Big concepts from Lamborghini, Audi and VW take centre stage, but this French show was more about production models, and cars like the new Renault Espace, Jaguar XE and Volvo XC90
Steve Cropley Autocar
3 October 2014

The headlines may tell you French business is in strife, but the roads around Porte de Versailles leading to the Paris motor show were as packed as ever yesterday as bigwigs and hacks flocked into the display halls that contain this traditionally chaotic event. 

Optimism flows through the car business better than almost any other industry: if conditions are even half-okay, the world's car manufacturers will keep the new model count at a decent level, and so it was here. Carmakers learned decades ago that to stop improving what they offer is to hand the opposition an Instant advantage. 

Besides, things are indeed half-okay at present. Ford boss Mark Fields, who jetted in from Dearborn, had good European news - a Ford Mustang for Europe, forecasts of a continuing gentle recovery in the European market, and the prospect of genuine black ink for his company's European ops next year.

That comes thanks to the reduction in its manufacturing capacity here by nearly 20 per cent, and a similar upcoming trim in the number of platforms it uses, down to nine, from the two dozen of the mid-2000s.

The French companies were bullish, too, without going overboard. Renault made the biggest gesture towards the future, confidently showing a svelte new Espace MPV (its roof chopped by 68mm so it could be called a crossover) at a time when other commentators continue to say the market doesn't need big MPVs like it did.

That reluctance seems true of the UK, anyway, where the model is unlikely to arrive any time soon – although Renault-Nissan boss Carlos Ghosn did hint at a possible future in the right-hand drive market.

France's big three all showed super-frugal concepts in response to a French government initiative to encourage them to build cars with fuel consumptions below 2.0 litres/100km - better than 141mpg. 

Newly-independent DS underscored its freedom with a sporty five-door (evidently based on the Peugeot 308) with radical surfacing and sculptural details to emphasise its new artistic nature.

PSA is feeling especially bullish about DS's prospects, because although it refuses to push sales of existing models, buyers in France and China - its key commercial targets - are already accepting DS as a premium brand.

New metal was everywhere, to the extent that JLR, which is used to dominating motor shows, didn't really dominate this one.

The new Jaguar XE drew crowds, for sure, but the reception for the new Discovery Sport was a little less excited than the company would have liked.

That's because elsewhere there was the well-received Volvo XC90 for crowds to ogle, not to mention the cuteish Fiat 500X micro-crossover that most agreed did a much better job of associating itself with the continuing success of the 500 saloon than its potato-shaped MPV sibling, the 500L, ever did.

Audi had a blizzard of models, as is usual for a company with a model in every pigeonhole, though its five-door TT Sportback concept may have been an offering too far. 

The TT was originally born as a sports coupé with Golf underpinnings: now the coupé is becoming a saloon again. Odd. 

Opinions were divided over the new Lamborghini Asterion, which found a new look for Sant' Agata marque but looked quieter than the usual massive V10 seemed to promise, and the same lack of flamboyance went for AMG's slightly anonymous GT. It, too, seemed more about mechanical parts and performance than looks.

Vauxhall-Opel had the new Corsa on hand, and expects to do well with it, but the car is styled more for safety than stimulation. In fact, if you were looking for a theme for the show's new metal, right across the board, perhaps this was it. Boastfulness was out; "beef" was in.

The Paris motor show as it happened

1800 That wraps things up for Autocar’s live coverage of the Paris motor show. We’ve seen concepts, production models and facelifted cars galore. Some of our show stars include Lamborghini’s Asterion, the Audi TT Sportback, Peugeot’s Quartz SUV and Infiniti’s Q80 Inspiration.

Be sure to come back to Autocar.co.uk tomorrow for all the post-show analysis, including Steve Cropley’s show report, as well as our best-of-show roundups. For now, enjoy the best of the 2014 Paris motor show in the gallery above.

1745 Autocar editor-in-chief Steve Cropley tweets: "Really liked the look of the Discovery Sport in Paris - a graceful high-quality creation, like so much of what Gerry McGovern's Land Rover design team does."

1730 Will you be buying a new Volkswagen Passat this month? Prices for the eigth-generation model start from £22,215.

1725 Toyota's Hydrogen-powered FCV will arrive in the UK next year. See the latest show pictures here.

1720 Bentley is considering a new entry-level model to become its fifth model line after the firm's SUV enters production. The new car would be smaller than the current Continental GT. Get the full story here.

