Top cars of the Paris Auto Show
It is that time of year when the world’s top auto makers roll out their visions of the future teasing car buffs with designs that might, but then again might not, one day be displayed at local dealers.
Yet with so much negative news these days from all over the globe, let’s dream a little this weekend shall we?
Lamborghini Asterion LPI 910-4 Concept
This company knows how to attract attention and its latest concept, with the impossibly long name, packs a 5.2 liter V-10 rated at 602 horsepower, and it’s a hybrid. Three electric motors add to the power production to produce a claimed 0-62 (100 kmh) of just 3.0 seconds. The Asterion can operate in pure electric mode, with just the V-10 or a combination of both. Inside, things are oriented toward luxury rather than the all-out race car setting of other Lambos. Will it be built? Well, Lambo does need a competitor for the Porsche 918 Spyder.
Volkswagen XL Sport Concept
With sales continuing to slide here in the U.S., it is not going out on a limb to say that VW dealers would love to put this car in a roped off area smack dab in the middle of their showrooms. Not only is this a striking design, but it is powered by what VW calls the world’s most powerful two-cylinder engine. The Ducati Superleggera V-Twin revs to 11,000 rpm (!) and will accelerate the concept from 0-62 in just 5.7 seconds with a 168 mph top speed. It is a very light weight vehicle, of course, with 197 horsepower and 99 lb-ft of torque. Automobile magazine says there are rumors that VW might actually build a few in very limited production.
Peugeot Quartz Concept
This is one wild child of the Paris Show that I did not want you to miss. It is a hybrid with two electric motors and a gas fed four with 268 horsepower. Put the two together and you are talking almost 500 horsepower in the tough guy looking all-wheel drive crossover. It rides on 23 inch wheels, has a red and black grille that changes pattern depending on your viewpoint, and inside a 45 degree polycarbonate strip displays everything you wanted to know about your journey. It will probably never be manufactured but it is fun to see what designers can cook up when the day-to-day barriers are lifted.
Infinity Q80 Inspiration
“The Q80 Inspiration concept was born to dispute the premium sedan category,” said Francois Bancon, Infiniti vice president of product strategy. If they carry this off, it could dramatically drive up showroom traffic in this country. Inside are four bucket seats and there is a HUD for the front passenger for display of external information via a smartphone connected to the vehicle’s telematics system. The two rear passengers have a touch screen to tap into their on board entertainment package. There is an abundance of Alcantara, leather and metal finishes plus a “sculptural panoramic glass roof.” It should more than keep up with traffic sporting a 550 horsepower 3.0 liter V6 and hybrid electric powertrain. Officials say the car suggests “a future design language” and the “… naming of the car indicates that something like the Q80 will be in our portfolio of the future.”
The man who should know, world renowned stylist Ian Callum, said the XE will become the defining sports sedan for Jaguar. Company founder Sir William Lyons went a step further saying the car “… the closest thing we will ever create to something that is alive.” Unlike the cars mentioned above, this one will actually appear in showrooms here in the states in 2016 as a 2017 model. The XE S model will feature a 340 horsepower supercharged 3.0-liter V6 that is good for a 0-60 run of just 4.9 seconds according to its maker. An eight-speed automatic will be the tranny of choice with a rear wheel drive layout. Further details of the U.S. model will be revealed closer to its delivery date. The body is said to be an aluminum intensive design to hold down weight yet Jag claims it is the smallest, stiffest and most aerodynamic car it has ever built. What is called stereo camera technology will enable autonomous emergency braking.
2015 Land Rover Discovery
European regulators have been all over auto makers to come up with designs that offer more protection for pedestrians in case of an accident. At the Paris show, Land Rover displayed a pedestrian airbag that activates in milliseconds of the front bumper’s pressure tube sensing a person. It only works if the vehicle is being driven between 15 and 30 mph. Designers said the airbag deploys where the windshield meets the hood, but does not block the driver’s view.
And in case the Powerball just went your way here is the latest on a Rolls Royce of which just 20 will be sold. It is called the “Phantom Metropolitan Collection” and the luxury touches are extraordinary. A rotating bezel “expressing” 24 great cities of the world adorns the central console. A total of 6,800 two-tone stiches to the center rear seat flutes depict an abstract image of a skyscraper. And the picnic table, when open, “presents occupants with an elevated view of the city, created through the expert application of 500 individual wood veneer pieces” that take an expert wood craftsperson several days to complete. Customers can choose among 44,000 exterior colors or have one custom designed to meet their desires. “Bespoke is Rolls-Royce” said the company.