Past and future

Governments across Europe may be cutting back, but, if the 2010 Paris Motor Show is a reliable guide, there's still a sizeable clientele willing to part with their dollars for great speed and grace.

Designed to celebrate the company's 75th anniversary, the C-X75 concept car is Jaguar's ideal of an electric supercar. The C-X75 is reportedly powered by four electric motors, one for each wheel. Together they produce 580kW of power and an astonishing 1600Nm of torque.

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Back to the future

Behind the driver and passenger are two micro-turbines that spin at up 80,000rpm and kick in to recharge the electric motors' batteries when they're nearly drained. Driven sedately, the C-X75 can do 110km on battery power alone and 910km with the help of the turbines.

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Crikey!

The four electric motors should propel the C-X75 to 100km/h in a neck-snapping 3.4 seconds and a top speed of 330km/h.

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Is this the future?

The C-X75's interior employs a number of LCD screens, and as the seats are fixed, the steering wheel, pedals, controls and instrument pack move instead.

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Reveal 'em all

It's pretty much a given nowadays that supercar makers reveal one new car at any given motor show; at most, a new car and a concept. Not Lotus. The company that professes to making its own rules has taken the rule book, thrown it out the window and then ground it into some Parisian dog poo for good measure, because at this year's Paris show the company has revealed not one but five new cars: the Esprit (above), Elan, Elite, Elise and Eterne.

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Esprit de corps

Due in Q3 of 2013, the new Esprit packs a 5-litre V8 behind the driver and passenger. With its 485kW of power and 720Nm of torque, the Esprit can hurtle you from zero to 100km/h in 3.4 seconds and onwards to a top speed of 330km/h, should, you know, conditions, laws and nerves permit.

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Ker-blimey!

A seven-speed dual-clutch transmission and rear-wheel drive is standard, but the company does mention that a hybrid or kinetic energy recovery system will be optional to improve either efficiency or performance. The price in the UK should start from £110,000 (AU$179,500).

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Show a bit of elan

Coming out in around Q1 of 2013 is the Elan, which can be specified as either a very squashy four-seater or a slightly lighter two-seater.

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Vim and vigour

Powered by mid-engine 4-litre V6 that has 331kW of power and 465Nm of torque up its sleeve, the Elan should charge to 100km/h in 3.5 seconds and a top speed of 310km/h. Again a hybrid system is optional; UK prices should start from £75,000 (AU$122,000)

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Upper class Lotus

Coming in Q3 of 2014 (my, how far away that seems!), the Elite is a front-engine, rear-wheel drive sports car with seating for four, at a pinch.

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Share and share alike

The standard Elite drivetrain uses the 485kW/720Nm 5-litre V8 from the Esprit, a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission and rear-wheel drive. Zero to 100km/h should be dusted off in 3.7 seconds. Prices should begin from £115,000 (AU$187,500), with a full-hybrid version likely to add a few more pounds to that.

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Economy class Lotus

The most affordable and lightest member of the current Lotus family, the Elise, won't be replaced until Q3 2015 if Lotus sticks to its plan.

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Classic Lotus

While it may have lost some of its cheeky styling, Lotus claims the new Elise's handling will stay true to form. Like the current model, a four-cylinder engine sitting behind the driver and passenger powers the rear wheels.

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Eco-class Lotus

The force-fed engine generates 235kW and 330Nm, giving a top speed of 270km/h and a 100km/h time of 4.3 seconds. A six-speed manual is standard, but a dual-clutch transmission and automatic engine stop/start are optional extras. British pricing should begin from £35,000 (AU$57,000)

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Follow the leader

Porsche and Aston Martin each have one, so it stands to reason that Lotus should too right? What's that we're talking about? Four-seater "coupes", of course.

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Eternally yours

Currently slated for release in Q3 2015, the Eterne uses the Esprit and Elite's 5-litre V8. Rear-wheel drive is standard, but all-wheel drive and some form of hybrid-ness is bound for the menu too.

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Audi hits a four

Just judging by the sheer quantity of journalists that hung around the huge Audi stage after the official announcements were over, Audi's revelations today were a big hit.

The four-ringed brand had two concept cars on display: a modern interpretation of its classic Quattro coupe (above) and a convertible iteration of the e-tron concept line. The A7 Sportback was also on public display for the first time.

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Redux

The original Quattro debuted in 1980 and its combination of a turbocharged five-cylinder engine and four-wheel drive took the rallying world by storm. Similarly, the new Quattro concept features the same layout, albeit with a six-speed manual. Its 300kW engine can take it from zero to 100km/h in just 3.9 seconds.

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Deutschland Choppers

To create the Quattro, the Audi team took an RS5 coupe, reduced the length and height significantly, and clad the car with its own unique aluminium sheet metal, with bits of carbon fibre sprinkled throughout.

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e-tron Spyder

For more ecologically inclined speed freaks, Audi has wheeled out the latest in its series of e-tron electric sports cars: the e-tron Spyder. Unlike the previous high-end e-tron cars, this one's a hybrid.

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Vital stats

Up front, there's an electric motor for each wheel, producing a combined 64kW. Behind the driver and passenger is a 221kW turbo-diesel V6 churning out 221kW for the rear wheels. Together they can propel the e-tron from zero to 100km/h in 4.4 seconds. On electric power alone the car can hit a maximum speed of 60km/h and a maximum range of about 50km.

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Informative

The front Audi logo slides away to reveal a port for charging the electric motors' batteries, as well as a display that can show nearby points of interest or charging information. This data can also be shown via an app on the owner's iPhone too.

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Ferrari SA Aperta

To create the SA Aperta, Ferrari lopped the top of its high-end 599 coupe.

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Go fast red

Despite the missing roof, the SA Aperta weighs just 10kg more than the 599 GTB Fiorano at launch. This allows the 493kW/620Nm 6-litre V12 to power the car to a top speed of 325km/h and a zero to 100km/h time of 3.6 seconds.

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Name it

Aperta is Italian for open, while the initials S and A are a nod to Sergio and Andrea, key members of the Pininfarina clan that head the design and coach-building company of the same name. Just 80 SA Apertas will be made.

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Sesto Elemento

On any other day this Lamborghini's matte black finish would be enough to earn our cooing appreciation, but everyone's jumped on the matte paint bandwagon — everything from humble Fiats and Peugeots upwards sported the new automotive paint scheme at this year's show.

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Light and dark

What really catches us is that this concept Lambo weighs under a metric tonne at 999kg. That's less than your garden variety Yaris or Jazz, but with a 425kW V10 engine and all-wheel drive this light supercar can launch you from standstill to 100km/h in a mere 2.5 seconds.

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Strip search

To achieve the weight target, Lamborghini's designers used carbon fibre and other lightweight materials everywhere, stripped the interior to the barest of essentials and employed the help of Boeing.

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The need...

Having successfully applied the formula to its mid-engine Boxster, Porsche has decided to chop the top off the 911, lower the windscreen height and, well, hope for good weather.

Photo by: Porsche

While stocks last

356 examples of the 911 Speedster are being produced, with all powered by the company's 3.8-litre boxer six.

Photo by: Porsche
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