The first edition, held in 1898, isn’t just the first-ever motor show the world has ever seen. It was the spark the auto industry needed to convince us people that the horse is better off minding its own business on the farm, not drawing carriages back and forth around town. 1898 also happens to be the year when brothers Marcel, Fernand, and Louis Renault sell their first car.
While the Paris Motor Show may not be as important as it was at the turn of the 20th century, it’s up there with the best of the lot (Frankfurt, Geneva, and Detroit). The first press day for this year’s edition is Thursday, September 29, while the public will be admitted on Saturday, October 1.
Of course, we’ll be there to report about and bring you live pictures of what the industry has been up to as of late. Among many unconfirmed debuts and plenty of boring facelifts, ten sure-shot premieres have attracted our attention the most. Here are those debuts we look forward to most:
2017 Audi Q5
Officially confirmed to debut in Paris, the second generation of the Audi Q5 started life on the wrong foot. Instead of teasing it in a more orthodox way, someone at Audi though that the hashtag #Qriosity is the best way to draw attention to the compact crossover. Thing is, nobody cares about hashtags.
What car people and prospective customers care about, however, is how the 2017 Audi Q5 will look like and how it will step up its foregoer’s game. From a design standpoint, the Q5 will resemble bigger brother Q7 and, for what it’s worth, it will be that little bigger and roomier than its old man.
The cabin design will resemble that of the A4 and A5, complete with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Other than that, the 2017 Audi Q5 should boast 2.0- and 3.0-liter TFSI and TDI engines at launch. Later on, the second-gen Q5 will be available in SQ5 form. An RS Q5 model has yet to be confirmed.
2017 BMW G30 5 Series
Currently at its sixth generation (F10), the BMW 5 Series will soon switch to its seventh (G30). Before the Touring and M5 step into the limelight, the four-door sedan will try to break the norm and challenge the most modern mid-size model in the premium segment: the 2017 Mercedes-Benz E-Class.
Underpinned by a smaller variant of the CLAR platform, the aluminum and carbon fiber construction add rigidity to the 5 Series, but also cut down on curb weight. To be offered with turbocharged B series 4-, 6-, and 8-cylinder powerplants, there 2017 BMW 5 Series also prides itself on hi-tech features.
For starters, owners of the G30 will be offered something BMW has baptized Remote View 3D. Put plainly, it’s a smartphone app that displays a top view of the car on your iPhone. Gesture Control and Remote Controlled Parking are also on the menu, as are laser headlights and a digital instrument cluster.
BMW X2 Concept
There’s been a lot of talk about a coupe-ified X1 as of late. Happily, however, BMW is definitely going to make such a car in the form of the X2. Thing is, it won’t be ready in time for the 2016 Paris Motor Show. Instead, a concept car that previews the coupe-like crossover will have to suffice for the time being.
Although based on the front- and all-wheel-drive BMW X1, the upcoming X2 will be gifted with a more raked windshield and lower roofline. From spy pics, the X2 also reveals that it will lack the fastback design cues of the X4 and the X6. Why? Because rear headroom is crucial in a compact crossover.
Slated to start production in the second half of 2017 for the model year 2018, the BMW X2 will duke it out with the likes of the Mercedes-Benz GLA and Audi Q3. A go-faster X2 model with the engine from the MINI John Cooper Works Countryman is rumored to join the fray, but nothing is official as of yet.
2017 Ferrari LaFerrari Aperta
After the best name in the biz made a blunder of immense proportions when it was forced by circumstances to publish the first photographs of the topless LaFerrari, Ferrari then left us for dead. Not only do we not know how the roof operates, but the Prancing Horse has yet to detail what makes this baby tick.
It’s already known that the hybrid powertrain will be the same we get in the fixed-head LaF hypercar, which equates to 963 PS (950 horsepower) and 900 Nm (664 lb-ft). Regarding aerodynamics, Ferrari guarantees “the same drag coefficient” when driving in topless form.
To my mind, same output and same drag coefficient mean that the 2017 Ferrari LaFerrari Aperta will be just as fast as the regular model, that is if you can call it regular. More to the point, 217-plus miles per hour (350-plus km/h) is not a bad proposition as long as you can afford such a precious machine.
2017 Land Rover Discovery 5
The second generation of the Discovery, internally referred to as L319 by Land Rover, has been around since 2004. 12 years and a bucketload of vehicles sold later, the thumpin’ great SUV is ready for a ground-up refresh. Without a shadow of a doubt, it will be very different from the current model.
Whereas the current Discovery integrates the engine bay and passenger compartment into a monocoque that is mated to a tried-and-tested ladder-frame chassis, the all-new Discovery is a unibody affair. That’s due to what Land Rover calls PLA or Premium Lightweight Architecture, a platform also used by the outgoing generation of the Range Rover Sport mid-size SUV.