1715 Volvo's new seven-seat XC90 has been compared to the mighty Range Rover in terms of luxury. It'll go on sale at the end of this year, and comes packed with new technology and engines. It's also the first production model to sit on the Swedish firm's new SPA platform.

1703 Have you seen Volkswagen's updated Polo GTI? It's had a power increase to 189bhp, and comes with a new six-speed manual transmission. Read more here.

1645 Maybe it's time for a look back at the history of the Evo, then? See Autocar's picture special here.

1640 Perhaps the most shocking news of the day is that Mitsubishi's Evo, long held in high regard by UK performance enthusiasts, is dead as a sports saloon. Instead, company bosses say its spirit will live on as a high-performance hybrid SUV.

1630 Audi has updated its A7 Sportback, which gets new styling upgrades and the option of a 60mpg front-wheel drive 'Ultra' version. Find out more here.

1620 So what's been your Paris motor show star? Here in the Autocar office we're pretty impressed with VW's Ducati-engined XL Sport.

1605 For those who have been wondering, Hilton Holloway has discovered that the boot of the Jaguar XE can indeed carry a set of golf clubs.

1600 Jeep engineers are exploring new alloy chassis technology for use in the next Wrangler, says Julian Rendell. The move could include new powertrains and is being motivated by increasingly strict emissions regulations. He says that could also mean a move away from production being carried out at the firm's Toledo factory.

1550 We've added new pictures of Renault's 282mpg EOLAB concept. What do you think of it?

1545 Dan Stevens: The new Mazda MX-5 is a pretty little thing, as it should be, but it also looks much more grown up - some of the surfacing and detailing reminds me of an F Type. It's definitely more masculine than previous models, too.

1540 Details on the new Viva are fairly limited, but we do know it'll sit alongside the revamped Adam and Corsa in Vauxhall's line-up, and will be billed as the firm's entry-level model.

1535 Shifting focus to Vauxhall now, and officials are saying the firm's new Viva city car will cost from around £7500 when it goes on sale in the UK next summer.

1530 Sergio Marchionne will assume the top job at Ferrari on October 13, and he's been quick to rule out both an SUV and a four door saloon from Ferrari's future product plans, insisting the company will remain a constructor of two door sports cars.

1525 Marchionne pulled back from reported statements during the Ferrari press conference that the brand would look to increase production to 10,000 cars per year. He's happy with volumes of around 7000 units annually.

1520 Julian Rendell reports that Sergio Marchionne wants to reduce the waiting time for a new Ferrari to below 24 months for some models. That said, he's not keen on raising production.

1515 A golden snippet here from Andrew Frankel: Just attended Luca di Montezemolo's final press conference. It was extraordinary. When it was all done I asked him very simply, "why are you going?" and he equally simply pointed to Sergio Marchionne sitting beside him. With actions like that, you don't need words. 

1510 Dan Stevens: Just talked to Nissan design chief Shiro Nakamura, always an engaging interviewee, and he reckons autonomous cars will offer new freedoms for car designers. If cars never crash, then the complex and heavy safety systems that influence today's designs can be jettisoned, leaving designers to rethink the whole idea of how a car looks.

1500 Carlos Ghosn is staying out of the debate over whether or not Great Britain should leave the European Union. He says he, like any other CEO, would like the stable scenario, as they would with issues such as referendums in Scotland and Catalunya, and not entering into political debates.

1452 Renault-Nissan boss Carlos Ghosn isn't ruling out the luxury Initiale Paris trim level morphing into a brand in the future: "It's a grade today. Can it be something else? Yes," he said "But we must first establish it as a symbol of luxury first before we start planning ahead for 10 years. Lets make it something first before beefing it up."

1447 Nissan has unveiled its tuned Pulsar Nismo in Paris. Its styling is far more aggressive than the standard Pulsar, but Nissan has refrained from giving out any information regarding the car's engine. Read the full story here.

1440 Speaking about Renault's super-frugal EOLAB concept, Ghosn says: "The EOLAB is the perfect illustration of how Renault is dedicated to still developing plug-in hybrid, hybrid and diesel powertrains and can still innovate, not just on making EVs. For us, it is not either or, there is all sorts of technology we are still developing."

1433 Want the new Renault Espace to come to the UK? Renault-Nissan boss Carlos Ghosn hasn't ruled out right-hand drive completely. He told Mark Tisshaw: "The new Espace is competing in a small segment. We took a long time to do a replacement for it as we didn't want to do a boring car. It goes back to the Espace's roots of comfort, space, lightness, modular construction and illustrates them in a different way.

