Paris Motor Show

Michael Sheridan pays a visit to the Paris Motor Show to find out what's coming down the road.

The 2012 Paris Motor Show is a fantastic showcase for every type of car, from the ordinary to extraordinary.

We attended the press preview last week and clocked up a fair few kilometres on foot (for a change) as we took in all the glitz and glamour.

The main players were there and, as expected, the French brands put on an impressive show. Renault showcased a huge number of new Clios and the pretty, electric Zoe ZE caught my eye, too.

Peugeot gave us a preview of the 2008 crossover, RCZ-R, the new 4008 and the production 208GTi, to name a few. But Peugeot also showcased the excellent work carried out by the Peugeot Design Lab that included the 600bhp Onyx hybrid supercar. The manager of the design lab is a very talented Irishman, Cathal Loughnane.

Citroen had the beautiful DS9 on display, plus it revealed the DS3 convertible. Mazda launched the handsome new 6 in two bodystyles.

Ford, which had revealed its range of upcoming machines at an event a couple of weeks ago, showcased the new Mondeo, due at the end of next year.

Korean giant Hyundai and sister brand Kia both had their three-door compact family cars on show for the first time. Kia's Pro-Cee'd looked slightly more stylish but there is little or no difference between them, apart from the fact that the junior brand has a separate name for its three-door and, of course, KIA has also a more famous chief designer in Peter Schreyer (Audi TT).

Volkswagen revealed the new Golf (seventh- generation) and to our surprise the GTi was present – usually the GTi comes along a little later in the production run to help keep up the hype. New Golf, on the surface of it, has only slightly evolved. We will be driving it very soon when we will give our full verdict. SEAT revealed the Leon, which is basically the new Golf – just styled differently!

Car shows are full of rival car makers who used to be more 'subtle' in how they assessed rivals cars, but not so now. If I had a euro for every bonnet hinge I saw being measured and photographed I'd be rich! To put it another way, there could be a Chinese car produced very soon that looks very similar to the new Golf. Rulers would appear from sleeve jackets in a flash and notes were taken feverishly.

Audi revealed the S3 and a Q2 concept, while Mercedes was all green. BMW gave us a very practical-looking 'Active Tourer' concept that could be a B Class rival and looked ready to go on sale. BMW also showed off its new super scooters.

MINI had the hot John Cooper Works versions on display along with the MINI GP two-seater. The Countryman Paceman (two-door) looked quirky but was attracting attention nonetheless. Toyota revealed the Auris Estate along with some face-lifted models. Budget Renault-owned brand Dacia revealed the new Sandero and the crossover version that will be launched in the coming months at very competitive prices.

Again, we have only mentioned a few of the machines at the show, which runs until October 14. If you can get over – do. The official website is: www.mondial-automobile.com/en/visitors.

If I could take just one car away with me from the show, it would have to be the new Jaguar F-Type. It is outrageously good-looking and inside the cabin is sumptuous and indulgent. Now we have an agonising to wait to see if it drives as well as it looks!

Michael Sheridan
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