Best cars of the 2014 Paris motor show

With hundreds of new cars and dozens of glinting concept vehicles at the 2014 Paris motor show, picking a favourite can be as difficult as getting a decent free WiFi connection.
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That didn’t stop the CarAdvice team from trying. Eight of our staff trawled the floors of the various pavilion halls at the Mondial de l’Automobile at Parc des Expositions de Versailles in the French capital to pick their favourite cars of the show.

Each was asked to choose a concept vehicle they’d like to see make it to production, and a production car that they’d like to see parked in their driveway back in Australia.

Here are the results broken down by each team member – tell us what you think below.


It took me nearly two full days of looking, photographing, sitting in and daydreaming about my picks of the show, but I’ve finally decided the two cars I liked most at the 2014 Paris show.

Concept car: Infiniti Q80 Inspiration

Infiniti Q80 Inspiration concept_1

The Infiniti Q80 Inspiration caught me by surprise. I had seen most of the other concepts on the show floor before checking out this Japanese mega luxury coupe sedan thing, and it made my jaw drop.

I think this is what the Germans have been trying to achieve with four-door luxury coupes, and while there are some clear problems in terms of making this into a production-ready vehicle, it’s the sort of automobile that could make people notice Infiniti – which, currently, isn’t the case.

Production car: Fiat 500X


I want a Fiat 500X.

I said it when I saw it. I said it when I sat in it. I said it to the designer of the car, Roberto Giolito, and he was quite chuffed. It’s a practical mini SUV with petrol and diesel powertrains and 2WD/4WD options. I just hope Fiat Australia brings it here, and gets its pricing right.


The Paris show is the home of French quirkiness and style, but it was the Japanese that set my pulse racing at this year’s Mondial de l’Automobile.

Concept car: Honda Civic Type R concept

Honda Civic Type R concept_1

Thinly veiled though it may be, the Civic Type R concept just looks mean. Those tail-lights. That spoiler! The return of the hardcore Japanese hot-hatch. Bring on 2015!

Production car: Mazda MX-5

Mazda MX-5_1

Made sceptical by 2D images viewed on my computer screen last month, I’ve been won over by the Mazda MX-5 after beholding it in the flesh. It’s got a look in its eyes that just says “drive me”, and feels small enough and cute enough to pick up give a cuddle.


Concept car: Volkswagen XL2 Sport

Volkswagen XL Sport_1

Volkswagen pulled a cat out the bag the evening before the Paris show at its Annual Group Night extravaganza - the XL2 Sport.

Unexpected and therefore rare, this Ducati-engined and ultra aerodynamic baby coupe ticked all the right boxes. And insiders tell us they may even build 500 or so for fun!

Production car: Land Rover Discovery Sport

Land Rover Discovery_

Land Rover is really on a roll. Now that it has got the Range Rover line up sorted, the brand has turned its gaze to entry products.

The Land Rover Sport replaces the Freelander with panache and style, and seven seats. All in a package that would look at home out the front of The Savoy.


Concept car: DS Divine

DS Divine_1

This year’s most spectacular concept simply must go to the DS Divine. It might be a concept, but expect many elements of this design to appear in the next generation of the newly-formed DS brand’s production models.

Production car: Mercedes-AMG GT

Mercedes-AMG GT_1

The most beautiful production model goes to the Mercedes-AMG GT - what a car. In my opinion this is the most beautiful Benz (despite lacking that part of the name!) since the iconic 300SL.


Concept car: Volkswagen XL2 Sport

Volkswagen XL Sport_2

If the new Passat continued Volkswagen's obsession with conservatism, the XL2 Sport showed the company's anti-soporific side. Taking the brilliant-looking XL1 and widening the body, lobbing on bigger wheels and powering it with a high-revving Ducati V-twin engine. We want to drive it. Immediately. Please?

Production car: Opel Corsa


More for relevancy than anything, because this new-generation city car is a hot favourite to come to Australia as Holden expands its range of European-sourced models. Not as visually stylish as the Renault Clio but still sufficiently attractive for its target market, and the interior quality and presentation is so far above the Barina it's not funny.


Concept car: … none?

There wasn't a star concept for me among the motor show halls this year. The sexy DS Divine concept came closest, but it's tempered by being so incredibly distant as a production car that I'd want Citroen's posh arm to build tomorrow. So I'm going to cheat and nominate a second production car - the Mercedes-AMG C63 S Estate.


C'mon, a compact wagon with 700Nm of torque, rear-wheel drive, active engine mounts, (optional) carbon ceramic disc brakes, and that gorgeous new C-Class exterior and interior plus a big boot? The Audi RS6 Avant now has a challenger as my perfect do-all car.

Production car: Volkswagen Passssszzzzzz. Sorry, I fell asleep. Ah, yes, Peugeot 308 GT, I'm awake...


Sitting in a dark blue 308 GT gave me every reason to not think Volkswagen Golf - no mean feat when the small car answer has been 'Golf' for about the last decade. The 308 has a lovely, clean cabin design and tight, wide exterior proportions that remind me of the lovely 306 and make mockery of the dumpy 307 and original, guppy 308.

Please let this 153kW 1.6-litre turbo drive as good as it looks, please sell it locally for $35K, then please put my name next to a dark blue, six-speed manual hatch with black leather interior.


Concept car: DS Divine


Imagine a world where we all drive around in a crazy concept car, personally I think that would be fantastic. Concept cars are amazing and one of the highlights of the Paris Motor Show was the DS Divine – and I got an exclusive sit-in at the show.

For DS it's all about the design, styling and texture of the materials. The body styling is epic, with scales over the rear-glass, a chrome belt-line hiding the door handles and headlights that look like diamonds. Inside the car was better suited for Paris Fashion Week, with beaded and embroidered upholstery and a diamond-patterned sunroof blind.

Production car: Peugeot 208 GTi 30th Anniversary Edition


Snapping back to French reality, my pick of the production cars is coming to Australia in 2015 – it’s the Peugeot 208 GTi 30th Anniversary Edition. It pays homage to its origins with styling cues that draw inspiration from the 205 GTi, including red floor mats.

The 208 GTi has a lowered chassis compared to the normal 208, heavy duty Brembo brakes, a more powerful 208hp (155kW) engine producing 300Nm and a Torsen limited slip differential. It looks fast and classy, too.


Concept car: Lamborghini Asterion LPI 910-4

Lamborghini Asterion concept_1

Lamborghini could never be accused of being anything but brash and bold, and I think the Asterion LPI 910-4 hybrid hypercar concept adds super sophistication to the list.

Combining gorgeous design cues from the Aventador and recently-launched Huracan, the Asterion previews an impressive 669kW powertrain that will hopefully form the backbone of a future production model.

Production car: Peugeot 208 GTi 30th Anniversary Edition


I'm looking forward to the Peugeot 208 GTi 30th Anniversary hitting the road in Australia in the first quarter of next year. The name suggests a sticker pack model, though it's anything but.

Based on the already good 208 GTi, the 30th Anniversary ups the power and torque, adds a limited slip diff to better harness it, a lower stance with wider tracks to sharped it up, and an optional two-tone gloss/matte paint job that makes a matte finish seem dull. Should be dubbed the 208 R.