"So we will start from a low level with sales and go up. We'll make sure we do well in mainland Europe before going elsewhere, we want a positive response first. We're being more progressive in strategy, setting low goals and hopefully having high achievements, it was the reverse before."

1427 Citroën's DS outfit is set to become a proper standalone brand in Europe next year, and Chas Hallett says the firm's Divine DS concept "wouldn't be a shabby way to start."

1420 Audi's refreshed A6 goes on sale this month, with styling improvements and technical upgrades across the range. Of particular note is the fact that Audi's MMI infotainment service is now part of the A6's standard equipment. Find out more here.

1415 Volvo boss Håkan Samuelsson has confirmed its next high performance Polestar product will be based on the replacement for the S60/V60. He says he sees no conflict between Volvo's safety reputation and such cars but says Polestar products are likely only to be saloons and estates, not SUVs

1410 Dan Stevens writes: Interviewed Vauxhall boss Tim Tozer who was ebullient and confident about building Astras in the UK, and GM's commitment to Ellesmere port. "We've put £180m into the plant for the Astra," he said "being British built has value, and that's understood by GM at the highest level." 

1405 More on the Q80 - Bancon says an Infiniti buyer's average age is 54, younger than it's rivals and in China it's even lower - in the late 30s. The Q80 is meant to appeal to these younger buyers (especially in China) who want a big luxury car but don't want an S-class or a 7-series, because that's the sort of car their parents drive.

1400 Infiniti product strategy boss Francois Bancon reckons the production Q80 will have no direct rivals - it's pitched at the S-class and the 7-series, which appeal to older buyers, he says.

1355 Ferrari has moved to distance itself from a patent which appeared to show a new V-Twin engine design. A Ferrari spokesman has said the patent application for a two cylinder engine has 'nothing whatsoever' to do with a Ferrari motorcycle. Instead it is claimed to be merely an application to patent a design that will allow engines with any number of cylinders to be balanced without the aid of balancer shafts.

1345 Have you seen the latest Paris show pictures of Jaguar's XE? The firm's crucial BMW 3-series rival will reach UK dealers next May, priced from £26,995

1330 Having talked to new Cadillac boss Johan de Nysschen, Hallett writes: "He’s well aware that although the US and China are the main glittering prizes for Cadillac, you can’t ignore Europe if you are really going to see huge success. And he isn’t going to get that with the current line up of saloons and SUVs, all exclusively powered by petrol engines."

1323 Chas Hallett raises an interesting question in his latest blog. With Cadillac setting its sights firmly on Europe, can you imagine ever choosing a Cadillac over an Audi?

1315 Rendell has also been hearing rumours that the 2018 EU emissions regulations are proving challenging for engineers to meet with diesel engines. Could this mean AdBlue will become a standard feature on diesel models?

1310 Julian Rendell reports a scrum over at the Ferrari stand, as departing chairman Luca di Montezemolo makes his final appearance as head of the company.

1303 One of the concepts dividing opinion between our writers is Audi's TT Sportback. Andrew Frankel says: "I like the TT coupé very much but the TT Sportback isn't doing it for me. It's too odd for an Audi, and it's insufficiently distinct for a TT."

1253 "Is the Quartz a future replacement for the 3008? No doubt it will inspire the car and it shows the way that we want to go, especially for perceived quality," says Picat.

1249 Peugeot boss Maxime Picat has been speaking to Chas Hallett about the firm's Quartz SUV concept. He says "We need SUVs to be expressive and they are the best cars for global expansion." 

1240 Kia is also planning a new sports car - could it be based on the GT4 Stinger concept from earlier this year?

1235 We've learned that Kia is planning to introduce a new B-segment crossover model to compete with the likes of Nissan's Juke and Peugeot's 2008. Read more here.

1230 While all three concepts are claimed to come close to the French government's 141mpg target, it's the Renault which finds itself way out in front, with a claimed fuel economy of 282mpg.

1225 Office discussion has turned to the three super-frugal concepts being showcased by French manufacturers at their home show - Citroën's Cactus Airflow 2L, Peugeot's 208 Hybrid Air and Renault's EOLAB.

1220 Speaking to Mark Tisshaw, Zetsche has confirmed that Mercedes' current five per cent stake in Aston is ideal, and that "it would not be in Aston's interests to be incorporated into a big corporate organisation, as it would include risk." Find out more here.

