Concepts, production models and glimpses of a super-frugal future are all on display at the Paris motor show. Autocar's experts select their favourite cars
3 October 2014

This year's Paris motor show is the launching ground for a wide and eclectic array of new models. 

Whether it is the trio of super-frugal concepts from Renault, Peugeot and Citroën, looks into the production futures of Lamborghini and Audi, or the first in-the-metal showcases from Jaguar and Land Rover, the show has something for everyone.

Here are our picks of the show's top exhibits by Autocar's team.

Infiniti Q80 Inspiration

The Infiniti Q80 really caught my eye because of its sheer indulgence and elegance. Best of all, unlike Infiniti's recent concept cars, it looks like this one is going to make production as a range-topper. Let's hope it stays as close as possible to this – Chas Hallett

Land Rover Discovery Sport

I liked the Discovery Sport at first sight a few weeks ago, but I reckon it looks even better here in Paris. It has lovely curves, yet the whole is a compact, shrink-wrapped shape. It's also night and day different from the Freelander inside and out, despite the strong relationship under the skin. Only the £32,395 starting price grates – Steve Cropley

Ford S-Max

Following up truly innovative cars such as the Ford S-Max is always a tricky process, but to my eyes Ford has struck gold again with the second-gen S-Max. It’s respectful to the original without being a slave to it, and super-plush Vignale versions should again give premium rivals something to worry about – Mark Tisshaw

Lamborghini Asterion

It doesn’t matter if your interest is in form or function, the Asterion is fascinating. I love the boldness of its shape and the fact it manages to look unlike any other model in the firm's range, yet still like a Lamborghini. And I love still more the idea of the 898bhp plug-in hybrid drivetrain it contains and the sheer hilarity of its claimed 98g/km CO2 emissions – Andrew Frankel

Volvo XC90 

Volvo’s crisply-styled and luxuriously-appointed new XC90 will surely be a huge hit. The intriguing mix of Volvo’s classless badge and stately proportions may well prove a significant breakthrough for ’near-premium’ brands. The substance goes deeper than looks, though, with an advanced hybrid powertrain promised for the future – Julian Rendell

Citroen C4 Cactus Airflow 

The Cactus Airflow ‘2-litre’ concept was a master class in alternative thinking and an antidote to the Germanic technology-heavy approach. Adopting a lightweight approach, it uses the PSA air-hybrid transmission, lightweight plastic panels and a flat undertray. It promises 141mpg from its 86bhp engine and is refreshingly free of expensive battery packs and electric motors. It looked fabulous too – Hilton Holloway

Volkswagen XL Sport 

I like little cars. I like big motorbikes. What could possibly be better than a big motorcycle engine in a little car like the Volkswagen XL Sport? Not all bike engines suit cars, but a big Ducati V-twin sounds like just the ticket. The smile on the faces of Volkswagen's development engineers suggests it is – Matt Prior

Honda Civic Type R

Yes, it’s just another lightly embellished concept. But the tech beneath that steroidal body is starting to become clear, and every question that couldn’t be answered directly was met with a knowing grin by the engineer. The firm's planned assault on the front-drive Nürburgring lap record is, in part, marketing glitz - but if Honda cracks it without unduly comprising the road car beneath, this could be a hot hatch to remember – Nic Cackett

Mercedes-AMG GT 

A Nürburgring Nordschleife lap time under 7min 40sec, a sub-£100,000 price tag and 503bhp in range-topping GT S guise. The new Mercedes-AMG GT is the performance car of the moment, and a clear Paris star car – Greg Kable

Renault Espace

Now more crossover than MPV, the latest Espace looks more athletic and far sleeker than the old model. Despite much shallower windows it still feels very spacious, and has a particularly stylish dashboard featuring a large touchscreen. It’s a real shame that it isn’t coming to the UK, at least for a while – Richard Bremner

Mazda MX-5

Sharper, more grown-up styling (with shades of a baby F-Type) coupled with what promises to be the kind of drive we’ve missed in recent MX-5s means the new roadster should be back on form. The engineering and commitment to weight reduction by Mazda engineers deserves a medal – Dan Stevens

Jaguar XE

Jaguar claims the new XE is a true driver's car and it looks like one, pulling no visual punches with that tiny rear overhang, long nose and aggressive grille. The new aluminium architecture should mean the dynamics are top notch, too, and in supercharged V6 form the XE promises to be a thriller – Jesse Crosse

What was your Paris motor show star? Let us know in the comments section below, and read more Paris motor show news here

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Our Verdict

Volvo XC90 2003-2014

The Volvo XC90 is a big seven seat SUV in desperate need of modernisation, despite still having some strengths

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