2018 Paris Motor Show - Best In Show
We’re talking about the best of the best!by Andy Nedel, on
The 2018 Paris motor show, officially called the “Mondial de l’Auto,” always provides cool car premieres and this year was no exception, in spite of the many notable absences. But even without manufacturers like Ford, Mazda, Volkswagen, Volvo or even Bentley among others, it provided plenty of new metal for us to examine.
PSA managed to shine on home territory, thanks to the lovely Peugeot e-Legend concept and 508 SW, as well as the new DS3 Crossback, but BMW also took center stage with three production car premieres. Mercedes showed off several new models too, including the EQC all-electric SUV and Skoda launched its first RS-badged SUV alongside the bold Vision RS concept.
Out of all the debuts from the show, I’ve tried to narrow it down to just five cars; here are the five most notable premieres.
BMW launched several new cars in Paris, but the less exciting one of them all was definitely the most important - the all-new 3-Series sedan.
Bigger, better to drive, nicer to look at, and packed with more tech, the new 3 took center stage at the show, since it used to be the benchmark sedan in its class and now BMW wants that distinction again.
It’s an impressive exterior transformation for the 3-Series, which thankfully doesn’t try to be a smaller version of the 5-Series, but rather has its own identity - and I think it looks much better and more elegant than the current 5-Series. The interior is also a considerable step up from that of the outgoing car - design, materials, comfort and tech all get notable boosts with the new car.
Around 110 pounds lighter overall, the new 3 is also said to handle even better than the current model, and BMW emphasizes this in the press blurb. This will also translate into improved efficiency and make it a very hard to match effort for its competitors.
Read our full review on the 2019 BMW 3-Series.
The 3-Series may have been the most important new BMW shown in Paris, but the 8-Series gets the distinction of being the most exciting. It addresses a totally different audience compared to the 3 sedan and is much larger, more powerful, and more exclusive.
It revives the 8-Series name too, making the fact that BMW sees it as a direct successor of the original cult icon 8-Series.
And it’s done a very good job making a flagship two-door for its range, blending daring yet beautiful exterior design with a minimalist interior almost completely clad in leather and fine materials.
Performance is not going to be a letdown either: the main engine they’re pushing for it is the 4.4-liter twin-turbo 523 horsepower V-8 in the M850i, which helps it sprint to 62 mph or 100 km/h in 3.7 seconds. There’s also a 3.0-liter diesel in the 840d with 315 horsepower which will probably be bought by some people in Europe; an 840i would also make a lot of sense, but as of right now it has not been announced.
Read our full review on the 2019 BMW 8-Series.
There were many electric and electrified premieres at the motor show this year, and one of the most important fully electric models is the production-spec Mercedes EQC.
It is essentially the second all-electric, luxury, high rider from an established automaker to challenge the Tesla Model X (after Jaguar launched the I-Pace earlier in the year).
Finally revealed in its production spec, the EQC looks like a GLC with a futuristic makeover for a movie set in the not too distant future - it’s a good look that suits it, but it does make it a bit obvious that you are not driving a regular crossover or SUV.
Mercedes expects plenty of demand, which is why it’s going to build it both in Germany and in China, although production ramp up is slow, at the moment, in order to ensure they’re not going to have to issue frequent recalls for the model. One key point about it is that it is smaller than the Model X and also less expensive (and not as fast either or able to go as long on one charge), but its combination of an attractive exterior, luxurious interior and the Mercedes badge kudos will help it become successful.
Read our full review on the 2019 Mercedes EQC.
The show star of Paris this year was undeniably the Peugeot e-Legend concept, a retro-futuristic attempt at conjuring up a modern interpretation of the very pretty classic 504 coupe.
And boy did they succeed: it still retains the essence of the original in its proportions, some details and especially the design of its roof, but is also modern, with cutting-edge details and the extra aggression to its design that is so popular these days.
It is not a mere rolling sculpture, however, as it also showcases a powerful all-electric powertrain (which Peugeot could use in a future EV performance model) and autonomous technology which is integrated into the swanky futuristic-looking interior which has a 49-inch display located more or less in the passenger footwell.
It’s very hard to criticize anything about the e-Legend - even its name seems suitable. The only thing that could be done is to put some version of it into production because I’m sure many people would love to own a coupe as good looking as it. Peugeot, on the other hand, says it has no intention of putting it into production, but it will hopefully take inspiration from its front fascia for its future production models.
Read our full review on the 2018 Peugeot e-Legend concept.
Whenever an all-new hot hatch announces its presence in Europe, you know it’s going to get attention. The Vision RS concept isn’t in production yet, but Skoda assures us that it previews a future VW Golf-sized model (a larger Rapid replacement) which we presume will in turn get a hot RS version.
But the concept itself is really quite striking to look at, a collection of bold, sharp creases with dramatic-looking front and rear ends.
It’s clearly a concept, but with some details toned down I can definitely see it hitting production - a production version would have regular door handles, less fancy looking headlights and rear lights and less aggressive bumpers and side skirts.
The concept is also electrified, combining a 1.5-liter, turbocharged, four-cylinder with an electric motor for a total power output of 242 horsepower. Sprint time from 0 to 62 mph or 100 km/h is 7.1 seconds, while at the same time Skoda claims it emits just 33 grams of CO2 per kilometer and has an all-electric range of up to 43 miles.
Read our full review on the 2018 Skoda Vision RS concept.
The BMW Z4 didn’t go unnoticed, but it was overshadowed by the more mainstream 3-Series and more luxurious 8-Series. But it definitely deserves a mention for its bold styling, lightweight philosophy, and its promised driving dynamics all of which will make it a hugely desirable drop top.
Read our full review on the 2019 BMW Z4
Infiniti initially unveiled the Project Black S Concept at the Geneva motor show in March, but that car wasn’t a fully working prototype, whereas the one shown in Paris is. That’s right, it not only looks like it has an appetite for BMW M4s but now it has the firepower to go after one. It packs a twin-turbo V-6 which, in conjunction with an F1 KERS-style hybrid motor, has a total power output 563 horsepower - more than enough to trouble an M4.
Read more details on the 2018 Infiniti Project Black S Concept
While the e-Legend concept may have been a roaring hit, Peugeot also showed its stylish 508 SW (the wagon version of the 508 sedan) in Paris for the first time. It is definitely noteworthy thanks to its exterior design which works very well in wagon form and its interior which mimics what concepts used to look like inside less than a decade ago.
Read our full review on the 2019 Peugeot 508 SW