1215 Daimler boss Dieter Zetsche has revealed that, contrary to industry rumours, Mercedes has no plans to increase its stake in Aston Martin at the moment.

1209 We've added new pictures to the gallery above, including the first shots of the reinvented Renault Espace. What's your show star so far?

1200 Chas Hallett says: "I had a chat with Mazda MX-5 project leader Nobuhiro Yamamoto, who said that the MX-5 will have 1.5-litre and 2.0-litre engines in its line-up. He also said it would be 'highly likely' that a version with a folding metal roof would appear."

1153 Key to Cadillac's expansion plans are more SUV models, says company boss Johan de Nysschen. The firm also wants to expand its powertrain offering.

1145 Cadillac has set firm sights on targeting the best of Europe from 2019, but the US-based carmaker says it wants to get the right products in place before beginning its assault. Read more here.

1140 The Fiat 500X will go on sale in the second quarter of 2015, sitting alongside regular 500 and 500L models. Two versions will be available, with one geared towards urban driving and one taking more off-road styling.

1135 And here's the new Fiat 500X. The latest member of the Fiat 500 family aims to take on the Vauxhall Mokka, Nissan Juke and Renault Captur.

1125 Chas Hallett has been looking at the new Hyundai i20. He says: "I think it looks like their classiest effort yet. Hopefully it'll be equally classy to drive."

1120 Interesting developments on the Mercedes stand, where Andrew Frankel has been talking to the brand's boss Dieter Zetsche. He says: "Zetsche has come the closest yet to saying that Maybach is coming back, not as a single model but an entire sub-brand.

"When I suggested to him that Mercedes-Maybach could be the company's luxury arm in the same way as Mercedes-AMG is now its sporting arm he said, 'we will be making an announcement in due course but your thinking is going in the right direction.'"

1115 More TT-based models could be crucial if Audi is to stick to its plans to take its model range from 50 to 60 models by 2020. Read more here.

1110 Having revealed the new TT Sportback prior to the Paris motor show last night, Audi bosses are now deciding whether to put production versions of its three TT-based concept cars into production.

1105 New Cadillac boss Johan de Nysschen has also been talking to Autocar - he reckons Caddy will be ready for a full-on assault on Europe by 2019 with a host of new models.

1100 Chas Hallett has been talking to Ford engineering boss Raj Nair, who reveals the company will shortly be working to improve the EcoSport compact SUV, as well as tuning the new Mustang for Europe.

1055 Ford boss Mark Fields says he's been asked plenty of times about his new plan for the brand. His answer: "The new plan is the current plan, because it works. The One Ford plan has served us so well. What is changing is our pace of progress, we are just getting started to deliver growth, and we're taking our execution into high gear."

1054 Ford officials say the brand will launch "ten new or significantly refreshed models next year."

1052 Time for the Ford press conference now. The Blue Oval's show stars are the new S-Max, and the facelifted C-Max.

1047 Hackenberg's comments have raised the possibility that Lamborghini is investigating adding a GT model to its range. Find out more here.

1043 The Lamborghini Asterion concept could help to shape a future GT car from the firm. Ulrich Hackenberg has told Autocar the concept is a "test" for the brand.

1035 On the Jaguar stand, Andrew Frankel says: "This is the first time we've been able to look at the XE en masse, and it reveals a car that's very colour and spec sensitive. It looks quite bland in white but sensational in blue.

"It's also better without the tacked on rear spoiler and with the chrome strip around the rear quarter light. Then again, we also know that no recent Jag ever looked at its best under show lights. They're always better seen on the road and moving."

1030 Hackenberg also confirms the so-called R10 mega car, which has been the subject of numerous internet stories this week, is definitely not happening.

1026 The new R8's platform has been designed for different engines, says Hackenberg, while electric and plug-in hybrid versions have also been confirmed. Those engine options might also include a de-tuned version of the Lamborghini Asterion's V10 powerplant. 

1023 Mark Tisshaw has been unearthing new details about the next Audi R8. Audi technical boss Ulrich Hackenberg has confirmed the model will go on sale next year.

1017 Ghosn says: "We have paid a lot of attention to make sure life on board is easier. With Multi-Sense [new system for changing vehicle settings] Renault is reinventing the pleasure of driving"

1011 Renault-Nissan boss Carlos Ghosn says: "Renault is reinventing another of its spearhead models. It is an icon that has lasted over its time."  