While on the subject of oily bits, you might want to know that the 2.0-liter Ingenium turbo diesel engine is also on the cards. V6 mills are going to be offered as well. The rumor mill also suggests the advent of a hybrid model, which is a very likely upshot considering JLR’s push for electrification.
Mercedes-Benz Electric SUV Concept
Speaking of electrification, Daimler AG is infatuated with electric vehicles. From the smart city car to the Mercedes-Maybach ultra-luxury brand, the product planners over at the German manufacturer have made it clear that the future is powered by batteries, not high-octane gasoline or Satan’s fuel.
In Paris, the three-pointed star will make an appearance with a concept car that’s believed to come in the form of a crossover. Mercedes' concept is said to arrive just in time “to flip the switch and shape the mobility of tomorrow."
What’s more, Mercedes-Benz is adamant that “shaping the future of mobility takes a good deal of commitment.” On that note, it’s been suggested that the mysterious concept will preview a design language Mercedes will use for its pure electric models. By the calendar year 2020, Merc will launch four EVs.
2017 Mercedes-AMG GT C Roadster
What happens when Mercedes-AMG hacks the roof off the GT, then applies a handful of go-faster goodies from the GT R? The GT C Roadster happens and boy, does it look the part. It also happens to be adequately powerful and very pretty, Le Mans-winning 300 SL W194-inspired front grille and all.
The belly of the beast is a familiar twin-turbo V8 that displaces four liters. In GT C Roadster specification, the powerhouse is goof for 557 PS (549 HP) and 680 Nm (502 lb-ft) of torque available from 1,900 all the way to 5,750 rpm. Suffice to say, the GT C Roadster goes like a bat out of Sindelfingen.
Not only does it evoke the sexiness of ‘50s roadsters, but the GT C Roadster also happens to revel in high-performance bits and bobs borrowed straight from the hell-bent for leather Mercedes-AMG GT R. The highlights come in the form of the handling-enhancing rear track and rear axle steering system.
2017 Nissan Micra
For the model year 2017, Nissan will make the Micra bigger, sexier, and a little better to drive than its predecessor. The building block for the all-new Micra is, of course, the platform. Thanks to the CMF B vehicle architecture, the Micra will now challenge the likes of the Fiesta and Polo in terms of size.
Under the hood, the 2017 Nissan Micra will be more of an evolution rather than an evolution. Thanks to turbocharged three- and four-cylinder engines, performance and efficiency will better that of the present-generation Micra. If the bean counters can make a case for it, the Euro-spec model will also get a frugal 1.5-liter turbo diesel Renault uses in the Clio, Captur, and the Kadjar.
Then again, the most important thing about the all-new Nissan Micra is the styling. Inspired by the Sway concept car, which is “designed especially to appeal to European tastes,” the subcompact-sized hatchback’s styling will make a huge leap in the right direction, trademark V-motion grille included.
2017 Renault Clio RS16
Partially confirmed by a teaser video titled “Can you imagine yourself at the wheel of this beauty? #ClioRS16,” the Super Clio is expected to make its debut in Paris. Anyway way you look at the circumstances, everything fits like a jigsaw falling into place: French automaker, French-built car, French show.
Created in honor of Renault Sport’s 40th anniversary, the Clio RS16 has all the makings of the new front-wheel-drive King of the Ring. To beat the Golf GTI Clubsport S, the Clio RS16 will be aided by the engine and tranny of a model from the compact segment: the Renault Megane RS 275 Trophy-R.
Just like its discontinued hot hatch brother, the subcompact Clio RS16 will boast 275 PS (271 HP) and 266 lb-ft (361 Nm) from a 2.0-liter four-banger enhanced by forced induction. Only 500 are expected to be made. Pricing, I’m afraid, is rumored to start at a slightly peppered 40,000 euros ($45,000).
Volkswagen EV Concept
The tenth and final car that made our list is a yet-unnamed electric vehicle concept. All we know about it is that it will be the size of a Golf but just as spacious as a Passat, it will be powered by a battery instead of fossil fuel, and it’ll act as a preview for Volkswagen’s electric vehicle platform (MEB).
VW used very pretentious words to tease the mysterious concept. These include constructions such as “a new ambassador to the automotive world” and “as revolutionary as the Beetle was seven decades ago.” Clearly, VW isn’t joking around, especially not after the punishing Dieselgate screw-up.
On a different note, the German manufacturer has a lot of catching up to do for a rather obvious reason. That’s because Volkswagen is rather late to the EV party. Also, the present-gen Golf in EV form is a sorry excuse for electric mobility, more so in the eyes of newcomers such as the Chevrolet Bolt.