We Stopped by the 2018 Paris Concept Cars Show and Weren’t Disappointed
Paris is known as the fashion capital of the world and that even extends into the automotive sector. Every year notable concept cars are brought together in a showcase of pure automotive beauty. The vehicles are displayed and judged purely on aesthetics – not horsepower, technological advancement, or even mass-market appeal. It all comes down to unadulterated beauty.
This year’s winner of the “most beautiful concept car” is the Mazda Concept Vision Coupe, a Mazda design study that debuted at last October’s 2017 Tokyo Motor Show in Japan. The sleek two-door coupe features a fastback roof, a short front overhang, a long rear overhang, and a hood that rival’s the Bat Mobile’s for length. Equally long is its massive wheelbase. The Concept Vision Coupe is also incredibly wide, accented by Mazda’s low-slung, six-sided grille and aggressive headlights.
The Paris Concept Car Show ran until Feb 4th, but we’ve got some cars from the show listed below.
Special shout out to Cyril for the trip and pictures.
Check Out The Pink Panther-Like Trucks Used To Move Artwork From The Louvre Museum As La Seine Waters Rise
In case you hadn’t heard, heavy rains over Paris have caused the famous Seine river to swell, with water levels rising to over 19 feet. The rains caused the river to burst over its banks, flooding streets and causing transportation disruptions as a result. In response, the iconic Louvre art museum, which is located directly adjacent to the Seine, was forced to close its lower level. Additionally, the museum decided to move some of its endangered pieces to a safer location, and TopSpeed managed to capture the convoy en route.
The video is only 25 seconds in length, but shows several trucks making their way through the streets of Paris with a police escort in tow. It’s not known exactly where the trucks were headed as of this writing. Luckily, the latest reports indicate that the flood waters are slowly receding in the City of Lights.
This is the second time the Seine has flooded Paris in just a few years. In June of 2016, water levels peaked at 6.1 meters (roughly 20 feet), forcing the riverside museums to move art out of their basements.
2017 Mini Cooper Blackfriars Edition
Mini’s pantry of special edition models is stock full of unique creations, adding weight to the thought that the German automaker is no stranger to this fancy exclusives. Even with an inventory that’s bursting at the seams, special edition work soldiers on for Mini with the presentation of its latest creation, the Cooper Blackfriars Edition.
Taking inspiration from the Blackfriar’s section of London where the order of Dominican monks who carry the same name reside, this unique Cooper hatchback is defined by its subdued yet effective upgrades. There’s plenty of black to go around too, a nod to the traditional black robes worn by the Blackfriar’s monks. Inspired color motifs aside, the special edition Cooper also features plenty of unique details in its exterior and interior, not to mention the references to the Blackfriars from where it got its name. It’s not the flashiest special edition Mini Cooper we’ve seen, and it may not even be the most appealing one, but it does stick to the identity of the institution that it takes inspiration from. That’s more than what we can say for other special edition vehicles that lack the connection to what they’re supposed to be celebrating or at least shining a light on.
Continue after the jump to read more about the Mini Cooper Blackfriars Edition
Emmanuel Macron’s Presidential Ride Is A DS 7 Crossback
In case you were unaware, France swore in a new president over the weekend, with 39-year-old Emmanuel Macron officially becoming the youngest president in modern French history. The event was marked with the usual speeches and pageantry, but gearheads will care more about the debut of a new presidential ride – an upgraded DS 7 Crossback SUV.
DS Automobiles’ Twitter feed detailed the vehicle, while also posting pics of it carrying Macron as he rolled down to Champs-Elysees after his inauguration. Macron’s DS 7 gets a slew of nice touches, including dark blue exterior paint, 20-inch alloy wheels, gold flake trim inside and out, plus plenty of Tricolour flag emblems. The interior also gets leather upholstery with a “Black Art” theme, a nod to a Parisian district, while the roof gets an open top to provide Macron the opportunity to wave to his supporters.
DS first introduced its new 7 Crossback a few months ago at the Geneva Motor Show, but this is the first time it’s been pictured out in public and driving on the road. As the brand’s first Euro-focused SUV, a presidential motorcade isn’t a bad way to introduce the model to the public. Customer deliveries are scheduled to begin in January. Meanwhile, the model pictured above will be on display in Paris at DS World.
Continue reading for the full story.
2017 Renault Alpine A110
It took Renault about three years to transform the 2012 Alpine A110-50 Concept into a production-friendly vehicle, and the road-ready sports car is finally ready to hit the market. Come 2017 and the French company relaunched the Alpine brand at the Geneva Motor Show. As expected, the production model shares many design features with the concept cars Alpine showcased in recent years. The most recent of them is dubbed Alpine Celebration Concept and broke cover ahead of the 2015 24 Hours of Le Mans. It was featured again a couple of weeks later in the year at the Goodwood Festival of Speed and looked ready to hit the streets with minor modifications here and there.
