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Our Favorites From the 2014 Paris Motor Show

Motor Trend logo Motor Trend 10/6/2014 Motor Trend Editors

The 2014 Paris Motor Show may not have had that knockout vehicle this year, the one that makes the 13,000 media members in attendance gush for days, but there were still plenty of important vehicle debuts at the biggest European auto show so far this season.

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While cars like the Lamborghini Asterion Concept Hybrid, with 900 hp, may have won the hearts of supercar fans, it really showed that even cars with nearly 1000 horses under the hood can add a hybrid powertrain for a little green credibility.

Here are Detroit editor Scott Burgess' picks for best-in-show at Paris.

Peugeot Quartz Concept: Power and efficiency

The one thing that many green machine supporters have always underestimated is man’s need to go fast. Even if every car converted to hydrogen tomorrow, there would instantly be people filling garages trying to figure out how to make their car faster.

The Peugeot Quartz Concept starts out with a tiny 1.6-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine that creates an impressive 270 hp. But engineers added an electric motor to each axle to boost the total power to 500 horsepower. That’s more like it.While the Quartz Concept looks more like a lunar rover than a potential backwoods green machine, it does demonstrate how engineers can create a progressive powertrain that can satisfy two distinctly different kinds of owners.

Infiniti Q80 Inspiration Concept© Provided by MotorTrend Infiniti Q80 Inspiration Concept

Infiniti Q80 Inspiration: Over-the-top beautiful

Pictures do not do this car justice. It’s Infiniti’s view of the future luxury sedans that drive themselves and wrap owners in pure luxury.

The glass roof blends over into the windshield and the car stretches nearly 200 inches. The wing-shaped headlights, big fender vents and aggressive grille create a future face of Infiniti that I would love to see come to fruition. The interior is just as dazzling with quilted leather seats; Alcantara and leather trim throughout the cabin. While the car may look too futuristic for real life, the proposed 3.0-liter V-6 under the hood is very much a real thing. Infiniti says that the 550-hp engine that will get 43 mpg will be part of its new engines coming in the next two years. As for the autonomous driving, the Inspiration uses lasers, cameras, and sensors to assist the driver in operating the vehicle. Controls can be seen through the extravagant head-up display projected onto that curvy windshield, allowing the driver to decide what course of action the vehicle should take. It’s more like being in charge of a ship than driving a car.

It’s certainly inspirational to me.

Volkswagen XL Sport Concept: Big buzz for a little car

If any car could be considered the Belle of the Ball in Paris, it would be the only Volkswagen with a motorcycle engine. Hours after the car debuted in Paris, people still gathered around it, snapping pictures and trying to glean more information about this spectacular concept.

The XL Sport Concept takes the body of the XL 1 and adds a Ducati 1199 Superleggera engine that will allow this car to go from 0-60 mph in under 5.7 seconds, and grant a top speed of 168 mph.

The 197-hp engine is mated to a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission and can handle up to 11,000 rpm. With so much more power, VW rebuilt the chassis with high-strength steel and then found ways to cut some weight by using magnesium wheels. It continues to use lots of carbon fiber to maintain strength but keep weight down. The iconic winged doors remain one of the car’s coolest features and will always draw an audience. This may not be a fuel-sipper any more, but it's one elegant ride for sure.

Honda Civic Type R Concept: Please, please, please bring to America

Honda likes to put the word concept after cars that are pretty much production-ready. Maybe it gives them a little wiggle room to make a few changes at the last minute.

While there are no plans to bring the Civic Type R to America, I really wish they would. This is a very hot hatch and could be just the injection of mojo Honda needs stateside. The 7000-rpm 2.0-liter turbocharged I-4 under the hood of this car creates a reported 276 hp. The hatch also gets a +R mode for track driving, six-speed manual transmission, and an active dampening system. That’s a lot of technology for such a small car. The real Type R arrives in Europe next year. Somehow, that just seems unfair.

2015 Audi A6: Sleeper no moreIt’s easy for me to pick the 2015 Audi A6 because I have always loved this car. Its newest iteration continues to impress.

It’s just a mid-cycle refresh, but the front gets a slightly more aggressive face and tail, and new headlamps. Audi will offer five different engines for the A6 in Europe, including two gas engines and three diesel engines. The most powerful of the engines will be a 3.0-liter supercharged V-6 that will produce 329 hp. The most efficient 3.0-liter diesel engine will get an estimated 41 mpg on the highway.While I have always liked the A6 for its understated looks, I may like it even more when the optional seats provide me with a massage.

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