The 2008 Paris Auto Show is upon us--or, rather, TheCarConnection.com is upon it, since we're just a few Metro stops away and we already have cameras, laptops, and phones charging up for tomorrow's full-on press day.
The Paris Auto Show has a unique place in our hearts; it's where we got the background on the Ford-Firestone debacle and lost approximately 40 pounds in water weight, since the Mondiale de l'Expo hall has no air conditioning. It's also been the platform on which some very important cars have been launched to the media and the world, cars like the Audi R8, the Ford Mondeo, the current MINI Cooper, and, er, the Dodge Avenger.
This year's show promises to be one of the most chock-full product assaults in Paris in, oh, let's say, 64 years. Here's the first batch of cars we're expecting to see in some form or another on the outskirts of town, down at the Porte de Versailles. Tomorrow morning starts at 7 a.m. with Volkswagen and ends sometime well after midnight, when we bring you the latest details on the BMW X1, the Chevrolet Cruze, the Audi S4, the Honda Insight, Lamborghini's new concept, the Lexus IS Convertible, and the new VW Golf lineup.
Until then, soak up a little joie de vivre with these debutantes:
2011 Chevrolet VoltEnlarge Photo
2011 Chevrolet Volt
The Volt made a splashy debut a few weeks back in Detroit (and here on TheCarConnection.com a little earlier than that). The $40,000-plus Volt is expected to enter production at the end of 2009, so it could wear a 2011 model-year tag. It'll be shown in Paris, possibly alongside a rebadged version for Opel.
2008 Honda Insight ConceptEnlarge Photo
At the last Paris auto show in 2006, Honda showed a hybrid coupe concept called the CR-Z. This year in Paris, the automaker will reclaim its Insight name with a new five-door vehicle that bears the hallmarks of its larger, fuel-cell-powered FCX Clarity--not to mention some echoes of the Toyota Prius in its greenhouse. The new Insight seats five, Honda says, and the rear seats fold for improved cargo access. The important innovation in the new Insight is a much less complex, much more affordable hybrid drivetrain, the company says.
2010 BMW X1Enlarge Photo
Months ago, BMW confirmed that it was working on a small, new crossover vehicle. There's talk that a concept for the coming 2011 BMW X1 will show up at the Paris Auto Show and that the production version will bow at the 2009 Frankfurt Auto Show. An eight-speed automatic transmission may be teamed to a new range of direct-injection turbocharged four- and six-cylinder engines. The new X1 will be built by Magna Steyr in Austria.
2011 Chevrolet CruzeEnlarge Photo
2011 Chevrolet Cruze
The new Cruze compact, GM says, "was developed by a global design and engineering team and will be built in multiple locations around the world." At 4.6 meters long--or 181.1 inches--it's a fraction of an inch longer than today's Cobalt. GM also says it will offer "ample interior space and cargo capacity for five passengers, giving it an advantage over competition in the compact segment." It will also sport the new global themes for Chevrolet design, from the bow tie on back. It arrives in American showrooms in 2010.
2008 Lamborghini Estoque Concept (2008 Paris Auto Show)Enlarge Photo
The details are trickling out -- a set of four pictures that hint at a new supercar from Lamborghini--and the official reveal comes the night before the show opens. But what, pray tell, is the new Lamborghini, really? There's every reason to believe it's a four-door sports car along the lines of the Aston Rapide, but Lamborghini is saying nothing more. Stay tuned 9 p.m. Paris time for more on the new concept.