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2016 Paris Motor Show: 5 things we learned

By David Bonnici, 04 Oct 2016 Car News

Audi Q5

You don’t need a crystal ball to see where cars are headed.

That's it. The Paris Motor Show is over for another couple of years. But while most of the mega-buck launches will be beyond your budget, it won’t be too long before your daily drive is impacted by what was revealed amidst all the hype and laser beams.

Here’s five things we took home from Paris.

1. THE ELECTRIC VEHICLE’S FUTURE IS A LOT CLOSER THAN YOU THINK

Tesla was at Paris but you’d hardly know it. While the specialist electric-vehicle producer didn’t show anything new, several established brands from Mercedes to Mitsubishi revealed new cars or concepts based around all-electric or hybrid powertrains. Most notable was Volkswagen, which announced it aims to sell a million EVs by 2025.

Mercedes EQ

Lithium-loaded launches and concepts included:

  • The Tesla-challenging Mercedes-Benz Generation EQ SUV  
  • The spectacular Renault Trezor Concept  
  • A Mercedes AMG F1 hybrid hypercar  
  • The Mitsubishi GT PHEV Concept SUV  
  • The Volkswagen ID that the company says will be around the same exterior size and price as a diesel Golf (but the interior space of a Passat) when launched in 2020.  
  • The plug-in hybrid Citroen CXperience Concept  
  • The GLM G4 – a four-seat Japanese electric supercar that pushes 400kW/1000Nm and that supposedly does 0- 100km/h in 3.7 seconds  
  • Jaguar’s answer to the Tesla Model X SUV, the X590   
  • The Luxus UX concept

2. CARMAKERS ARE GETTING SERIOUS ABOUT AUTONOMOUS DRIVING

When Audi comes out and says it’s less than 12 months away from having a fully autonomous car on the road, you better take notice. The German company has revealed the all-new Audi A8 flagship limousine due for release in 2017 will be equipped with what Audi engineers call “Stage Three” autonomous systems, which will allow drivers to take their eyes, and hands, off the steering wheel for indefinite periods of time.

Renault Trezor

Renault went one better with the Renault Trezor Concept based around allowing the driver to kick back and play games with their passenger as the car barrels down the highway. The French carmaker concedes the technology isn’t here yet, but reckons it’s only a matter of time with the biggest obstacle being government regulation.

According to Nissan Renault Alliance chief executive Carlos Ghosn: “This is something all manufacturers are working on for the simple reason that it appeals to the consumer.

“It’s not going to be just on the highway, it’s going to be in the city, and most of the car companies will be there around 2020, I maintain that will happen. It’s just about it being accepted by regulators in big cities like New York, Paris and Mumbai.”

3. SUV GROWTH SHOWS NO SIGN OF SLOWING

Whether they’re EV, hybrid, petrol or diesel there was no shortage of SUV action at the Paris Motor Show including concepts and highly anticipated launches, including:

  • The second generation Audi Q5
  • BMW Concept X2 compact SUV
  • Lexus UX concept  
  • Land Rover Discovery 5
  • Peugeot 3008
  • Peugeot 5008
  • Skoda Kodiaq
  • Suzuki Ignis
  • Toyota C-HR

4. THERE’S STILL A LOT OF LOVE FOR HIGH-PERFORMANCE COMBUSTION-ENGINED CARS

From AMG to Honda there was enough heavy metal on display at Paris to ensure it wasn’t just a glimpse into a boring world of electric cars that drive themselves.

Hyundai RN30

Among the most exciting were:

  • The Hyundai i30-based  RN30 concept  sporting a 2.0-litre turbocharged engine delivering 280kW/451Nm
  • The Audi RS3 sedan with its 2.5-litre five-cylinder turbo engine producing 294kW/480Nm
  • Another concept  car pointing towards the next-generation Honda Civic Type R
  • The Hyundai i20 World Rally Championship race car  
  • The Mercedes AMG GT C Roadster
  • Ferrari’s V8-engined GTC4 Lusso T and the open-topped LaFerrari Aperta

Audi RS3

ASIAN MANUFACTURERS ARE MAKING SMALL CARS WITH EUROPE IN MIND

New small car offerings from Japanese and South Korean manufacturers seemed pretty Euro-centric in terms of design, production and initial distribution. For example:

  • The new Hyundai i30 is German-designed, which shows in its new upright design. The Korean brand’s car will be made in the Czech Republic for the European market.
  • The Kia Rio, another Korean car, has also undergone a Teutonic-inspired overhaul with straighter lines to broaden its appeal.
  • The new Nissan Micra has ditched the bland. While the Japanese brand’s small car looks a little bit like the Kia Rio used to, the company admits it has its sights firmly set on Europe
  • The Honda Civic Type R will be built in the UK and first launched in Europe before heading to Asia-Pacific

Nissan micra