyundai, with the world debut of the new i20 to replace the Getz.
Alongside it was the i-blue version which uses special aerodynamics and low roiling resistance tyres to reduce CO2 emissions to 99g/km.
Elsewhere, a petrol-electric version of the Santa Fe SUV was on show, promising 148g/km of CO2 and combined fuel economy of 44mpg.
Another South Korean car company with a lot to shout about – Kia displayed the production version of its Soul crossover MPV alongside a hybrid version. Also on show were the Cee’d with stop-start technology and a hybrid model.
What’s this? A Lamborghini in AM?
Well, yes, but this is a vaguely practical Lambo.
The Estoque is a stunning four-door saloon set to do battle with the Aston Martin Rapide and Porsche Panamera at the top end of the luxury saloon market next year.
Expect your CEO to want one, even though it has a V10 petrol engine under the bonnet.
Land Rover will introduce a new version of the Freelander into the UK in the middle of next year using stop-start engine technology to cut emissions and raise fuel economy.
The TD4_e model reduces CO2 emissions by 8% (from 194g/km to 179) and ups economy from 37.7mpg to 41.3.
Due to go on sale in the UK next summer (just in time for the rain presumably) is the new Lexus IS250 C – a folding metal roof convertible version of the IS.
Power comes from a 205bhp V6 petrol engine.
The look of the new Mercedes-Benz E-Class was revealed on a concept car at Paris.
The Concept Fascination shooting break revealed the sharply-styled nose of the next executive challenger which will go on sale next year.
Also on show was the first S-Class hybrid, powered by a V6 petrol engine and an electric motor.
This model promises CO2 emissions of 190g/km.
The Crossover concept gives strong clues as to the look of a future MINI model.
This concept is a jacked-up car featuring four-wheel drive.
The new Colt made its world debut in Paris.
With styling cues from the larger Lancer model, the supermini goes on sale next month with prices starting at under £8,000.
Economical small cars sat side by side with the awesome GT-R on Nissan’s Paris stand.
The Japanese manufacturer unveiled two new production small cars and a concept which points to the future.
The Nuvu concept is an electric vehicle offering zero emissions and two plus one seating arrangement.
The Nuvu will be used as a test bed for Nissan’s forthcoming production electric vehicle which is due in 2010.
Also on show were the revamped Note which goes on sale in January, and the Pixo (pictured) – a new small car built in collaboration with Suzuki.
Powered by a three-cylinder 1.0-litre petrol engine, the five-door Pixo produces 65bhp and emits just 103g/km of CO2.
The new 308CC with its folding metal roof made its world debut at Paris, alongside two concept cars.
The RCHymotion 4 is a sleek saloon which points towards the new 408 upper-medium model, while the HyPrologue will becomes next year’s 3008 crossover MPV/SUV.
Peugeot RCHymotion 4
Possibly the most important production car to take the stage at Paris was the new Megane, shown in five-door hatchback and three-door ‘coupe’ guises.
Also on display was the production version of the sleek Laguna Coupe.
Renault also showed the ZE zero emission concept car.
The long-awaited Exeo upper-medium challenger was finally rolled out in Paris, and it was clear to see that the new model is very heavily based on the previous generation Audi A4. Also on display were models to top and tail the Ibiza supermini range – the 98g/km Ecomotive and the 180bhp Cupra hot hatch.
A facelifted Octavia range was the key focus for Skoda at Paris. Alongside the new look are new engine options and upgraded interiors and equipment list.
The Japanese firm unveiled its latest new small car – the Alto. Developed with Nissan, the Alto will go on sale in the UK next spring with a 65bhp 1.0-litre petrol engine returning 103g/km of CO2.
The British-built new Avensis was the star of Toyota’s stand. The Avensis saloon and estate models go on sale in the UK from January with a revised engine line-up and a strong focus on ride comfort.
Two key additions were made to the new Insignia range – the stylish Sports Tourer (pictured) and the low emission Ecoflex version. The Sports Tourer, which goes on sale early next year, also debuted two new engines which will become available in the saloon and hatchback models – a 180bhp 1.6-litre turbo petrol and a 190bhp twin-turbo diesel. Insignia Sports Tourer prices start at £17,185. Also making its debut was a sub-140g/km of CO2 Insignia. The Ecoflex model features a raft of mechanical and aerodynamic tweaks to lower its emissions.
The iconic Golf GTI made its comeback at Paris in thinly-disguised ‘concept’ form. A production version will appear in UK showrooms next spring, but the 210bhp turbocharged concept is very close to the real thing. Elsewhere, Volkswagen unveiled BlueMotion II – the next step in its low CO2 model programme. Due on sale next year, the Passat BlueMotion II uses a new 2.0-litre diesel engine and reduces CO2 emissions to 128g/km.
The Swedish manufacturer used Paris to showcase its new DRIVe range of low CO2 cars, and also displayed a plug-in hybrid based on the C30.