Soon, members of the media, spectators, industry professionals, and auto enthusiasts of all kinds will descend on Paris, France, for the annual Paris Auto Show early next month. There, automakers from the world over will be presenting their wares, showcasing the latest designs, gadgets, and innovations since the last major auto show earlier this year.
This year’s show is shaping up to be notably exciting, especially for those living outside North America (we’ll get our chance once the Detroit Auto Show rolls around). There are many concepts in queue that have yet to make their first public appearance, and others which have been partially revealed through press blasts. Others have yet to see the light of day at all.
We ran through lists of the vehicles that are scheduled to be on display at the Paris Motor Show and chose a few that we thought were notably important, exciting, or intriguing. Here are eight of them, arranged in no particular order.
1. Opel Adam S
Opel, as the European-based division of General Motors, uses many vehicles that we’re familiar with as a foundation (the Mokka is actually a Buick Encore), but the Opel Adam is a car that we don’t have a direct translation for. The closest we have is the Chevrolet Spark, but even then the wheelbases are different, and the Adam remains out of America’s reach — which is a shame, because Opel just revealed the Adam S.
Consider it the GTI to GM’s Golf. It produces 150 horsepower (which goes a long way in such a small car) and features specially tuned chassis and the OPC braking system. There are sport-inspired styling cues like new front and rear fascias, that cute spoiler, and the wide-spindled rims. Power comes from a 1.4 liter turbo, that generates more than 100 horsepower per liter and reaches 62 miles per hour in 8.5 seconds. Not mind-bending, but this car’s magic will be in its agility.
2. Toyota C-HR
From the lowly Yaris to the mighty Tundra, Toyota has an all-encompassing lineup that will suit the needs of just about everyone in the market for a vehicle — with one exception. The one car that Toyota doesn’t have yet is a sub-compact crossover, a sector that is experiencing explosive growth. In Paris, Toyota will unveil the C-HR concept, a high-riding hybrid that from its looks would compete with cars like the Nissan Juke, or the impending Honda H-RV.
Toyota’s engineers looked at diamonds as their inspiration for the C-HR, noting that “the lower bodywork has been sculpted to represent the facetted surfaces of a highly-durable, precision-cut gemstone.” Few further details were offered, so we’ll have to wait until Paris is underway to learn more.
3. Peugeot Quartz
We don’t have any of Peugeot’s current vehicles here in the States, which is really unfortunate, because it means we won’t get a chance at owning some of the great concepts that the French marque makes. The Quartz is one of these; next month, the company will officially reveal the 500 horsepower, hybrid crossover to the masses. It uses a 270 horsepower 1.6-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine that’s augmented with a 114 horsepower electric motor.
Like the Toyota, the Quartz looks like it could be distilled into a sports car, though it’s more muscular, rides higher, and has the personality (in design, at least) of a rugged off-roader. Will it see production in this form? Unlikely, but we can always hope.
4. Lamborghini’s Mystery Machine
What you see above is about as much as Lamborghini has revealed, but the fine fellows at Motor Authority have surmised that the new car will be a sedan of some kind, maybe — but unfortunately not the Estoque, after an overlay revealed that the silhouette didn’t line up with the previous Estoque concept. The new car may be named the Asterion, and the lines insinuate it could be mid-engined, meaning it would be a two-door vehicle afterall. But then there’s that line: “Once perfection is achieved, you can just double it.” Consider our interest piqued.
5. Bentley Mulsanne Speed
Bentley revealed the Mulsanne Speed last week, but it will be making its first in-person appearance at Paris. On the outside, the Mulsanne Speed looks largely like the regular Mulsanne; but under the hood, it’s a whole different animal. The car still uses Bentley’s 6¾ liter V8, only it now produces 530 horsepower and a monstrous 811 pound-feet of twist — more than most, if not all, heavy-duty pickups on the market. Zero to 60 now takes just 4.8 seconds, and it’s crucial to remember that his is a large land yacht of a sedan, not a track-oriented super car.
6. Mercedes-Benz B-Class
Though many are paying attention to the new CLA, the B-Class is arguably one of the most important cars in the Mercedes stable as it was the first really entry-level vehicle offered with a three-pointed star. In the U.S., we only know it as the B-Class Electric Drive, and it’s about to get a refresh for 2015.
Power is upped from 156 to 177 horsepower, and Mercedes says that though it’s rated for 85 miles by the EPA, it can achieve closer to 100 miles in real-world traffic conditions. On the outside, new headlamps and a cleaner lines help make the utilitarian B-Class sleeker looking and more sporty, which it will need as it goes up against BMW’s i3.
7. Mercedes-Benz AMG GT
If the B-Class isn’t exciting enough for you, take a peek at the other car that Mercedes is bringing to Paris. The GT, which is the spiritual successor to the SLS AMG, is being developed between Mercedes and AMG jointly (as opposed to being designed by Mercedes then passed to AMG afterwards). There are two flavors of GT coming out soon: the GT S, which puts out about 500 horsepower, and the regular GT, which produces 456.
Both models use AMG’s incredible V8 engines, and although it hasn’t been formally announced, prices are expected to run in the neighborhood of about $120,000 to start. This will position it nicely with the lower-end Porsche 911s, and the Mercedes offers more power as standard. Let the race begin.
8. Mitsubishi Outlander Plug-in Hybrid
The Mitsubishi Outlander SUV has a problem: Upon its redesign for 2013, the new vehicle ended up looking — to many at least — older than its predecessor. This is rarely a good thing, but it’s especially difficult for a company like Mitsubishi, that has seen its U.S. presence dwindle while the industry flourishes.
Enter the Outlander PHEV Concept S, which is what the Outlander should have looked like from the beginning. It’s aggressive, unique, distinctive, modern, and muscular looking — factors not exactly possessed by the current model. However, it’s the drivetrain — a 2.0 liter four-cylinder tied to a 12 kWh battery pack with twin-motor four-wheel drive — that really makes the Outlander stand out.