Top 10 Cars of the 2012 Paris Motor Show

Colum Wood
by Colum Wood

The list of impressive new models at this year’s Paris Motor Show is a long one, but we’ve narrowed down the ten most interesting, exciting and important vehicles, starting with the Lexus LF-CC Concept.

A look ahead at the future of the brand, this concept previews the first ever Lexus IS coupe. With dramatic styling including an even wilder version of the spindle grille, Lexus is also prepping an all-new hybrid 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine for the rear-drive luxury two-door.

The next step in Mercedes’ electric SLS development project, the SLS Electric Drive is a hard car to miss at the Paris Motor Show.

Using a lithium-ion battery pack inspired by the brand’s 2009 Formula 1 car, the German sports car utilizes four electric motors to produce 740-hp and 737 lb-ft of torque to rocket this green machine to 62 mph in just 3.9 seconds. It has a range of 155 miles and can be charged in as little as just three hours.

If there is a down-side to the car it’s that it uses an ultra-expensive carbon fiber monocoque to help keep weight down, which is certainly necessary as the batteries alone weigh 1,208 lbs.

Previewing new technology, design and a possible new product from the German automaker, the Crosslane Concept is a unique new package from Audi.

Using a 1.5L turbocharged 4-cylinder mated to a plug-in hybrid system it makes 177-hp and Audi claims an astounding 214 mpg. Of note, the small crossover can be operated in pure electric mode or hybrid mode at the push of a button. To help keep weight to a minimum (3,064 lbs) , Audi designed a unique chassis made of both aluminum and carbon fiber.

Previewing styling for Audi’s future crossovers and SUVs with a unique new grille, there’s also a chance Audi will bring a sub-compact crossover of this size to market to slot in below the Q3, which is currently only offered in Europe but which will arrive in the US soon.

We at AutoGuide love the Toyota GT86 (known as the Scion FR-S in America) and this special version might just be the greatest 86 yet.

Showcasing new TRD accessories for the European market, it’s far more than just the usual upgrades like a shift knob and a body kit. Rather, this TRD model is highlighting a very lengthy list of upgrades from an exhaust system to an optional push-button ignition and so much more.

A complete coilover suspension system can be had with 40 way adjustable shock absorbers, while there are even chassis braces for extreme rigidity and massive 18-inch wheels with six-piston brakes.

Here’s hoping all of these goodies will be available to customers in the US.

Exciting? Perhaps not, but the importance of Volkswagen’s newest Golf can’t be underestimated.

The seventh-generation Golf rides on an all new platform helping it shed 220 lbs of weight. That factor, combined with new engines, helps the car improve fuel economy by as much as 23 percent.

Also new in the new Golf are the engines, with a base 1.4-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder making either 85-hp or 138-hp. Plus, a diesel engine is also available with either 105-hp or 150-hp.

Revealed for Europe it’s not clear which of these new engines will make it to America. What we do know, however, is that as a 2013 model year car overseas, it will arrive for the 2014 model year here.

A change of pace for Jaguar is the addition of the brand’s fourth model, the F-Type. Bringing to mind the beautiful and classic E-Type, Jaguar is hoping this new model can do for the British luxury automaker what that car did so many decades ago.

Based on a modified version of the XK’s platform the F-Type is notably smaller and significantly more modern looking. Powering the car is a choice of either a 335-hp 3.0-liter supercharged V6, a 375-hp version of that same engine or a 488-hp supercharged 5.0L V8.

Sized between cars like the Porsche Boxster and 911, it’s priced attractively, starting at $69,000.

Get full details on the F-Type here.

Rumors that Porsche would reveal a Panamera wagon at the Paris Motor Show proved to be both accurate and misleading.

The Panamera Sport Turismo is more of a wagon than the current car, though it’s actually slightly shorter in length and less of a utility machine.

What makes this Porsche so original is that it is a plug-in hybrid and uses a 333-hp V6 engine and 95-hp electric motor for a combined 416-hp. As a result, it can hit 60 mph in less than 6.0 seconds while achieving 67 MPG.

A look at Porsche’s future technology and styling, expect some of the car’s design cues to make it into the next-generation Panamera.

Perhaps the meanest looking machine on the floor of the Paris Motor Show, the Bentley Continental GT3 Concept is low-slung, with a massive spoiler and overall, simply enormous.

Based on the GT Speed model, it’s technically a concept though is approved for use in several competitive series by the FIA, including the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Though Bentley won’t say where they will run the GT3, the British automaker has confirmed it will run an initial program starting next year.

Easily one of the most eye-catching vehicles to debut at the Paris Motor Show, French automaker Peugeot represented its country well with the Onyx Concept.

A wild diesel-hybrid supercar, the Onyx is powered by a 3.7-liter diesel V8 making 600-hp. Adding to the total power output is a kinetic energy recovery system, storing power under braking and then using it to motivate the car, adding an extra 80-hp.

Styled to match its performance, leave it to the French to add unique touch, like the matte-black paint and chrome gold detailing that’s actually not paint or even a wrap job but genuine copper paneling.

How could the number one car of the Paris Motor Show be anything but the successor to the McLaren F1.

No engine details have been released but the supercar, called the P1, is expected to use the same twin-turbo V8 engine found in the MP4-12C with added power and perhaps even a hybrid setup.

About all we do know about the vehicle is that it has wild aerodynamics which create over 1,000 lbs of downforce at speed.

For full details on the car and to watch AutoGuide’s first look video, click here.

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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