Postcard from the 2014 Paris Motor Show

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The flurry of excitement and exquisite Italian suits can only mean a Lamborghini display, the Italian purveyors of lunacy debuting the brand new Asterion LPI 910-4 in Paris. Flanked on the stand by the Huracán and the Aventador, the Asterion name is derived from the Minotaur, the mythical man-beast hybrid. Yep, brace yourself, the new Lambo boasts a plug-in hybrid powerplant. Combining a mid-mounted 602bhp 5.2-litre V10 and a trio of electric motors produces a grand total of 897bhp, good for a 0-100kph time in a flat three seconds. Bad news though, there are no plans for the Asterion to go into production.

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A slightly different kind of Speed was being demonstrated simultaneously on the Bentley stand courtesy of the new special edition Mulsanne. Yes it may retain the traditionally luxurious trim, leathers and champagne-sized mini-fridge between the back seats, but the 6.75-litre twin-turbo V8 under the Mulsanne Speed‘s bonnet now produces 530bhp, meaning this luxury barge will hit 100kph in 4.9 seconds, the same as the Boxster GTS. Quite how you can drink champagne whilst doing that remains to be seen…

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Having ‘marvelled’ at Porsche’s latest green addition to the fold in the shape of the Cayenne Hybrid – which follows the 918 Spyder and the Panamera S E-Hybrid, and thus makes Porsche the only manufacturer to offer three plug-in hybrid models on its fleet…

[Not a valid template] whipped across to sister company Audi to check out the brand new TT. With a more menacing demeanour, a new folding roof and a revised engine line-up (including a 227bhp 2.0 TFSI and 306bhp TTS), Audi’s convertible sportster is unlikely to appeal to hairdressers for much longer. Also on display was the brand new TT Sportback Concept, Ingolstadt’s first stab at a TT with five doors. Measuring 290mm longer and 60mm wider – as well as boasting a wheelbase 120mm longer than the coupe – the Sportback represents Audi’s intention to expand the TT family beyond the Coupe and the Roadster.

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Perhaps the biggest eye-catcher for the Volkswagen Group though was the brand new – and highly exclusive – XL1 Sport, a more dynamic version of VW’s XL1 economy model we took a spin early this year. Powered by the same 1199cc V2 one finds in the Ducati 1199 Superlegerra and sporting some technical nous from Lamborghini, the XL1 produces 200hp and 99lb ft of torque, will hit 270kph and is officially ‘the fastest 200PS car in the world’. Only 250 will be made though.

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After seeing whether the band took requests…

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…it was onto the next hall, and Toyota. Amongst the Camrys, Yaris’ and occasional World Endurance Championship TS030 Hybrids on display – the latter rather bizarrely in the coffee shop – our eyes were drawn to the luminous trike on display. Called the ‘i-Road’, the personal mobility vehicle concept features a full electric powertrain and Active Lean technology, operated via rear-wheel steering. Focus was almost completely drawn from the C-HR Concept on the centre stand, Toyota’s latest hybrid design…

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…our Toyota experience coming to an end with some Aygo graffiti (and some shameless self-promotion).

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