Paris Motor Show stars may not make it to India

A lot of new cars have been unveiled at the ongoing Paris Motor Show, but not many will make it to India

photoOne of the biggest events on the motoring calendar is the Mondial de L’Automobile or the Paris Motor Show. As with previous years, the 2014 edition, which started on 4 October and is on till 19 October, is a grand spectacle. However, this year’s line-up does not include a lot of cars relevant to the Indian market. A majority of these are tailored specifically to Europe. That said, there are a lot of exciting new production cars on display, as well as a number of cool concept cars that look like they aren’t too many years away from a showroom reality. Here are our picks of the best cars:

Mercedes-AMG GT

Photo: Balint Porneczi/Bloomberg
Photo: Balint Porneczi/Bloomberg

Mercedes’ new flagship sportscar, the Mercedes-AMG GT, looks similar to the one that went before it, but there are some crucial differences—it has conventional side-hinged doors rather than roof-hinged “gull-wing" doors, and it’s also a bit smaller overall. Then there’s the engine, which is a new, twin-turbocharged 4.0-litre V8 that will soon become the new staple of the Mercedes-AMG range of performance cars. The AMG GT is available with either 456bhp or 503bhp. It is a gorgeous looking car, both inside and out, with a cabin layout unlike anything we’ve seen in a Mercedes before. The car will also be positioned a little lower, and hence be a little more affordable, than the outgoing SLS.

Audi TT Sportback concept

Photo: Balint Porneczi/Bloomberg
Photo: Balint Porneczi/Bloomberg

These days luxury car makers are looking beyond just their traditional sedans and SUVs, and additionally offering a number of niche cars that have a more “exclusive" appeal. Audi has chosen to use its TT—traditionally a two-door coupé or convertible—as a launch pad for such niche products, and is considering offering a family of cars based on it. We’ve already seen a concept car that depicts a rugged, SUV-like version of the TT, and now this TT Sportback concept points at a possible four-door version. Much like the Audi A7 Sportback is a sleek, low-slung version of the A6 sedan, this car could be a low-slung, sporty alternative to the A3 sedan; the two have the same mechanicals under the hood. Under the concept’s bonnet is a 395bhp 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine, but if it reaches production, you can expect more conventional, lower powered engines as well.

Land Rover Discovery Sport

Photo: Courtes Jaguar Land Rover/The New York Times
Photo: Courtes Jaguar Land Rover/The New York Times

Land Rover is in the process of dividing its range into three “families"—Range Rover for luxury, Discovery for leisure, and Defender for utility. The Discovery Sport will be the first of the new “Discovery" family. This new seven-seat SUV will be a competitor to the five-seats-only Audi Q5 and BMW X3. That said, the last two seats offer limited space, and are best for children only. What’s interesting is that this SUV gets a lot of tech from its more luxurious siblings. This includes the latest “Terrain Response" system that adapts the car to different terrain, a system that measures the depth of water you’re driving through, one that can automatically hit the brakes if it senses an accident, and a newly designed touch-screen system. Land Rover has confirmed that the Discovery Sport will be launched in India in the second half of 2015.

New Volkswagen Passat

Photo: Eric Piermont/AFP
Photo: Eric Piermont/AFP

The last Passat was a hugely capable luxury sedan that could rival BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Audi in space, comfort, equipment and luxury. The problem was that it rivalled them in price as well, which didn’t bode well for it in our brand-conscious market. The next-gen Passat is going to be even more expensive, but Volkswagen is also going to pack it with more technology and luxury. It will get a screen in place of conventional dials, as well as a host of other sensors and systems to aid driving and keep occupants safe. It will still be powered by a 2.0-litre diesel engine, but alongside this standard version, Volkswagen now has a new twin-turbocharged version of the motor that produces a mighty 237bhp; let’s hope they bring that one here.

SsangYong XIV-Air and XIV-Adventure

SsangYong XIV-Adventure. Photo: Casper Heij
SsangYong XIV-Adventure. Photo: Casper Heij

SsangYong, the Mahindra-owned SUV maker, has only one product in the Indian market at the moment—the big, seven-seat Rexton. However, a pair of concept cars were shown in Paris, which could be the foundation of a future compact SUV model, one that could be just right for the Indian market. Called the XIV-Air and XIV-Adventure and powered by 1.6-litre petrol and diesel engines, both these cars point to what will be a relatively compact SUV—at 4.2m long, the concepts are about as large as a Renault Duster. With one being a convertible and the other a tough off-roader, the two concepts are designed to show off the potential versatility of the future production SUV.

SsangYong XIV-Air. Photo: Casper Heij
SsangYong XIV-Air. Photo: Casper Heij

Jaguar XE

Photo: Miguel Medina/AFP
Photo: Miguel Medina/AFP

The new XE sedan is a very important car for Jaguar, as it competes directly with the popular BMW 3-series, Audi A4 and Mercedes-Benz C-class. This is a high-volume space where Jaguar has had no product offering for many years. Jaguar no longer wants to be a niche choice, and so has made sure the new XE has the substance to match its style; and it is very stylish. It uses an aluminium chassis—the first in this segment—in order to save weight and subsequently improve fuel economy and driving agility. It will also debut a brand new 2.0-litre diesel engine that the company has developed in-house, but for those who want a bit of performance from their XE, there’s also the 335bhp supercharged 3.0-litre petrol V6 engine taken from the F-type sports coupé.

New Volvo XC90

Photo: Simon Dawson/Bloomberg
Photo: Simon Dawson/Bloomberg

Volvo is bringing out a whole new generation of cars, and it starts with a new version of its flagship offering—the seven-seat XC90 SUV. As ever, the XC90 is all about flexibility within the cabin, and as with all Volvos, safety. This Volvo will also introduce the company’s new design language. In the cabin, the look has been kept simple, and there’s a much greater sense of luxury. Almost all the dashboard controls have been replaced by a large, high-resolution vertical touch screen that is slick to operate. The big news, however, is that the car will be powered by Volvo’s new “Drive-E" range of four-cylinder petrol and diesel engines, with higher-powered versions getting an added boost from electric motors. The new XC90 will be launched in India in March.

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