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story and photos by Mostafa Anisi
Two years ago, the Mondial de l’Automobile (literally, “auto world”), known worldwide as the biannual Paris Motor Show, set the record as the most visited motor show of 2014, with roughly 1,253,500 visitors — even ahead of the Tokyo and Frankfort motor shows. It cannot be taken for granted.
The 2016 Paris motor show is a deeply European blooded exhibition, which is why it mostly consisted of European and Asian economy car manufacturers, appropriate for the economy market of European countries.
Unfortunately, only two American-blooded brands, Jeep and Tesla, were officially present at the motor show; but the good news is that the Jeep was present as one of the main parties of FCA. Present with ten vehicles, Jeeps were settled in a cozy wildlife setting, with the Jeep’s seven slot “Sarge” grille on yellow cement beautifully designed, like the sea shore sands and wooden platform using logs as vehicle information stands.
Jeep’s jewel among the other ten vehicles was undoubtedly the red SRT Grand Cherokee with its top performance 475 horsepower 6.4 liter push-rod V8, engaged to the well-known 8 speed automatic gearbox, between a white Grand Cherokee Summit and a graphite Grand Cherokee Trailhawk. The engine could easily surprise the European visitors, as they don’t get to see much massive powered vehicles in their countries except for those superformance exotics for hundreds of thousand euros. That’s why visitors and even journalists would stick their head half way to their waists into the engine compartment just to see the elephant 6.4 Liter Hemi-head V8 up close.
All-time favorite of the Jeeps, the two door JK Wrangler was located on top of the platform, shining in bright green with WLS body stickers — proudly representing the Jeep brand as the official World Surfing League sponsor around the globe.
Just a few meters aside was the four door JK Wrangler Trail Rated 75th Anniversary Edition, open so that visitors could sit behind its wheel and absorb its real feel of off-road. All previous Wrangler generations experienced a ten year production run, and now it is time for the JK to be soon replaced by the new series Wrangler yet under road tests.
The Cherokee Night Eagle and the diesel version were the two only Cherokees present at the motor show. Not that you cannot find any Grand Cherokee or the Cherokee Jeep in Paris or Europe, but needless to say, the revolutionary Renegade is the most adequate Jeep for the European market. It is so small and capable so that the stomach-sensitive Europeans have no difficulty digesting its unorthodox design as a member of the Jeep family. No wonder, then, that one can see a lot more Renegades on French roads than any real off-road capable Jeeps.
The Renegades available at the Motor Show were the Desert Hawk trim with its unique and beautiful rough terrains design stripe on the hood and the yellow Longitude Trim in the Mopar Store.
As part of the Jeep’s booth in Paris Motor Show 2016 was the nicely designed (and warmly illuminated with yellow light) Mopar Store right behind the four-door black JK. The store was open to public from the beginning of the show for those Jeep enthusiasts to buy sweatshirts, pens, USB flash drives, mugs, pencils, and accessories like chrome grills, chrome alloy wheels, and various chrome detail finishes for body parts as gas cap or mirror covers as some souvenir from Paris Motor Show 2016, some costing a considerable amount of money.
Walking through motor show saloons thinking about the absence of Chrysler’s sub-brands, I suddenly came across a French muscle import company called the American Car City, specialized in importing American unique muscle cars.
American Car City stand was full of top American trucks and coupes but what really caught my attention was the super muscle 707 HP 880 N.M 6.2 liter Supercharged Hemi V8 powered orange Hellcat Challenger. Along all the exotics present at the motor show, this 6 speed manual Hellcat Challenger was top of the line vehicle of my interest — I have never thought that one day I could visit my dream car up close.
This orange Hemi Hellcat Challenger is the second Hellcat Challenger imported to France. The first one was an 8 speed automatic speed shift, but this one is a 6 speed manual. Asking about the price of these American super muscles in France I faced some interesting price tags! These unique superpower American muscles do not come cheap.
Passing all the European regulations to get the license plate, the Hellcat Challenger will sell out roughly €120,000 (currently $132,480), double the price of the same car back in the USA. The pricing systems will also go for the rest of the cars as well.
Beside the Hellcat coupe beasts were a couple of EcoDiesel and Hemi Ram trucks, and a Harley Davidson Special Edition Ford, and a lifted and visually tuned Ram 1500. A GT350 Shelby Mustang and a 700 HP Turbo Diesel Shelby Raptor F150, one of the five imported to France, were next to a Cadillac Escalade set for visitors and potential buyers to see.
Although the presence of Dodge SRT Hellcat Challenger and the Rams were totally unofficial, even that was as of great importance for automotive journalists and global visitors.
Fiat represented it favorite 500 series family, the 500X, 500S, 500 Riva and the 5 door 500 Trekking as a larger and more practical version of the 500 series for everyday use.
