It's showtime in Paris - and look at all that new metal

Carmakers pull out the stops with everything from compacts to racers.

Jaguar F-Type Photo / John Wycherley
Jaguar F-Type Photo / John Wycherley

The Volkswagen Golf 7 is one of the showstoppers at this week's Paris motor show, although it will have to share the limelight with lots of other new metal.

Manufacturers are pulling out the stops for the last big car show of the year. Compact and mid-sized cars dominate this year's edition and they are flanked by some mouth-watering new sports vehicles. The show is at the Paris Expo in Porte de Versailles.

The VW Golf 7 competes for attention with Toyota's second-generation Corolla, known as the Auris in Europe. The compact sedan went on sale in Japan a few weeks ago. New engines developed for the Corolla in conjunction with BMW will not be available until 2014, says company spokesman Thomas Heidbrink.

Alongside the Corolla, Toyota will be fielding a revised version of the GT 86 sports coupe in uprated 300 horsepower trim.

VW's Spanish subsidiary, Seat, has the Leon, which is a child of the company's MQB modular platform.

The chief feature of the platform is the uniform position of engines and transmissions across the marques in a bid to trim production costs.

The Leon gets a new engine and fuel-saving start/stop technology as standard. Seat says fuel consumption has been cut by 22 per cent. The car will be in northern European showrooms from November.

VW's upmarket arm Audi has a new compact car to show off. The A3 is a sporting hatch with five doors and a more potent S3 version is waiting in the wings.

The engineers from Ingolstadt have also rejigged the flagship R8 sportscar. The top model is now badged as a R8 V10 and has 550 horsepower. With automatic transmission fitted as standard the car can bound from a standstill to 100km/h in 3.5 seconds and has a top speed of 317km/h.

The new car from Germany's troubled General Motors subsidiary Opel is called Adam, after the marque's founder. The company has high hopes for the chic runabout which offers an astonishing range of trim permutations.

Paris visitors will get a preview of the 3.7-metre compact which Opel badly needs if it is to break into the lucrative market for fashionable city cars dominated by the best-selling Mini and Fiat's retro 500.

On the stand of BMW-owned Mini will be the seventh variant of the second-generation babycar. The two-door Mini Paceman is designed to be a sportier drive than the Countryman while providing more space than the standard Mini hatch. A van concept may be unveiled too, but Mini officials have been tight-lipped about other possible Paris debuts.

Premium maker Mercedes-Benz is playing its cards even closer to its chest. A report in the Auto Bild indicated that another four-door coupe codenamed CLA - a kind of mini CLS - could be unveiled.

Porsche has chosen Paris to display the latest four-wheel-drive version of the 911 Carrera and it may be joined by the Macan, the scheduled compact version of the Panamera, based on Audi's Q5 SUV.

Jaguar's two-seater F-Type is destined to follow in the footsteps of the legendary E-Type. It comes as a roadster or fixed-head coupe clothed with aluminium bodywork.

The elegant shape harks back to the head-turning C-X16 design study seen at last year's Frankfurt show.

Ford's new Mondeo may break cover for the first time in Paris and the makeover of the best-selling Fiesta will definitely be on hand.

It will need to woo customers away from the new Renault Clio, which gets a three-cylinder, turbocharged 900cc motor for the first time. Peugeot will be showing the series version of the sporty 208 GTI, while Citroen slices the lid of the DS3 to offer a fresh-air version destined to appear next year in time for European spring weather.


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