Europeans, it seems, are now fully willing to accept the cars of tomorrow. Autonomous driving, augmented reality and electrification were all the rage in Paris. There’s a lot here for the futurist, more for the tech head. But what does it all mean if you’re Canadian?
Not quite American – though our market is semi-dependent on theirs – and not quite European – though culturally we swing in that direction – our automotive tastes and market realities occupy a strange middle ground. That’s why it’s worth taking a look at the Paris Motor Show from a Canadian perspective.
So scull a bucket of maple syrup, put on your World Cup of Hockey Team Canada victory jersey and strap in for a tour of Paris with a plaid flair.
Cars We Will Get
There was plenty in Paris for Canadians, and while not all of it was confirmed for our shores yet, you can expect much of it to make its way down here.
Porsche Panamera E-Hybrid
This one is confirmed for the Canadian market, and soon. The Porsche Panamera e-Hybrid was announced ahead of the show, so we knew much of the technical details already. Including the 456 hp and 516 lb-ft output, the revised body shape and the electric green "E-Hybrid" trim and brake calipers.
BMW X2 Concept
The BMW X2 Concept is not even confirmed for production, let alone for Canada, but you can nonetheless expect this one to get here once its launched. Because SUV. They're all the rage...
2018 Honda Civic Type R
... Which is why we're so excited for the 2018 Honda Civic Type R. The newest Type R proves that in a world of SUVs and autonomous driving aids hot hatches still have a place. This one has been confirmed for production, but not for Canada – yet. We intend to stage a polite sit-in if it doesn't come our way. That rear wing though... phwoar!
2020 Volkswagen I.D
Yes, we're getting this. Whether or not we'll get the sliding doors in the back, or the steering wheel that fully hides itself in the dashboard during autonomous driving mode, is another story. But we will get a 167 hp, 300 km-range Volkswagen I.D EV. VW says this is their first car built from the ground up to be fully autonomous, with park pilot and automatic wireless charging available either from launch or soon after. It's VW's big gamble, and they're overt in admitting the new focus on pure EV comes in the wake of their diesel scandal. 2020 is both a long way away and awfully close... time will tell what the production form looks and feels like.
2018 Nissan Micra
Canada gets a Nissan Micra, the USA does not. That's the status quo right now, but the new Micra unveiled in Paris might just change that. It's bigger, less cutesy, and more suited to the US market which eschews sub-compacts for the most part. The very fact that this one is better tailored to our American neighbours might mean we'11 see this version in our dealer lots in a couple years' time.
2018 Kia Rio and 2018 Hyundai Elantra GT
All-new versions of the Korean cousins were unveiled in Paris. The next-gen Kia Rio should be sold as a 2018 model here in Canada where it competes strongly in a well-populated category.
Likewise, the Hyundai Elantra GT (as it is called in Canada) was unveiled as the next-gen Hyundai i30.
2018 Land Rover Discovery
The LR4 is dead, long live the Discovery! The Discovery name plate is well-renowned in the rest of the world and now Canada will see it back on our shores. This newest, three-row version of the Land Rover lineup makes the line between Range Rover and Land Rover ever murkier. We have full details on the newest Land Rover Discovery here.
2017 Mini Clubman John Cooper Works
The Mini Clubman All4 is the latest Mini to get the John Cooper Works treatment. Its 228 hp turbo four delivers on the aesthetic promise offered by the JCW wheels and aerodynamic tweaks. More on the Mini Clubman All4 JCW here.
Lexus UX Concept
Of course we're getting this. Because as we said earlier: SUV. It likely won't be a two-door like this concept but expect the UX to be the next compact (or even sub-compact) luxury SUV produced by the brand. Sorry for the PR shot, your writer was too busy drooling over the Yaris Rally Car to remember to take a proper photo of the UX. By way of apology, here's a photo of the Yaris WRC car for your enjoyment.
Cars We Won't Get, But Should
The great hazard of European auto shows is stumbling upon forbidden European fruit we don't get in Canada. These cars are the ones that made your writer wish our options weren't so tightly bound to the whims of the US consumer.
