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Everybody’s waiting for February 28, when the wraps will come off the new models and concept cars at the Geneva Auto Show. One of them is the Altica, a cool-looking cross between a sports car and a station wagon from which Renault design boss Patrick Le Quement will remove the cover on the first press day of the show.

Except it isn’t a secret: for Parisians, and any lucky TCC faithful who may be in a cold but sunny Paris (well it was last weekend anyway) there’s an up-close preview of the car that will be the centrepiece of the Renault Geneva stand right there on Paris tourist central, the Champs Elysées.

Big, manufacturer-supported auto showrooms are a feature of the broad boulevard that leads from the Place de la Concorde to the Arc de Triomphe, and there, smack in the middle of the main display window of the Renault building, is the Altica. There are no ropes keeping the crowds at a respectful distance, as there will be in Switzerland, just a barrier set about a foot away that gives a clear view of the concept and its modern interior design. The car looks good, and its unique driving seat set up, sleek lines and unique rear quarter window treatment certainly enhance its concept car credentials.

If you’re in Paris before the Altica leaves the showroom on Feb 22 to be prepped and polished for Geneva, drop in – the showroom is also a trendy coffee-bar, and a seat looking down on a ‘secret’ new car is something that Starbucks certainly can’t offer.
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