The Lamborghini Asterion is a 910-horsepower plug-in hybrid that can run more than 30 miles on electric power, and then scream its way to a top speed of nearly 200 mph. We heard it directly from Lamborghini’s CEO, Stephan Winkelmann, that the Asterion is not headed to production. Sorry folks, that’s straight from the boss.
But this concept’s powerful V-10 engine, which is combined with three electric motors and all-wheel-drive, certainly points towards a future when plug-in hybrid technology makes the jump to Lamborghini’s regular production models. When it does, Winkelmann stated this tech would not be limited to only a halo model, such as hybrid hyper-cars like the LaFerrari and McLaren P1.
Citroen DS Divine
Take a curvaceous four-door, throw on some outlandish doors, dozens of chevrons, and toss in a padded black leather studded with Swarovski crystals. Sounds crazy, right? Oh yes, and it’s even stranger and more beguiling when seen up close! The Citroen DS Divine was one of the wackier concepts on display in Paris, at least from a trim and design standpoint.
Citroen had two craftsmen alongside the DS Divine, busy working crystals into the same “Fatale Punk” trim used in the crazy cabin of the show-car. The French automaker wants to spin the DS brand into an upscale range, and this 270-horsepower turbocharged sedan is proof that Citroen is not short of ideas – or timid when it comes to interior trim!
Volkswagen XL Sport Concept
VW served up a huge surprise in the form of the lithe XL Sport Concept. Normally, the Volkswagen XL1 is the German automaker’s hybrid flagship, a car that delivers stratospheric fuel economy thanks to lightweight construction, wind-cheating aerodynamics and a fuel-sipping diesel plug-in hybrid powertrain.
Except in Paris, Volkswagen opted to ditch the eco credentials and toss in a rev-loving Ducati motorbike engine. That’s right, behind this VW’s 2-passenger cabin lurks a 197-horsepower V-twin taken from the Ducati 1199 Superleggera sport bike. The VW Group recently purchased the Ducati brand and, judging from the XL Sport (which will be produced in limited numbers, but with no plans for U.S. sales) this unlikely corporate marriage is yielding impressive results.
Is Toyota finally going to take some risks and get back to the business of building cars that get pulses racing? Don’t get us wrong, Toyota has rock solid reliability and resale values. But the Japanese automaker has abandoned the sporty side of the business, in favor of being the mature and sensible choice when it comes to car buying.
The C-HR concept is a two-door SUV that is pointing the Toyota brand down a more exhilarating path. While it’s possible Toyota will produce the C-HR to compete directly with rivals like the Nissan Juke, it’s more likely that the extreme styling on this sporty sport-ute will work its way (to some degree) onto mainstream products. Look for the next RAV4, and an SUV one size below it, to bear more than a passing resemblance to the C-HR Concept.
Jaguar is taking another crack at breaking the luxury sedan stranglehold of the BMW 3-Series, Mercedes-Benz C-Class, and Audi A4. The XE sedan made its auto show debut in Paris, weeks after an extravagant online reveal that wouldn’t have been out of place in a Broadway theater.
Despite the hoopla, in the metal the XE is an understated but very handsome sedan. When it finally arrives in the U.S. in 2016, look for an engine range that includes gas and diesel-powered 4-cylinders, a 340-hp supercharged V-6, a choice of 6 or 8-speed automatics (along with at least one manual gearbox offered somewhere in the range), and rear or all-wheel-drive.
It doesn’t have gullwing-style doors but, other than that oversight, there’s not much we don’t love about the Mercedes-AMG GT. This 2-passenger sports car is intended to take on the Porsche 911, Audi R8, Aston Martin Vantage, and the Corvette Z06.
The GT’s twin-turbo V-8 engine delivers 456 or 503-horsepower, and the sprint from 0 to 60 mph will take less than 4.0 seconds. We’re still waiting to hear the exact price for U.S. models but, having finally caught a glimpse of this forward-thrusting sports car, it’s hard to imagine Mercedes won’t sell every single GT it can build.
Honda Civic Type-R Concept
We were tempted to exclude the Civic Type-R Concept, simply because we want the car so badly and there’s zero chance it’ll be heading stateside. But considering a Citroen made our list, it seemed entirely unfair to exclude this 276-horsepower turbocharged hot hatch.
From its black alloy wheels to its massive rear spoiler, the Type-R Concept promises a level of performance and driving exhilaration that is sorely missing from many of Honda’s U.S. models. The turbo 4-cylinder sends its power to the front wheels via a 6-speed manual. Honda has promised this Civic Type-R has performance to beat its own legendary NSX Type-R supercar from the 1990s. Did we mention it’s not coming to the States? Sigh.
Infiniti Q80 Inspiration Concept
If Infiniti goes hunting for the Mercedes-Benz S-Class and BMW 7-Series, the production version could resemble the sleek Q80 Inspiration Concept. Standing only 53 inches high, the Q80 is a gorgeous sedan – even if many design details, like the clamshell doors, would be lost in the translation to a road car.
Under the hood is a 550-horsepower turbocharged V-6, coupled to an electric motor. Many details are vague and it remains to be seen whether Infiniti really opts to enter the full-size luxury sedan wars. It seems likely, however, and we’re hoping the Q80 Inspiration Concept isn’t too far off from reality once that day arrives.