Business Day Motor News Editor, Mark Smyth, was lucky enough to attend the 2016 Paris Motor Show in person. These are the cars that bought the stars to his eyes:
The company with the four rings had three world debuts at the show, but the most important was the new Q5 which adopts the new design language at the Ingolstadt firm, particularly when it comes to the interior. The new A5 and S5 Sportback models also appeared as did the RS3 sedan.
The company’s big surprise was the X2. We knew the model was going to be shown, but the surprise was that it was not an X1 coupe as we had expected. Instead, it looks set to be a standalone model, showcasing a new design era for BMW. Elsewhere on the stand, the company showcased a bunch of new 7 Series models as well as the updated 3 Series GT, two new M models in the form of the M140i and M240i and the longer range i3 electric vehicle.
Citroen’s big reveal was its new C3, which will feature those AirBumps that debuted on the C4 Cactus. Sadly, Citroen is not doing so well in SA and while the C3 might once have been a major player for the brand, it will not be bringing the new model to our shores. It also showed a stunning concept in the form of the CXperience, a vast grand tourer with an amazing interior. We will bring you more details on it when we delve into the concepts of Paris in next week’s issue.
The star of Fiat’s stand was not actually a Fiat at all — it was the Riva motor yacht. I spent ages staring at it, such is its incredible beauty. The company had it on the stand as part of its reveal of the limited edition 500 Riva, but the show also gave us our first glimpse at the new Fiat 124 sports convertible. Only the Abarth version is coming here.
The main reveal for Honda was its new Civic hatchback, which is currently only under consideration for SA. But it was not the star of the stand, that accolade went to the prototype of the next generation Civic Type-R. Interestingly it was shown in the same year that the latest version of the Type-R was launched, with the model traditionally arriving years into the mainstream model’s life cycle. Honda is promising to rectify this, though, and you can expect the extrovert Type-R to arrive next year.
Far from its South Korean homeland, Hyundai had plenty to shout about at Paris. Its big reveal was the new i30 which shows the next stage of the company’s design strategy. It also used the event to finally debut its performance brand in the form of the i30 N. As yet Hyundai SA has not confirmed if it will bring the performance models to our shores, but we certainly hope it does. Apparently the new i10 had a global reveal at the show too, but it must have been tucked away because we didn’t see it.
The Rio is a top seller for Kia so it was no surprise that it was the focal point on its stand. Displaying a more dynamic look than the outgoing model, it again boasts a long list of standard features and looks set to boost its popularity against the likes of Volkswagen’s Polo.
It was all about the fifth generation of the Discovery on Land Rover’s stand. Taking design cues from both the concept and the Discovery Sport, the new model again offers space for seven and an assurance the legendary off-road capability it is renowned for will continue. We are in two minds about the interior, which is nothing like the concept we were so excited about. Instead the company looks to have raided the Jaguar Land Rover parts bin and gone with something more conservative, although in line with other models. This probably means the cool stuff will only come with the midlife facelift. There is a new infotainment system and some new tech, but none of the innovation the concept promised.
Lexus revealed its strangely named UX sports SUV. Strange because if you read the names together, it says Lexusux. Did nobody in the marketing department think about that? Fortunately the concept does not suck though, instead showcasing a dramatic design both inside and out as well as a host of technology features. As Toyota and Lexus seek to reinvent themselves, we really want to see Lexus build the UX to provide something very different.
One of the big battlegrounds in Paris was that of the electric vehicle and Mercedes weighed in with its EQ concept as well as its Smart electric-drive models. We’ll bring you more on the EQ next week, but currently Merc SA is not looking at EVs, preferring to go the plug-in hybrid route until we get a decent level of infrastructure to support electric motoring. In the realm of the internal combustion engine, the company debuted its GLC43 coupe, as well as the E-Class All Terrain. The wow factor, though, was reserved for the massive Vision Mercedes-Maybach 6 with its bonnet the length of a runway and its tail the length of a super yacht. In the middle sits a super luxurious cabin. It’s a concept, so the company can do what it likes and we suspect that if it were to go into production it will be somewhat more subdued. But then people bought the ultra expensive and extrovert Maybach Exelero, so who knows.
Mini might have ditched some of its niche models such as the roadster and coupe, but it is still creating vehicles offering something different when it comes to performance. The latest, which made its debut in Paris, is the Clubman John Cooper Works, for those who want a Mini station wagon with serious attitude.
Mitsubishi showed its new Outlander plug-in hybrid, the successor to the bestselling plug-in hybrid in the world. Bet you didn’t know that. The new version has a dramatically different design which will filter down into the other Outlander models which we will get in SA. The company’s Ground Tourer concept was a major draw card though, certainly attracting a great deal more attention than the dated Pajero tucked away in a corner. That could be because everyone expects the concept to hint at the next generation Pajero. Given that some of the styling of the concept already appears in the new Outlander, that would make sense.
Nissan took a massive stand for a little car as it debuted the next generation of its Micra. No word as yet on whether the new city car will come to SA after the company dropped it from its line-up a few years ago, but it could do with something in the segment to take on its rivals.
It was all about world debuts on the Peugeot stand. It showcased its new 3008 Dakar entry, which will be the big reveal for the guys at Toyota’s motorsport division to look at. For us normal folks, the company showed the new regular 3008, which is anything but regular. It is a major departure from the outgoing model with a great, albeit slightly more mainstream, design. The interior is stunning with a true driver cockpit style and space for passengers. Expect it next year.
Porsche’s stand was all about the world motorshow debut of the new Panamera. With its more dynamic styling and revised interior, it is likely to lure yet more people away from the traditional executive sedan offerings.
Renault revealed its dramatic Trezor concept, which hints at the next generation styling for the brand. It also showed the production version of the Alaskan bakkie for the first time and hit out at all its electric vehicle rivals by revealing the new Zoe with the statement that it offers a 400km range “now”.
VW was the main target of Renault’s electric vehicle range claims as the German car maker pulled the wraps off its ID electric car concept. The company has big ambitions for its electric vehicle range as it tries to move away from the Dieselgate scandal and into a new era where it plans to sell 1-million electric vehicles globally.