The 2015 auto show season formally kicks off with its first big event, the 2014 Paris Mondial de l’Automobile, also known as the Paris Auto Show. For those of you who track these things and are poised over your keyboards ready to say no, the outsized Frankfurt Auto Show is the big one, be apprised Paris and Frankfurt take turns hosting the big European show. Frankfurt had it last year. All told, there are some 19 all-new automobiles on display of particular interest to Americans (14 production models and five concepts). So, without further ado, let’s go to Paris!
Gallery: New Cars and Concepts at the Paris Auto Show
2016 Audi TT Roadster
While the overall shape remains the same, the new TT has more of a chiseled appearance. Still though, the uniqueness of the Audi’s groundbreaking styling comes through. At introduction, there will be two versions—TT and TTS. We’ll see a 230-horsepower, 2.0-liter turbocharged four in the base model, while the TTS will boast a 310-horsepower version of the engine with 280 ft-lbs of torque. Front-wheel drive is standard for the TT, all-wheel drive is optional—but standard for TTS. We’ll see a six-speed dual-clutch gearbox. There’s a six-speed manual too, but we have no confirmation it will come to the States.
2015 Bentley Mulsanne Speed
Because one can never truly have enough, Bentley’s Mulsanne Speed cranks 530 horsepower and 811 ft-lbs of torque out of the traditional 6.75-liter V8 (up from 505/752). This means the 6,000-pound ultra-luxury sedan is fully capable of accelerating from zero to 60 in less than five seconds—and going on to a top speed of 190 miles per hour. But before you think it terribly uncivilized, also know Bentley has improved the fuel efficiency of the engine, as well as reduced its emissions. Mulsanne Speed’s sport mode stiffens the suspension and adjusts the steering for more control at elevated velocities.
2015 BMW 2-Series Convertible
BMW’s handsome 2 Series Convertible bows, with pricing starting at $38,850 for the 2.0-liter turbocharged 228i iteration of the car. Power output is 240-horsepower and 255 ft-lbs of torque. All-wheel drive is offered starting at $40,650, and a more powerful M235i version of the car starts at $48,650. The M235i runs a 3.0-liter turbocharged inline six, making 320 horsepower and 330 ft-lbs of torque. An eight speed automatic is standard, though you can get a six-speed manual as an option for the M235i. The cloth roof cycles in 20 seconds—at speeds of up to 30 miles per hour.
2015 Ferrari 458 Speciale A
The A is for Aptera (which loosely translates into “open”). Reputed to be the last Ferrari road car powered by a naturally aspirated V8, its 4.5-liter powerplant makes 597 horsepower, 398 ft-lbs of torque, and boasts a stratospheric 9,000-rpm redline. This makes the mid-engine convertible capable of a 0 to 60 of less than three seconds. Also reported to be the last iteration of the 458, plans are for only 499 copies, so you’re definitely looking at a future collectible. If they aren’t already all sold, they will be very soon. You’d best hurry your banker along with that wire transfer.
2016 Fiat 500X
Fiat broadens the 500 lineup into the compact crossover SUV market with the 500X. Offering three drivetrain options; front-drive, Traction Plus front-drive, and all-wheel drive, this Fiat is prepared to take families where no Fiat 500 has taken them before. The Traction Plus system is calibrated to provide more grip on loose surfaces without the complexity of an all-wheel drive powertrain. Announced engine choices include a 110-horsepower 1.6-liter four, a 140-horsepower 1.4-liter turbo four, a 170-horsepower 1.4-liter turbo four, and a 184-horsepower 2.4-liter normally aspirated four. Transmission choices include five- and six-speed manuals, as well as a nine-speed automatic.
2017 Jaguar XE
Jaguar has tried before to compete directly with the Audi A4, BMW 3 Series, and Mercedes-Benz C-Class with the Jaguar X-Type. With the upcoming Jaguar XE however, the marque feels it has a better shot. Boasting looks close to those of its larger XF sibling, the 2016 Jaguar XE features aluminum intensive construction, a 340-horsepower supercharged 3.0-liter V6, and the now de rigueur 240-horsepower turbocharged 2.0-liter four. Additionally, the Jaguar XE offers a laser-based head-up display, a stereo camera for driver’s aid systems, automated parking, a new eight-inch infotainment system, and Jaguar All Surface Progress Control (AKA advanced traction control).
