Text: Frank Liu III / Photos: Frank Liu III | posted October 12, 2010 13:27
Green with Envy
In recent years there have been two trends that the automotive industry has been seeing. The first of which would be the revival of classic designs in new models like the Beetle and Mini, while the second would be manufacturer efforts in going green; both of which were quite obvious in this year's Paris Auto Show.
This year's show focused on eco-friendly motoring, as almost every manufacturer showcased an array of low carbon emission models, hybrids, electric cars and other advancements in technology. Porsche's had its GT3R hybrid, which we saw of earlier this year in Jay Leno's garage. The GT3R hybrid, which actually is more of a racecar than an eco-friendly vehicle, has a generator mounted on the passenger's side which stores energy generated from braking. This energy can then be used as sort of a "boost" similar to nitrous oxide which adds close to about 100hp. There were other sports cars that were actually eco-friendly like the Audi E-tron Spyder concept, a concept that had a very cool power display and charging socket just underneath its hood badge that was controlled by the booth personnel via iPhone were on display. Other very impressive EV cars were the BMW Vision, Citroen Lacoste Concept, Renault DeZir Concept and newcomer French company Exagon Motors' Furtive e-GT, all together stressing the manufacturers direction in not just low but zero carbon emissions. The show even had an indoor EV test drive track with companies like Nissan, Peugeot and others participating.
Getting to the fun part of the show, Audi revealed its Quattro Concept. Based on the Rally legend of the 80's and just like every other revival it has design elements reminiscent of its iconic predecessor. Other 80's icon revivals were the Toyota FT-86 (already previously unveiled) based on the AE86, the 2013 Lotus Esprit and the already in production the Porsche Speedster. Just like most enthusiasts I'm hoping that all these cars not just make it into production but do not come out as a disappointments like some projects of the sort have been.
Moving on from the green and to the envious part of the show. Super car manufacturer Ferrari unveiled its most exclusive vehicle to date: the SA Aperta. More exclusive than the elusive Enzo only 80 cars will be built, all of which have already been sold. The name itself is in honor of Sergio and Andrea Pininfarina, built to celebrate the famed design company Pininfarina's 80th anniversary. Also making it's premiere at Mondiale is the Maserati GranTurismo MC Stradale; a slightly more powerful variant with tweaked aerodynamics, coming as Maserati's version of Ferrari's Scuderia models.
Finally the cherry on top, the Lamborghini Sesto Elemento Concept or Sixth Element in English which is described as a "technology demonstrator" built and put on display to show case how future Lambos will incorporate carbon fiber use and build techniques. This work of art literally made my jaw drop, as I was enamored with the automotive masterpiece revolving before me. The elegant sophistication of its overall design brought back childhood memories of first seeing the Countach in posters and car magazines. Not to mention Lamborghini's direction of not just providing it with power but putting it on a major diet which I loved about Lotus cars. The Sesto is set to have the engine of the current LP 570-4 Superleggera, which is a 5.2-liter V-10 churining out 570 horsepower and 398 pound-feet of torque and like the Gallardo an automated manual six-speed transmission. Weighing just about 1000kgs and with the entire body made out of carbon fiber it is predicted that the Sesto will achieve 0-60mph in 2.5 seconds similar to that of the Bugatti Veyron Grand Sport and faster than the current 911 turbo. Clearly this super car not only focuses on power but more fuel efficient performance through weight reduction.
The Paris Motor Show continues the trend for green cars and wows the crowd with the latest concept cars and most stunning supercars.