Remember Suzuki? They still make and sell cars, just not in North America. Which is a shame, because with the sub-compact SUV market booming right now there's no way they couldn't sell oodles of the adorable Ignis here. Look at it! There's even a canoe on the roof. Isn't "canoe" a Canadian word? See my point? Suzuki: we miss you, eh. [Sorry Jacob, "canoe" comes from the extinct Igneri language originally spoken in the Caribbean. – Ed.]
What has less than 500 cc of engine, goes less than 50 km/h and makes your writer's little heart melt? Ligier Microcars, that's what. Sure, they're a long way from the V12 Formula 1 engines I most remember Ligier for, but you can get a special license to drive these at just 14 in France. They're tiny, cute and get around 3 L/100 km in the city. Besides, can you imagine how much fun you could have with five of these on a go-kart track?
There's even a "tough" off road version called the Highland.
Alfa Romeo Mito Veloce
Basically, it's Italian for "hot hatch" where hot is the operative word in every conceivable aspect. We want it.
The Good Stuff
Is an auto show gallery really an auto show gallery without a picture of a Ferrari?
Of course not. So here is one:
Wait, that's the wrong colour! There's a reason for that. Ferrari's 70th anniversary is being celebrated with 70 new Ferrari liveries.
But for the traditionalists who like their Ferraris the natural way, here's a red one. There, that's better.
An auto show is not an auto show without a ton of gorgeous, inspiring, wild-eyed concepts. And of course in Paris, everything is always going to be that next level of spectacular.
DS E-Tense Concept
The DS E-Tense Concept was actually revealed in Geneva but gets a nod here because it is simply breathtaking. The green paint is just one element. Citroen's break-off DS brand relies heavily on the aesthetic heritage of the iconic Citroen DS, a fact cemented by the display of DS clay models found in the room before the E-Tense room - yes, that's right, it gets its own room! What is doesn't get is a deserving engine. Even though it's only a concept, DS says it's good for an underwhelming 402 hp and 380 lb-ft of torque from its electric drivetrain. In a world where a Tesla with 600+ hp is available for reasonable (supercar-reasonable, at least) money, I'd kind of hope for more. Looks good, though.
Vision Mercedes-Maybach 6
Unveiled earlier in the year at Pebble Beach, the Vision Mercedes-Maybach 6 drew an adoring crowd in Paris. I couldn't quite get behind it. Sure, the 750 hp worth of electric motors mounted on each wheel are impressive, so too are the body sensors in the seats which know what temperature and massage settings to use. But visually, isn't the whole thing just a little ... um... proboscis-esque?
GLM G4 EV Supercar
Japanese newcomer GLM was on hand at Paris to display their stunning new four-door, four-passenger, four-wheel-drive EV supercar. With 536 hp and some 738 lb-ft of torque available from the two electric motors mounted fore and aft, the G4 will scoot to 100 km/h 3.7 seconds and cruise at 250 km/h.
Thanks to the packaging benefits of EVs, the cabin is spacious for four despite the supercar size and shape. GLM touts a “multi-stage” transmission without elaborating further, a departure from other EVs that typically have just the one constant drive on account of the gobloads of torque.
Mercedes-Benz Generation EQ Concept
Did we mention SUVs are popular right now? The Mercedes-Benz Generation EQ Concept (click that link for more details) was overwhelmingly popular on the show floor. Not for its looks, but – just like the VW I.D. – because it is likely an accurate vision of the future. Indeed, an EQ-style SUV is slated for a 2019 release.
Best in Show
Got packaging? The wildest and most exciting concept from the Paris Motor Show has to be this Trezor (it's French for "treasure") from Renault. The vivid concept features a lifting canopy, a 350 hp Formula E engine powering the rear wheels, a screen-based dashboard and seating for two.
The steering wheel parts ways and opens when in autonomous mode so as to give a better view of the display screens. The hexagonal vents in the bonnet open and close as required for cooling. Those wheels? They're 21-inch front, 23 rear and the spokes make the silhouette of the Eiffel Tower – because France.