As the name suggests, the Celebration Concept celebrated six decades since Alpine was established in Dieppe, France. Also, it pays homage to the classic 1961 -1973 Alpine A110, a sports car the French built from 1961 to 1977. Introduced as an evolution of the A108, the two-door "Berlinette" was designed by Giovanni Michelotti and used a rear-engine, rear-wheel-drive layout. Among being Alpine’s most iconic model, the A110 was also a successful race car, winning the manufacturer’s title at the end of 1973 World Rally Championship. All told, the new Alpine has a lot of heritage to build on and this is more than evident in the final production model.
Continue reading to learn more about the new Renault Alpine.
Renault Truck Used In France Terror Attack
As the world continues to grave for those killed and injured in the terrorist attack in Nice, France on July 14, we have speculation on the type of truck used. The truck appears to be a Renault Midlum 220.12. Though the front end is badly damaged, the cab shape and details lead us to the conclusion. Undoubtedly, French officials will conduction detailed investigations and inspections of the truck, so more concrete information will likely come forward.
The medium-duty commercial truck features an extended-style cab and a long, enclosed cargo box. The box itself appears to be roughly 26 feet in length. According to the Telegraph, the truck was loaded with a “a pistol, a larger gun, and a number of fake weapons and grenades.” The driver only used one firearm in shootout with police, however. The Telegraph also reports the truck plowed through the crowd at speeds of approximately 40 mph.
We will bring more information as it becomes available.
Continue reading for more information.
Truck Attack Kills More Than 80; Injures Hundreds In Nice, France
The seaside of Nice, France became the horrifying scene of another terrorist attack when a 31-year old driver plowed a commercial truck through a crowd attending the Bastille Day festivities at the Promenade des Anglais. The man, identified as Tunisian-born Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel was eventually gunned down by the police, but not before he ran over and killed 84 people, including at least 10 children, and injured hundreds more.
French authorities identified Bouhlel as a convicted criminal who was in criminal court as recently as March 2016. Despite this disturbing revelation, Bouhlel had no links to any terrorist organization and was not under surveillance. Regardless of his connections, or lack there of, his actions have been deemed by French president Francois Hollande as a terrorist attack.
The horrifying attack just before 11 P.M. local time on Thursday, July 14. Thousands of spectators had gathered at the Promenade des Anglais for the start of the traditional fireworks high above the Baie Des Anges. At about 11 P.M., Bouhlel turned left onto the Promenade des Anglais and over the next three minutes, proceeded to run over as many people as he could. It only took four minutes before French police managed to shoot and kill him, but that was all it took for him to kill and injure dozens of innocent people. The death toll currently stands at 84.
It goes without saying that our hearts are broken for the families who lost their loved ones because of this despicable attack. There’s absolutely no room for this kind of evil in this world and we are one with everybody else in praying for those who lost their lives and those battling for theirs in the hospitals.
Continue after the jump to read the full story.
Let’s face it – we generally look at automatic camera and radar systems, highway patrolmen, and speed traps as revenue generation tactics. Their whole purpose is to catch you in the act and provide the opportunity for you to be fined for breaking traffic laws. This revenue generation is pretty bad here in the U.S., but nowhere near as bad as it is about to be in France.
On Friday, October 2nd, 2015, French lawmakers passed a number of new laws that make the revenue generation tactics here in the U.S. look like child’s play. First, there will be 10,000 false hunters cabins built along various interstates within the country. Radar systems will be installed in these cabins at random, but to prevent mapping of which cabins have radar, the radar systems will be moved periodically to unused cabins. You’ve got to give them credit – this is a pretty sneaky tactic. But it gets worse.
Drones will also be used to track down drivers that are speeding, driving recklessly, passing illegally, not using turn signals, or breaking just about any other traffic law. France currently uses helicopters to observe and catch those who break traffic laws, but the use of a chopper comes with a cost of about €1,500 (nearly $1,700) per hour. Each drone that will perform the same function will only cost €30 (about $34) per hour to operate. The drones can be deployed just about anywhere by police officers or other authorities with ease.
Continue reading for the full story.
Small SUVs are all the rage in Europe, a relatively new segment that is best typified for Americans by the Nissan Juke. For the European market, many manufacturers have found that the best and easiest way to compete in this segment is just to take an existing successful hatchback and make it taller. This has worked especially well for French manufacturers, but that shouldn’t come as a surprise, as the French have ruled the European hatchback market for years. And at the top of the segment is the Renault Captur, a taller version of the Clio, which holds a staggering 32.2 percent of the European B-segment SUV market.
