Concept cars make up our favorite part of any auto show, and Paris in 2008 has a wide variety on hand. From small city cars to new exotics, we've got photos of them all.
Hypnos is Citroen's design for an environmentally sound crossover vehicle. Hypnos uses a hybrid system, Citroen's HYmotion4, comprised of a two-liter diesel engine up front and an electric motor on the rear axle. With this system, the car can be driven about two miles under electric power before the diesel kicks in, and gets about 52 mpg.
Looking at the cabin design, we think Citroen confused Hypnos and hippie. Garish colors cover the seats and console. As a feature worthy of a Japanese concept car, the Hypnos uses a camera to monitor the driver, assessing her or his mood and adjusting cabin lighting and audio accordingly, for a more relaxing driving experience.
Peugeot's sleek RC HYmotion4 concept car shows that an environmentally friendly car can also have sporting characteristics. The car's hybrid drivetrain uses a 70-kilowatt electric motor up front and a 1.6-liter gas engine in the rear, producing a combined total of 313 horsepower. The car can be driven electric-only, gas-only, or with gas and electric power. Peugeot claims 52 mpg and only 109 grams of CO2 per kilometer.
Looking for a third model to fill out its line-up, Lamborghini explores the idea of a high-end sport sedan with the Estoque. Although featuring Lamborghini elements, such as all-wheel-drive and possibly the V-10 engine from the Gallardo, the Estoque has four doors and cargo room. It shows some styling elements similar to last year's limited edition Reventon, indicating a new design direction for Lamborghini.
With the Concept Fascination, Mercedes-Benz uses its E-class platform to explore a shooting brake, coupe design. Lack of a B-pillar allows for a graceful roofline and an unobstructed view for the passengers. Mercedes-Benz specifies a 2.2-liter supercharged Bluetec diesel engine to power the Concept Fascination.
Although the cabin tech in the Concept Fascination is pretty standard for current Mercedes-Benz models, the designers threw in a few good concept elements, including this slide-out table and champagne cooler in the cargo area, suitable for picnicking. The cargo area also holds a humidor.
This convertible design from Saab uses hybrid-drivetrain technology developed for the Saab BioPower concept. The engine is optimized for E85 ethanol fuel, and it uses a mild hybrid system from GM. The convertible soft top is designed just to cover the roof--the windows and pillars offer good wind protection when the top is down.
In the Saab 9-X Air's cabin, the driver gets five screens in place of an instrument cluster. Sony Ericsson helped design the car's interface so that it would work with smart phones. The smarter the phone, the more functions the car gets, such as receiving e-mail, showing navigation, and playing music.
Although Nissan's funky-looking Nuvu concept car uses an electric power train, that is not the point of the concept. Nissan takes it as a given that future city cars will be electric. The Nuvu demonstrates a small, agile car with unique interior space. The car is about 9 feet long and uses 2+1 seating--there is only one seat on the driver side, and a front and rear seat on the passenger side. The Nuvu also has solar panels to help charge the batteries.
Continuing its Nagare-design theme, Mazda brings out the Kiyora, a city car that takes its inspiration from how water flows. The Kiyora would use a 1.3-liter direct injection engine, which would keep its carbon footprint low. A four seater, the Kiyora has translucent panels along the doors.
Audi explores the idea of a small car, with the A1 Sportback concept--following on its A1 Quattro concept shown at auto shows last year. This new concept is a five-door hatchback and uses a hybrid power train. The engine is a 1.4-liter turbo, with a 20-kilowatt electric motor for extra boost and low-speed electric drive.
BMW has been getting into building smaller cars, most recently with the launch of its 1-series. The X1 concept applies similar downsizing to its SUV line. The X1 would enter a crowded but popular market, applying BMW's unique handling traits. BMW is expected to launch an X1 model next year, which will probably look very similar to this concept and employ similar engine choices to those found in the 1-series.
Exploring different model directions while keeping its iconic look, Mini explores the idea of a crossover vehicle by raising up its standard model and fitting it with all-wheel-drive. Sharing a platform with the BMW X1, the Mini Crossover is very likely to go into production.
The Prologue HYmotion4 from Peugeot explores a few different themes. It uses a crossover-body style, designed to be agile enough for European cities, but maximizing interior space. Its drive system is a variation on that used in the RC HYmotion4, in this instance having a diesel engine in front and an electric motor at the rear axle, producing a combined 200 horsepower and giving the Prologue flexibility in power distribution.
Built on the same platform as Chevy's new Cruze model, the Orlando concept is an exploration of a utility vehicle, with proportions larger than the HHR. In this European spec version, it would get a two-liter diesel engine producing 150 horsepower. Inside, the instrument panel looks like it borrows from Cadillac's design for the CTS.
Honda calls its new Insight model a concept (in the form shown at the Paris Motor Show), but the car will debut as a production model by the Detroit show in January, with very little change. The new Insight uses a similar hybrid system to that found in the Civic Hybrid, and Honda emphasizes the car will be very affordable.
Unlike the original Insight, which was a two-seater, this Insight is designed as a five door hatchback, just like the Toyota Prius. The dual level instrument cluster is similar to that found in the Civic, but we don't know if the button back-lighting, shown in this picture, will appear in the production version.
Lexus originally showed the LF-Xh concept at the Milan Design Week, as an attempt to move its automotive development closer to artistic design. The LF-Xh looks like a squashed RX model, and Lexus specifies it would use a hybrid-drive system similar to that found in the RX-400h.