The Paris motor show - Mondial de l'Automobile to the natives - is one of the most highly anticipated events on the global automotive calendar.
Alternating each year with the Frankfurt motor show in much the same way Melbourne and Sydney share the Australia international motor show, Paris is set to host a memorable show in 2012 as dozens of concept and production vehicles are presented to the public for the first time.
Highlights include a new-generation version of the world's most famous hatchback (the Golf), a concept that previews a front-wheel-drive BMW (Concept Active Tourer), a supercar that is setting out to become the world's best driver's car (McLaren P1), concepts from Peugeot making the most of its home show that are both the stuff of fantasy and reality (Onyx and 2008), a new version of the world's most iconic SUV (Range Rover), and the long-awaited, highly anticipated successor to Jaguar's somewhat famous E-Type sports car of the 1960s (the F-Type).
CarAdvice will be on the floor at the Paris Expo building from September 27 to bring you all the news and major unveilings, as well as exclusive stories from behind the scenes.
To get you revved up for Paris 2012, we’ve compiled a comprehensive preview of show cars that will be drawing the crowds.
BMW Concept Active Tourer
BMW’s Concept Active Tourer is no ordinary small car for the premium German manufacturer. The compact MPV – believed to preview the new 1 Series GT – rides on an entirely new vehicle architecture, which, for the first time in BMW’s history, features a transversely mounted 1.5-litre three-cylinder engine that powers only the front wheels. Although it’s technically an all-wheel-drive concept (its drivetrain incorporates an electric motor that turns the rear wheels), the Active Tourer is a watershed vehicle for the Bavarian company as it features the new front-wheel-drive platform and engine configuration that will underpin a number of new compact BMWs as well as the third-generation Mini Cooper range from 2014.
Read more about the BMW Concept Active Tourer.
Fiat Panda 4x4
This funky little baby SUV is called the Fiat Panda 4x4 and Australians should start to familiarise themselves with its look as Fiat Chrysler Australia has said it’s keen to see the car reach our shores following its debut at Paris. The third-generation five-door Fiat Panda 4×4 provides the potential for adventurous off-roading with its two optional engines – a 63kW 0.9-litre TwinAir Turbo and a 56kW 1.3-litre MultiJet II diesel – both linked to a permanent “torque on demand” four-wheel-drive system via a special six-speed transmission that features a low-range first gear.The 4WD Panda could prove just the thing for buyers looking for a versatile and economical alternative to the current flock of compact SUVs.
Read more about the Fiat Panda 4x4.
Although a leaked image spoiled some of the surprise, Jaguar’s all-new F-Type sports car is still guaranteed to light up Paris when the covers are officially removed from the sexy compact roadster for the first time. The spiritual successor to the famous E-Type of the 1960s and 1970s, the F-Type will take the fight up to Porsche’s Boxster and 911 Cabriolet with a lightweight aluminium platform and body promising efficiency and agility and a selection of three supercharged petrol engines for speed and sound. The F-Type will become the fourth model in Jaguar’s line-up when it arrives on our shores in the second half of 2013, joining the XK sports car, the XF large car and the XJ limousine.
Read more about the Jaguar F-Type.
If you think a sexy people-mover is about as oxymoronic as the Proton Savvy, you might get a nice surprise from the all-new Kia Rondo. Created under the watchful eye of Kia’s design mastermind, Peter Schreyer, the Rondo combines swept-back headlights with tight lines and the brand’s signature ‘tiger nose’ grille for a modern, purposeful appearance. The fourth-generation Rondo is set to shake-up Australia’s compact people-mover market when it arrives down under in April/May 2013.
Read more about the Kia Rondo.
Lexus LF-CC concept
This futuristic two-door concept previews the luxury Japanese carmaker’s intention to build a next-generation mid-sized luxury coupe to form part of the Lexus IS replacement range, due to launch in 2013 to take on the likes of the BMW 3 Series. Standing for Lexus Future Coupe Concept, the hybrid-powered Lexus LF-CC ties a 2.5-litre four-cylinder petrol engine with an electric motor in a package the company says will make it into final production. The concept clearly takes inspiration from the Lexus LFA and Lexus LF-LC concept with its sharp lines and large ‘spindle’ grille.