2016 Kia Sorento
Longer, lower, and wider than the outgoing version of Kia’s family crossover, the 2016 Sorento will offer a more spacious interior and a broader slate of amenities. The new Sorento will be available in both five and seven seat versions. Among its features are a smart tailgate capable of completely hands-free free opening, a four-camera surround view system, and a full slate of the latest driver aids including lane departure warning. Kia has yet to announce when the 2016 model goes on sale here in the United States, what it will cost, or what its powertrain system(s) will be.
2015 Land Rover Discovery Sport
Land Rover’s all-new Discovery Sport comes to market with the 240-horsepower, 2.0-liter turbocharged inline four-cylinder engine we were introduced to in Land Rover’s Range Rover Evoque. A nine-speed automatic transmission routes its output to all four wheels. Naturally, the full spate of Land Rover’s off-road technical wizardry is included as well; including and especially the marque’s Terrain Response system with its Grass, Gravel, Snow, Mud, Ruts, and Sand settings. Among Discovery Sport’s chops are 8.3 inches of ground clearance, 13.4 inches of wheel articulation, and a 45-degree slope scaling capability—along with seating for seven. Pricing starts at $37,995.
2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata
It has been confirmed the lovely fourth-generation Mazda MX-5 Miata roadster, revealed just a few weeks ago, will come the U.S. with a 2.0-liter Skyactiv-G four-cylinder engine, as well as Mazda’s Skyactiv-MT manual transmission. This makes it potentially similar to the powertrain in the current iteration of the world’s favorite two-seat roadster. All the folks at Mazda are saying for sure at this point is the powerplant will be using ultra high-compression, which means it’s probably producing more than the 155 horsepower Mazda currently gets out of the engine. As you might imagine, anticipation is high for this car.
2015 Mercedes-AMG C63
Yes, you read that correctly. With the introduction of the new C Class AMG model, Karl Benz joins Gottlieb Daimler in seeing his name omitted. The AMG cars will henceforth be known as Mercedes-AMG models. The AMG-ification of the new C Class finds a twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter V8 stuffed under the hood. Offered in two states of tune, the base GT model will get 469 horsepower and 479 ft-lbs of torque, while the GT S will have 503 horsepower and 516 ft-lbs at its disposal. The rear-drive four-door will use a seven-speed automatic transmission and an adaptive sport suspension system.
2016 Mercedes-AMG GT
The follow-up to the SLS AMG, the Mercedes-AMG GT eschews gullwing doors in favor of lighter, more conventional portals. Still, there’s a visual relationship between them, owing to the long hood, short deck, and set back greenhouse. Power comes from a 4.0-liter twin-turbocharged handbuilt (of course) V8. Offered in two states of tune, the base GT model will get 456 horsepower and 443 ft-lbs of torque out of the V8, while the GT S will have 503 horsepower and 479 ft-lbs at its disposal. Pricing has yet to be announced, but the smart money is saying somewhere in the early $100,000 range.
2016 Smart Fortwo
The redesign of the delightful little Smart car grafts a new larger grille onto its face. It’s also sprouted shoulders, and a more squat stance. Dare we say it? The Smart car now looks “butch”. And yet, its playful nature remains somewhat intact. The electric Smart car stays on the old platform for now, but the gasoline-powered model uses a 900cc three-cylinder engine with 90 horsepower and 100 ft-lbs of torque. The five-speed manual transmission should lay to rest complaints about the shift quality of the Smart car, and a six-speed dual clutch gearbox will also be offered, as an option.
2015 Porsche Cayenne S E-Hybrid
Based on Porsche’s Panamera S E Hybrid’s mechanicals, the new Porsche Cayenne S E Hybrid is capable of running at speeds of up to 78 miles per hour in its electric mode. Porsche’s third plug-in model, the Cayenne S E-Hybrid boasts a total system output of 416 horsepower. Its gasoline fired 3.0-liter supercharged V6 engine makes 333 horsepower, while its electric motor is good for 95. The model also features Porsche’s styling update for its bestselling model, most noticeable in the redesigned hood and front fenders. Pricing for the Cayenne S E Hybrid is expected to start at $76,400.
