This year's Paris Motor Show promised a lot of surprises. From a nostalgic rear-engine city car in the Renault Twingo to a hybrid Porsche Cayenne S, the 2014 edition of the motor show raised more than a few eyebrows.
Outlandish concept cars juxtaposed against family hatchbacks and the world's most advanced supercars showcased at what is probably the most hotly anticipated motoring event of the year.
One thing's for sure, it wasn't to be missed. If you couldn't make it to Paris, keep up to speed with all the latest action from France, as well as other motoring news, with our Facebook and Twitter pages.
There was more to this year's event with an ongoing theme touching on the historical tie between automobiles and fashion with a 2014 addition entitled 'Cars and Fashion'. The exhibition, taking place in partnership with the French National Audio-visual Institute (INA), was showcased in the Porte de Versailles expo centre in Paris.
Styles and eras covered include pre-war fashion and the Ford Model T (which celebrated its 106th birthday in the same week), up to the onset of Pop Art and the Jaguar XK 120. All were accompanied by visuals and actual outfits which bring the history of modern motoring to life.
The car and fashion theme was debuted beautifully earlier this year when two British Icons paired up - Stella McCartney and Jaguar. The highly acclaimed British designer unveiled a special one-off Jaguar XE which made an exclusive appearance in Paris to showcase how Stella used the sleek, handsome bodywork of the new Jaguar model as a canvas for her breath-taking 'Superhero' design.
For us, there was A LOT to be excited about. We got our first glimpse of the new Aston Martin Lagonda - an executive super saloon for the Middle Eastern market and heard from Ferrari about its turbocharged version of the 458 Italia - the Speciale A - which celebrates the life of one of the world's best-loved supercars. Here are some of the other cars that we enjoyed seeing the most in Paris:
Mercedes AMG GT
When the curtain came up on the first day exclusively for the press, all eyes were on the AMG GT. It's the second car designed exclusively by Mercedes's AMG division, with a bullet-like silhouette which borrows design cues from the predecessor AMG SLS.
The GT has curves aplenty and makes no effort to hide inspiration from the iconic 300SL, which itself has a place in the automobiles and fashion exhibition.
Retro styling aside, this car is all about the future. For a start it's the first Mercedes to officially drop 'Benz' from the name.
The new flagship performance car of the Mercedes range offers up to 503bhp, and combined with being one of the lightest in its class makes for some tantalising 0-60 times at under four seconds.
It weighs just 3500 pounds, over 300 pounds lighter than the previous model, a testament to their commitment and weight-saving techniques.
A race version is also made an appearance at the show, dubbed the 'Edition 1', which features a fixed rear wing and a carbon fibre splitter for a more exclusive purchase option.
But it's not all about speed as the AMG GT has a huge 350 litre boot - more than a Ford Focus and more than enough for camping equipment or a set of golf clubs.
Other features you might not expect are heated seats and a variable exhaust which controls the throaty bellow of the V8. We think it's safe to say it will be a worthy successor to the SLS.
After many photos of a camouflaged prototype and an eventual world premiere last month at their headquarters (where it was driven by no other than F1 racer Nico Rosberg), it's finally been revealed to the public at the Paris Motor Show, and what better place than the most popular motoring event of the year?
Land Rover Discovery Sport
Also appearing at the Mondial de L'Automobile was the hardy Land Rover Discovery Sport. The new Discovery is the first of a new line up for Land Rover and is replacing the old Freelander, marking the end of a 17-year run. It's set for release next year, with a new full-size Discovery set for release in 2016, whilst the new Defender will be readied for sale in 2018.
The sleek new profile of the Discovery looks fantastic, and excellently houses seven seats which makes it ideal for families to travel in premium comfort. The new model is lower and narrower than the Freelander and fits in with the design ethos of the Evoque. It manages to look compact and sporting whilst being even longer than the car it replaces, fitting ideally in to the more leisure orientated market it looks to target.
Available in both 2WD and 4WD variations, it only comes with the 2.2 Litre SD4 diesel as standard, which with 187bhp still provides plenty of power for either off-roading or road driving.
From next year, the Discovery Sport will also be available with the new range of Ingenium engines which offer supposed class-leading efficiency and performance, on a fully scalable platform that can provide performance in any sector.
Land Rover planned to make a big impression at the show with their new Discovery, and teased the sheer ability of their new SUV on a barge floating down the Seine. Seven pairs of Wellingtons lined either side of the floating turf, representing the extensive seating capacity, whilst the Sport elegantly hung on to the side of the barge to demonstrate excellent off-road ability. Inside the exhibition, the the Discovery was fully surrounded by a waterfall.
The Discovery Sport made an exciting addition to the Paris Motor Show line up, making a bold statement about the prowess of their new line up which left a lasting impression on the crowds.
As previously mentioned, the new Jaguar XE also made an appearance. The debut comes off the back of the official launch in August, which included a whole host of theatrics, celebrities and musicians from Emeli Sandé to the Kaiser Chiefs who performed live from Earls Court in a special one-off concert to mark the debut of the new Jaguar.
Jaguar's smallest saloon arrived in style courtesy of a helicopter flight over the river Thames, past the Canary Wharf and down Tower Bridge. They certainly know how to make an entrance.
And it's no wonder, the Jaguar includes a whole host of technology that is set to be used on the entire Jaguar Land Rover range in the near future. It's the first car to make use of the new diesel Ingenium engine family which the Discovery Sport will receive next year, offering unparalleled class efficiency.
The engine range spans from a 2.0 litre turbo up to the 3.0 litre V6 used in the XF, which offers up to 375bhp at the top of the range. The Ingenium range of engines offer up to 75mpg, meaning that some models are completely free of road tax.
It is also constructed from Jaguar's new lightweight aluminium 'iQ Al' platform which will also make its way on to the whole of the range from next year. The frame is so rigid that it offers an excellent drag coefficient of just 0.26.
Jaguar have also announced since making their appearance at Paris that standard kit will include an eight-speed automatic gearbox, DAB radio and an eight-inch touch screen. If you're interested, the order books for the XE opened last week.
A Look Back
There really is something for everyone at the Paris motor show and there's no surprise it's the most popular motoring exhibition, with the last event in 2012 drawing in over a million visitors.
There was a simply astounding range of manufacturers who made an appearance - from Abarth to Aston, Lancia to Lexus and Toyota to Tesla.
Some reveals were more unexpected than others .For example, the tentatively titled Lamborghini Asterion has been revealed as a hybrid transcontinental express - and it cuts an oddly refined and elegant figure compared to what is usually expected from a Lamborghini concept.
At the other end of the spectrum, Nissan's Infiniti, usually renowned for their fairly sensible line of vehicles such as the QX60 SUV are building a 550bhp supercar. The hybrid intends to make a big impact, with Infiniti design executive Alfonso Albaisa claiming the concept has an: "unmistakeably romantic presence."
As always, the Paris Motor Show delivered on the surprises it promised. All eyes will now be on Frankfurt, the sister show, for the event in 2015. It's a tall order to live up to.
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