PARIS - French automakers will offer a glimpse of their futures at the Paris auto show next month.
Concept cars like Renault's Z09 Vel Satis, the Peugeot Escapade off-roader and Citroen's Xsara-based compact minivan preview new design themes and key future production models.
The biennial show runs 1-11 October at the Parc des Expositions, Porte de Versailles.
Here is an early look at what the French plan for Paris this year. A detailed preview of the show follows in the 28 September issue of Automotive News Europe.
The attraction will be the Z09 Vel Satis concept car, a luxury four-seater equipped with the new PSA-Renault V-6, 210hp, 24-valve engine.
A Renault spokesman said the concept car 'embodies the stylistic themes that will be found on
Renault's future top-of-the-range models.' Among the features are a monobox design with rounded rear end and the integration of the windshield with a glass roof.
The interior is designed like a luxury living-room, with four wooden seats.
Renault is also expected to unveil a sport version of the new Clio, inspired by the former R5 Turbo.
A mid-mounted V-6, 250hp engine will power the rear-wheel-drive car, which is expected to go into production.
Renault will introduce facelifts of the Twingo and the Espace minivan. The Espace can be equipped with the PSA-Renault V6 engine and a ZF automatic transmission.
The main attraction will be the Escapade concept car, an off-road 4x2 sportwagon based on the 206. It has two big sunroofs and a body 50mm higher than the production 206. A decision on production will depend on reaction at the show.
Peugeot also will show versions of the 206 that are scheduled for sale in spring 1999.
A luxury Roland Garros edition will feature a glass roof. A sport version, equipped with a 138hp, 2.0-liter engine and an aluminum interior trim, will be called the 206 S16 in France and 206 GTI in other European countries. The new 2.0-liter direct-injection diesel will also be available.
The 206 coupe/convertible, shown last spring in Geneva as the 'two-oh-heart,' will also be presented.
Peugeot is introducing a 406 sedan equipped with the new 2.0-liter direct-injection diesel engine and a slightly facelifted 806 minivan. It also is putting a sliding door on the Partner commercial van.
Also on the Peugeot stand will be the Grand Raid, a 4x4 leisure version of the Partner that has been prepared by off-road vehicle specialist Dangel.
Citroen will unveil its future compact minivan based on the Xsara platform. It will go on sale in late 1999, equipped with 16-valve 1.6-liter and 1.8-liter gasoline and 2.0-liter direct-injection diesel engines.
The car will have five separate seats and will be closer to a sedan than to a minivan.
It will likely get a different name to distinguish it from the Xsara. A possible name is Xanae, which was used for a concept car shown in 1994 Paris show.
A second concept car will embody Citroen's vision of a leisure vehicle for the 21st century. The company says it will recall the spirit of the Mehari, a plastic-bodied, sport-utility derivative of the 2CV that appeared in 1968.
A 2.0-liter direct-injection diesel engine will be introduced on the Xantia sedan. The Berlingo van will receive a sliding door on the right side. The Evasion minivan will be slightly facelifted around the headlamps and bumpers, as will its Peugeot 806 counterpart.
Technology developments include Citroen's Saxo Dynavolt, a hybrid engine prototype. It is an electrical vehicle prototype with a 2-stroke, 200cc direct-injection gasoline engine.
Citroen will also present an XM sedan equipped with multimedia features, including a personal computer and Internet access.
A so-called Xsara Auto PC will feature a speech recognition system for the road navigation system developed with Microsoft.
The French coachbuilder will show a convertible concept car equipped with a Lamborghini 5.7-liter, 530hp engine. It is 4500mm long, 2000mm wide and 1100mm high. The car was designed by Heuliez Torino.
Heuliez will also show an Espace taxi powered by natural gas. The special van has been ordered by the city of Kuala Lumpur for the coming Asian Games in Malaysia.
France's only high-end sports car maker will make its comeback with the Atlantique, equipped with the new PSA-Renault V-6 engine. Two versions will be available - a 210hp with an automatic transmission, and a bi-turbo 310hp with a manual gearbox. A new version of the Atlantique should appear in 1999.