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Paris Motor Show
by Frank de Leeuw Van Weenen
2006-10-12 10:06:43
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Three show stoppers have been wheeled into Paris, city of light and romance, and for two weeks also cars: the Audi R8, Alfa Romeo C8 Competizione and the Honda Civic Type R.

www.worldcarfans.comThe Audi R8 is the main attraction of this edition of the l’Automobile Mondial. With good looks, both inside and out, and some pretty damn decent specifications, this new sports car is bound for glory. A Porsche 911 killer in the making and it’s about time.

Audi has been on the top of their game in motor sports since most people can remember, and they have finally been able to transform that into an already classic design. Low on the road, as you would expect from a sports car, but with all the Audi comforts we have come to expect from the high end car manufacturer.

Right next to the R8 stood the new Audi TT. Definitely related but the TT is most certainly the little brother. The TT has paved the way, and now the R8 is going to finish off their competitors.

Further down at the Lamborghini stand you can feast your eyes on some real beauties. Lamborghini is, of course, a stable mate to Audi and now has found some fierce competition in the R8; the R8 is almost as fast and about half the price. So the men and women from Italy decided to bring ‘something’ new.

The jet black Gallardo Nera and the snow white LP640 Versace. All very nice but a paint job, fancy leather trim and a badge saying ‘special’ just isn’t enough. A Lamborghini is special, and limited and way beyond our reach.

On equal stature to the R8 stood the Alfa Romeo 8C Competizione, which is a beautiful car that will make some people very happy. It’s as fast and powerful as many other super cars (including the R8), but the looks will limit its appeal. It looks great, don’t get me wrong, but it doesn’t have the R8’s “everybody loves it” look.

www.worldcarfans.comElsewhere stood a sporty car that some of us can actually afford at some point in our lives, the long awaited Honda Civic Type R (and Type S right beside it). So far I have only heard people praising the Civic, saying that they love the futuristic look, it drives great, etc., but I just can’t help seeing a Lada in it. I just can’t put my finger on it, so I’ll just have to settle for the previous generation Type R.

The biggest PR stunt took place at the MINI stand. Why? Because I think they created a lot of whoo-haa about a car that didn’t actually change. The all-new MINI looks exactly like the old one, the interior is cheaper, yet the world is going ape shit over it. This is no ‘all-new car’… it’s a facelift, and a small one at that.

The biggest surprises came from the locals. Well represented, although the actual displays were very disorderly, they came up with enough concepts to last them a year, and it most likely will.

Peugeot was most interesting with their Spider 207, which is meant to precede the Le Mans races. Its bigger brother is the Le Mans 908 HDI, a race car which has to try and dethrone the Audi diesel. They will have their hands full with each other in the upcoming season.

Renault showed the Koleos concept, another uninspired copy of a SUV (or is it a CUV or UTE?). The Twingo was definitely more interesting, but it seems to have been a ‘last resort’ sort of concept car. As in, we had this great idea but it fell through so we bring you a fancy Twingo. Expect to see a fancy Twingo on the market within the year.

Citroen showed the C4 Picasso, C4 WRC and a few more C4 derivatives. It’s a great car, but all these C4’s everywhere confuse the hell out of me. There are more names for cars people! Heck, Toyota is moving away from this very principle and is renaming one of their main sellers to Auris (was Corolla). Most people seem to be stuck on the idea that the Japanese simply copy everything… but I think that they have overtaken most car manufacturers and are now just setting examples! Again, just look at the golden Toyota Auris concept.

And although they tried hard, the Citroen C-Metisse concept is uglier in real life than in the pictures, so hopefully the French will leave the wacky-concept creating to the Japanese, who are infinitely better at it, from now on.

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