PARIS--One of the easiest ways to increase fuel efficiency without sacrificing drivability is to shave weight. Lose a gram here, save an ounce there, and before you know it, you could be looking at sizable weight reduction and a complementary reduction in fuel consumption and particulate emissions.
On the first day here at the 2012 Paris Motor Show, we heard this theme repeated over and over from automakers as they put their vehicles on a diet, shaving hundreds of pounds off of their newest models.
Here's what we saw on day 1 of the 2012 Paris Motor Show.
Audi debuted the five-door variant of the next-generation A3, which is the model most likely to find its way to U.S. shores. The new model features updated styling and a bit of trickle-down dashboard tech from the automaker's larger, more expensive models. Expect the A3 to bring along a 1.8-liter turbocharged gasoline engine and a 2-liter TDI diesel option that outputs 150 horsepower and 236 pound-feet of torque when it gets here.
The seventh iteration of the Volkswagen Golf makes its first appearance in Paris this year with a slightly revised style and all-new underpinnings. It's bigger, lighter, and available with a four-cylinder turbocharged engine that saves fuel by occasionally becoming a two-cylinder. Inside, the Golf features a new navigation system that is based around a massive 8-inch color touch screen.
Congenially known as the Baby Jag, the Jaguar F-Type showcases the automaker's new aesthetic and represents a slight change of direction for the automaker that's been known most recently for large, premium cars. Designed from the ground up as a roadster, the F-Type is shorter and lighter than the XK. It may be small, but it's still powered by big engines, with two 3-liter V-6 engines and a 5-liter supercharged V-8 option available.
Mazda shows off not one, but two new Mazda6 models (a sedan and a wagon), but we'll likely only see one of them in the U.S. market. Whether we get one or both, the Mazda6 will feature Skyactiv lightweight construction, i-Eloop regenerative braking, and i-Stop anti-idling technology. It will also be available with a choice of gasoline and clean diesel engines.
The Smart ForStars concept has us scratching our heads. We're not sure whether we like it or not. On one hand, it features a fully electric drivetrain, a completely transparent roof, and an LCD video projector embedded in the hood, transforming this concept into a rolling drive-in theater. On the other hand, the cartoony styling is very love-it-or-leave-it. Check it out and decide for yourself.
CNET's coverage of the 2012 Paris Motor Show continues tomorrow, so stay tuned for more sweet rides. Click here to read more about the show.