The economic Tipo model came in 4 dood sedans and 5 door station wagons. The Tipo is the newest economy car made by Fiat, suitable for low price market of Europe. There are talking about establishment of Tipo production lines in some Middle Eastern countries as well.
The Fullback pickup truck has two main SX and LX trim levels; both come with a 2.4 liter turbodiesel engine rated at 148 and 178 HP respectively. Fullback will be available only as a double cab can carry payloads up to 1035 Kg (2,281 lb); some little touches of Mopar finish would also be available for Fullback as well.
Last of Fiat but definitely not the least is the new 124 Spider. This little one-ton coupe is driven by a 1.4 turbocharged MultiAir I4 producing 138 and 160 HP, with 0 to 60 acceleration time at 7.5 and 6.8 in European and North American versions respectively.
The sexy 124 Spider is a powerful rival for the all-time famous Mazda MX-5 the Miata, as it carries more violent design elements than the MX-5 and the performance is also promising. Said to be the successor of the former Fiat Barchetta, there are way more elements of the Chrysler’s Pro-Muscle Dodge Viper to it than anything else. 50-50 balanced weight distribution, long nose and short rear deck, tight interior and race spec ergonomic seating position and also those little Mopar logos on the side windows resembles the shrunk version of the American Viper; we all know it is based on the very platform of the MX-5 Miata, yet no surprise if they have taken some advices from their American partner the Chrysler in design procedures of the 124 Spider.
Right in front of the Fiat booth, the little Abarth booth is filled with four little beauties of Fiat-Altered vehicles – a two tone black and white and a red Abarth 124 Spider, and two Abarth 595s, the Competizione and the Turismo. These four Abarth beauties were enough to attract the visitors from the Fiat booth directly to Abarth.
The Abarth 124 Spider also comes in two different setups, one Euro spec with 168 HP and the other North American spec with 164 HP. The 0 to 60 acceleration is rated at 6.8 seconds; that is considerable. Abarth could have used the much more powerful and ready engine of the Alfa Romeo production line. but Abarth engineers said that they wanted a more powerful car in comparison to its standard version but yet totally compatible with the chassis and the drivetrain.
The two 595s, the Competizione and the Turismo, use the 1.4 turbo I4 with 180 HP and 250 N.M and 145 HP and 206 N.M respectively. Both cars come with either a 5 speed manual or a 5 speed robotized sequential gearbox as an option. The 0 to 60 acceleration for the more powerful 595 Competizione is rated at 6.7 seconds and 7.8 seconds for the 595 Turismo. Abarth made a serious little ride out of the Fiat 500 cute little every day Eco car, by producing the two 595 models.
Unfortunately the all-new cross over Stelvio was not present at the Alfa Romeo booth. Officials said it will debut at the Los Angeles Auto Show in November 2016. Still, two Giuliettas, two 4Cs, and four Giulias, each under a bright spotlight, completed the dark-themed Alfa Romeo booth.
There is nothing so new with the Giuliettas or the 4Cs, but how can ignore these beauties, especially the 4C? As a person who has test driven the hell out of a 4C before, I still could not resist staring at them. The 1.75 liter Turbocharged Direct Injection I4 generates 240 HP that does not sound like a lot for this roughly one-ton sports car, but when one realizes that this vehicle is armed with a 6 speed automatic TCT dry dual clutch gearbox that can create a 4.5 second gap to get to 60 MPH from a standstill, that amount of power looks pretty enough.
Giulia is still a very fresh product of the Italian Alfa Romeo. From close up it looks like as it should be. Sexy and muscular, showing capabilities derived from a twin turbocharged 2.9 liter V6 — the top of the line powertrain, designed specifically for the Quadrifoglio model by Ferrari, and directly related to Ferrari’s Twin Turbo F154 V8 engine. The Giulia’s twin turbo V6 generates 503 horsepower and 600 N.M of torque that goes through the 8 speed ZF automatic gearbox or two other six speed manuals, based on the model.
Two I4 engines are also available, a 2.0 liter turbo petrol and a 2.2 liter turbo diesel. Giulia is a rear wheel drive super saloon but all-wheel drive system is also set to be as an option. The vehicle is a major step forward for the Alfa Romeo as it can reach 60 MPH just in 3.9 seconds. Giulia has also lapped the Nurburgring’s Nordschleife circuit in just 7:39.0, setting a record for a sedan car that weighs roughly 1.5 tons. It is armed with a Multi Displacement System that turns off three out of the six cylinders when no excess power is needed, so the fuel consumption is limited to only 8.5 liter per each 100 kilometers which is fantastic.
The Veloce version of the Giulia was actually presented at the Paris motor show; it uses two different types of four cylinder engine, the 207 HP turbo diesel and the 276 HP and 400 N.M of torque turbo petrol with that both come with the ZF 8 speed automatic transmission.
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