French Cars Worth Talking About at the Paris Motor Show

Colum Wood
by Colum Wood

We may never seem them on our shores, but there are a few honorable mentions from French automakers on display at the Paris Motor Show.

Peugeot Onyx Concept

Topping that list is the Peugeot Onyx Concept, a wild diesel-hybrid supercar. Powered by a 3.7-liter diesel V8, it makes 600-hp and delivers that power to the rear wheels via a six-speed sequential transmission. A kinetic energy recovery system has also been incorporated, storing power under braking and then adding it to the total with an extra 80-hp of thrust.

Peugeot RZC R Concept

A second Peugeot concept to make the list is the RZC R. Using a similar color scheme to the Onyx, it features a mostly matte-black paint scheme across its incredibly unique and stylish sheetmetal. Confirmed for production, when it does hit dealers in Europe in 2013 it will sports a turbocharged 1.6-liter engine making 260-hp. If that doesn’t impress you then you obviously don’t live in Europe, because Peugeot proudly (yet laughably) boasts that the RCZ R will be the most powerful production car the brand has ever made.

Peugeot 208 GTi

Dominating the list of interesting French cars yet again is the Peugeot brand with the production version of an earlier concept, the 208 GTi. The “GTI” moniker might be associated with Volkswagen in America (or Germany… they don’t buy French cars) but overseas its more broadly used. Reviving the GTi badge, first used on the 205 GTi in the ’80s, the new version is again a compact hot hatch, which now boasts a 200-hp turbocharged 1.6-liter 4-cylinder engine.

Renault Twizy

A final vehicle (we hesitate to call it a car) worth mentioning is the Renault Twizy. It’s not new, though Renault did have a concept on display designed by Cathy & David Guetta. What makes it truly unique is that it isn’t classified as a car and so anyone over the age of 16 can drive on with no license at all in France (as well as Italy and Spain), while a moped license is required in Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands and Austria.

Two different models are available, a Twizy Urban 45 with a 5-hp electric motor, a 60 mile range and a top speed of 28 mph. The Urban 80 model gets 17-hp and can hit speeds of 50 mph. Pricing for this unique urban mobility solution starts at just 7,000 Euros or roughly $10,000 which is a big reason why it’s Europe’s best selling electric car.

For more on all the cars of the 2012 Paris Motor Show, see AutoGuide’s complete coverage here.

GALLERY: French Cars of the Paris Motor Show

Colum Wood
Colum Wood

With AutoGuide from its launch, Colum previously acted as Editor-in-Chief of Modified Luxury & Exotics magazine where he became a certifiable car snob driving supercars like the Koenigsegg CCX and racing down the autobahn in anything over 500 hp. He has won numerous automotive journalism awards including the Best Video Journalism Award in 2014 and 2015 from the Automotive Journalists Association of Canada (AJAC). Colum founded Geared Content Studios, VerticalScope's in-house branded content division and works to find ways to integrate brands organically into content.

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