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2010 Paris Mondial de l'Automobile - Overview of the Paris Motor Show - VIDEO ENHANCED

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By Henny Hemmes
Senior European Editor

PARIS - October 2, 2010: Although details and photos of most of the cars that debuted during the past two days at the Paris Motor Show had already been released, there were still some surprises. Take Lotus, for example, who came to the French city of lights with no less than five new models. The British car maker started releasing teasers and information about the forthcoming premieres long before the exhibition center at Porte de Versailles opened the doors for the media.

We already reported on the new Elite on (Lotus Elite To Debut In Paris ), but really could not have dreamt that Lotus would present us with a total of five new concept cars to show the world that the brand is in the middle of the process of being reinvented.

With money from Malaysian investors, Lotus wants to become the number one sports cars builder. And since we know that Toyota will be providing the engine technology, this is serious business indeed. Toyota was already providing engines for Lotus, such as the V-6 in the Evora.

By appointing Ferrari’s designer Donato Coco as Director of Design, we already suspected Lotus was up to something. Coco was a long time designer at Citroën, making it to Chief Designer. In 2005, he moved to the Ferrari headquarters in Maranello as Director of Design and Development, where he worked on the F430 Scuderia coupe, the 599XX , California and the F 458 Italia.

The real surprises were the concepts for the Eterne, a hybrid four-seater, 4-door GT model. The main part of the hybrid drive will be the same 620 hp engine that will propel the Elite. Furthermore, the now Malaysian-owned company presented concepts for the reborn Esprit, (scheduled to return in 2013), Evora and Elan. The production of the elegant looking Elite will start in April 2013. The 2+2 seater will get the 5.0-liter Toyota V-8 that is used in the Lexus IS-F performance model. In 2013, the new Esprit will also hit the market, followed by the Elan, Eterne and in 2015 the next Elise. What makes Lotus flexible is the use of the same platform for those models.

Click PLAY to watch the Lotus Press Conferences highlights

Eye catchers

For the next 15 days, the public can gape at all the news. Practically all manufactures have a new model, concept car or special version. Fans of the rally sport will love the WRC model of the Mini Countryman that will make its appearance in the 2011 World Rally Championship. Mini will participate in 13 of the 16 rallies as a warm up for the 2012 WRC. Dave Richards of Prodrive, the famous tuners of rally cars, said he was honoured to help Mini with a successful return in the sport.

In another league is the Lamborghini Sesto Elemento. It’s already very busy at the Lambo stand, but during the public days, the mouth-watering look of the concept car will undoubtedly draw a huge crowd. With a low weight, due to the use of lots of carbon fibre composite, the 570 hp strong V-10 of the Gallardo Superleggera will make this car a rocket. The Sesto Elemento only needs 2.5 seconds to reach 62 mph, and there’s hardly a road in Italy that’s quiet enough to try it, the car can reach a top speed of 320 km/h.

Visitors will also love such ‘normal’ cars as the BMW 6 Series Coupe, which is still a concept but is expected to go into production. In addition to the coupe, there will also be a convertible and, for the first time, BMW will launch a four-door sedan of the 6-Series. The X3 is the latest representative of BMW’s X-family of crossovers of the Bavarian brand. In October we will be able to report about the first drive with the new generation.

Mercedes-Benz is showing the CLS, a four-door sedan with a coupe-like design. The new Merc will arrive in dealerships in Europe before the end of this year, but has more competition than ever before with the abovementioned BMW 6 and Audi A7. CLS V-8 and AMG-models are in the pipeline. The S-Class gets its first 4-cylinder; a 204 hp strong 2.1-liter diesel, which is very fuel efficient (5.7 l/100 km) without being slow: 0-62 in 8.1 seconds.

More much more news of the Paris Motor Show on The Auto Channel CLICK HERE.