These cars were the creme de la creme.
Expectation were kind of low heading into the 2018 Paris Motor Show. Automakers were dropping out left, right and center. PSA's newly purchased (from GM) Opel division, FCA, and VW Group's Volkswagen division, among others, announced they would not be in attendance, citing cost as the main factor. With so many automakers skipping the show, we doubted that Paris 2018 would live up to its billing as one of the best auto shows in the world. Thankfully, there was plenty to enjoy. We've selected 14 of our favorite cars that were revealed this year in the City of Lights.
We've seen a lot of cool concept cars from Infiniti, but the new Project Black S Prototype may take the cake. It's powered by the Q60's 3.0-liter twin-turbo V6 producing 400 hp, but also includes a first-of-its-kind dual-hybrid setup that brings the total output up to 563 hp. Infiniti has pulled this move before - releasing an awesome performance concept car, only to leave us disappointed when the production version doesn't happen. Hopefully, Infiniti will take a risk this time and put it into production.
It's usually a big deal when BMW reveals a new model, but when it's a new 3 Series the excitement is truly palpable. The new 2019 3 Series replaces the old F30 generation with a new platform called G20. This new car is lighter and more powerful than its predecessor and looks similar to its larger G30 5 Series brother (albeit with some Lexus IS-esque taillights). The base 330i produces 255 horsepower from a 2.0-liter four-cylinder, while the M340i now produces 382 hp from a turbocharged inline-six. Along with an all-new interior, the 3 Series looks ready to do battle with the rest of the compact luxury segment.
Though we actually got to see it a bit before Paris, Mercedes used the show to display its all-new GLE SUV. The GLE was among the oldest models in the range but the all-new 2019 model looks like it has what it takes to compete with segment leaders like the Volvo XC90 and new BMW X5. Power comes from a 255 hp 2.0-liter four-cylinder or a 362 hp 3.0-liter twin-turbo six-cylinder, and an AMG version will surely be on its way. In addition to a vastly improved interior, the GLE now offers a third-row seat, which should make it even more competitive in its segment.
We immediately fell in love with the Porsche 911 Speedster Concept first shown at Goodwood last summer, so we were even more enthralled when the company showed off a more production-ready version in Paris. The Speedster will be limited to just 1,948 units when it enters production, so they'll likely all be sold out and flipped for an incredible profit. If you do get the chance to own or drive one, you'll be treated to a 4.0-liter GT3 flat-six producing 500 hp.
As soon as Ferrari revealed the limited edition SP1 and SP2, we knew we wanted them. Both are based on a shortened version of the 812 Superfast platform and each pack around 800 hp from the Italian supercar brand's famed 6.5-liter V12. Unfortunately, they are likely already sold out (unless you have a solid connection with Ferrari enabling special privileges) and neither will be street legal in the United States. It's a bummer because both cars look beautiful in person.
Even though we knew Kia was set to have a global reveal of its all-electric Niro, the final product still managed to impress us. It's called the e-Niro, and the big story is an electric driving range of 301 miles (on European WLTP standards). We already liked the standard hybrid Niro and loved the plug-in hybrid model even more. This all-electric version looks like it will steal a lot of sales away from the Chevy Bolt and may even pull in some Tesla Model 3 shoppers who are sick of waiting for the base model to go on sale.
Our next pick, unfortunately, will not be sold in the United States. We will get the quirky Veloster N, but the i30 N and its new Fastback sibling will be kept in Europe only. This is a shame because the i30 Fastback N will be powered by the same 272 hp turbocharged four-cylinder found in the Veloster N, mated to a six-speed manual transmission. As cool as the Veloster is, we think the i30 Fastback N would sell extremely well in the US where hatchbacks tend to be ignored.
When it comes to building an electric car, Smart seems like the ideal company to take on the task. To celebrate the brand's 20th birthday, it revealed a new concept car called the Smart Forease. This all-electric city car may lack a roof or side windows but looks like an extremely fun way to poke around tight roads.
Though it was actually revealed last month, the all-important Mercedes-Benz EQC made its European premiere at the Paris Motor Show. Possibly one of the most important SUVs of the year (along with the Jaguar I-Pace and Audi e-tron), the EQC develops 402 hp and 564 lb-ft of torque from two electric motors and a range over of 200 miles. With the EQC's arrival, the luxury EV wars are about to heat up.
The Macan has now become Porsche's most successful model, which doesn't surprise us given the popularity of SUVs and crossovers. It was only a matter of time before the Macan needed a refresh and Porsche has shown it off in Paris. We still have to wait for US specs, but Porsche has retuned the suspension, subtly updated the exterior, and revised the interior.
With all of the big SUV and crossover reveals, it was nice to see some sports cars in Paris. BMW almost didn't build a new Z4 but competitors like the Porsche 718 Boxster helped make it viable. The Z4 will be available with either a 2.0-liter four-cylinder with 255 hp or 3.0-liter inline-six with 382 hp. Sorry manual lovers, but this one's automatic only.
Most companies like to make a big splash at global auto shows but some are content to simply show of subtle facelifts. The 2019 Lexus RC isn't all-new, simply a refresh. Hopefully, the minor changes will be enough to keep the RC competitive when new models like the upcoming BMW 4 Series show up.
We hate it when automakers reveal cars that the US won't receive. Mercedes recently pulled the wraps off its first AMG version of the A-Class. Unfortunately, the hatchback model shown off in Paris won't be sold in the US, though we may get a sedan version. If we do get an A35 sedan, it should be powered by the same 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-four producing 302 hp. There is also an A45 coming with over 400 hp.
Prior to the Paris Motor Show, we didn't know much about VinFast. Now, that has changed. The Vietnamese automaker made a big splash in Paris with the country's first ever mass-produced sedan and SUV. The LUX A2.0 and LUX SA2.0 may not have exciting names, but they are underpinned and powered by BMW. VinFast intends to sell both models to a global market and even has plans to produce a new city car, an electric car, and an electric bus.