• 2014 Paris Motor Show: Day one roundup

    October 3, 2014

    Day one of the 2014 Paris Motor Show has been packed with both European-market and global debuts. A full wrap-up will be available tomorrow after the remaining reveals trickle in, but for now, here is everything we have seen so far:


    • Audi TT Sportback concept – The latest concept in what appears to be Audi’s expanding TT family is perhaps the most production-ready we hae seen yet. It somehow manages to combine the TT’s classic lines with the A5 Sportback’s five-door utility.
    • 2016 Jaguar XE – Originally revealed in London back in September, the new 3 Series competitor from the storied British brand is now on full display. Expected in the U.S. as a 2016 model, the XE continues Jaguar’s recent trend of building sleek, dynamic cars with undeniable sex appeal.
    • 2016 Mercedes-AMG GT – Slotting below the SLS AMG in the Mercedes-Benz lineup, the AMG GT is one of the biggest stories to come out of Paris. Boasting a twin-turbo V8 that produces more than 450 horsepower, the AMG GT should prove a formidable competitor to the Porsche 911.
    • Porsche Cayenne S E-Hybrid – With a powertrain borrowed from the Panamera Hybrid, the new Cayenne S E-Hybrid should help solidify Porsche’s reputation for delivering high-class German performance alongside cutting-edge fuel conservation technology.

    Full list of additional debuts:

    Citroen C1 Urban Ride concept
    Citroen C4 Cactus Airflow 2L concept
    2015 Fiat 500X
    Honda Civic Type R Concept II
    Hyundai H350 van
    2015 Hyundai i20
    Infiniti Q80 Inspiration concept
    2016 Kia Sorento
    2015 Land Rover Discovery Sport
    2015 Mercedes-Benz B-Class (Euro-spec)
    2015 Mercedes-Benz C-Class wagon
    Opel Adam S
    2015 Opel Corsa
    Peugeot 208 HYbrid Air 2L
    Peugeot Exalt concept
    Renault EOLAB concept
    Toyota C-HR concept
    2015 Volvo XC90

  • Paris LIVE: Citroen C1 Urban Ride concept

    October 3, 2014
    Citroën has arrived at the Paris Motor Show with a new concept car called C1 Urban Ride.

    Based on the existing entry-level C1 city car, the Urban Ride boasts a more rugged appearance thanks to black plastic trim over the wheel arches, more aggressive-looking bumpers with contrasting silver accents and gray multi-spoke alloy wheels. A two-tone yellow and silver paint job helps the Urban Ride stand out from a stock C1.

    The Urban Ride is powered by a C1-sourced gasoline-burning 1.2-liter three-cylinder engine that sends 82 horsepower to the front wheels via a five-speed manual transmission. The 1,851-pound city car reaches 60 mph from a stop in 11 seconds, a respectable statistic for the segment. The Urban Ride’s ground clearance has been increased slightly and it boasts a wider track.

    Interestingly, show-goers in Paris are asked to vote to decide whether or not the Urban Ride concept should be given the green light for production. If built, the SUV-inspired city car will likely bow in Geneva next year and go on sale across Europe shortly after.

    In addition to the C1 Urban Ride, Citroën is introducing a highly-fuel efficient concept called C4 Cactus 2L and the recently-emancipated DS brand will unveil the Divine concept.

    Live images by Ronan Glon.

  • Paris LIVE: Peugeot Exalt concept

    October 3, 2014

    Peugeot has introduced an updated version of the Exalt concept that bowed in Beijing last April.

    Taking the form of a sleek four-door coupe, the Exalt borrows styling cues such as its slim, angular radiator grille, its rippled hood and its sharp headlights from the Onyx concept that was presented at the 2012 edition of the Paris show. 20-inch alloy wheels and sculpted flanks accentuate the car’s sporty silhouette.

    Interestingly, the Exalt’s rear end is covered in an innovative grainy textile called Shark Skin that allegedly reduces the car’s drag coefficient. The rest of the Exalt is crafted out of bare steel.

    Inside, the Exalt concept boasts an upscale cabin with an integrated air purifier and a new infotainment system dubbed Peugeot i-Cockpit. The bulk of the controls on the center console have been replaced by nine toggle switches arranged in two groups located on either side of the steering wheel. The toggle switches were inspired by the equipment found in a recording studio.

    The ebony trim found inside the Exalt shown in Beijing has been replaced by Newspaper Wood, a new salmon-colored material that is made from recycled business newspaper. Basalt fiber trim adds a finishing touch to the interior.

    Power comes from a gasoline-electric hybrid drivetrain consisting of a 270-horsepower 1.6-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine borrowed from the RCZ R and a 67-horsepower electric motor mounted over the rear axle. The two power sources send 340 horsepower to all four wheels via a six-speed automatic transmission, but Peugeot has opted not to publish performance and fuel economy figures.

    A folding electric scooter called HYbrid-kick Concept can be neatly stored under the trunk floor. Pictures of the scooter are being kept under wraps until the start of the Paris show.

    Peugeot has not revealed what the future holds for the Exalt, but sources close to the automaker indicate it could spawn an oft-rumored four-door coupe that would take on entry-level variants of the Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class. The yet-unnamed model would help Peugeot target a younger clientele while moving up a notch on the market in Europe and in China.

