Quick round-up: Paris motor show

Mercedes-AMG GT Paris motor show

This week marks the return of the Paris motor show and there has been plenty of new metal revealed on press day, including the odd surprise.

Of course all of the world’s biggest names in the industry were out in force and here are a few of the highlights at the Paris Expo so far.

Volkswagen XL Sport

Volkswagen XL Sport Paris motor show

Volkswagen put on its obligatory extravagant conference to reveal models from its own brand, plus others from Audi, Lamborghini and SEAT, and was one of its own creations that stunned the crowd of press observing the conference in the form of the VW XL Sport.

Based on the XL1 – a car capable of 313mpg, remember – the XL Sport is fascinatingly powered by a 197bhp Ducati engine that will freely rev all the way to 11,000rpm. It’s no doubt a one-off to showcase what is possible these days when mating car and bike technology, but it already has everyone kissing at its feet and the XL Sport’s bodykit might also have something to do with it, as well as that awesome blue paint job.

Lamborghini Asterion

Lamborghini Asterion Paris motor show

We knew something important was coming from VW’s supercar arm and many were glad to see the Italian firm join the modern day with a hybrid model in the Asterion. The swooping supercar takes the V10 from the Huracan and combines it with three electric motors to create a total of, wait for it: 897bhp.

The Asterion showcases a direction taken by Lamborghini’s rivals and it was good to finally see them follow suit. The 5.2-litre V10 produces 602bhp on its own and with the electric motors help, the Asterion reaches 62mph from standstill in just 3.0 seconds, but this arrangement will likely make production on Lambo’s SUV before we see it in this model.

Audi TT Sportback

Audi TT Sportback Paris motor show

Not one to shy away from a niche, Audi looks to be gunning for the Mercedes CLS with the TT Sportback, an extended version of the TT coupe. The car is based on the Allroad Shooting Brake Concept displayed earlier this year and adds two extra doors to the regular TT, adding another name to the desired number of 60 models on sale by 2020 for Audi.

VW’s MQB platform is used once more in this instance and further highlights its versatility and the TT Sportback is perhaps most comparable with the A3 Saloon, but compared to the TT coupe the Sportback is 290mm longer, 60mm wider and has a 120mm longer wheelbase.

Land Rover Discovery Sport

Land-Rover Discovery Sport Paris motor show

We’ve already seen the standard Land Rover Discovery Sport in pictures, but the Paris motor show was the first time we’ve seen it in the flesh and in this glowing orange, it certainly looks the business.

With a 5+2 layout, the Discovery Sport replaces the Freelander and is the first of three new Land Rovers. It is built on a heavily modified Range Rover Evoque platform and utilises a nine-speed auto ‘box or a six-speed manual, but so far hasn’t show us much in the way of revolution, with the engines being nothing new and its economy figures far from groundbreaking.

Honda Civic Type R concept

Honda Civic Type R Paris motor show

Honda has been teasing for some time now with the new Civic Type R and its latest concept of the superbly hot hatchback looks rather tasty indeed. The blue and red paint job is eye-tingling bedazzling, but the bodykit makes the Civic look like a completely new beast altogether and looks to be a rather extreme rival to the likes of the VW Golf R and Renault Megane RS.

It is the tech that Honda has revealed that will help go after the front-wheel-drive lap record at the Nurgurgring with the Civic, including the new 2.0-litre i-VTEC turbocharged engine that will produce in the region of 280bhp.

Mercedes-AMG C 63 and AMG GT

Mercedes-AMG C 63 Paris motor show

In the days leading up to the Paris motor show, Mercedes revealed to us the brand new version of the C63 AMG – renaming it the Mercedes-AMG C 63 in the process. Displayed in both saloon and estate guises, the C 63 goes after the new BMW M3 and M4 and shares the same 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 from the AMG GT, producing 469bhp and 503bhp for the S variant.

The saloon is as potent as it sounds and races from 0-62mph in 4.0 seconds in its fastest S tune – 0.5 secs faster than the outgoing version – while the estate gets there in just a tenth more. See all you need to know about the Mercedes-AMG GT here.

Ferrari 458 Speciale A revealed as possible swan song for non-turbo V8

Ferrari 458 Speciale A

As the line of naturally aspirated Ferrari V8s possibly comes to an end, the Italian manufacturer has announced it will give the powerplant a suitably potential send off with this, the 458 Speciale A.

A spider version of the focussed 458 Speciale, the A stands for Aperta – ‘open’ in Italian – and Ferrari will sell just 499 examples to the most dedicated individuals to the brand to make it as rare as the La Ferrari.

The 458 Speciale A is mechanically identical to the hard-top variation and so becomes the most powerful open-top Ferrari has ever produced with 597bhp on tap going through a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission.