So to celebrate the car’s dominance, Renault has made a special edition, known as the Hypnotic. It is what a special edition should be in this segment – a unique appearance package and a savings on equipment by more being offered as standard. Things like a bit more power are always great to see, but it would cost a lot more that way, and it isn’t really what would sell cars in this segment anyway. The special touches are well executed, but then it was a well executed vehicle to begin with.
Continue reading to learn more about the Renault Captur Hypnotic Limited-Edition.
The city of Paris is trying an interesting experiment next month. ‘Une Journée Sans Voiture’ translates to ‘A Day Without a Car,’ and on September 27th Paris will prohibit all motorized vehicles from taking to the streets. With roots that stretch back to the third century B.C., it’s a chance for residents and tourists to see the city as it was before the arrival of the automobile.
“Paris will be completely transformed for a day,” explained Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo in March. “This is an opportunity for Parisians and tourists to enjoy the city without noise, pollution and therefore without stress.” Une Journée Sans Voiture coincides with European Mobility Week and a United Nations climate change summit, both of which will also be in Paris.
Restricted areas will include the first, second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh, 10th and 11th arrondissements (neighborhoods) and popular landmarks like the Champs Élysées, the Eiffel Tower, Place Stalingrad, Place de la Republique, Place Bastille and the Bois de Vincennes and Boulogne. Of course, exceptions will be made for ambulances, fire trucks and other emergency vehicles, but other than that, commuters and tourists will have to hoof it or take the Paris Metro.
Continue reading for the full story.
A brand-new season of the World Rally Championship was launched last week in the frigid mountain passes of southern France. Steeped in history and glamour, the “Monte” is undoubtedly one of the most prestigious racing events in the world, with a reputation for drama and stunning natural beauty stretching all the way back to 1911. Speaking to press Thursday, former WRC champion Ari Vatanen described the rally as “like a princess, like the only girl of a rich family, somewhat spoiled, difficult. You can’t tame this event.”
Roughly 75 percent of the route was new for 2015, offering a fresh batch of challenges to the teams and drivers that dared to traverse the treacherous tarmac stages. Chief amongst them was Sébastien Loeb, past winner of an unprecedented nine consecutive WRC championship titles, who would make a guest appearance in a Citroen DS 3 at this year’s event for “fun”.
Stepping up to challenge this former titan of the sport was another Frenchman, current champion Sébastien Ogier, who arrived with every intention of beginning his run at a third world title.
Stage 1 kicked off Thursday night in the freezing, inky darkness, as each car fired up its headlight pods to help illuminate the highly variable road conditions. Tire choice was particularly tricky, with half of the stage on exposed tarmac, half covered in snow, and plenty of slippery ice patches dotted in between.
As current champion, it was Ogier who would set the pace with a blast into 2015. Given the particularly hazardous road conditions presented by these first two stages of the season, the Volkswagen driver wisely exercised a good deal of discretion, but still managed to net the second fastest time of the day.
Unfortunately, there was no such luck for Hyundai driver Dani Sordo, who was the first to fall victim to unpredictable grip levels. Misjudging the braking into a left-hander early in his run, Sordo accidently parked the frontend of his i20 into a ditch. Co-driver Marc Martí exited the vehicle to physically encourage it back onto the road, resulting in a 40 second loss for the Spanish driver.
But it was Loeb who handily took the rally lead, cutting ahead of Ogier’s time by more than 13 seconds. While the former champion may have touted his WRC return as simply an excursion for enjoyment, it was clear from the off that Loeb’s tour of Monte Carlo would be anything but a pleasure cruise.
Click past the jump to read more about the 2015 Rallye Monte Carlo.
French fans of the British motoring show Top Gear will be happy to hear France will soon have its own version of the show hitting the airwaves. The show will come complete with three charming hosts and a helmeted Stig for laying down lap times.
The BBC, which will still run the show, recently announced the hosting duties will be done by Philippe Lelouche, Bruce Jouanny, and Yann Larret-Menezo. Each comes with their own whit, humor, and skills. As an actor and comic, race car driver, and journalist, the respective three will make the show unique to its French audience while still practicing the crazy antics that’s made Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond, and James May’s version of Top Gear such a huge success.
BBC Worldwide Productions France says the show will be aired on the RMC Decouverte channel and will begin this spring. Lets just hope Philippe, Bruce, and Yann are able to stay farther away from bad press than Jeremy Clarkson.
Top Gear France now joins the shows other worldwide versions, including those in the U.S., Australia, South Korea, and China.
Click past the jump to read more about the French Top Gear.
Christophe de Margerie, the chief executive officer of French oil company Total, died in a plane crash in Moscow when his private jet collided with a snow plow at the Vnukovo International Airport on Monday night. He was the only passenger on the plane, although the plane also carried three crew members. All four died when the plane caught fire after the collision.
