Top cars on display at the 2018 Paris Motor Show
The Germans dominate this year’s Mondial de l’Automobile, running from October 4 through 14, at the Paris Expo Porte de Versailles. Although many manufacturers are increasingly turning to private events to reveal their latest offerings, we are still seeing plenty of fresh new sheet metal at the show from Audi, BMW, Mercedes-Benz, and Porsche, as well as debuts from Japanese and Italian brands.
2019 Porsche Macan
Porsche’s most popular model gets a refreshed design and upgraded performance for 2019. The Macan employs sportier design cues such as a new, wider front end flanked by reshaped LED headlights. In the rear, a new LED lighting signature closely resembles the one found on the larger Cayenne. Porsche has updated the Macan’s chassis and tires for better driving dynamics, with wheel sizes available up to 21 inches. The standard Macan will be powered by a 242 hp, 2-liter four-cylinder engine that’s been updated with a particulate filter for better air quality in the cabin and revised combustion chamber geometry for increased efficiency. It will still be paired with Porsche’s seven-speed, dual-clutch PDK gearbox. Porsche is taking orders now for the new Macan, with deliveries expected sometime in early 2019.
Mercedes-Benz’s midsize SUV benefits from a new suspension, improved safety technology, an optional third row, and an all-new design. As with other recently redesigned Mercedes-Benz models, the new GLE foregoes sharp creases for cleaner, simpler lines. The front end gets a taller, more upright front grille, as well as new LED headlights and taillights. A new optional body control system, paired with air suspension, can adjust spring and damping forces individually on each wheel, promising a more stable, comfortable ride.
For maximum traction, variable all-wheel-drive can send up to 100 percent of torque to either axle. The new GLE is built on a longer wheelbase, offering improved interior space and an optional third row. New safety technology includes am active stop-and-go feature that can automatically brake and accelerate in traffic, as well as a system that will prevent the driver from turning in front of oncoming vehicles.
Infiniti Project Black S Prototype
Infiniti takes technology from Formula 1 racing and packs it into a new concept car that hints at a potential future production model. Based on the Q60 sports coupe, the Project Black S, developed in conjunction with the Renault Sport F1 team, combines a 3-liter, twin-turbocharged V-6 gasoline engine with a dual-hybrid energy recovery system. The latter uses three motor-generators and a kinetic unit that recaptures energy from braking. The Project Black S employs additional cooling and aerodynamic elements, and many of the car’s body panels are made from carbon fiber to compensate for the extra weight of the hybrid system.
Infiniti says the Project S prototype could pave the way for a new high-performance car that sits above the brand’s current Red Sport models, as it also makes good on its promise for a fresh lineup that will use all electrified powertrains by 2021.
2019 Audi Q3
Although not nearly as sexy as the new R8 LMS racecar Audi debuted at this year’s Paris Auto Show (sorry, it’s not street legal), the new Q3 is nonetheless significant news from the Ingolstadt-based carmaker. Competing in the ever-growing compact SUV segment, the new Q3 is roomier than its predecessor and boats more flexible cargo space. The analog instrument cluster has been replaced with a 10.25-inch electronic screen, and options include those found on higher-priced Audi models, including the “virtual cockpit” display, larger, 12.3 inch navigation display, and a variety of connected features such as Google Earth, music streaming, and remote locking and unlocking via a compatible smartphone. =Te new Q3 will be offered in front-wheel-drive or all-wheel-drive variants, powered by a turbocharged, 4-cylinder engine paired with a 7-speed automatic transmission.
Ferrari Monza SP1 and SP2
First presented ahead of the Paris Motor Show to investors in Italy, these retro-inspired roadsters were modeled after Ferrari’s barchetta-bodied race cars of the 1950s. Italian for “little boat,” the barchetta body style is defined by its open-top roof and lack of a full windshield or other weather-repelling equipment. Fitted either with one (SP1) or two (SP2) seats, these lightweight supercars have the highest power-to-weight ratio of any barchetta to date, courtesy of a 6.5-liter V-12 engine that makes 809 hp and achieves a zero-to-100 kph time of 2.9 seconds. Only 499 examples will be made (of both models combined).
2019 BMW 3 Series
Long considered the benchmark in the compact luxury sedan segment, the new BMW 3 Series gets a complete redesign and several new technology features. Instead of the organic, simplified lines used by competitors, the 3 Series opts for a highly sculpted front end, elaborately shaped front air intakes, aggressive creases, and sharp character lines. Under the hood of the 330i is a new 2-liter, 4-cylinder engine that makes 7 more hp and 37 more ft lbs of torque than its predecessor, thanks to improvements in the turbocharging and direct injection systems.
The M340i will offer 382 hp from an updated inline-six-cylinder engine. All models get new shock absorbers and a lighter, more rigid chassis for improved handling. A host of new optional safety features include adaptive cruise control, lane keeping assist, and steering assist. A built-in personal assistant uses voice recognition technology to control functions such as climate control, the navigation system, and driver preferences.
Unveiled in concept form last year as the Project One, Mercedes-AMG showed a more production-ready version of its first hypercar at this year’s Paris Auto show. Now known as the Mercedes-AMG One, the Formula 1-inspired car has been undergoing extensive testing this year, from the racetrack to the wind tunnel.
Although exact specifications still haven’t been revealed, AMG chief Tobias Moers says the AMG One uses F1-derived engine and aerodynamics technology and will make more than 1,000 hp, with a top speed of nearly 350 kph. It will be limited to 275 examples, and potential customers can now visit a mobile showroom in Munich, Germany, which offers sample materials and color examples, computer animation of the car’s various technologies, and the opportunity to sit inside the cockpit.