Paris Motor Show preview: highlights so far

September 20, 2012 § Leave a comment

Quick round-up of the upcoming highlights (for me, anyway) at the Paris Motor Show, which opens 29th September. How cute is this? The Smart Forstars is a longer-wheelbase, wider-bodied concept based on the  Brabus electric-drive (60kW motor). It’s got more luggage space than the current Fortwo and looks like a much more usable proposition. Could probably live without the smartphone/rear-view camera in place of a trusty mirror, but the media system with a Bluetooth/iPhone-driven video projector is a nice touch – park up in front of a blank wall and screen a film show, soundtracked via a powerful set of speakers. Apparently the battery’s heavy-duty enough to handle all of this. Full picture gallery and more details here. And btw, the Fortwo has just gone through crash tests by ADAC and was the only car of its size to protect the driver against life-threatening chest injuries in an offset frontal impact. More on that here.

  • Mercedes-Benz is previewing the B-Class Electric Drive: more here. 100kW, 229 lb ft of torque, a range of 200km, fast-charging compatibility, on sale 2014.
  • Citroen is showing an electrified DS3 concept: the Electrum, with two 65kW motors and fast-charging, though a range of only 75 miles. More practically, there’s the Numero 9 concept (first seen at Beijing) which previews new C/D-sector models in the DS line – this is a 295bhp plug-in hybrid putting out 39g/km and offering an all-electric range of 50km. Citroen will also be talking about its Multicity mobility concept: this includes a car-share scheme using the C-Zero EV, already up and running in Berlin, and the French pilot trials have just been expanded to add peer-to-peer car hire and carpooling.
  • Nissan is showing  a hydrogen fuel cell concept called TeRRA: this uses e-drive tech from the Leaf, plus motors in each of the rear wheels, and is said to be production-ready. It’s an SUV-style vehicle mid-way between the Juke and Qashqai in size. More here.
  • Am liking the Peugeot Onyx concept: a sleek supercar with a 600bhp hybrid powertrain (3.7 V8 diesel engine plus KERS, giving an extra 80bhp on-demand boost) and a polished-copper/carbonfibre body, developed from Peugeot’s Le Mans car. The dashboard material is derived from recycled newspapers and the interior upholstery from compressed felt. Unlikely to make production, but there will be Onyx-inspired/branded bikes and scooters.
  • BMW is showing a front-wheel drive, plug-in hybrid mini-MPV concept called Active Tourer, based on upcoming Mini underpinnings. Powertrain’s a 1.5-litre theee-cylinder petrol engine plus e-motor (driving the rear wheels) giving a total 188bhp, combined 113mpg-plus, less than 60g/km of CO2 and an electric-only range of up to 18 miles.
  • Korea’s Ssangyong has a concept called e-XIV, a mini-SUV with a range-extended powertrain and roof-mounted solar cells. Mitsubishi is (finally) launching the Outlander PHEV plug-in hybrid. Lexus has confirmed the LF-LC hybrid coupe concept (see below) and Infiniti the LE (ditto).
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