Paris, je t’aime

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Web On The - Paul Pot­tinger Tim Blair is on leave

WELL, who doesn’t love Paris? Even if you’ve never been, it has an in­deli­ble piece of men­tal and sen­ti­men­tal ge­og­ra­phy.

Ev­ery two years auto icons join that big an­tenna they have and what­ever that art gallery’s called, in de­mand­ing tourist at­ten­tion. It’s pretty fu­tile go­ing for five picks of the Paris Auto Sa­lon, but with the aid of blind­fold and pin, we’ve done it.

At first ap­pear­ance the Onyx con­cept ap­pears one of those Peu­geot tra­di­tion­ally trots out at Paris with­out the least in­ten­tion of build­ing. Not this time (maybe). Pug has the where­withal, and more im­por­tantly, the will and di­rec­tion to pro­ceed with this su­per­car, with a rear-mounted 191kW 1.6-litre tur­bocharged petrol engine and an 89kW elec­tric mo­tor on the front axle that com­bine for about 280kW. Le Phew.

What more needs be said of McLaren’s P1? Noth­ing. It’s a McLaren. So let’s move on.

Audi has a bunch of clever and fast stuff on dis­play, but it’s the A3 that most in­ter­ests us. With the the new Golf, on which the A3 is based, re­leased at the Paris show, we’re think­ing this might mark the mo­ment when the A3 be­comes a dis­tinc­tive car and wor­thy part of the Audi range. But we could be wrong.

Are we not buy­ing enough Hyundais for the lo­cal arm of the Korean brand to bring in the strik­ing three-door i30? Ap­par­ently not. Pity. if the Veloster does your back in, this would make a tasty lit­tle niche car.

Big call this, but we pre­dict that you will grow sick of SUVs. That’s sort of where con­cepts such as Nis­san’s TeRRa come into play. The cool and vaguely Skoda-look­ing four-seater with four­wheel drive is pow­ered by a hy­dro­gen fuel cell. In­deed, while EVs and hy­brids have been all the go re­cently, Paris could see the re-emer­gence of cars pow­ered by forms of hy­dro­gen – the most abun­dant el­e­ment in the uni­verse.

Best in show: clock­wise from top, the Nis­san TeRRa, Peu­geot Onyx, McLaren P1 and Audi A3

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