Welcome to CAR’s photo blog from the 2014 Paris motor show. We’ll tell the story of the show in pictures – newest added at the top. Stay tuned!
First thing you need to know about the Infiniti Q80 concept: it’s huge. The forerunner to a production car which will rival the likes of the Porsche Panamera and Mercedes CL, it’s an enormously long four-door coupe with a luxurious looking quilted leather-clad interior. Even the doors are gigantic, the rears opening backwards, and there are no pillars to obstruct interior access.
This is the new Vauxhall Corsa – really, it is. Although officially it’s an all-new model it doesn’t half look like the old one and quite a bit is carried over underneath. Inside, architecturally at least, the sense of deja vu continues – shiny new touchscreen aside, drivers familiar with the old Corsa will feel right at home.
The new Mustang is here at last – and is the first to be coming to Europe (etc, etc). It’s very mean, very yellow, and, judging by how frequently its alarm keeps going off, very easily scared too.
Also on the Fiat stand is a reminder of the 500’s titchier roots. This wooden mould from 1956 was used to form the original 500’s panels at Fiat’s HQ in Turin until the mid 1960s.
Replacing the creaky old 1 Series convertible, here’s the new roofless BMW 2 Series. Suntan-craving performance fans will be pleased to hear there will be an M235i version, priced at around £38,000. The base 220i will cost a little over £29,000 when it goes on sale in February next year.
Here’s yet another crossover on show at Paris. This one’s a concept, but the Toyota C-HR is the first glimpse of what a Toyota rival to the likes of the Nissan Juke and Qashqai would look like. Probably not like this, in fairness – with gun carriage-sized wheels and an impossibly swoopy roofline it’s very much a concept car – but quite possibly a sign of things to come.
The new Ford Mondeo has been a long time in the making. Three years on from its original due date, the Blue Oval’s big saloon has made its European debut in Paris. It’s crammed with standard kit to woo fleet buyers but there’s an overriding feeling that it’s missed the boat.
Matters aren’t helped by the fact that the cabin looks dated already…
Not quite as obese as the 500L but still a bit pie-faced, here’s the inevitable crossover spin-off of the Fiat 500. Called the 500X, it shares its platform with the surprisingly decent Jeep Renegade. Although four-wheel drive variants will be available, expect most Fiat 500X buyers to opt for front-drive and cross-shop it against the likes of the Nissan Juke and Renault Captur.
A bright yellow Ferrari is always a crowd-puller and the 458 Speciale A is no exception. The ‘A’ stands for Aperta, Italian for open, meaning this is the convertible version of one of the most thrilling Ferraris of recent times. It weighs only 50kg more than the tin-top Speciale and its aluminium folding hardtop can go from closed to open in 14 seconds. More excitingly, the car as a whole can get from 0-62mph in exactly three seconds.
Fiat says the new 500X will offer plenty of personalisation – but we’re not sure you’ll be able to get this as an option.
Quick flashback to yesterday: our Tim Pollard papped by Mazda while expressing himself on video…
We’ve seen it up close and personal already (and even learned about its best features from the people who made it) but Paris 2014 represents the first time the Mercedes-AMG GT has appeared in a public forum. It’s still a very sexy beast.
Clever Renault Eolab concept is design to showcase near-future tech. It weighs 955kg, has a hybrid drivetrain and active aerodynamics that reduce drag by 30%. Would you drive a Clio that looks like this?
Massively imposing and, well, just massive – the Bentley Mulsanne Speed amongst Paris debutants. 811lb ft ought to get it moving…
Good grief – pass the sunglasses. That is definitely one way to get the new Audi TT Roadster noticed.
Illuminating the Land Rover stand this is quite the colour for a Discovery Sport. New baby Disco is one of the stars of the show here in Paris.
Jaguar XE looking good in launch range-topping S specification. If the bodykit doesn’t give it away, you can tell the S by its red brake calipers. Oh, and the noise – as it’s powered by the F-type’s 335bhp supercharged 3.0-litre V6.
