When a major European motor show rolls around, a bunch of members of the CarAdvice team get to fly over and have a stickybeak for themselves at the new production cars and show stoppers.
And because we’re all highly opinionated, here’s what each of the guys on the ground – myself, Alborz, James, Mike, Paul and Rob – thought were the highlights and lowlights of the Mondial de l’Automobile.
As usual, we’ve split it up in to three categories: best concept car, best production car, and biggest miss. Oh, and the crew that didn’t get to come along also get to have their say, because you can still have an opinion based on the images alone.
On that topic, tell us in the comments section below what you think of our choices.
Alborz Fallah, in Paris
Best production car: Audi RS3 Sedan
To be able to get 294kW and a 0-100km/h time of 4.1 seconds in probably what is the best looking sedan in the market, is pretty much nailing the idea of the perfect car. For me, the RS3 sedan will go down as a proper classic sports car in years to come.
Best concept: The BMW X2
The best looking BMW to be. Way to go making all your other cars look ugly.
Hope it sticks true to its concept form when it hits the market next year.
Biggest miss: The Audi Q5
Basically, the designer at Audi got drunk the night before the design was due and handed in the old one with some basic tweaks. It’s almost identical. In fact, when I first walked past it, I thought it was the old one.
On that same token, Land Rover has just expanded the Discovery Sport to make the new Discovery. Come on folks, let’s at least try and make them look a little different.
James Ward, in Paris
Best production car: Land Rover Discovery
The new Land Rover Discovery 5 (don’t say that in the presence of anyone who works for Land Rover!) is something I’ve been waiting for for quite some time and I wasn’t disappointed with the car revealed at the show.
Yes it looks a bit long in the back and has a painfully small boot with all seven seats in play, but the technology, luxury and capability that come with the new Disco look to be world class. I can’t wait to drive it.
Best concept car: Renault Trezor
I really like the BMW X2, and think Mercedes-Benz needs a special mention for the Generation EQ and what it means for their company moving forward, but a concept car is all about being a bit bonkers and so the Renault Trezor (Trent Reznor) gets the nod from me.
It looks amazing, showcases the use of materials and has a flip-up red windscreen cover thing – what more do you want.
Biggest miss: Not as showy as we’d expected, and we’re missing out on cool stuff… again!
I have to call out the lack of some brands exhibiting, and also the brands that did not unveil their highly anticipated new models (looking at you BMW 5 Series) given this is the largest European show for the year.
Also, I find the left-hand drive exclusive Opel Ampera-E a bit of a kick in the guts to right-drive markets who want affordable EVs too. Poor form on all counts.
Matt Campbell, in Paris
Best production car: Skoda Kodiaq
Simply clever is Skoda’s tag line, and this not-so-big seven-seat SUV embodies that mantra brilliantly. The Skoda Kodiaq is barely bigger than an Octavia, yet manages to squeeze in up to seven seats, and has a big boot to boot.
The styling, the interior presentation and the thoughtfulness – including umbrellas in the doors and nifty little door protectors that pop out to stop you from bashing the edge of your doors into the cars nearby – all add up to a massive tick for the Skoda brand.
One wonders if the upcoming Volkswagen Tiguan seven-seater will be as smart…
Best concept: Lexus UX
This could make some of you question my eyesight, and look – I know it’s not to all tastes. But that’s the beauty of design, the fact that everyone can take different things away from artworks.
It seemingly has all the styling of a much bigger SUV smashed over the top of a smaller body, but I really think the aggressive design works in the little Lexus’ favour.
Biggest miss: Mercedes-Benz Generation EQ
I just don’t like it. Like I said above, my subjective opinion is that this looks like a cheap rip-off of what we’ve come to expect from one of the most style-conscious manufacturers in the world.
There’s too much plastic, too much try-hard. It looks like a Chinese copycat version of the GLC with some bad styling additions. I really hope the production model is prettier.
Mike Costello, in Paris
Best production car: Nissan Micra
The all-new Nissan Micra was the best car at the show because of the shift it represents. The old model was made in, and for, developing markets. The new one is from France, based on the Renault Clio, and utterly chic.
From the sexy design, to the upmarket cabin, the the class-leading active safety and the new engines, it’s everything its predecessor wasn’t. It’s frustrating the Nissan might not bring it to Australia. Madness.
Best concept: Volkswagen I.D.
To give you an idea of what kind of deal this Volkswagen concept is, consider the image company presented at the reveal: a side-by-side-by-side featuring an original Beetle, a Mk1 Golf, and the I.D.
This concept previews the first model to be spun off its electric-only MEB architecture. It’ll be Golf-sized but as roomy as a Passat thanks to the batteries being in the floor, will have rear-wheel drive, a 600km range and cost the same as a Golf diesel. This is the beginning of a new day for VW, it seems.
Biggest miss: Opel Ampera-E
General Motors’ European subsidiary had a neat tagline for its new electric car: “Democratising the electric car.” How nice. And this 500km range electric MPV looks the goods, being an evolution of the (Australian-designed) Chevy Bolt concept.
But it’s no democracy when GM refuses to make it in right-hand drive, which is an arrogant, close-minded and conceited approach from the brand. This attitude was encapsulated by CEO Karl-Thomas Neumann refusing an interview.
Paul Maric, in Paris
Best production car: Skoda Kodiaq
‘Simply clever’ is the Skoda catchphrase and they’ve proven that an SUV can still have some innovative smarts. The Kodiaq comes with active door protectors that pop out to prevent doors from being knocked into other cars (especially if you have kids eager to get out of the car).
It’s a good looking SUV that will cement Skoda’s position in the market. I can’t wait to have a drive locally.
Best concept car: Hyundai RN30
Full disclosure — I was hosted by Hyundai at the Paris motor show, but it has nothing to do with why I chose it as the best performance car. This car signified the beginning of Hyundai’s performance range. It’s a core focus on performance and is the metaphorical segway into a new future for Hyundai.
Let’s see where it takes them.
Biggest miss: Mitsubishi, full stop.
It wasn’t actually a particular model, but an entire brand. Mitsubishi really is showing that its range of cars has stagnated. The Mitsubishi stand at the Paris motor show even had a Pajero tucked into the corner, which at a show like this, makes the car stand out as a really old machine that’s overdue for an update.
Mike Stevens, CA HQ
Best production car: Mercedes-AMG GT C Roadster
Mmm, so fine. Better looking than the coupe, magically. I wouldn’t even bother with another SL, after this. Talk about pointless (even despite the history in the SL badge). The proportions of this thing, and how fine it looks both roof-down and roof-up – the latter a challenge for many roadsters – is just exceptional.
Best concept car: Hyundai RN30
Let your sci-fi dreams loose! Hot damn, mean as hell. That super low grille and deeply angled headlights, the huge guards that merge with wings and fins down low, the massive diffuser that may’ve once been a children’s slide… and what about the sketched truck it sits on? I want that as an optional extra when you buy the car.
The only shame is that the actual i30 N won’t look this crazy.
Biggest miss: Land Rover Discovery
This was a tough call. I actually quite like the front, and I don’t mind the front two thirds of the side view. But where it comes undone, for me, is the huge rear overhang that makes the car look like it’ll tip over backwards at the first sight of a hill.
And those attempts to honour the previous, boxier models? The little step in the roof, the squared-off butt, the silly off-set number plate… bow-bow, no thanks.