Ferrari 458 Speciale A

Forged wheels and a new exhaust help bring the weight of the Speciale A down to 1,340kg dry, 50kg more than the hard-top due to the folding roof mechanism, but 90kg lighter than the regular Spider. Aerodynamic features of the hard-top make their way to the Speciale A, such as the revised front end with active flaps and the taller rear diffuser.

With such power and air punching capabilities, the 458 Speciale A can reach 62mph from standstill in just 3 secs – 0.4 secs faster than the standard Spider – and beats the Enzo around Fiorano with a time of 1 minutes 23.5 secs. Speed hasn’t been disclosed but something that surpasses 200mph is expected; the roof, meanwhile, takes 14 seconds to fold down by the mid-mounted engine.

Ferrari 458 Speciale A Interior

Ferrari has graced the 458 Speciale A with a selection of unique liveries, as well as new Alcantara seats.

A price of around £220,000 is likely to be the price tag for the Ferrari 458 Speciale A, but with the marque looking to add a couple of turbos to the next V8 engine, the Speciale A will be seen as a definite future classic and as such an investor’s dream. Ferrari will put the 458 Speciale A on public display at the Paris motor show next week.

Overview: BMW 2-Series Active Tourer

BMW 2-Series Active Tourer

BMW has broken one of its rules and also expanded into new territory with the new 2-Series Active Tourer: firstly by producing a car with front-wheel drive and then creating its first MPV at the same time.

The new BMW 2-Series Active Tourer can be thought of a ground-breaking model for the Munich firm for those very two reasons and marks a huge change for the company in terms of direction.

Thanks to the exponential success of the MINI, BMW can afford to explore such an area of the market as this and the Active Tourer is even built upon the same architecture as the popular hatchback, albeit stretched to increase space inside for passengers.

It could be seen to be a brave move by BMW to arrive in the MPV market, a sector where people are leaving for the joys of fashionable SUV Crossovers. In addition, the Active Tourer faces some hefty competition in the forms of the Mercedes B-Class, Ford C-Max and Volkswagen Golf SV.

Design

BMW 2-Series Active Tourer Interior

Perhaps one reason many are flocking to the myriad of stylish SUVs is the way in which MPVs are usually so limited in how visually engaging they can be. However, with some slick styling traits from its sleeker offerings, BMW has managed to accomplish one of the better looking models in its class with the Active Tourer. The manufacturer’s trademark kidney grille is front and centre on the 2-Series MPV, while resting just below the headlights and is an arrangement seen already on the new 6-Series and 4-Series.

Panel creases and kinks help to make the Active Tourer’s bulk, something which BMW does well to keep the car looking as trim as possible by breaking up the car’s lines.

BMW might very well have instantly become class-leaders in terms of interior quality with the Active Tourer. A option-laden lush cabin makes the larger 2-Series a fine place to be thanks in large to an abundance of leather and red stitching, as well as aluminium inserts in the dash and centre console which help bring a premium feel to the interior.

Engines

BMW 2-Series Active Tourer

Just the two engines are available at the launch of the new BMW 2-Series Active Tourer: one diesel and one petrol.

The 148bhp 2.0-litre diesel features in the 218d-badged Active Tourer and is likely to be the model’s most popular variant, predominantly due to its economic capabilities that achieves 68.9mpg and CO2 emissions of just 109g/km. For one of BMW’s larger and less sporty examples, the 218d manages 0-62mph in 8.9sec but there is a slight lack of refinement at speed when wind noise is quite noticeable; however, a supple ride certainly helps to make up for this.

As for the petrol offering, BMW has employed MINI’s new 1.5-litre three-cylinder unit. The first three-pot engine in a BMW is more refined than the diesel alternative in the Active Tourer and returns a reasonable 58mpg and emits just 115g/km of CO2.

Practicality

BMW 2-Series Active Tourer

Space inside the BMW 2-Series Active Tourer is not going to be what takes sales away from the likes of the Golf SV or B-Class, that’ll be the fine interior quality and driving dynamics of a car of this size and shape. The Bavarian offers less room than its rivals at 468 litres of space, or 1,510 litres with the back seats down that can be flattened at the flick of a switch.

The rear seating arrangement is a traditional bench for three individuals, and with shorter overall dimensions after being based on a stretched version of the MINI’s structure, the BMW has decent but not class-leading leg room, although isn’t too bad for head room.

Those in the front can enjoy numerous storage areas and a comfortable central arm rest that doubles up as more room to put possessions; a great versatility of adjustment means that the driver can be comfortable no matter what their personal dimensions.

Running costs

BMW 2-Series Active Tourer

Going up against the Golf SV once more, the 2-Series Active Tourer wins this round when it comes to the fuel and tax bills, with the BMW’s diesel achieving 3.2mpg more and a tax band lower on CO2 compared to the VW for the same engine displacement.

The 1.5-litre petrol is a sound option for those after a little more of a quiet journey and costs £2,000 less than the 218d.