The eyes of the automotive industry as well as motoring enthusiasts will all turn to Paris next week as the city hosts the Paris Motor Show.
As usual we are aware of many of the new models that will debut at the show but it is looking likely that there will be a few surprises, not least of all when it comes to the reveal of some highly anticipated new models such as the new BMW 5 Series and Land Rover Discovery 5.
Audi will show the updated version of its Q3 but its main focus will be on the next generation Q5. We expect the new model to adopt much of the technology from models such as the A4 when it comes to the interior, while the exterior will be sharpened and the change in platform will see it get a little lighter.
BMW has kept its 5 Series under wraps, although our insiders have seen it testing in both Germany and the US. The designers are not going to mess with the exterior too much, although we expect to see some influence from the larger 7 Series. The 7 will have even more influence inside though, where the new 5 Series will adopt many of the new styling cues from the 7.
Still with BMW, the company will unveil its new X2, a coupe-like version of its X1 in the same style as the X4 and X6.
Over at Mini there will be a new version of the Countryman as well as a John Cooper Works (JCW) version of its Clubman station wagon.
Honda will focus on its new Civic hatchback, although currently Honda SA says the model is only under consideration for our market. The new hatch is even more dramatic in its styling than the outgoing version as the company gives it an even sportier vibe.
As we reported recently, Hyundai’s new i30 will debut at the show, as will the performance version, the i30 N.
Over at sister company Kia, most of the attention will be on the new Rio.
Land Rover will have one of the biggest new model reveals of the show as it debuts its new Discovery 5, due in SA in August next year.
Mercedes-Benz is going big when it comes to electric vehicles (EV) in Paris. It will launch its new EV sub-range to rival BMW’s i-brand. We expect EV versions of a number of existing models, including, of course, plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEV). Mercedes SA has no plans at this stage to introduce the full electric models that will debut though — saying that the South African market is not ready for them — but expect the local outfit to roll out more PHEVs as they become available.
It won’t just be all about EVs on the Mercedes stand, with the company debuting its new GT roadster models that you can read about on page 6.
Mitsubishi will have a couple of concept models on show, the most interesting of which will be its Ground Tourer SUV concept. It will be a PHEV, which is appropriate because the company’s Outlander PHEV is the world’s biggest selling plug-in hybrid. However, the concept is sure to create speculation around whether it hints at the next generation of the Pajero. Mitsubishi is avoiding any reference to a Pajero replacement, referring only to the concept as a luxury SUV, but the company is saying that the concept shows the next era of design for its SUV models — so when the new Pajero eventually arrives, it is sure to take some styling cues from this.
It will, of course, be the home show for Peugeot and it will display its new 3008 and 5008 crossover models.
While it seems as though it has been around for a few months already, Porsche will finally give its new Panamera its official public debut at the show. The company will have a full range on display including the latest addition in the form of a 340kW plug-in hybrid version.
Renault will show its new Koleos as well as a facelifted version of its Sandero. The new Sandero will be bolder than the outgoing model and will again be available in regular and Stepway versions. The company will also reveal a concept car that promises to showcase the future design direction for the brand.
Paris will also mark the official public debut of the company’s Alaskan bakkie, which is definitely heading to SA.
Finally, Volkswagen will be implementing yet more steps to shake off the emissions from Dieselgate. VW has just introduced a new company integrity strategy internally but at the show it will be showcasing its new plans for EVs. The company will unveil a concept EV model that is scheduled to go on sale in 2019, but has given little information away as yet. – Mark Smyth