Proving that the old ways are sometimes the best (see below…), here’s an arguably more elegant and interesting Citroen DS on the same stand.
Citroen is now treating its DS model line as a fully-blown separate sub-brand and gave it a separate press conference accordingly. Marking the occasion is this luxury four-door concept called the Divine DS. Two sets of butterfly doors (the fronts hinged forward, the rears backward) reveal an interior that’s ‘avant-garde’, for which you can read ‘chintzy.’ With three interchangeable interior trims, it’s all about personalisation, says DS.
This is the Citroen C4 Cactus Airflow 2L concept, so called because it’s designed to achieve combined-cycle fuel consumption of 2.0l/100km (141mpg). It’s another PSA ‘Hybrid Air’ concept partially powered by compressed air, with an 81bhp three-cylinder petrol engine combined with a compressed air storage unit and pump. It’s 100kg lighter than the regular Cactus (itself no heavyweight) thanks to copious use of composite materials throughout.
Aston Martin design director Marek Reichman and new Aston Martin CEO Andy Palmer on the Ferrari stand, before being introduced to Ferrari MD Felisa Amedeo. They were off to visit Lambo next. Getting to know the neighbours we guess…
Mini’s electric Superleggera concept last seen at Villa d’Este is on show too, Union Flag tail-lights and all. It’s drawing plenty of attention and viewed up close there are some impressively realised surfaces and design details going on. CAR has already been behind the wheel when Georg Kacher drove the concept shortly after it was first unveiled.
Luca di Montezemolo‘s last press conference as the head of Ferrari took place at Paris 2014. Editor Phil McNamara was there – more on this shortly.
BMW has given the ‘well, it’s not really a Mini anymore is it? Maxi, more like’ brigade some extra ammunition by stretching the Mini hatch’s wheelbase and adding an extra pair of (small) doors, but it allows the brand to tap into a potentially lucrative market. We’ve already driven it – good news is it drives like the three-door – but Paris marks its official global premiere.
Volvo is being uncharacteristically bolshy about the new XC90, describing it as ‘the best SUV in the world’ in its presentation this afternoon. It needs to be: not just a replacement for the massive-selling but now venerable outgoing model, it’s also the first building block of a brave new world for Volvo as its modular chassis and four cylinder-only ‘Drive-E’ engine family will underpin the next generation of Volvo models. Good news is, despite the fact it’s still enormous, it looks relatively classy and restrained in the metal, as does its minimal, touchscreen-focussed interior.
Honda’s still keeping us waiting for the production Civic Type R – it won’t land in production form until summer next year – but it continues to tease us with static pre-production cars. This time it’s painted blue, not red as it was at Geneva, and that rear wing is as cartoonishly large as before. The ingredients are fairly mouth-watering: manual gearbox only, four-stage adaptive dampers, a 7,000rpm redline, ‘more than’ 276bhp, and faster than the NSX Type R, says Honda. Hurry up and build it please.
Citroen is asking show-goers to vote ‘Oui’ or ‘Non’ as to whether it should make its dreadfully named C1 Urban Ride concept a reality, but it looks very much production-ready on the show stand. A jacked-up C1 with a bit of plastic body cladding around the arches, the low-rolling resistance tyres fitted to the show car suggest it’s not a car for greenlaning. Then again, the clue’s in the name…
Peugeot has also rehashed its Exalt concept from the Beijing motor show. A ‘European version’, its overall design is unchanged but it features a new combination of odd materials inside and out such as basalt fibre in place of carbonfibre together with recycled newspaper trim. The sheet metal bodywork supposedly has a similar texture to shark skin, which ‘markedly’ reduces drag, says Peugeot. As before, it’s a four-wheel drive plug-in hybrid with a total power output of around 348bhp.
