The 2008 Paris Motor Show

With new models from Ferrari and BMW, an exciting concept from Lamborghini and the One-77 ‘in the metal’, this year’s Paris show has proved to be one of the best in recent years.

The headlines will, no doubt, go to Ferrari as the Italian manufacturer launched its California to the general public. The subject of an intensive internet campaign, and shown to VIP, VVIP and – no doubt – VVVIP customers over the world, the new car looked an impressive machine, particularly in Azzurro California (a light metallic blue exclusive to the new car).

The proof of the pudding will be in the eating; underneath the new convertible’s clothes lies a raft of new technology including the company’s first front-mounted V8 and a brand-new 7-speed, dual-clutch transmission promising to offer seamless changes.

We can’t wait to drive it.

The 2008 Paris Motor Show The 2008 Paris Motor Show

Arch-rivals Lamborghini were showing the four-door (a first) Estoque to critical acclaim. As described elsewhere on Classic Driver, it’s a concept, but clearly a car ready to go into production should demand justify it. It looked fantastic and truly gave Ferrari a run for its money for ‘wow factor’.

Aston Martin was located just across the aisle from Ferrari and decided - in conditions of great secrecy - to take the One-77. As befits the marque, a pin-striped bespoke cover had been carefully draped across the car to keep the world guessing its lines, with just a corner showing the new car's design DNA.

The 2008 Paris Motor Show The 2008 Paris Motor Show
The 2008 Paris Motor Show The 2008 Paris Motor Show

Still in Classic Driver territory, but moving slightly more mainstream, the prestige manufacturers had some interesting cars in Paris. BMW was showing its all-new 7-Series and Concept X1, Audi the A1 hatchback concept and S4, and Mercedes-Benz the ConceptFascination.

On the small-but-quirky front, there was also the MINI Crossover Concept and the Fiat 500 Abarth Esseesse. And as it’s become such a part of so many people’s lives over the years, let’s not forget the birth of a new hot VW: the Mk VI Golf GTI shown in ‘concept’ form but clearly a car ready for launch next year.

Needless to say, the home manufacturers had some stunning visions for the future, while the French luxury brand Hermès shifted the Veyron out of its atelier and brought in something a little more affordable: a Citroën 2CV. This was given the full, luxury leather treatment and makes a nice comment on today’s economic concerns; that you can enjoy luxury on the most everyday items.

The 2008 Paris Motor Show The 2008 Paris Motor Show The 2008 Paris Motor Show

Next week we will have a full photo-gallery and a critique on the show by automotive design consultant Chris Hrabalek – don’t forget to check back daily on Classic Driver.

Text: Steve Wakefield
Photos: Nanette Schärf

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