Segway 2002 Paris Auto ShowEnlarge Photo
A good segue for a show that had all the potential to be full of surprises. There weren’t many though as most new vehicles such as the Maybach, Porsche Cayenne, VW Touareg, VW Phaeton, Jaguar XJ8 and others had already been pre-announced to the media meaning there was a shortage of headline making intros. Perhaps that’s why the Segway “scooter” was drawing so much attention.
2003 Subaru WRX (Euro)
As rallying is so popular in Europe it’s no surprise that Subaru also concentrated on its rally successes as it showed off the face lifted Impreza model. The WRX gets a new headlight treatment and some aerodynamic and suspension tweaks, otherwise it looks much the same. In a masterful understatement Subaru said that the Impreza is critical to Subaru’s success in Europe. It’s certainly one of the “in” cars with young buyers in Europe just as it is in the USA.
2003 Subaru WRX (Euro)Enlarge Photo
2003 Volvo S60R
Who’d have dreamed that Volvo would ever consider performance as one of its major selling points? It certainly did as Hans Nilsson, Volvo’s Car Line Manager R, showed off the S60R and V70R models. They come with active suspension and all-wheel drive. Powered by a 300-horsepower 2.5-liter five-cylinder engine, they can accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in 5.7 seconds. The three suspension settings can be adjusted from the dashboard: there’s one for comfort, one for sport and a third one for “Advanced Sport” which transforms the car into a road-hugging sports car according to Volvo. The two models will initially only be available with a six-speed manual gearbox and they’ll go on sale next spring.
2003 Volvo S60REnlarge Photo
Mazda’s global advertising slogan fitted in well with the glamour of press days as rap dancers jumped all over the cars and around Stephen O’Dell, Mazda’s European chief and Lewis Booth, Mazda’s CEO. They introduced the 2 model, which is a small car designed in Europe. Compared to the similarly sized Citroen C3 Pluriel and the Nissan Micra the 2 looked somewhat ungainly. Nonetheless Mazda promises it will be spirited to drive.
2003 Mazda2Enlarge Photo
2002 Paris Auto Show AMG
Mercedes-Benz had the most new cars at the show with no less than a dozen world premieres. Most were derivations of new or current models, such as the S600 Bi-Turbo, SL350 and E55K. After several launches in the past few months it’s strange to realize that Paris is the first time the public have gotten to see the two new Maybach models, although it was actually the first time the media saw the short-wheelbase Maybach 57.
2002 Paris Auto Show AMG