Here’s Peugeot’s Quartz concept. Although the scissor doors and part-basalt interior will no doubt end up on the cutting room floor if and when any of its design makes production, it does provide an intriguing glimpse of a potential Peugeot entry in a sector it’s thus far avoided. Naturally, it’s a hybrid (conventionally powered concept cars aren’t in fashion at the moment) with Peugeot’s THP 1.6-litre petrol (tweaked to 266bhp) at the front and a pair of 85kW electric motors, one for each axle. Total power output works out around the 500bhp mark..
Audi R&D chief Ulrich Hackenberg is on illuminating form in an interview with CAR magazine. ‘The new Audi R8 will come next year and we have developed a platform that it will share with the Lamborghini Huracan,’ he confirms. ‘Look at the hybrid you see on Lamborghini’s stand to get an idea of the powertrain we can do in the next R8. And there will be an R8 E-tron with a range of more than 400km (250 miles).’ Count us as interested, then…
The Lamborghini Asterion 910-4 – a proper shock-and-awe Lamborghini. Named after a minotaur from Greek mythology, this is appropriately a hybrid beast of a different sort. The Asterion is a plug-in hybrid, a Lambo that can cruise on silent electric mode for 30 miles. And it’s front-wheel drive when it does so! But it’s mated to the Huracan’s V10, so fear not. It’s as fast as any sports car. Will they build it? We asked president Stephan Winkelman. ‘We’re testing the water – we didn’t want to do a predictable sports car,’ he said. ‘We’re always looking for ways to expand our line-up and this is an interesting new direction for us…’ We have to interrupt this bulletin to ask the blue-blazered editor of Top Gear magazine to get out of the way of our photographer. Oi Turner, move it!
And in a surprisingly similar shade of blue in the Volkswagen corner comes one of the surprises of the show: the VW XL Sport. It’s a concept car showcasing the rumoured Ducati-engined XL1. And pretty radical it looks, too. The XL Sport packs the 197bhp twin-cylinder from a Ducati 1199 Superleggera mounted amidships, sends drive through a seven-speed DSG, revs up to 11,000rpm and scuttles to 62mph in 5.7sec. Proper original fresh thinking from VW, but sadly seems unlikely to follow XL1 into low-volume production. Boo-hiss.
Over at Audi they showed the new, roofless TT. In TTS guise, it’ll match a Mulsanne Speed – new on the Bentley stand – from 0-62mph in just 4.9sec, but costing less than a fifth of the price. Of rather more significance is the new TT Sportback concept car, but they removed that after a quick drive-by. Full story here.
The 2014 Paris motor show is pretty huge. We spent the first evening at the Volkswagen group preview, where Wolfsburg and its satellites roll out concept car after production model after motorcycle (now that they own Ducati too). They’re celebrating the 200 millionth vehicle ever built, a milestone passed this week. That’s a hell of a lot of cars, even by VW standards…
Honours for the publicity stunt of the show so far go to Land Rover. It hired a boat on the River Seine to showcase its new Discovery Sport – complete with floating off-road course and giant wellie boots, depicting each of the seven seats on board. Jaguar Land Rover clearly has a fixation with city-centre rivers, after it helicoptered the XE into its London debut a few weeks ago…
And no water-borne world debut would be complete without a celeb. Here’s supermodel and actress Rosie Huntington-Whiteley. No, we don’t know who she is either. Fortunately, we’re told there no in-Seine moments for car or super-star.
Not strictly in Paris, but Aston Martin’s new boss – ex-Nissan product tsar Andy Palmer – swung by Gaydon en route to the French capital to greet the workforce. It’s his first day in the job. We’ll meet him in Paris on Thursday.
CAR has arrived in Paris. We have a press badge. Computers charged up. Phones, USB sticks, pens, notepads. And lots of enthusiasm. Surely batteries will run flat, wi-fi won’t work and stuff will happen we don’t expect to. But we are here, primed and ready to bring you coverage straight from the Mondial de l’Automobile 2014. Stay tuned today and tommorrow for more.
And don’t forget to check out our A-Z guide of every new car at the Paris motor show.