Paris Motor Show | Contrasting Displays from VW Group

It was a mixed bag across VW Group’s brands at the Paris Motor Show, demonstrating clearly the different paths that each is going down. What was very evident is that Volkswagen itself is still smarting from the emissions scandal of 2015, and is looking to put a clear distance between its recent past and its future. In fact, green technology, automation and connectivity were the major themes across the show, with performance taking more of a back seat. Sign of the times no doubt.

Volkswagen Focuses on Green

For VW fans hoping for an even hotter Golf R, or a new performance Passat there can only be disappointment. On what was a sparse show stand with few of the current range of VWs, the focus was directed at the concept Volkswagen I.D. A pure electric car, VW states that with a 125kW output it will be able to travel between 400km and 600km on a single charge. Whilst the I.D. can be driven like a normal electric car, VW is planning to build an automated drive function which it calls “I.D. Pilot”, enabling owners to let the car drive on their behalf. Connectivity to an individual’s smartphone (which also acts as a key) is a major element of the car, as is integration with the increasingly connected home concept.

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VW is being ambitious with the I.D. and reckons that, along with the e-Golf, it could be selling over a million electric vehicles by 2020. The focus on electric power isn’t at the expense of traditional drive trains, however, with CEO of VW Group, Matthias Müller stating; “The future is electric. Nevertheless, classic powertrains will continue to play a key role for the next two decades at least. We must and we will press ahead with the evolution of diesel and petrol engines. And at the same time, we will progress with alternative technologies.”

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Audi Unveils RS3 Saloon with Even More Power

Whilst things on the VW stand were very worthy and sincere, next door at Audi balls-out performance was the main event. Not content with the already potent RS3 hatch, Audi has extracted even more power from its 2.5-litre TFSI lump in the RS3 Saloon, which made its debut in the French capital. Owners will get a heady mixture of 395hp and 354 lb ft of torque, enabling them to laugh their way to 62 in just 4.1 seconds and grin inanely all the way to 174mph.

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As ever, the power is put down through Audi’s fabled Quattro four-wheel-drive with most of the power heading towards the rear axle, transmitted by either an S-Tronic or manual gearbox. Aping Ford’s Focus RS, it even comes with a drift mode which can be accessed through the ESC. Connectivity is enhanced with a new-generation in-car entertainment system.

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Not content with simply releasing the road car, Audi also revealed a racing version of the RS3 on its stand. Designed by Audi Sport customer racing, the RS3 LMS it is eligible for international TCR racing series’ which are growing in popularity the world over, as well as already supporting F1 at some meetings and running in the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

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Unlike the road version, regulations mean that the RS3 LMS is powered by a 2-litre TFSI petrol engine producing 330hp. This enables it to hit 62 in 4.5 seconds and sends it on to a top speed of 150mph.

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Skoda goes Big

ŠKODA’s first ever SUV, the Kodiaq, made its debut at the show and is the beginning of what Škoda is calling ‘an extensive SUV campaign’. Take our word for it, the Kodiaq (pronounced like the famous camera film manufacturer) is big – properly big – but it’s no fatty, coming in at less than 1.5 tonnes when empty. Whilst it’s unlikely to find its way into the pages of Performance VW magazine any time soon, it’s certainly a viable alternative to the VW and Audi alternatives, and we reckon it’d look pretty good with a few choice mods.

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