The sports concepts and cars are a part of the Paris Motor Show story, perhaps even the best part. But it's 2018, which means an even bigger part of that story reads electric vehicles, SUVs and crossovers, and autonomous concepts. Fueled largely by the birthday candles blazing brightly around the automotive world, this year's Mondial de l'Auto also has a healthy serving of classic cars and heritage exhibits. The next best thing to seeing it all in person is taking our photo tour.
New electric vehicles and concepts are a part of every auto show these days, but the Paris Motor Show has some serious electric buzz, serving as the public debut platform for a few all-new EV products that should help to popularize electric commuting. Electric cars are officially growing up from tiny city cars with 100-mile (161-km) ranges into larger, more practical products like the 280-mile (480-km) 402-hp Mercedes-Benz EQC and the 250-mile (402-km) 402-hp Audi e-tron. These are fully capable, all-wheel-drive luxury models in the always-popular SUV segment, melding practical range and solid performance figures.
Both the Audi and Mercedes were introduced last month and make their broader public debuts in Paris. Much more than just standalone electric models, each of these new models represents its respective badge's first major step in a rapid expansion of electrified vehicles set to occur over the next five to 10 years. In short, electrics are on the brink of mainstream and Paris 2018 will be remembered as an important landmark in that unfolding history.
Speaking of history ... there are a number of birthdays happening around the auto world, and Paris is making for quite a party venue. The best part of that is all the heritage cars from recent and distant history dressing up the show. Porsche, Land Rover and Lotus celebrate their 70th, while Renault adds a half-century to that in celebrating 120 years.
It's a bit hard to pick out a single favorite among the many cool vehicles of street, track and off-road past, so we've picked out two: a motor buggy from Renault's earliest days and a high-performance Porsche 911 GT1 from roughly a century later. Who said history is boring?
Technically, any autonomous car is its own sort of tech-driven chauffeur, but one car in Paris stands out as a true limousine from the self-driving future. The EZ-Ultimo concept continues in Renault's ongoing exploration of futuristic autonomous vehicle usage, showing what a premium car service might look like in the autonomous world. And it looks awfully nice, giving passengers a super-spacious space to relax, work and enjoy the company of others, all without the hassles of operating a multi-ton machine.
Renault adds a seat that slides to greet you at the door, dresses its cabin in classic home decorating-inspired decor, and introduces a new type of seamless, personalized news and content management system it calls the "augmented editorial experience" (AEX). We'd certainly love to skip the rush-hour gear-grind and take a ride in this thing every day of the week.
You'll find more electric vehicles, classic cars of all styles and sizes, and autonomous concepts in the greater gallery. You'll also find other styles of concept car, an all-new auto brand, more of that (drivable) Lego Bugatti just above and ... plenty more. Jump to the gallery to see it all.
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