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Audi R8 Spyder
Honda NSX
Infiniti QX Sport Inspiration
Kia Optima Sportswagon
Lexus LC
Mercedes EQ
Mitsubishi GT-PHEV
      • October 16, 2016
      • On the horizon
      • Kenneth Y T Lim shares some highlights from the recent Paris Motor Show, one of the top international shows for car lovers

Kenneth Y T Lim

THE Paris Motor Show, one of the top international automobile shows for car lovers, ends today.

Here’s a sneak preview of what’s coming to your roads:

Audi S5 coupé, Q5, and R8 Spyder

The Audi Q5 is a popular choice among local fans of European SUVs. At this year’s Paris show, the Q5 was unveiled in its second-generation form. The all-new model retains the clean lines of its predecessor, while updating them in terms of the sharpness of profile and driving pleasure. The new Q5 is lighter, delivering quicker response and acceleration; it has been updated inside to offer drivers the option of monitoring the car via a 12.3-inch instrument cluster.

Sharing space at the Audi stand with the Q5 was the all-new Audi S5 coupé. The S5 is a performance-tuned variant of the A5 and is powered by a 3.0-litre V6 with twin-scroll turbocharging. Being a performance oriented Audi, power is delivered to all wheels through the car’s Quattro four-wheel-drive system, which includes an 8-speed fully automatic gearbox.

But the highlight of the Audi stand was no doubt the R8 Spyder. This is a soft-top version of the mid-engined V10-powered Audi, with a 5.2-litre engine driving all four wheels. Its proportions perfectly hint at the reserves of power and torque just behind its two seats. Taming the R8 Spyder’s visceral al fresco exhilaration — but only just slightly — are carbon-fibre reinforced ceramic brake discs.

Honda NSX

The original Honda NSX was launched in 1989 to rave reviews. It offered buyers the performance of a supercar with a degree of driver friendliness and visibility that made it practical to drive every day.

It is safe to say that the all-new model has been eagerly anticipated and has massive shoes to fill. From the looks of it, it has done that stupendously.

Power comes from a turbocharged 3.5-litre V6, painstakingly handcrafted by one of six master builders over five days. The all-new NSX has been thoroughly updated for the 21st century with an aluminium chassis, as well as a carbon fibre and steel superstructure, making the car extremely lightweight. For drivers, that means a high power-to-weight ratio, which assures breathtaking performance on every drive.

Infiniti QX Sport Inspiration concept

Looking stunning with its matte grey paint and eye-catching 22-inch alloys was the new concept by Infiniti, namely the QX Sport Inspiration, which has a world-beating engine to set petrol heads’ veins coursing.

Infiniti’s VC-T technology refers to a variable compression petrol engine. Infiniti engineers are promising running costs similar to a diesel car, once VC-T technology is taken out of concept form and put in to production. Look for VC-T technology to first appear — in a form that local drivers would be able to buy — in a 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbocharged engine, mated to a Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) in the not too distant future.

Kia Niro, Rio, and Optima Sportswagon

Kia is a marque with a well-deserved reputation among owners in Singapore. In 2016, Kia topped all industry brands in terms of Initial Quality, as rated by the well-respected independent body JD Power.

For the Paris Motor Show, Kia unveiled three new models. The Optima Sportswagon offers owners a practical utility space for all their lifestyle needs, while not sacrificing the good looks that characterise the Optima saloon already familiar to drivers here.

The all-new Kia Rio family hatchback has been updated to be even more driver-friendly, with the option of accessing the car’s entertainment system through a touchscreen. Also on display was the company’s first hybrid-powertrain crossover — the Niro. Its electric motor is paired with a petrol engine to ensure that the Niro’s roomy cabin is matched with responsive performance.

Lexus LC

Lexus continues to offer drivers a potent combination of aggressive styling matched to high levels of elegance and luxury. The marque’s newest offering on display was the LC500h coupé. The drivetrain is unique to the car, incorporating a Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) matched to two hybrid motors, in addition to a conventional 4-speed automatic gearbox. Dubbed the Multi-Stage Hybrid System, Lexus promises drivers a more natural feeling of power and torque, compared to other CVT-based cars.

Mercedes EQ concept and GLC coupé

Mercedes signaled the seriousness of its intent to develop a range of electrically motivated vehicles in the not-too-distant future. Its EQ concept foreshadows the first of such a range, and resembles an SUV with dimensions compact enough not to feel unwieldy around the streets of Singapore. Given the present state of the technological art, the question of range must be raised in the conversation around electric vehicles. The estimated range of the Mercedes EQ concept is 480km.

If you find yourself eager to own a sporty and compact Mercedes SUV, look out for the GLC coupé. Similar in concept to the regular GLC SUV already on sale, it sports a more evocative styling and a subtly curvaceous side profile. In this regard, the GLC coupé picks up styling cues from the GLE coupé. Both cars offer buyers much more compelling options than regular SUVs, especially in terms of high style.

Mitsubishi GT-PHEV concept

Mitsubishi has an enviable reputation among local owners for high performance compact saloons and rugged all-terrain SUVs. For the Paris Motor Show, the Japanese marque combined the disparate elements in a Ground Terrain Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (or GT-PHEV).

Mitsubishi estimates that in electric-only mode, the GT-PHEV concept will have a range of about 120km from its three electric motors; the corresponding figure in hybrid mode is estimated to be about 1,200km. The three motors are mated to a 2.4-litre petrol engine. The concept’s high-performance credentials are assured through the provision of active yaw control and a front limited slip differential to ensure even, predictable tracking through the sharpest of corners.