The Most Significant European Cars Bound for the U.S. Market at the Paris Auto Show

BMW Group

While auto shows are constantly happening almost year-round an all around the world, there are a few that truly stand out, such as the Paris Auto Show, which runs from Sept. 29 – Oct. 14. As is the case with most significant car shows oversees, most of the models featured are, unfortunately, not for sale in the U.S. However, this year’s show offers a significant number of cars that could have huge potential for their respective manufacturers here in the states. Here are four such models making their auto show debuts in Paris:

BMW Concept Active Tourer

No, your eyes aren’t deceiving you. The image you see at the top of this post is in fact a BMW. The Concept Active Tourer will provide competition for Mercedes-Benz’s B-Class EV in the upscale, but efficient and utilitarian market. Both cars are aimed at buyers looking for a small, eco-friendly car that can comfortably fit four adults, all while providing more luxurious appointments than typical hybrids and EVs. Shockingly, the car also breaks with BMW tradition of powering the rear wheels by instead sending power from the car’s diminutive 1.5 liter 3-cylinder engine to the front wheels, while a synchronous electric motor powers the rear wheels. The electric motor can run without assistance from the internal combustion engine for almost 20 miles before its lithium-ion battery depletes. The battery can be recharged with a standard household 220-volt outlet.

Jaguar F-Type

The Jaguar F-Type marks a significant milestone for the British marquee brand. The all-new F-Type will be the first true convertible sports car the company has offered in, well, ages. The car is aimed at splitting the upscale, small sports convertible/coupe market between cars like the BMW Z4 and Porsche Boxter, and more expensive models like the Porsche 911 and Aston Martin Vantage. The all-aluminum chassis will come strictly as a two-seater, and will be available with a 3.0-liter supercharged V6 that pumps out 380 hp and 339 lb-ft. of torque, or a 5.0-liter V8 with a staggering output of 495 hp and 460 lb-ft. of torque. Surprisingly, the vehicle will only be offered with a ZF eight speed automatic transmission (with paddles at least). However, suspects that a six-speed manual will be offered by the next model year, possibly on an even hotter R model.

2013 Range Rover

Despite the tight economic conditions still looming in the U.S., those who have the income to fork over big bucks for massive, luxo-SUVs continue to do so. For this reason, Land Rover’s new Ranger Rover needs to maintain its success on this side of the Atlantic. The previous model, which debuted in 2002, was a smash hit, and judging from the tweaked, yet familiar styling cues of the upcoming 2013 model, Land Rover doesn’t want to mess with success. While the 2013 model may look like only a sleeker version of the model it replaces from its profile, a substantially redesigned front head draws styling cues from the company’s radical Evoque, as well as a completely restyled interior. Like most manufacturers, even Land Rover is focused on improving efficiency, as the new chassis loses 700 lbs. thanks to an all-aluminum unibody structure.

2013 Volkswagen Golf

While it may not be as intriguing as the more expensive, luxurious, and sporty offerings mentioned above, the new Golf is certainly the most significant in terms of potential sales figures. The small, sporty-yet-practical hatch has been a hit for 20-something-year-old buyers in the states for decades, and VW needs a strong sales performance from the car in the U.S. to keep up with the company’s goals of being the world’s largest manufacturer, as well as the best in a tough economic climate. The new Golf features a complete redesign and an all-new platform that uses lightweight, high-strength steel. The new steel structure makes the car 220 lbs. lighter than the model it replaces, while growing a half-inch in width, and 2.3 inches in length. Expect the U.S. version to phase out the aging 2.5-liter five cylinder engine in favor of a new 1.8-liter turbo-four as well, along with a turbodiesel variant.

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