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The Parisian Premiere
November 2012 | Life-Style

The autumn Paris Motor Show turned out to be an ordeal. Workers broke into a dealership with demands to keep factories open; Greenpeace activists tried to ruin the Volkswagen event… But enough bad news. The main thing real cowboys are concerned with is that interest in powerful and fast cars is not going away. No matter how much some companies are betting on cheap cars and meeting tough environmental requirements, every premiere of real masculine (and expensive) cars drew crowds to the showroom.

New models abounded, but every sports car deserves its own nomination.

Inexpensive Legend
The most economical way to join the world of speed is a hot hatch, a B or C class stock car with a huge motor, an aerodynamic body kit, and a short-stroke sport suspension. The Peugeot 208 GTI is one, a three-door hatchback and the successor of the legendary hot hatch Peugeot 205 GTI. Its suspension is stiffer and the sway bars and the rear torsion beam are thicker. Thanks to the 200-hp 1.6 turbo with a close-ratio gearbox, this light (1,160 kg) three-door hatchback can accelerate to 100 kph in 7 seconds.

The Most Practical
The Renault Clio RS is also a kind of legend in the world of hot hatches. The new generation model has undergone significant changes. It is simpler, with the front suspension losing the steering knuckle; and it is more practical: The Clio RS is now only available in a five-door version. True, the rear door handles are located in the c-pillars, making the car look more like a 3-door.

The Renault Clio RS, like its nearest competitor, the Peugeot 208 GTI, is equipped with a 1.6 turbo that produces the same 200 hp. The engine is based on formula technology and has more thrust, unlike the naturally aspirated engine of its predecessor. For improved sound, the Clio RS is equipped with an electronic synthesizer that generates a sporty exhaust sound. The suspension can be set to either stiff or very stiff. There is only one option for the transmission: the “robot” with a dual clutch.

The Most Powerful Hot Hatch
The new generation Audi S3. Under the hood is the traditional 2-liter turbo, but the new power train is lighter and was designed using the new MQB platform, on which the new VW Golf and Audi A3 are also built. The composite injection four-cylinder also has quite a high air compression ratio of 9.3:1 and builds up to an impressive 300 hp and 380 Nm. The S-series car with its robotic gearbox can reach 100 kph in 5.1 seconds, while the manual version takes 5.4 seconds. The new S3 body is only available in a three-door model and with four-wheel drive. The car will go on sale next year.

The Most Inconspicuous
At the Porsche booth, the public’s attention was fixed on the hybrid Panamera Sport Turismo sedan, with a combined capacity of diesel-electric power train of 416 hp. Another Parisian premiere completely fell by the wayside of this strangely conceived car, which is a pity. It is the all-wheel-drive version of the Porsche 911 Carrera 4 and the 911-series Carrera 4S 991. The cars now use 16% less gas  –  an average of 65 kilos less – while giving even faster acceleration. The driver can now observe the distribution of the axis traction on the monitor.

The Most Diverse
The various Lamborghini Gallardos are now even more than before. Rear-wheel drive and all-wheel drive versions and modifications of the Superleggera can be easily recognized. Engineers are proud that the new Lamborghini Gallardo is 7% more economical, thanks to the start/stop system and the ability of the V12 6.5 engine to cut off half of its cylinders with low loads, up to a speed of 135 kph.

The Strangest
The electric Mercedes, even with the AMG label, is the fruit of cooperation with Tesla. There is an electric motor on each wheel and four of these gadgets put out 552 kW or 750 hp. That allows the Mercedes Benz SLS AMG Coupe Electric Drive to accelerate to 100 kph in 3.9 seconds. Electronics onboard will not allow the electric supercar to squeeze out more than 250 kph. The battery capacity is 60 kW/h and promises to provide a decent cruising range. Charging will take 2.5 hours using a special terminal, while from a regular outlet, the SLS AMG Coupe Electric Drive will take almost a day to charge. The special care given to the environment and the ozone layer, incorporated in this Mercedes, will cost half a million euros.

The Most Exclusive
In this category, the Furtive-eGT sports car is the justifiable winner. The French company Exagon Motors has been developing this car for eight years. Acceleration to 100 kph in just 3.5 seconds is provide by the 402-hp electric motor. The cruising range of this electric car is 310 km. But the Furtive-eGT can travel twice as far, thanks to the internal combustion engine that is used to recharge the battery.

The Most Futuristic
The concept of the McLaren P1 is striking in its unusual appearance, although it is still a prototype. But the series of successors to the legendary F1 hypercar should go into production next year. A total of 500 of these cars will be produced. The McLaren P1 is positioned as a road car designed for the racetrack.

The Most Beautiful
The Jaguar F-type roadster is probably the most beautiful car in Paris. The classic lines, the tapering in the back... It is one of the smallest Jaguars since the Jaguar XK 120 of 1954. Designers have tried to decrease the weight of the car, even forging the lid of the trunk out of a composite material. But to no avail: It still couldn’t beat the lightness of the Porsche Boxster. However, the Jaguar is faster than the German car, thanks to the supercharged V6 and V8 engines.

The Fastest
The fastest roadster on the planet, capable of accelerating to 410 kph, is the Bugatti Veyron Grand Sport Vitesse. Ironically, it had never reached that speed prior to the Paris Motor Show. The car was demonstrated at a pre-showroom viewing of the Volkswagen Night premiere. The Grand Sport Vitesse sells for more than $2 million. Fans are frustrated, though, as you might expect, because its speed is limited electronically to 375 kph. But it gets a quick start, reaching 100 kph in 2.6 seconds. Bugatti modifies its models very quickly and releases them in small numbers. Just a year ago, the company sold its last Veyron with an enclosed body, the 300th car of this model. Then they handed the baton to the Grand Sport with open top, releasing only 150 of them. And the current version of the Vitesse came as a result of a transfer boost from 1,001 to 1,200 hp in the W16 engine, in a roadster body. The hard roof panel is removed manually and in case of rain, instead of a roof, a special four-sided umbrella is installed. All you have to do is disconnect the pole of the umbrella, and you’re off – but not at more than 130 kph, otherwise the airflow will rip the umbrella. However, driving fast in the Veyron is rather dangerous. This roadster has four-wheel drive, but the wide tires, which were designed to have enormous torque on asphalt, do little to resist hydroplaning.

Text: Sofia Ponomareva

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