1008 And here is the new Renault Espace, which has morphed from traditional MPV into a pseudo-crossover. Sadly, Renault has already confirmed it won't be coming to the UK.

1005 All eyes now turn to the Renault stand, where the reinvented Espace is about to make its entrance.

1002 While the Corsa range starts at just below £9000, the new 1.0-litre, turbocharged 3-cylinder version starts at £10,995. Find out more here.

0958 Pricing has just been announced for the new Vauxhall Corsa. The Ford Fiesta rival will go on sale for £8995.

0950 One final answer from Citroën boss Linda Jackson: "Our ambition is to offer more design, more comfort and more useful technology, all by controlling the budget."

0948 "Citroën is the brand that puts creativity and technology [at the forefront] for a feel-good experience," says Jackson

0945 Citroën is conducting a live Twitter Q&A with new boss Linda Jackson. She starts by saying that one quarter of all Citroën models are now sold in China.

0942 Andrew Frankel reports: "AMG boss Tobias Moers confirms that all his cars from now will be a) Mercedes-AMGs and not Mercedes-Benzs and b) all rear-drive versions will be fitted with a limited-slip differential as standard."

0939 Mitsubishi's new high-performance SUV will also take inspiration from the firm's electric Pikes Peak hillclimb racer, the MiEV Evolution. Mitsubishi UK boss Lance Bradley told Autocar the brand was still confident that green technology could excite on the road: "It’s a challenge to make it fun, but not a particularly difficult one. Electric vehicle performance is very good." Read more here.

0935 Time for some more big news, courtesy of Autocar deputy editor Mark Tisshaw. He reports that Mitsubishi's Evo is dead as a sports saloon, but company bosses have confirmed its spirit will live on as a high-performance hybrid SUV.

0930 The Quartz concept comes with three driving modes - one of which offers zero-emissions driving of 31 miles. Another, Race mode, starts the second electric motor, which on its own develops 114bhp.

0925 At the Peugeot stand, the firm's 493bhp Quartz SUV concept has been revealed. It's Peugeot's vision of a high-performance SUV, and comes powered by a 1.6-litre petrol engine working in tandem with two electric motors. 

0920 Just a reminder that you can also follow updates on the Paris motor show by following Autocar on Twitter and Facebook.

0915 This isn't the first time SsangYong has offered us a glimpse into its future compact SUV plans. The X100 has been the subject of the firm's concept cars since 2011.

0910 SsangYong has taken the wraps off two new concepts at the show. The XIV-Air and XIV-Adventure preview a new Nissan Juke rival, which will come to market next year.

0905 Land Rover gave media their first chance to see the new Discovery Sport in the metal on the banks of the river Serine yesterday. "The message – a jumbled tribute to the previous Disco’s established identity – hardly seemed to matter. This was much more about Land Rover as it is now; a climactic, cash-rich candy box of ideas and enthusiasm," says Cackett.

0900 The new Land Rover Discovery Sport looks "devilishly good" in the metal says Nic Cackett in his latest blog.

0850 Road test editor Matt Prior, who's roaming the Paris show halls, says: "The shock Ducati-engined Volkswagen XL Sport concept wasn't so much of a shock for our European editor Greg Kable, or our picture editor and designer/renderer Ben Summerell-Youde, who prepared this one earlier."

0844 The TT Sportback concept again takes the stage for Audi, what do you think of it? Is it a natural extension for the TT badge?

0835 Time for the Audi press conference now, where the A6 Ultra has just taken to the stage. "Ultra is the new name for efficiency," say officials.

0830 That starting price gets you a 59bhp Fabia S 1.0 MPI. Prices in the range rise to £17,240 for an 89bhp Fabia Elegance 1.4 TDI equipped with a DSG twin-clutch transmission. Read more here.

0827 We've had pricing confirmed for the new Skoda Fabia. It'll cost from £10,600 when it arrives in the UK early next year.

0823 Opinion on VW's XL Sport is divided here in the Autocar office. Some like its styling, some are wary. What do you think? See the reveal video here.

0818 The Volvo XC90 "compares very favourably to the Land Rover (Range Rover)" says Chas Hallett, "especially on the inside."

0812 Ford's new S-Max is getting plenty of attention at the show. On Twitter, Chas Hallett says: "I just hope it's as good to drive as the last one."

0808 On the Aston Martin stand, Andrew Frankel says the firm "appears somewhat overwhelmed by the wave of goodwill towards the Lagonda. So much so that the project status is now no longer "Middle East only," but "Middle East only, at the moment." Read more about the Lagonda here.