Read more about the Lexus LF-CC concept.
Hot on the heels of the all-new third-generation Mazda6 sedan breaking cover in Moscow in August, the Mazda6 wagon steps out in public for the first time in Paris. Both body styles will reach Australian showrooms in the first quarter of 2013, bringing with them sharp styling, new petrol and diesel engines and a number of new fuel-saving technologies and safety systems. The elegantly proportioned wagon promises extra versatility over the sedan and should prove strong competition to both its rivals in the medium-size class as well as small and medium SUVs.
Read more about the Mazda6.
McLaren has set the bar ambitiously high for its all-new P1, the spiritual successor to the legendary F1 of the 1990s: “Our goal is to make the McLaren P1 the most exciting, most capable, most technologically advanced and most aerodynamically accomplished supercar ever made.” The P1 will reach production in 2013, with a design expected to closely resemble the dramatic styling of the Paris-bound design study concept vehicle. The McLaren P1 is rumoured to feature an uprated version of the MP4-12C’s twin-turbocharged V8 engine and an F1-style KERS (kinetic energy recovery system), potentially producing in excess of 700kW and sprinting from 0-100km/h in under three seconds.
Read more about the McLaren P1.
Mercedes-Benz S-Class sculpture
Renowned for its long history of breaking technological ground for a production car, the next-generation Mercedes-Benz S-Class, likely to be seen at the 2013 Detroit motor show in January, promises to be packed full of innovational gadgetry when it launches in mid 2013. Visitors to Paris, however, will have to be content with a sculpture called “Aesthetics S”, believed to hint at the design elements incorporated into the upcoming Mercedes-Benz S-Class. While the artwork is sure to draw a reaction, the car’s full reveal, and the unveiling of an S-Class convertible, is sure to arouse even more response.
Read more about the Mercedes-Benz S-Class.
Mini John Cooper Works GP
Mini's fastest ever production car will no doubt be swarmed at Paris ahead of its Australian arrival early next year, when it lands with a list price of $56,900. The limited edition second-generation Mini John Cooper Works GP brings serious racetrack nous – the car lapped Germany’s famed Nurburgring Nordschleife circuit in 8min23sec – to the already dynamic dynamo. Sporting a 160kW/260Nm (280Nm on overboost) turbocharged 1.6-litre engine, the six-speed manual transmission-only 1160kg Mini JCW GP is guaranteed to set the hearts of Mini fans racing.
Read more about the Mini John Cooper Works GP.
Nissan Terra concept
Combining the chunky styling, boosted ride height and interior flexibility of an SUV with the zero-emissions cleanliness of the city-dwelling Leaf EV, the Nissan Terra concept previews the Japanese manufacturer’s idea of the future of the urban crossover. A modern and minimalistic cabin contrasts the intimidating exterior, featuring light materials, woods and metals and a portable tablet in place of a conventional instrument cluster. Nissan says its Terra crossover concept is evidence it is ready to mass-produce fuel cell electric vehicles as soon as hydrogen becomes a readily available fuel source.
Read more about the Nissan Terra concept.
Peugeot 2008 concept
The attention grabbing fluorescent matt yellow Peugeot 2008 concept will start production in 2013 giving the French brand a car that is designed to merge the style and ideas behind both hatchbacks and SUVs. Sporting an efficient 81kW 1.2-litre turbocharged three-cylinder petrol engine, the Peugeot 2008 is destined to take on the likes of other compact SUVs now flooding the market.
Read more about the Peugeot 2008.
Troubling financial results and a depressed European market are not going to stop Peugeot from celebrating its home motor show in style. The Peugeot Onyx concept promises to be one of the highlights of Paris 2012. The plug-in hybrid supercar teams a rear-mounted 3.7-litre V8 diesel engine with a lithium-ion battery and an electric motor for a total power output of 507kW – all in an aggressively styled, aerodynamic package that weighs as little as a Volkswagen Polo.