    Live images by Ronan Glon.

  • Paris LIVE: Renault EOLAB concept

    October 3, 2014
    Renault has introduced the EOLAB, a highly-efficient concept car, at the Paris Motor Show.

    The EOLAB concept is a response to a challenge set by the French government that asks the country’s automakers to build a regular production car capable of returning at least 117 mpg by the year 2020. Renault has exceeded the government’s requirements and designed a fully-functional car that is rated at 265 mpg in a mixed European cycle.

    Power for the EOLAB comes from a gasoline-electric hybrid drivetrain made up of a 1.0-liter three-cylinder engine derived from the mill found in the Twingo and a compact electric motor. The SCe generates 75 horsepower and 70 lb-ft. of torque, while the electric motor uses power stored in a compact battery pack to produce 67 horsepower and 147 lb-ft. of torque. Both units send power to the drive wheels via a highly-compact three-speed clutchless transmission.

    The EOLAB offers two driving modes called weekday and weekend, respectively. When weekday mode is selected, the car runs on electricity alone for up to 41 miles at speeds of up to 75 mph. The three-cylinder automatically kicks in if the battery runs low or if the car exceeds 75 mph. In weekend mode, the EOLAB operates like a standard plug-in hybrid by relying on both power sources to use as little fuel as possible.

    Beyond the Engine Bay
    The EOLAB weighs just 2,100 pounds – 880 pounds less than a similarly-sized Clio hatchback – thanks in part to the use of lightweight materials like magnesium, aluminum, Very Very High Elastic Limit (VVHEL) steel and thin glass. Designers avoided using carbon fiber in order to simplify the manufacturing process and keep costs in check.

    Renault has also gone to great lengths to make the EOLAB as aerodynamic as possible. It features a narrow rear track, a low roofline and a host of active aerodynamic add-ons like an automatic spoiler. Additionally, the car is equipped with a variable air suspension that gradually lowers the ride height as speed increases in order to limit the amount of air that passes under it. Finally, the EOLAB packs innovative active wheels that are covered when the brakes don’t need to be cooled, such as when driving on the freeway, and uncovered as soon as the temperature rises.

    Inside, the concept packs a height-adjustable instrument cluster and an 11-inch tablet-like touch screen that groups the car’s entertainment, connectivity and navigation functions. The tablet can be positioned either horizontally or vertically.

    The EOLAB concept will not reach production as-is. However, many of the 100 technical innovations inaugurated by the concept are expected to trickle down to Renault’s production cars over the next decade or so.

    What’s in a Name?
    Renault explains the name EOLAB is a portemanteau that fuses the name Aeolous, the God of Wind in Greek mythology, and the word “laboratory.”

    Live photos by Drew Johnson.

  • Paris LIVE: Porsche Cayenne S E-Hybrid

    October 3, 2014
    Porsche has formally unveiled its Cayenne S E-Hybrid at the Paris Motor Show.

    The company recently published a full set of details about the updated 2015 Cayenne SUV. Although not an all-new model, the 2015 Cayenne gets a revised look inside and out and two fuel-sipping additions to its engine lineup.

    Borrowing technology from the Panamera S E-Hybrid, the new plug-in SUV replaces the existing Cayenne Hybrid. The drivetrain consists of a 333-horsepower 3.0-liter supercharged V6 engine that works in conjunction with a 95-horsepower electric motor linked to a lithium-ion battery pack.

    Together, the two power sources generate 416 horsepower and 435 lb-ft. of torque, enough to sprint from zero to 62 mph in 5.4 seconds and on to a top speed of 151 mph. Alternatively, the plug-in hybrid Cayenne can drive on electricity alone at speeds of up to 78 mph, but Porsche has not disclosed the SUV’s maximum driving range.

    Porsche says the battery pack can be recharged while driving or by plugging the Cayenne into a regular household charger. Fuel economy figures will be published closer to the plug-in hybrid’s on-sale date.

    As expected, the mid-range Cayenne S ditches its 4.8-liter V8 engine in favor of a brand new 3.6-liter V6 engine that develops 420 horsepower at 6,000 rpms – 20 more ponies than the outgoing eight-cylinder – and 406 lb-ft. of torque from 1,350 to 4,500 rpms. Linked to an eight-speed tiptronic gearbox, the Cayenne S is capable of reaching 62 mph from a stop in 5.2 seconds before topping out at 160 mph.

    The visual updates are minor and largely limited to revamped headlights similar to the ones found on the smaller Macan, a new front bumper with integrated LED daytime running lights and a revised radiator grille. Out back, the Cayenne gains more squared-off tail lamps and an updated bumper.

    Interior updates to the Cayenne are minor. The Cayenne gets a multi-function steering wheel inspired by the one found in the 918 Spyder and optional ventilated rear seats.

    The 2015 Porsche Cayenne is scheduled to go on sale in the United States on November 1st, 2014. The Cayenne Diesel will retail for $61,700, the Cayenne S will cost $74,100, the S E-Hybrid model will sticker for $76,400 and the Cayenne Turbo will be priced at $113,600. The aforementioned figures do not include a mandatory $995 destination charge.

    Porsche will detail the 2015 Cayenne GTS and Cayenne Turbo S in the coming months.

    Live photos by Drew Johnson.