0805 Over at the Bugatti stand, and the centre of attention is the last car to join the firm's six-part 'Legends' series. The model, which celebrates company founder Ettore Bugatti, will go on sale for around £1.8 million.

0759 The nub of Winterkorn's argument boils down to a very interesting fact, says Hilton Holloway: "his killer fact was that reducing CO2 output by 1g/km required VW to invest “100m Euros every year”".

0754 Hilton Holloway says VW Group boss Martin Winterkorn issued a stark warning to EU legislators last night. In his latest blog, he says: "The edited version was quite simple: before you set fleet CO2 targets for beyond 2020, give the industry a two or three-year breathing space."

0750 Citroën says the C4 Cactus Airflow 2L concept is capable of returning "over 141mpg" - it's powered by a 3-cylinder 1.2-litre Puretech petrol engine working in conjunction with a compressed air system. It also weighs 100kg less than the standard C4 Cactus. Find out more about it here.

0745 The lead image on our live blog at the moment is Citroën's C4 Cactus Airflow 2L concept - the manufacturer's answer to the French government's 141mpg challenge.

0740 Julian Rendell has been listening to strong rumours that Infiniti could soon break into the world of touring car racing. In his blog, he says: "The extent of the programme has still to emerge, but in all likelihood it will be based on the rear-drive Q50 saloon, Infiniti’s BMW 3-series chaser."

0735 For the Paris show, Peugeot has re-skinned the Exalt with new grey colours, given it an interior trim made from recycled newspapers and added an electric scooter concept, dubbed Hybrid Kick, to the boot.

0732 Peugeot has bought along a re-skinned version of its Exalt concept car to Paris. What do you think of it? 

0724 The C-HR concept has been described as "proof Toyota can design cars that appeal to the heart, and the head." The model could also be destined for production, where it would sit underneath the current RAV4 in Toyota's line-up. It could go on sale as soon as 2017.

0719 The wraps have just come off Toyota's new C-HR concept at the Paris show. Officials say the car "gives an early hint at the kind of vehicle we would like to bring to market."

0715 Over on the Toyota stand, company bosses say the hydrogen-powered FCV will arrive in the UK next year. When it does go on sale, though, it'll be in extremely limited numbers - as we reported earlier this summer.

0710 We got our first look at Mazda's fourth-generation MX-5 just last month, but the model makes its public debut today in Paris. Does this latest version live up to the reputation of the original? You decide. See more pictures here.

0705 Jaguar's new XE is already proving to be one of the stars of the Paris show. On Twitter, Autocar brand editor Chas Hallett says: "It'll be interesting to see how many rival makers are crawling all over it today." See Autocar's exclusive pictures of the XE here.

0658 Time for the first world debut of the day, in the form of the new BMW X6. Described as "a true athlete in its class," the car will arrive in UK dealers in December - priced from £51,150.

0655 Now taking the stage at BMW's press conference is the 2-series convertible. It's already on sale in the UK, priced from £29,180, with the range-topping M235i convertible getting 322bhp from its 3.0-litre inline six-cylinder engine. BMW says this is the first open-top M-performance model to come from the brand.

0650 BMW says that several of the driver-assistance technologies developed for its four-wheeled models will also find their way into the brand's motorcycles. That's good news for bikers.

0647 Over at the BMW press conference, the new five-door Mini hatch has just taken the stand. Read our UK driving impressions of the Cooper D model here.

0645 Autocar brand editor Chas Hallett is pleased with Infiniti’s Q80 Inspiration concept, and thinks it could even put some of the VW Group’s Paris offerings to shame. What do you think? Read more in his blog, here.

0642 Having attended Mercedes' pre-show event last night, Andrew Frankel says the company has only scratched the surface of its new 4.0-litre V8 engine's potential. Read more in his blog.

0637 We also learned last night that Infiniti is planning an entry-level model to rival Audi’s A1. That car, due to be called Q20, will also line up against the Mini hatchback. 

0635 Here’s a big story to start the day – Infiniti will put its Q80 Inspiration concept into production. Bosses confirmed last night that the model will arrive ‘within the next three to five years’ to take on the likes of the Porsche Panamera. Find out more here.

Thursday 2 October 0630 (UK) / 0730 (Paris) Morning all! Autocar’s live blog from the Paris motor show is back for another busy day of car launches and news.

