Now that all of the new products and concept cars have been unveiled at the 2016 Paris Motor Show, it’s time to sit back and take a look at which ones were the most important.
TFL looked at all of them and determined which ones were the most influential, the most groundbreaking, and the most buzz-worthy of the show. In no particular order, here are the top five.
Honda Civic Type R – The new Honda Civic has become one of the most popular and best received new vehicles in a long time, and it represents a return of the old Honda, back to a time when they made cars that were known for their performance and for their engineering. The Civic shot right up to the top of the compact car segment, and Honda kept the momentum up with the new hatchback, even pairing the new 1.5-liter turbo with a six-speed manual transmission.
Now that the hatchback has been officially released, it was only fitting that the Type R was just around the corner. Based on the hatchback, the Type R promises to be the uber-Civic. While it is front-drive only – while its most obvious competitors, the Ford Focus RS and Subaru WRX STi have all-wheel drive – the new Type R should still stir the hearts and minds of sport compact enthusiasts the world over. The front-drive lap record at the Nurburgring might be in serious peril.
Infiniti VC-Turbo engine – With electric propulsion on the near horizon, it seemed like the days of any serious breakthroughs in internal combustion technology were gone. Enter Nissan, through their Infiniti division. They tackled, and beat, one of the biggest head scratchers in automotive engineering – variable compression ratios.
For those not in the know, an engine’s compression ratio is the ratio of how much volume a cylinder has when the piston is at its lowest point compared with how much it has when the cylinder is at its highest point. For engineers, dialing in the optimal compression ratio has always been a compromise, as different situations have different optimal compression ratios.
The VC-Turbo engine solves this problem by being able to vary the ratio from 8:1, for high performance, to 14:1, for higher efficiency. The turbocharged, four-cylinder engine is expected to make 268 horsepower and, according to Infiniti, offer V-6 performance with four-cylinder efficiency and size.
Volkswagen I.Q. – By now, most people who know anything about the automotive industry know about Volkswagen’s diesel emission scandal and the pain and suffering it caused the company. Part of the company’s solution to all of this is to switch the focus to electric vehicles, and at the Paris Motor Show, they unveiled the Golf-sized I.Q.
The company hopes to sell the I.Q. to the public by 2020. It will have a 125 kW motor that will have a purported range of 250-370 miles. By 2025, VW hopes to have full automation in place for the I.Q. and also projects to sell a million EVs by that time.
Land Rover Discovery – Land Rover’s latest full-size SUV may not be especially green, but it sure is an important car for the company. First off, the Discovery name is returning to the United States with this new model. It’s a three-row, seven-passenger, off-road-worthy SUV that will tick a lot of the right buttons for buyers in the U.S. and in other markets.
Mercedes-Benz Generation EQ – EVs and crossovers dominated the Paris Motor Show, and for good reason. Not only are crossovers becoming the dominant sellers in the marketplace, but EVs are getting more important thanks to companies like Tesla and also increasing regulations over emissions.
Mercedes-Benz isn’t a company that gets left behind, so it’s going right after Tesla and Volkswagen, among others, with its own all-electric vehicles. They’re actually creating a whole new sub-brand called EQ. The concept car unveiled at the show is called the Generation EQ, and – no big surprise here – it’s a small crossover with futuristic styling that somehow still looks like a Benz.
The company said that the Generation EQ will have a 500-mile range, which should be enough to completely quell range anxiety for good. It’s also built on a new EV-only platform that is scalable to multiple wheelbases and track sizes thanks to its modular design.
Mercedes-Benz also has big plans for their EVs and expects to have 10 models available for sale by 2025.
Honorable mention: Smart ForTwo electric – The Smart has always been a bit of a paradox. Its small size made it a decent choice for city commuters, but it never achieved the type of fuel economy numbers its diminutive size would suggest. As an electric car, though, it makes a lot more sense, and now the new and much improved ForTwo gets electrified.
The ForTwo gets about 96-99 miles on a charge and takes two and a half hours to charge to 80 percent when using a 240-volt charger. The electric motor makes 80 horsepower and 118 lb-ft of torque, plenty for urban driving. The electric ForTwo will be sold here in the U.S. alongside its gas-powered sibling.
What is your favorite car from the Paris Motor Show? Start the conversation in the comments below.