Every other fall the world's automakers arrive in Paris with their newest creations. In the world's most fashionable and romantic city, you might expect the show to focus heavily on the glamorous, emotional appeal of the automobile. Ah, but times are changing. While there were indeed several sexy new concepts on display, the resounding theme of this year's Mondial de l'Automobile Paris was undoubtedly that of environmental responsibility. The BMW stand was no exception.
In years past, BMW has wheeled out its collection of M cars to show off its engineering prowess; this year it was a handful of models wearing their CO2 emissions on pristine white bodywork. Naturally, at least one of the vehicles under wraps for the press conference reflected this new priority. Ironically, the "green car" BMW chose to unveil was based on the new 7 Series- the 7 Series ActiveHybrid we reported on the week before the show. In addition to the hybrid 7, the production version of the new F01-chassis 7 Series sedan made its first public appearance, along with the facelifted 3 Series Sedan and Wagon.
The real star of the stand, however, was the Concept X1 Sport Activity Vehicle. Shown in metallic yellow, this loosely disguised concept vehicle should fairly accurately foretell BMW's next crossover vehicle. The production version will be the first model on the next 1 Series platform when it debuts next year in Europe. Its future in the States is as yet undetermined, and there's also no word yet on powertrains, though we expect anything from a 2.0-liter turbodiesel to a 3.0-liter twin-turbo gas engine could be fitted.
Across the way from BMW, MINI took the wraps off its Crossover Concept. Also based on components from the next 1 Series, the MINI Crossover Concept will likely make it to production with most of its unique design elements intact. It will also be the first MINI with a pair of doors on both sides.
Standouts from other manufacturers included Mercedes unique Fascination Concept, an E-Class-based two-door grand touring wagon; Ferrari's California Spyder; and Lamborghini's Esotique, which, if it goes into production, would the firm's first-ever sedan. Audi showed the production version of its Q5 SUV, as well as a new small-car concept, the aptly named A1.
There were many other amazing cars unveiled or otherwise on display. And this being the Paris show, you can be assured the French carmakers dominated the floor space with their distinctly styled Citroens, Renaults and Peugeots. Click through the gallery link below to see more pictures from the show floor.
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