2100 That about wraps things up for our live coverage tonight. Join us back here tomorrow morning for a fresh day of news, pictures and analysis as the doors of the Paris motor show officially open for 2014. For now, goodnight!

2055 Hilton Holloway has been listening to VW Group chairman Martin Winterkorn speak at the group’s press night – he asks EU legislators to give the firm three years to see if EVs and hybrids can sell before setting the next CO2 target.

2050 Nismo recently celebrated its 30th anniversary. Take a look back through the company's archives with our picture special, here.

2045 It's rumoured the Pulsar Nismo will be powered by a tuned version of Nissan's turbocharged 1.6-litre petrol engine, the same unit that will also be used in the upcoming Juke Nismo RS.

2040 There's plenty still to be revealed in Paris tomorrow, including the Nissan Pulsar Nismo. Our spies caught an early look at it only yesterday.

2035 One of the models we're particularly excited to see in Paris is Honda's latest Type R concept, which is now very close to production. It's powered by a turbocharged 2.0-litre i-VTEC petrol engine developing "more than 276bhp".

2030 Want to find out more about the 503bhp Mercedes-AMG C63? See our exclusive pictures here.

2025 Andrew Frankel is with Mercedes-Benz this evening, where the centre of attention is the firm's new C63. "It looks mega," he says "and with its twin-turbo V8 engine unlikely not to deliver on the promise of those looks."

2020 Over at Infinti's pre-Paris event, Julian Rendell says the Q80 Inspiration has "more than a little hint of Renault's 1995 Initiale concept" in its styling.

2015 There's no official word on whether Volkswagen will look to put the XL Sport into production. The model is getting a decent reaction on social media, though.

2010 The XL Sport's bike engine can rev to around 11,000rpm. A VW Spokesman said the model has "a heart made by Ducati." Get the full story here.

2005 Back to the XL Sport, and we've received confirmation that the car will come with 195bhp, and will be able to hit a top speed of over 167mph.

2000 The Volkswagen Group wants to become an "engine of change in the automotive industry," says Winterkorn, who notes the firm is also working to future-proof the 580,000 jobs it provides.

1957 Winterkorn continues: "Do not consider this change to be a threat - rather, we think it is an opportunity."

1955 VW Group Chairman Martin Winterkorn is now on stage: "Everywhere in the world we are witnessing major challenges and uncertain times," he says "Our motor industry is also facing fundamental change. The expectations that people have for cars are changing."

1952 It's been reported that the XL Sport is powered by a 1200cc engine that develops 187bhp at 10,750rpm, alongside 91lb ft of torque.

1948 The idea of a bike-engined version of the XL1 was first mooted in September last year. VW board chairman Ferdinand Piëch confirmed that prototypes of the model would be built to gauge customer reaction.

1945 Here's a surprise entry - it's a Ducati-engined version of Volkswagen's super-frugal XL1, dubbed the XL Sport. The model on display in Paris is the VW Group's two-hundred millionth car.

1940 Volkswagen's Passat GTE is now on stage. It'll arrive in the UK in the second half of next year, but the real headline-grabbing stat is that it's capable of returning 141mpg.

1936 Time for Porsche now, which is showing off its facelifted Cayenne SUV. Of particular note is the new 410bhp petrol-electric S E-Hybrid model, which averages 83.1mpg and emits 79g/km of CO2.

1934 Want to know how the new Skoda Fabia drives? We drove a late-stage prototype version earlier this month.

1930 Skoda's third-generation Fabia is now on stage. Sadly, no hot vRS version is planned.

1925 Time for another big reveal now - it's the Lamborghini Asterion concept, which is an 898bhp technical showcase. See more pictures and find out more here.

1922 As the roll-out of new models continues, Bugatti shows off its recently-revealed Veyron Legends car, the last in a series of six. What do you think of it?

1920 Seat takes to the stage now, showcasing its new Leon X-Perience, which is already on sale in the UK and costs from £24,385

1917 So, with the new TT Sportback concept now revealed, is it the right time for Audi to start expanding its TT-badged range? Mark Tisshaw thinks so. Read his blog here.

1913 The Mulsanne Speed gets 530bhp from its 6.75-litre V8 engine, and can reach a top speed of 190mph. It costs £252,200.

1909 Bentley boss Wolfgang Dürheimer is now on stage at the VW Group night, introducing the firm's new Mulsanne Speed

1907 The TT Sportback is the third TT-related concept shown by Audi, following on from the TT Shooting Brake and TT Offroad models.

