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The Story Twitter Doesn’t Want You to Read with Pictures: 2012 Paris Auto Show

Motor Trend logo Motor Trend 9/27/2012 Todd Lassa
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Did you know there’s a daily limit on Twitpics? I didn’t until I hit the limit just as Audi introduced its hint at the Q3 subcompact CUV, the… sorry, it’s got one of those generic names. I have to look it up.

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It’s called the Crossline. The Audi Crossline concept. I hereby propose we automatically give a Sport/Utility of the Year award to the first new crossover that doesn’t use the word “cross” in its concept’s name.

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Anyway, the Crossline is a BMW X1-size crossover with an advanced aluminum and carbon-fiber spaceframe, two doors, and a 1.5-liter turbocharged three-cylinder/plug-in hybrid powerplant. Of that, while the aluminum space frame sounds plausible, the carbon fiber sounds a bit costly. The 1.5-liter turbo three/plug-in already is in the works for a plug-in A1 Audi is developing. The two-door body is eye candy only. The Range Rover Evoque two-door hasn’t sold in the kind of numbers that will get competitors to copy it.

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The Crossline’s single-cell grille design is a preview of the new look of Audi CUVs, separating it from Audi car design language. We’ll see it appear on the next-gen Q7 probably within a year, and on the next Q5 and the Q3 shortly after.

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Audi also showed its new RS5 convertible and confirmed the North American arm will import the car to the U.S. beginning in the first quarter of 2013. Get your orders in early. The new 300-horsepower version of Audi’s all-new A3 Sportback, the RS3 Sportback, is more of a long shot. Audi in North America is going to concentrate on the coming A3 sedan, though the company hints it might continue to import some version of the four-door hatchback – either TDI or hybrid, or both – after the sedan launches.

So that covers the Audi news I was unable to tweet with pictures. Here’s a quick look at other new models I saw at the first press day at Paris:

Citroen Tubik: The local industry always is a highlight of Paris, what with otherworldly designs from Citroen, Peugeot and Renault. If the ’12 Paris show seems a bit subdued, it could be worse given the state of the European Union economy and its plummeting auto sales. The Tubik features the modern update of the old Citroen panel van nose and base-industrial sheetmetal that has been used in several concepts in recent years. The Tubik has small light openings in its side panels, and a lounge-like interior with a large flat-screen TV. It’s the van the EU’s middle-class could be living in next year.

Renault Clio: This French compact hatchback’s bold redesign has a nicely finished, premium look to it. Makes you wonder why Nissan still can’t do a decent Sentra.

Citroen Numero 9: Hey, let’s make a station wagon out of a large sport sedan! It works pretty well when there are no minimum rear headroom requirements, doesn’t it?

Peugeot Onyx: Okay, so I’ll easily give the Jaguar F-Type Best in Show, but this mid-engine sportscar concept may be the most beautiful car at this show. Note the French flag colors on the driver’s-side sideview mirror.

Mazda6: One of the best-looking cars in the vanilla sedan segment, though I take back whatever I’ve said about it looking better than the new Ford Fusion/Mondeo. On the other hand, the Mazda’s look is all its own.

Honda EV-Ster: Yes, this car first appeared at Tokyo last year, but it proves a point, that it’s easier and more effective to do a modern take on a mediocre car (Del Sol) than it is to do one on a good car (CRX-to-CR-Z).

Volkswagen GTI: I kind of get that Volkswagen doesn’t need to import the Golf Mark VII in the U.S. until early 2014, but is that the way to treat core GTI enthusiasts? Note the grille redline that continues through the headlamps.

Infiniti Emerg-E: Shiro Nakamura’s latest green sports car makes a striking pose not unlike the stance of the Peugeot Onyx.

Opel/Vauxhall Adam: I’m a bit on the fence after seeing this car in the sheetmetal. Its cheeky style works in combo with a Mini-level of paint/stripe/trim detail combinations. It certainly won’t remind you of your grandfather’s Senator, but that’s not necessarily a good thing. Overall, it looks like a winner, though the youth-oriented marketing tries to hard and falls just short of convincing.

Volvo S40: Seems to be trying too hard not to break new ground. It’ll appeal to European hatchback devotees and to the American Volvo wagon contrarians.

Ferrari F12 Berlinetta: Since the ‘70s, Ferrari very often has gone for function over form. This is one of those instances.

That’s it for Day 1. Back again with more cars on Day 2 of the Paris auto show.


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