The 2018 Paris Motor Show is shaping as the biggest ever, with a flood of exciting new models from the world’s biggest car brands. From Aston Martin to Hyundai, from Kia to Skoda and beyond… chances are there’s something for everybody this year in Paris.
View full coverage: 2018 Paris Motor Show
Known for its designer flair, the Paris Motor Show is the home ground of the French brands – the likes of Citroen, Peugeot and Renault. But Europe is also the second home of a few outsiders, such as Hyundai and Kia, which will also be keen to make a lasting impact on potential buyers in the region, and the world over.
Top of our list is German brand Opel’s promise to reveal something spectacular to woo car enthusiasts across the globe. Opel, formerly owned by General Motors but recently acquired by Peugeot-Citroen, currently builds the Holden Commodore, so could their sexy new beast also come to Australia? With the current Commodore still quite fresh, there’s currently no clarity on what its eventual replacement will be.
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Here’s our rundown of the most important and exciting new cars set to make a Paris debut when the doors open October 2 and 3.
ASTON MARTIN DBS SUPERLEGGERA
The Aston Martin DBS “superlight” won’t actually make its appearance at the show. Instead, the privately held car maker – major shareholders include racing group Prodrive and a clutch of Kuwaiti-based investors – will ambush the show to reveal the most hardcore version yet of the DB11 to potential buyers. An early reveal of the hyper-GT displays more aggressive, ground-hugging aerodynamics that cut even further into the fascia and bonnet, gills on either side of the wheel arch and deep side sills. It’ll need to be sticky; the Mercedes-AMG-sourced twin-turbo 5.0-litre V12 resting underneath that restyled bonnet produces 533kW.
AUDI A1 SPORTBACK
The German baby hatch is expected at Paris as a rival to the Volkswagen Polo, and featuring a variety of engines including a 1.0-litre three-cylinder turbo, 1.4-litre petrol and 1.8-litre petrol choices. The new Sportback potentially marks the end of the Audi A1’s slower-selling three-door version (there’s no mention of it in press material), and also the death of the diesel – an engine not offered as part of the Australian line-up. Slightly longer and wider than the generation it replaces, the fresh-look A1 should offer more passenger space.
BMW 3 SERIES
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A seventh generation of BMW’s compact executive shuttle will lob in production form at Paris, featuring looks that don’t stray too far from the proven three-box sedan formula – nice in an era where everyone wants headroom-robbing fastback styling. The showroom heavyweight – the 3 is by far the brand’s best-selling model globally – is expected to add a hybrid-engined version, while the range-topping M3 is expected to follow the same path as the M5 and adopt all-wheel drive for the first time.
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The range is expected to include engine choices ranging from an entry-level 1.5-litre three-cylinder option right up to an in-line six-cylinder, and our first taste of a camouflage-clad prototype suggests that the next incarnation of the 3 Series will be one of the best.
The fourth-generation X5 will make its first public appearance at Paris, but we’ve already learned much about BMW’s large SUV when the company revealed all back in June. It grows bigger yet weighs less, while the interior sports a more luxurious design. Equipment and infotainment tech also gets significant attention, while an all-new platform promises sharper handling and better comfort.
The lid is well and truly lifted on BMW’s third-generation Z4 roadster, with the company announcing a swathe of details on its compact sports car earlier this month ahead of its public debut at Paris.
Accordingly, you won’t need to wait until then to learn all of the basics about the Z4 – you can just head here and read our run-down instead.
The premium French brand should have its Audi Q2 and BMW X 2 competitor at Paris, with the Crossback the first step in the French brand’s plans to electrify its range by 2025. The small SUV will likely have a 450km range on a single charge. The chances of the electric DS3 being offered in Australia are slim at the present, but if it does arrive here it will compete directly with other oil-free rides including the Hyundai Kona EV.
