European luxury and sport at the 2012 Paris Motor Show (roundup)

PARIS--These may be trying times for the European economy, but that automakers rallied at the 2012 Paris Motor Show, bringing out a variety of new concepts and some model updates relevant to the U.S. buyer. As has become a theme given European interest in CO2 reduction, many of the cars we saw featured hybrid or electric drive trains. And many new models and updates were what we in the U.S. consider premium cars boasting fine coachwork.

Here is our last day roundup from the 2012 Paris Motor Show.… Read more

Less weight means more mpgs at the 2012 Paris Motor Show (roundup)

PARIS--One of the easiest ways to increase fuel efficiency without sacrificing drivability is to shave weight. Lose a gram here, save an ounce there, and before you know it, you could be looking at sizable weight reduction and a complementary reduction in fuel consumption and particulate emissions.

On the first day here at the 2012 Paris Motor Show, we heard this theme repeated over and over from automakers as they put their vehicles on a diet, shaving hundreds of pounds off of their newest models.… Read more

Efficient concept cars frontload Paris Motor Show

The 2012 Paris Motor Show opens this weekend, and ahead of the show we have seen numerous previews of concept cars using hybrid and electric power trains. Carbon dioxide reduction is a huge issue in Europe, and automakers are showing off their latest research into vehicles that can give people the transportation options to which they have become accustomed, yet meet new emissions specifications. The win-win for Europeans is that these vehicles get much improved fuel economy in a regions with notoriously high gasoline prices.

Here are just a few of the cars we expect to see during the 2012 Paris Motor Show. … Read more

McLaren's Paris concept a high-tech supercar

At next week's Paris Motor Show, McLaren Automotive will show off the P1 concept, a car that will do little to increase McLaren's model range. The P1 concept heralds a new production car to be launched next year.

Just like its only current model, the MP4-12C, which comes in hard-top and convertible formats, the P1 is a two-seat low slung hyper sport car. Those in the market for a sedan or SUV must continue to look elsewhere.

McLaren released no details about the new concept, and merely said it will slot in above the MP4-12C in the company'… Read more

Nissan previews a tablet, complete with a car, for Paris

Showing off what seems like a very good idea for future cars, Nissan designed its new Terra SUV concept car to use a tablet as its key and instrument panel. The concept, to be unveiled at the Paris Motor Show, uses three electric motors to drive the wheels and a fuel cell stack for electricity.

The design of the Terra concept follows some cues seen on Nissan's Juke, so much so that the Terra looks like a very futuristic version of that compact SUV. High front fenders hold integrated LED headlights, while round fog lights are mounted below the … Read more

e-XIV electric concept revealed for Paris Motor Show

Although e-XIV looks like it should mean e-14, Korean automaker SsangYong intends the tortured acronym for its new electric concept to stand for electric - eXciting user Interface Vehicle. The press release announcing the new concept did not go into details of what the user interface might be like, but did mention it would be electrically driven, and include a gasoline engine to generate electricity once the batteries are depleted.

The vehicle renderings show many cues standard on recent concept vehicles. The rounded front and LED lights all around are reminiscent of such past concept cars as the Citroen Revolte. … Read more

Nine new concept cars from Paris

Paris is noted as a fashion center, so we weren't surprised to find a number of very stylish concept cars at the 2010 Paris Motor Show.

As one example, French carmaker Citroen teamed up with Lacoste to design a very fun-looking car built for fun in the sun. Meanwhile Renault offered the very sexy DeZir concept in luscious red with pronounced curves.

But other regions of the world were not left out. Jaguar offers up the incredibly sleek C-X75 and Nissan came out with a funky utility car.

And BMW fans finally got treated to a taste of what … Read more

Lotus' 5-year reboot updates Elise, goes upmarket

Current Lotus models the Elise, Exige, and Evora look nothing like the company's cars from a decade ago. And five years from now, Lotus' cars won't look anything like the current line-up.

Under chief designer Donato Coco, formerly of Ferrari, the Lotus is launching an ambitious plan of not only changing the styling of its cars, but reaching into new segments populated by the likes of Lamborghini and Aston Martin.

Lotus showed off five new concepts at the 2010 Paris Motor Show, all vehicles with full production intent behind them. These models include three sports cars and two … Read more

Lamborghini's lightweight deviltry

To achieve a weight of only 2,200 pounds for a concept based on its Gallardo platform, Lamborghini must have relied on black magic.

But although the Sesto Elemento looks devilish enough, its black magic is carbon fiber. Lamborghini previously suggested it would attempt to meet new European emissions regulations partly by reducing the weight of its cars, and this concept shows to what extremes it is willing to go.

The Gallardo weighs in at 3,307 pounds, reasonably light for a V-10 powered car with all-wheel drive. But for the Sesto Elemento Lamborghini managed to shave off more than … Read more

Hybrid Jag powered by electric motors, gas turbines

Not only does the Jaguar C-X75 look stunning, but its hybrid power train pushes into new territory.

Rather than build a typical series hybrid, with electric motors turning the wheels and a conventional gas engine recharging the batteries, Jaguar uses twin micro gas turbines as generators to either keep the C-X75's batteries topped off or supply juice directly to each wheel motor. These gas turbines spin at 80,000 rpm and get up to speed very quickly. Without them, the C-X75 can drive 68 miles on its batteries alone. But the turbines give it a total range of 560 … Read more