1903 And here’s our first look at Audi’s big Paris motor show concept – the TT Sportback.

1901 Audi boss Rupert Stadler is now on stage at the VW Group night. Speaking about the brand, he says the firm has set targets of selling 1.7 million cars in 2014. “And we’re on target to do that,” he says.

1900 Autocar has also had the chance to talk exclusively to new Citroën boss Linda Jackson. She says the French brand “will become all about the feel-good factor.” Read the full interview here.

1855 Another quote, from Ettore Bugatti, says: “Nothing is too expensive. Nothing is too beautiful.”

1852 Hilton Holloway has found some interesting quotes on display outside the VW Group night. One, from Ferdinand Porsche, reads: “In the beginning, I looked around but couldn’t find the car of my dreams. So I decided to build it myself.”

1847 Powering the Infiniti Q80 Inspiration concept is a 3.0-litre V6 engine working in conjunction with an electric motor. The car's total power output is rated at 543bhp.

1844 Infiniti European design boss Simon Cox, admits the Q80 Inspiration concept was initially designed in London.

1840 At tonight’s pre-show Infiniti event, Autocar brand editor Chas Hallett has been talking to the firm’s European boss Francois Goupil de Bouille, who says that the Q80 Inspiration is more than the concept – it showcases a new generation of Infiniti’s large engine technology. He also hints that the company will make the Q80 into a production model, or something close to it.

1835 One of the first cars to be revealed ahead of the Paris show was Infiniti’s Q80 Inspiration concept. It’s designed to showcase the firm’s new hybrid powertrain, but could also point towards a new production model.

1830 If you’ve missed any of our pre-show coverage, you can find all of the cars we’re expecting see at the show in our comprehensive Paris motor show preview.

1827 This evening our team are attending pre-show events with Renault, Infiniti, Mitsubishi, Mercedes-Benz, Vauxhall and Infiniti, as well as the Volkswagen group night.

1823 And of course, you can follow Autocar on Twitter @autocar, on Google+ here and on Facebook, here

1820 You can follow the Autocar team on Twitter using their handles: @chashallett, @mtisshaw, @StvCr, @hiltonholloway, @matty_prior, @TheDarkStormy1, @Andrew_Frankel, @JesseCrosse, @GregKable, @Matt_Burt, @theseoldcars and @darren_moss

1818 Back in the Autocar office your web team consists of Matt Burt (digital editor), Lewis Kingston (deputy digital editor) and Darren Moss (digital reporter)

1816 Our writing team at the Paris show includes Chas Hallett (brand editor), Mark Tisshaw (deputy editor), Steve Cropley (editor-in-chief), Hilton Holloway (associate editor), Matt Prior (road test editor), Nic Cackett (road tester), Richard Bremner (senior contributing editor), Greg Kable (European editor), Andrew Frankel (senior contributing writer), Dan Stevens (correspondent), Julian Rendell (industry editor) and Jesse Crosse (technical editor)

1813 Autocar has 12 reporters at the Paris motor show, as well as our two in-house photographers, to bring you the latest news, analysis, comment and pictures.

1810 Tonight our reporters are attending several pre-Paris events, including Volkswagen’s group night, which usually gives media a first glimpse at some of the new metal on display.

1808 Welcome to Autocar’s Paris motor show live blog. During the rest of today and all of Thursday, we’ll be bringing you the very latest news from the Paris show floor.

This year’s Paris event is already gearing up to be one of the biggest motor shows of the year. New car unveilings are scheduled from the likes of Ferrari, Lamborghini, Audi, BMW and many more. 

Live blog by Darren Moss

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Our Verdict

Audi TT

The Audi TT remains a design icon, and is now a car that’s genuinely fun to drive no matter what engine or trim you choose

3 October 2014
[ editor-in-chief Steve Cropley tweets: "Really liked the look of the new-cars new-land-rover-discovery-sport a graceful high-quality creation

Steve- couldnt agree more. Star of the show. Deffinately colour sensative - want to see one in red/burgundy
This is the very first L/R that I have liked or desired in 50 years of motoring. The bricks on wheels R/R did nothing for me - but this is suave, agile, attractive and very perfectly packaged and presented. Mind you I wont buy until they stick the new Diesel thats going in the baby Jaguar- then it will be a trot over to the showroom :-))
R.

what's life without imagination

3 October 2014
Pro Tip, AutoCar.
Don't say in the picture captions that the Ford Mustang is NOW available in the UK. It has me scrambling to the Ford website to find a price.

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