CITROEN DS7 CROSSBACK E-TENSE
Think of this high-riding French 4X4 wagon as Citroen’s rival to the BMW X3, LandRover Discovery Sport and Lexus NX. This e-Tense model is the first Citroen DS model to utilise electrification, its plug-in hybrid technology adding to the practical wagon’s bag of tricks. Citroen says the DS 7 E-Tense is capable of travelling 50km on pure electric power. When not using electrons for motion, the e-Tense calls on a 1.6-litre turbocharged petrol engine. No word on whether the DS 7 will come to Australia yet.
HYUNDAI i30 N FASTBACK
The Hyundai i30N performance hatch is already on sale in Australia, and now we’ve got pictures of the handsomely proportioned Fastback version to be unveiled in Paris. The i30 Fastback N uses the same 2.0-litre turbo four as the hatch, producing a very hot 202kW and 353Nm in ‘Performance’ trim. Performance is the only trim level offered here in hatch form, and is what we expect will be the only version of fastback offered here.
KIA PROCEED SHOOTING BRAKE
Rumours suggest the production model of the 2019 Kia Proceed Shooting Brake will arrive at Paris, with the showroom version lobbing a year after it was unveiled in concept form at Paris’s alter-ego, the Frankfurt Motor Show. Based on what we saw last year, the Kia Proceed should come across as sportier than the already existing wagon and hatchback models. The third member of the Euro-only Ceed family would give customers plenty of options to choose from.
Read next: 2018 Mercedes-Benz A-Class review
The brand-new A-Class has already landed on our shores, but what’s been missing is something with a little more performance pep. Then wild A45 flagship will arrive later, but until then the A35 – a new addition to the A-Class family – will whet our appetites for fast German hot hatches.
It’ll appear at Paris, but the good news is we’ve already been treated to a comprehensive preview of it by Mercedes.
The baby brother to the A45 makes 225kW and 400Nm from a 2.0-litre turbo four, and sends it all to the ground via an AWD driveline. Want to learn more? Read all about the Mercedes-AMG A35 here .
MERCEDES-BENZ A-CLASS SEDAN
Have you been enticed by the A-Class but weren’t keen on its hatchback form factor? Does the swoopy CLS-Class not tickle your fancy? Mercedes has a solution in the form of the A-Class sedan, which will also be on the Benz stand at Paris.
Once again, all of the crucial facts and figures have been announced ahead of its public debut, so if you’re curious about what makes it tick – and Benz’s claim that it’s the most aerodynamic car money can buy – head here to learn more.
MERCEDES-BENZ EQ C
Benz’s first exclusively-electric model, the EQC, will be on display at Paris. The company sees it as a cornerstone of its future, and we’ve been able to test it ahead of its Paris appearance. Key facts: 450km of range, a pricetag of roughly $125K and an Australian launch sometime in the second half of 2019. Head here to read about what Benz’s Tesla-fighting SUV is like to drive.
Alongside the electron-burning EQC will be something more familiar – the next generation of Benz’s mainstay M-Class SUV.
Directly competing with the BMW X5 that will also be making its global debut at the same show, the GLE steps onto a new platform and adopts new technology both inside the cabin and under the bonnet.
It’s a significant step forward relative to the car it replaces, and you can discover why in our full rundown of the 2019 Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class.
The Porsche Macan – the German sports car and performance SUV brand’s best seller in Australia – will get a significant midlife makeover for Paris, featuring Panamera-like styling around the front with a different DRL signature, and a subtle makeover down the rear that links the tail-lamps across the rump to emphasise the SUV’s width. Of note, the current turbocharged 3.6-litre V6 hangs up its hat in place of a new 2.9-litre twin-turbo V6 version that’s already serving duty in the Audi stable. The Macan is also expected to introduce its first petrol-electric hybrid version using technology handed down from the Panamera.
We’ve seen the images of Porsche’s new electric four-door, but we’re yet to experience its form in the bright, glaring lights of the show floor. Mark Webber’s driven it and given his tick of approval, even if the moving vision of him behind the wheel was heavily edited to remove any indication of just how quick this Tesla Model S fighter is likely to be.
