Volkswagen’s ‘group nights’ have become a fixed point on the global motor show circuit.

The night before a big motor show opens, VW commandeers the biggest exhibition hall in town (one year, converting Beijing’s Olympic swimming pool) and rolls out never fewer than eight or nine concepts or new models from its 12-brand line-up.

The night before this week’s Paris motor show was no different. I watched from the stands as cutting-edge concepts such as the VW XL Sport and Lamborghini Asterion were driven up the ramp.

But perhaps the production-destined new Volkswagen Passat plug-in hybrid was the most important car at the exposition.

This – rather beautifully built – machine is just the sort of car that will become a much more familiar site on our roads by the end of the decade.