This year’s Paris auto show, which is open to the public until Oct. 17, showcases the design freedom that comes from working with micro-turbines, electric motors and ultra-lightweight materials.
Of course, not every head-turning car in Paris is equipped with some form of high-tech trickery. For several vehicles, a totally fresh take on a well-proven design formula proved the key to its success.
Jaguar C-X75 – The curvaceous and streamlined shape of the mid-engine Jaguar C-X75 was always going make this gorgeous two-seater a star. What makes it arguably the best concept in Paris are the in-wheel electric motors and micro-turbine technology lurking within the seductive design.
Renault DeZir – The Renault DeZir is the French automaker’s take on an electric-powered sports car. Remember when any vehicle with the ‘e-word’ in its name brought to mind some awkward-looking and ponderously slow contraption? If the future of automobiles is electric — and Renault seems to believe it is — the DeZir concept is a sign of great things to come.
Lamborghini Sesto Elemento – The Lamborghini Sesto Elemento is so intensely aggressive and edgy, you half expect it to get a nose ring and start picking a fight on the show-stand in Paris. Designed to showcase the Italian company’s patented “carbon-fiber forged composite,” a lightweight material that forms the car’s chassis, the Sesto Elemento weighs only 2,200 pounds and has a 570-horsepower V-10 mounted behind the passenger compartment.
Lotus Esprit – This is the “Pretty Woman” car for the iPad generation. Lotus unveiled several sublime-looking vehicles in Paris, but the Esprit is the future flagship of the range. About the only downside is that it will be several years until the Lotus Esprit arrives in the United States market — most likely in 2013.
Audi Quattro Concept– The Audi Quattro Concept borrows a page from the automaker’s past. Inspired by the potent 1980s race and road-going Quattro models, the new Quattro Concept begins with the compact and chunky Pac-Man-era silhouette of the original. Added to this are fine finishing touches and clever details –- not to mention a 400-horsepower turbocharged engine –- that create a totally modern take on a classic four-wheel-drive sports machine.