SKODA KAROQ RS
It has already set a class record at the Nurburgring for the fastest seven-seat SUV to lap the famous Green Hell (but, we note, significantly slower than an Opel Zafira OPC people mover). At Paris, the Czech brand will discard all the disguise to show us the most warmed over SUV-styled breeder bus the car maker has ever produced. The Skoda Octavia RS will spring from 0-100km/h in around 6.6 seconds; expect the RS-badged Karoq to do the same in around (pause to check watch) 7.0-ish.
SKODA KAROQ SCOUT
Skoda’s latest addition to its Karoq line-up will make its public debut in Paris after being revealed online ahead of the show.
Dubbed the Karoq Scout, the Nissan Qashqai rival will have all-wheel drive as standard, with a selection of three powertrains available (two diesels, and a petrol).
The Scout variant is a more off-road focussed version of Skoda’s Karoq small SUV, with fresh styling tweaks including chrome and silver-coloured scuff plates. Inside the cabin, the Karoq Scout is fitted with unique fabric seat upholstery.
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If you’ve been to outback Australia in the last couple of decades, you’ve probably seen swarms of these skipping over the rain-induced mud while everything else around them become instantly stuck. Yep, Jimny is back, baby, keeping most of the formula that made the original so outbackedly famous; small, boxy and light. It’s even built, in true off-roader style, as a body on frame. It’s potentially in line for an Aussie reintroduction late this year.
Never heard of them? We’re not surprised, as this is the name of a Vietnamese car maker that plans to have two cars – an SUV and a hatchback – on the global stage by 2019. It has teased a couple of sketches designed by Euro styling houses Pininfarina (now owned by Indian carmaker Tata) and Italdesign Giugiaro. VinFast, a subsidiary of a Vietnam-based property group, wants to scale up to build 500,000 cars a year in a relatively short space of time, a goal that will make it Asia’s biggest vehicle manufacturer.
The four-ringed German mid-sizer is due for a facelift, and Audi is expected to crash BMW’s party by revealing its updated A4 at Paris, where the new 3 Series is also slated to debut. The revised A4 will no doubt bring slightly tweaked styling, and additional equipment filtered down from its more expensive siblings.
PEUGEOT E-LEGEND CONCEPT
Peugeot’s rhetoric for the e-Legend concept is incredibly bold. “#Unboring the Future”, and “it’s more than a technological manifesto, it is the vision of a brand”. We love it when car companies talk big, and we love it even more when they deliver, so let’s hope Peugeot’s promises are more than just rhetoric. The e-Legend Concept is an all-electric two-door coupe inspired by the classic 504. Peugeot claims the car accelerates like a true sports car (0-100km/h in 4.0 seconds), and can travel up to 600km on a single charge.
PEUGEOT 508 SW
Peugeot is expected to reveal its sleek 508 SW wagon in the metal at the Paris Motor Show. The French manufacturer has revealed photos of the 5008 alternative online, but this will be the first opportunity to see the car for real. There’s also a good chance the French brand will use its home event to showcase something unexpected, as Renault did two years ago with the Trezor concept.
SKODA VISION RS
Along with a bevy of jacked-up SUVs, Skoda will reveal a hatch concept at the Paris show called Vision RS. It’s likely to spawn a production car to replace Skoda’s ageing Rapid, an alternative to the Volkswagen Golf. A Golf GTI competitor is also expected in the form of a vRS variant.
There is a rather long list of manufacturers choosing to abscond from this year’s Paris Motor Show. The French-owned Opel and Vauxhall brands have confirmed they will not be attending, instead stating they will be putting “a stronger emphasis on our own events for the upcoming product launches.”
They join the likes of Volkswagen, Ford, Nissan, Fiat, Jeep, Volvo, Mitsubishi, Mazda, Bentley, Aston Martin, Rolls-Royce and McLaren who will also be missing the second major European motor show of the year.
Collectively, these brands account for almost 40 percent of European new car sales.