October 19, 2008 As the curtain falls on the Paris Motor Show for 2008 we take a look back at some of the biggest surprises and brightest innovations to emerge from this massive global automotive extravaganza. As a starting point it's hard to go past Lamborghini, which emulated its 2007 most-talked-about crown by showing its Estoque concept. As a mid-engined four-door coupé with a V10 motor and permanent four-wheel drive, it's not really eco-inspired but a weapon to behold for the family man. Mazda definitely made our short-list for the most striking design with the aerodynamic Kiyora Urban compact and Citroen also floated some compelling concepts including the colorful Hypnos luxury hybrid crossover and the virtual-meets-real-world GTbyCITROEN which will appear on-screen in the next installment of Gran Turismo.
Our pick for the cutest in the litter would probably be the Nissan NuVu urban electric car which follows the transport trend towards cars looking cute and cuddly and friendly and functional cartoon characters. Nissan described the technology as “entirely credible” for launch around 2015.
Also cute, but more likely to materialize on our roads in the near future is Mini's "4 x 4 x 4 x 4" Crossover Concept, an innovative design that incorporates a sliding rear door and a folding roof cover to optimize load carrying capacity.
As expected, eco-friendly motoring was high on the agenda in Paris with the most notable announcement being Honda's Insight hybrid. This 'affordable family hybrid concept' is close to the production and aims to be the cheapest hybrid on the market when it hits the U.S. in 2009.
New hybrids were also unveiled by Kia (Soul), Peugeot (PROLOGUE) and Audi (A1 Sportback concept), and smart's existing electric car became increasingly viable with the addition of Lithium Ion batteries in another of the show's highlights
In terms of pure eye-candy, Mercedes-Benz new design direction for the E-Class coupe - ConceptFASCINATION - definitely rates a mention along with the new Ferrari California and Renault's Ondelios luxury crossover concept.
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