2016 Volvo XC90
Though officially introduced in August, the Volvo XC90 makes its first auto show appearance at Paris this year. Slated to go on sale in the States in April of 2015, the new Volvo XC90 will be offered here with 2.0-liter four-cylinder engines. The T6 XC90 is both supercharged and turbocharged to make 316 horsepower, while the T8 uses the same powerplant plus an electric motor and plug-in hybrid technology to get to 400 horsepower. Safety isn’t forgotten either, the 2016 XC90 features a new system designed to prevent its driver from pulling into the path of an oncoming vehicle.
Audi TT Sportback Concept
While Audi’s TT has offered back seats—at least in coupe form—from the very beginning, they were jump seats more so than actual seats. The TT Sportback Concept brings the potential for a true four-passenger Audi TT into focus. Boasting four doors and a hatchback, the TT Sportback plays in the same four-door coupe category as the Mercedes CLS, BMW Gran Coupe, and Audi’s own A7. It could be a strong performer too, with 400 horsepower and 332 ft-lbs of torque anticipated from its turbocharged 2.0-liter inline four-cylinder engine. Naturally, Audi’s all-wheel drive Quattro powertrain is part of the equation.
Infiniti Q80 Concept
Everyone hounding Infiniti for a follow-up to the original 1989 Q45 got an eye-opening surprise with the unveiling of the Infiniti Q80 Inspiration concept. The fastback four-door takes Infiniti’s current styling language to its next logical conclusion. Large, at 189.9 inches in length, and 79.8 inches wide, the Q80 concept has flagship written all over it. The good news is, as wild as it looks, a lot of what you see is production capable. No word yet on powertrain, nor interior features, but it has been confirmed we will see something very close to it in showrooms.
Kia Optima T-Hybrid Concept
An oft-asked question among the automotive cognoscenti; if a diesel engine is so efficient, and hybrid powertrains work so well at making huge fuel economy numbers—why not do a diesel hybrid? Well, Kia’s Optima T-Hybrid concept goes even farther by fitting a 1.7-liter diesel engine with a turbocharger and an electric supercharger, and then mating it to an electric motor. Kia’s people say T-Hybrid is capable of running in electric-only mode, and recharges itself when coasting and stopping just like a conventional hybrid. No words on production intent or fuel economy; but you have to admit, it’s an intriguing idea.
Lamborghini Asterion Concept
The Lamborghini Asterion LPI 910-4 Concept is remarkably conventional looking—for a Lamborghini. If you’re familiar with the marque’s nomenclature structure, you know the designation means the Asterion has a total of 910 horsepower, its engine is positioned longitudinally, and its powertrain is all-wheel drive. But wait, there’s more—the “I’ stands for Ibrido, which means hybrid in Italian. Thus, you’re looking at Lamborghini’s first plug-in hybrid. Three electric motors are teamed with the 5.2-liter V10 from the Huracan. Lamborghini says 0 to 60 in three seconds, and a 199 mph top speed. And yes, they’ll very likely build it.
Toyota C-HR Crossover Concept
The Toyota C-HR concept is another crossover SUV flight of fancy from the company responsible for unleashing the outrageously styled FJ Cruiser on the streets of Gotham (so to speak). With that in their background, and something like Nissan’s Juke doing reasonably well, it’s not a huge stretch to imagine Toyota offering the hybrid crossover. While no official word has been issued on what lies beneath, the company is known for innovative hybrid powertrain solutions. In other words, there is a distinct possibility they will indeed build it. Either way, the concept is said to presage Toyota styling elements to come.
If this is what the future of the automobile is going to look like, sign us up, we’re hungry for more. It’s very encouraging to see companies like Lamborghini embracing hybrid technology as the way forward for ultra-high performance cars. What’s more, the performance potential of these new turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engines is quite remarkable as well. Yes, it’d be nice to see more alternatively fueled vehicles, and to that end, Kia’s Optima T-Hybrid Concept is exciting. All in all, the industry has solidly emerged from the doldrums imposed by the worldwide economic crisis and is roaring right along.