Read more about the Peugeot Onyx concept.
Peugeot RCZ/RCZ R concept
After two and a half years of production, the compact Peugeot RCZ sports coupe gets its first mild makeover. The updated model adopts the French brand’s new family grille and scores tinted headlights and a unique lower air intake to ensure it stands out from the original model. Powertrains will remain unchanged when the refreshed model arrives in Australia in the first half of 2013. Joining the 2013 model on the stand will be 194kW Peugeot RCZ R concept, which promises to take the two-door to new levels of performance and desirability. A production version will reach international markets before the end of next year.
Read more about the Peugeot RCZ.
The latest iteration of the preeminent luxury SUV will continue the brand’s 42-year history of taking Land Rover owners from the farm to the road in comfort and style. The fourth-generation Range Rover weighs in 420kg lighter than the outgoing model – despite growing in size – with an aluminium monocoque doing more than its fair share to cut kilos from the package. With powerplants ranging from a 3.0-litre turbo diesel V6 to a 5.0-litre supercharged V8, and Land Rover’s first hybrid vehicle, the 2013 Range Rover is sure to be the envy of many a 4x4 enthusiast.
Read more about the new Range Rover.
Renault will launch a fresh attack on the city car segment when the fourth-generation Clio launches in its hometown on September 27. The all-new five-door model features a range of new fuel-efficient three- and four-cylinder petrol and diesel engines, while Renault has also placed specific emphasis on the Clio’s interior tech and its range of personalisation options. Unlike the current Renault Clio, which is only available in Australia in high-performance Renaultsport specification, the full line-up will make its way down under by the middle of 2013, targeting fellow European city cars like the Volkswagen Polo and Peugeot 208.
Read more about the Renault Clio.
Suzuki S-Cross concept
A protracted teaser campaign that started early last month suggests Suzuki is taking the global premiere of the S-Cross concept very seriously. Labelled a “concept car heralding a C-segment crossover model”, the S-Cross sports a ground-hugging hatchback design that may potentially preview the next-generation Suzuki SX4. Expressive headlights, sharp tail-lights and striking LEDs suggest the S-Cross will be unlike anything we’ve ever seen from Suzuki as it introduces a new design language for the Japanese brand.
Read more about the Suzuki S-Cross concept.
The all-new seventh-generation Volkswagen Golf is perhaps the most highly anticipated production model making its public debut at Paris 2012. While the styling is familiar, the platform is brand new and introduces a number of advanced safety and technology features to the compact hatch, as well as a redesigned cabin with extra passenger and storage space. A range of highly efficient new and upgraded petrol and diesel engines will join the line-up when the Golf Mk7 goes on sale in Australia in the second quarter of 2013.
Read more about the Volkswagen Golf.
Volvo V40 Cross Country
The V40 Cross Country brings rugged looks and off-road cred to the all-new V40 compact hatch. Grey plastic edges, metallic scuff plates, honeycomb grille mesh and roof rails help the Cross Country look the part off the beaten track, while all-wheel drive and Hill Descent Control promise to give the new model genuine ability away from the bitumen. Volvo Australia says it’s keen on the V40 Cross Country, meaning the Subaru XV-style Swede is likely to hit local showrooms sometime after the standard V40 hatch, which is set to arrive in the first quarter of 2013.
Read more about the Volvo V40 Cross Country.
Volvo V40 R-Design
The all-new Volvo V40 R-Design follows a tradition of performance-tuned models from the Swedish carmaker and its latest project promises to keep the bar set high. An aggressive front bumper, rear diffuser, twin exhaust pipes, sports suspension and five-spoke 17-inch wheels team up with partial leather seats, a sports steering wheel and sports pedals to give this small hatch more than enough street cred - the 187kW/400Nm 2.0-litre four-cylinder T5 turbo engine doesn’t hurt either.