Postcard from the 2014 Paris Motor Show

Like most postcards, this one arrives a little later than expected. But also like most postcards, it offers a snapshot of the sights enjoyed during a mini-break from the office, in this instance the 2014 Paris Motor Show. And having failed to pop my international motor show cherry thus far, the team packed me a camera, an assortment of lenses, a hearty notepad and some sturdy shoes. There were after all five halls, some glitzy global debutants, and a fair few kilometres to cover.  

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First stop was MINI to see just what was #notnormal on this occasion. Item one on display was the (frankly rather revolting) Superleggera Vision, a concept that makes one wonder if MINI has taken this principal a little too far. Fortunately for the traditionalists there was an assortment of John Cooper Works machines on display – including both the Paceman and the Cooper JCW – and the company’s latest model, the 5 door Cooper. Powered by either a three or four-cylinder engine from the BMW Group, the new Hatch boasts a wheelbase 72mm longer than its 3-Door equivalent for the sake of rear passenger legroom. Not exactly a pre-requisite of MINIs in the past.

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Across at BMW, amidst the 2 Series Cabriolets and i8s, the new X6 was making its global debut. Following in the footsteps of its recently launched counterpart – the X4 – the ‘Sports Activity Coupe’ boasts re-designed bodywork including bi-xenon headlights, 19-inch light-alloys and an automatic tailgate, as well as a three-strong TwinPower Turbo engine line-up. We expect it took more than BMW’s xDrive intelligent all-wheel-drive system to get the display model into that canopy though…

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One of the liveliest stands during the morning shift was Infiniti’s, courtesy of the curvaceous beauty revolving in the centre. And standing next to her was the new Q80 Inspiration, the Japanese marque’s first foray into the premium saloon sector. Powered by a 550hp 3.0-litre twin-turbocharged V6 and hybrid electric powertrain, production plans for the Inspiration are unlikely, though the distinctive design has been touted as a potential direction for Infiniti in the future.

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Across at neighbours Jaguar, the wraps were preparing to be pulled from the brand new XE, a paw in the water exercise by the British marque into the mid-sized saloon category since the ill-fated X-Type during the early 2000s. This time though, Jaguar has a few more tricks up its aluminium sleeves courtesy of its new architecture, the lightweight yet incredibly rigid structure making its production debut on Jaguar’s BMW 3 Series rival. Prime focus on the engine front is a supercharged V6 which produces 335bhp and 332lb ft of torque, allowing ‘the slipperiest Jaguar yet’ to hit 100kph from standstill in less than five seconds.

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Sister company Land Rover meanwhile was launching the newest member of its Discovery family – the Sport – bidding adieu to the Freelander in the process. A snazzy display the off-road innovators made too, the Discovery Sport positioned on a stand onto which water would rain down at periodic intervals. A couple of paper towels from the helpful VIP team – plus a couple of miniature muffins and a strong coffee – and it was onto the next hall.

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