The biennial Paris Motor Show is the world’s most popular, attracting more than 1.2million visitors. So will this year’s offerings bring some ooh la la to the forecourt?
Of all Europe's motor shows, the Paris Salon, or Mondial de l’Automobile, as the French call it, is the show that usually feels most anchored in the real world.
At Paris, maybe because of the city’s love-hate relationship with cars there are actually some cars you could afford rather than the supercars, or even hypercars these days, of Geneva and other venues.
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Paris Motor Show: Jaguar F-Type unveiled
Of course, the City of Light always shows off home manufacturers Peugeot, Renault and Citroen and this year the big deal will be the new Renault Clio with stylish looks borrowed from the DeZir concept car.
Don’t get excited about the Peugeot 301 saloon though, as it won't be sold in the UK.
Far too often the Paris Show meant coping with a Metro (underground) strike, not enough cabs, dog messed streets, overheated halls, brusk staff and enough nicotine addicts to make you a passive smoker.
That has improved, and the 2010 Paris Show – the Mondial alternates with the far too large Frankfurt Motor Show – despite demonstrations, transport strikes and the blocking of fuel storage facilities (it is France after all), clocked up 1,263,467 visitors.
In addition more than 13,000 journalists from 103 countries attended the two media days before the show opened to the public.
That’s a far cry from the first Paris Salon in 1898 which claimed modestly to be the “World Show for automobiles, cycling and sports”.
This year Paris will be a strong show for British based manufacturers.
Jaguar has been threatening to build an F-Type successor to the E-Type for more than 30 years, and now, after several false starts it’s sure to be one of the show stars.
Visitors to the Goodwood Festival of Speed earlier this year will have seen a disguised car streak up the hill climb looking rather like the C-X16 concept car Jaguar showed at Frankfurt last year.
Jaguar’s vehicle line director, Ian Hoban said: “When you are working on a Jaguar sports car the expectations are huge. We’re really pleased how the attributes have translated from the virtual simulation work we’ve done into the physical world.”
The F-Type, powered by a supercharged V6 engine, will be initially launched as a convertible in mid-2013 with a coupé following in 2014.
The top model will use a supercharged V8 but sadly for sports car fans, unlike a Porsche GT3, Jaguar will follow the trend for idiot-proof paddle change gearboxes and not fit a manual gearbox.
A fourth generation new Range Rover with a more rounded front debuts after doing a dance of the seven veils for the past six months.
Though keeping with the format laid down by former managing director Wolfgang Reitzle during BMW’s ownership of the company, the Range Rover now has an aluminium body rather than steel for a much needed 350kg weight reduction.
This improves performance while reducing fuel consumption though CO2 emissions are still high at 229g/km. The side vents, now on the doors, are purely cosmetic. Prices start at £71,295.
If a Rangie is too big for you it’s worth taking a look at Porsche’s new smaller SUV model, the Macan.
Back on Planet Earth will be the seventh version of the Volkswagen Golf, 36 years after the original and the new Vauxhall Adam which is an oddly named new model in the increasingly popular fashion-led small car sector.
Adam is a three-door, four-seater than can be personalised in many ways. It will be sold with a choice of 1.2 or 1.4-litre engines.
A big surprise may come from Woking-based McLaren: a super McLaren to take over the mantle of the legendary 242mph three-seater F1 of the mid 1990s.
At least at the end of a day’s trekking, even if the weather isn’t kind enough to let you sit outside at a pavement café you can be sure of a glass of red wine, an excellent dinner and all the usual delights of this fabulous city.
Paris used to be a good indication of whether it was worth attending the British Motor Show at Birmingham’s NEC but the days of a UK event are sadly long gone, having fragmented into small regional affairs at different times of the year.
The Paris motor show is open from 10am to 8pm, from September 29 to October 14. It is open until 10pm on October 4-5 and 11-12. Admission is €13 adults and €7 children aged 10 to 18. Under 10s go free. The show is at the Paris Expo, Porte de Versailles, 75015 Paris.