Russia’s Investigative Committee has opened a criminal investigation on the incident and has confirmed that the driver of the snow plow, identified as Vladimir Martynenko, was intoxicated at the time of the accident. Martynenko, through his lawyer, has denied the accusations.
De Margerie was reportedly in Moscow to attend a Russian government meeting on foreign investment in Gorki, near Moscow, on Monday. The Total CEO even met Russian prime minister, Dmitry Medvedev, at the latter’s country residence outside Moscow to discuss foreign investment in Russia.
The loss of de Margerie is a big blow to the French oil company. He was widely regarded as the driving force that turned Total into a heavyweight in the oil industry, steering the company to levels of success it had never reached before he took over as CEO.
Understandably, his untimely death came as a shock to a lot of people, including French prime minister Manuel Valls, who hailed de Margerie as an “extraordinary business leader who turned Total into a world giant.”
Even the company’s competitors voiced their shock over his unexpected passing. Lord John Browne, the former CEO of British Petroleum (BP), sent a tweet to express his sadness over de Margerie’s death, calling the Total chief a “creative, inspiring, breath of fresh air” that will be missed by the entire oil industry.
Our sincerest condolences go out to the families of Christophe de Margerie and the three crew members that lost their lives over this horrific accident.
Click past the jump to read more about Christophe de Margerie
Mustangs in France are sort of a rare thing. That won’t be the case once the all-new global 2015 Mustang storms Europe’s beaches; but until then, Vaughn Gittin Jr. and the Ford Racing Team decided to welcome themselves to France by hooning around a race track in Lohéac.
Oh, but before the shenanigans begin, Gittin grabs a few French baguettes for lunch. He and his custom Mustang drift car slowly cruise around the small French town, garnering tons of attention from the locals. It’s probably the most reserved that Mustang has ever been driven.
Things take a drastic turn once on the track. Billowing smoke burns off the rear tires as the Mustang’s tuned V-8 screams with every throttle input. The long billet aluminum handbrake lever helps Gittin keep the ‘Stang’s back end sideways, making stunts like bashing baguette possible.
The short video is a hoot to watch, so turn the sound up, click "HD," and enjoy.
"Gentleman Edition" might be a weird name to call a special-edition model, let alone one with the unbridled fury of a 2014 Nissan GT-R, but that’s what Nissan is calling it.
The GT-R Gentleman Edition.
Odd name choice notwithstanding, the GT-R Gentleman Edition is very limited, as only 10 of these babies will be made. No more. No less.
It’ll only be sold in France, which is a bummer, but for those lucky enough to get one, you get the treat of a limited run GT-R that that’s slotted just above the Black Edition, of which its equipment is based on.
As for the car itself, the GT-R Gentleman Edition only comes in an equally limited Grey Squale finish to go with an amber red leather interior. The latter, in particular, also boasts of hand-sewn seats, as well as more leather coverings on the gear shifter knob, lever gaiter, handbrake, door panels, and table passenger-side edge.
More than just a fancily dressed GT-R, the Gentleman Edition also comes with some special add-ons, including: a special bag, glasses case and covering pockets that are stitched in leather.
Finally, specific identification titanium can be found on the front fender while a numbered customizable titanium placard is displayed on the dashboard just to show everyone that this car is only 1 of the 10 Gentleman Edition GT-R models Nissan is building.
Click past the jump to read more about the Nissan GT-R
Mini has unveiled a special-editionJohn Cooper Works Countryman to celebrate the company’s huge success their triumph in the Dakar Rally 2013 where Stephane Peterhansel and Jean-Paul Cottret have driven their MINI ALL4 Racing to overall victory. This new special edition, dubbed the ALL4 Dakar Winner, will be limited to only 11 units - a tribute to Peterhansel’s 11 Dakar wins and it will be sold exclusively in Peterhansel’s home country of France.
On the exterior, this special edition uses the same colors seen on the MINI ALL4 Racing: a matte-black body combined with special bright-green racing stripes. The exterior will be distinguished by Dakar Rally winner’s logo and the Peterhansel’s signature on the bonnet. As with any other special edition, the new John Cooper Works Countryman ALL4 Dakar Winner received new 19-inch light-alloy wheels in Cross-Spoke Crusher design.
On the interior, the same black used on the exterior is combined with green contrast stitching on the gearshift lever gaiter and floor mats and, green stripes on the center console. Each unit will also be further identified by a special-edition logo and with the serial number placed above the glove compartment.
There is no mention of performance upgrades, so we can only assume that this special edition retains the same 211-horsepower, 1.6-liter turbocharged engine that is good for 221 pound-feet of peak torque. This sprints the JCW Countryman to 60 mph in 7.1 seconds.