View of the fu­ture

The Paris Mo­tor Show is about op­ti­mism, writes Paul Gover

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Paris Motor Show -

BE­NEATH the glitz and glam­our, the Paris Mo­tor Show of 2010 sends a very se­ri­ous mes­sage about the fu­ture of the au­to­mo­bile. Shiny su­per­cars sit in the spot­lights but it’s the technology — and the elec­tric ve­hi­cles on ev­ery stand— which tell the true story.

Ev­ery ma­jor brand is look­ing to im­prove per­for­mance while cut­ting fuel use and emis­sions, while also giv­ing show­room shop­pers some­thing worth con­sid­er­ing as their next car.

So the top-end ac­tion in­cludes Fer­rari and Jaguar hy­brids and the lat­est of Audi’s E-Tron elec­tric cars, while the bot­tom-end push comes from new Nis­san plug-ins and a good look­ing Kia con­cept called the Pop.

Paris is al­ways glam­orous and the show is no dif­fer­ent, re­flect­ing re­newed op­ti­mism among most of the world’s car­mak­ers — al­though the Amer­i­cans are still no­tice­ably timid.

So BMW has a 6 Se­ries con­cept that’s a lightly dis­guised pro­duc­tion car, Mercedes-Benz has its new CLS four-door coupe, Peu­geot re­veals its 508 and Citroen has its good look­ing new C4.

The dream ma­chines are led by a car­bon-fi­bre Lamborghini that looks like a Zorro car­i­ca­ture, Jaguar’s X-C75 — cho­sen as car of the show — and no fewer than five new Lo­tus sports cars.

They are won­der­ful cars but do they point to the fu­ture?

More likely they are the win­dow dress­ing for the cars that re­ally set the pace in Paris.

Nis­san has a new spin-off from its bat­tery­pow­ered Leaf, the quirky lit­tle Town­pod, and Re­nault has the DeZir coup con­cept that taps the same plug-in elec­tric technology.

‘‘DeZir stands out as an il­lus­tra­tion of the brand’s com­mit­ment to more emo­tional styling,’’ Re­nault says.

But there are also plenty of reg­u­lar pro­duc­tion cars at the Paris show which will soon be head­ing to Aus­tralia. Chevro­let has the Cruze hatch­back, a car de­signed in Aus­tralia and due to go into pro­duc­tion in Ade­laide next year.

It looks good, the boot space is roomy, but the rear-seat space looks a lit­tle tight.

Ford has the Fo­cus XT as a tease for a new com­pact line-up, to be built in Thai­land, there is the next-gen­er­a­tion Suzuki Swift, and the hot rod Abarth ver­sions of Fiat mod­els are also look­ing good.

Opel is promis­ing it will start a ma­jor push into Aus­tralia with Holden and Saab fi­nally con­firms it is com­ing back Down Un­der in 2011 with a full fac­tory op­er­a­tion and the all-new 9-5 as its first show­room con­tender.

Show­stop­per: Jaguar scooped car of the show with its C-X75 ahead of a car­bon-fi­bre Lamborghini dream ma­chine and five Lo­tuses.

Fu­ture shock: the elec­tric Re­nault DeZir .

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