PARIS--While this year may be my first time to cover the Paris Motor Show, I can confidently say that all those years I've spent going to other international motor shows like Tokyo and Detroit, have rendered me difficult to impress as far as car displays are concerned. Even a new Ferrari model isn't guaranteed to make me swoon. I would like to think I've seen the most outrageous automobiles ever conceptualized, and so I'm never easily thrilled by just about any concept car or production premiere.
And yet the 2010 Mondial de l'Automobile still managed to excite me in generous doses, thanks to a healthy serving of stylish, smart and environment-friendly cars. Here are the 10 vehicles that grabbed me the most:
1. Lexus CT200h: Apparently, this is the first-ever full-hybrid car to enter the premium compact segment. As a bonus, it's not bland-looking in a Prius kind of way.
2. Toyota Verso-S: Remember the ugly Echo Verso? This is its modern version, marking the carmaker's reentry into the B-MPV segment. Looks nice for a change.
3. Jaguar C-X75: As radical as the styling is, this two-seater feline is an electric car, said to be capable of running some 70 miles on battery power alone. Purr-fect!
4. Renault Wind: Previously a concept car, this "compact roadster" has made it to the production line. The two-seater features an innovative roof-opening mechanism.
5. Brabus Smart Fortwo: It's not the involvement of a German tuning company that caught my attention here. I was simply smitten by the livery. It stood out, period.
6. Citroen Survolt: I have to admit that the design of this concept is a bit too over-the-top for my taste. But it has a pair of electric motors that reportedly produce 300hp.
7. BMW 6-Series Coupe: The German auto company boasts that this 2+2 car is the product of its long and accomplished 70-year experience in making sporty coupes.
8. Ford Fiesta 2011 WRC: Visions of how Ken Block will manhandle this pocket rocket next year are enough to make me vote it as one of the show's main attractions.
9. Mini Scooter E: Imagine that! A Mini motorbike! Best of all, it runs on electricity, with its rear-wheel-integrated motor drawing juice from a lithium-ion battery.
10. Lamborghini Sesto Elemento: All that teasing leading up to its official reveal was worth it. This car looks every inch like an extraterrestrial object in the metal.
Photos by the author