Put a few thousand motoring journalists in a motor show hall and you’ll soon hear the whinging. One show may have too few real-world cars, or too many irrelevant supercars, another quite the reverse. Some shows are criticised for pandering too much to the environmental lobby, others for callously ignoring the state of our planet.
This is what makes Paris different. As I write I’ve been here eight hours and have so far not heard so much as a bleat let alone a full on moan from a single hack.The reason is not hard to see: this show, more than any other in my recall, is crammed full of cars that are both interesting and relevant: a real-world show for sure, but one that panders to our inner enthusiast.
There is no better example of this art than the hot hatch, and here three of the most important have been launched. The new RenaultSport Clio looks cutest but will need to convince that a turbo motor and flappy paddles are worthy replacements for the riotous old 2-litre engine and its six manual gears. The Peugeot 208 GTI has a simpler job which is just to prove it’s better to drive than it looks. And then there’s the new Golf GTI, as simple and elegant in shape as the best of its breed have always been.