Belles of the Paris Motor Show ball
It’s an unusually slow start to the month for new vehicle launches, but that will be rectified at the end of September when an explosion of new cars debuts at the Paris Motor Show.
Along with the VW Golf that we’ve dealt with in a separate article today, here’s a preview of some of the other significant Paris cars that will shortly be headed South Africa’s way:
Porsche 911 Carrera 4
The Paris show will herald the launch of the all-wheel drive version of the brilliant new rear-wheel drive 911 Carrera and Carrera S introduced earlier this year. Featuring wider wheel arches than the two-wheel drive, it will be introduced in coupé and cabriolet forms, powered by the familiar 3.4-litre (Carrera 4) and 3.8-litre (Carrera 4S) six-cylinder engines.
Ushering in new features that will spread to the rest of the 911 range, the C4S gets adaptive cruise control, a sliding-glass sunroof and, on manual-equipped cars with the Sport Chrono pack, automatic double-declutching during downshifts in Sport Plus mode.
We’ll be attending the world launch in Austria on October 28 and bring you driving impressions.
SA launch date: January 2013
The new hatchback reflects Toyota’s intention to make its cars more appealing to drive while building on its reputation for durability. It has a fresh and dynamic new look, being both longer and lower than the current Auris, and gets a classier interior to match. The steering and suspension have also been tweaked, while a hybrid version will be available along with petrol and diesel derivatives.
We’ll be attending the world launch in early December.
SA launch date: First quarter of 2013.
The spiritual successor to the legendary E-Type that was discontinued in 1975, the new F-Type will take its bow in Paris as the production version of the strikingly beautiful C-X16 concept revealed late last year.
The new aluminium-bodied two-seater will first be built as a convertible, but may spawn a coupé hard-top model soon afterwards. Power will come from supercharged 3-litre V6 and 5-litre V8 engines, likely to be matched to eight-speed auto transmissions.
SA launch date: July 2013
BMW 3 Series GT
Not fazed by slow sales of the 5 Series GT, BMW is forging ahead with a Gran Turismo version of its popular 3 Series. No details are available except that the 3 GT will have five doors and a longer wheelbase than the 3 Series sedan, and
presumably the same two-piece tail gate as its larger sibling.
SA launch date: unconfirmed
The fourth-generation of the mid-sized SUV will include a front-wheel-drive version powered by a clean and frugal 1.6-litre diesel with a CO2 rating of just 99g/km, in addition to the familiar 2-litre petrol and 2.2 turbodiesel powerplants.
A new all-wheel drive system defaults to 4x4 mode when the car is stationary and only switches to front drive when wheel slip is not detected.
The CR-V is the same length but slightly lower than the outgoing model and has bolder, less anonymous new styling which includes an interesting new grille-headlight integration.
The new interior also has richer-feeling materials.
SA launch date: unconfirmed
Renault Clio 4
The fourth-generation of Renault’s compact hatch is longer, lower and wider than its predecessor, along with a more upmarket interior.
It’s the first model to get the French firm’s new corporate face which includes a bigger Renault badge and sleeker grille and headlights. Buyers will be able to personalise the car with various colours and accents.
The engine range will include a new 900cc three-cylinder turbo petrol with exceptionally low fuel consumption and C02 emissions.
SA launch date: May 2013
The five-door Sportback version of the recently-launched three-door hatch will make its debut in Paris, and will include a high-performance S3 derivative packing 205kW.
The three-door A3 made its world premiere in March and goes on sale in South Africa in the next couple of months. Safe, evolutionary styling is the order of the day but beneath the largely-unchanged skin is a car that’s seen major overhauls in quality, technological sophistication and driver appeal.
SA launch dates: 3dr – November 2012, 5dr – March 2013
Citroën DS3 Cabrio
The French carmaker has expanded its growing DS range with an open-topped version. Although it has fixed rear windows and is more of a targa top than a cabrio, the concertina-type electric lid can be opened or closed at driving speeds of up to 120km/h to reveal a giant sunroof.
The open-sky motoring also doesn’t come at the cost of any passenger or cargo space as the roof doesn’t fold into the boot. The fabric roof is available in three styles – black, Infinite blue and a DS Monogrammed design.
SA launch date: March 2013