So many motor shows turn out to be an anti-climax. So much anticipation from the pre-show hype and then all you get is a headache from the bright lights, noise and bruises from other people’s elbows while trying to take a shot of the latest ‘new improved’ version of a car that should never have been launched in the first place.

Not so Paris this year. Being a lot more glamorous than Frankfurt (which swaps every other year with Paris) it is a very pleasant town to visit anyway so you could forgive it for running a rubbish motor show if that were the case. In 2012 however there were some real gems amongst the usual dross (that is if you like cars that are interesting and not just a means for popping down to Tesco).

If you lived on Mars you might have missed the fact that McLaren were to be unveiling their new P1 ‘hypercar’ at the show and if ever there was an opportunity to be underwhelmed it was going to be this one. However McLaren pulled it off by presenting a car that truly did make the audience gasp. Firstly it looked a little ungainly from certain angles then suddenly it looked beautiful. Either way it made you want to keep staring at it to find another quirky piece of the car’s design detail. This car will be talked about for some time yet.

If the P1 hadn’t stole the show this time around then the Onyx design concept from Peugeot would have made the headlines. Like most concepts there were too many impractical design elements including large swathes of copper (yes, copper) running down each flank of the car and a rear lighting arrangement that just couldn’t possibly work. But it was stunning. What a shame that there are some very talented designers working at Peugeot who won’t ever have a chance to see there creations signed off by the bean-counters at a corporate monolith that insists on producing some dreadful cars. Sorry Peugeot but you lost the plot years ago.

The F-Type Jaguar and 2013 Range Rover were part of a joint presentation by JLR and if initial reactions are anything to go by it seems that both cars will be bringing home the bacon big time for the company. The F-Type inspired a lot of ‘but it looks like a…’ comments but a walk around the car a few times tells you that it will stand out from the crowd. The back end of the car is particularly attractive which sounds like a back-handed compliment but it’s true.

Porsche showed off their Sport Turismo concept which is basically a Panamera shooting brake and a lot of sense it makes too. Best of all is that Porsche has somehow managed to create a handsome car out of its ugly-duckling saloon which is no mean feat. The car looks great from every angle now and the company should waste no time at all in getting this concept into production. He here is a better idea – delete the existing saloon and call this car the new Panamera!

So what else was new at the show? Bentley presented the GT3 version of the Continental GT and if there was a prize for the biggest rear wing spolier at the show this car won it no question. It was impossible to look at the car without the eyes being drawn to this huge appendage at the back in spite of the floor-scraping body-kit, big wheels and fancy paintwork. One thing is for sure if Bentley are serious about entering this car into major competitions then we can’t wait to see this thing tearing up the track and dwarfing the other contestants!

Biggest diappointment? That has to be Maserati’s insistence on launching a car they really don’t need in their range – the Levante. Thankfully the name ‘Kubang’ has been dropped but it’s a bit like sprinkling glitter on poo. It’s still poo. Maserati, please stick with cars like the beautiful GranCabrio MC which is what you are really good at.

Audi showed of their new S3, RS5 Cabriolet and a strange thing called a Crosslane Coupe concept which we assume was trying to prove their is a market for vehicles that people just don’t need – sorry guys, we don’t get it.

Rolls Royce went all ‘Art Deco’ and used the theme to show off a bespoke option for the Phantom Saloon, Coupe and Drophead. Why buy the standard car when for so much more money you can buy the same car but with arty bits of trim. Having said that the Drophead Phantom on the stand looked stuuning with an ice blue paint job with contrating ice white interior – just don’t let the kids get in the back with their chocolate ice-creams!

Mercedes seems to have found its mojo again if the proposed design for the new S-Class goes ahead. Really nice swoopy design that is far from conservative and will hopefully set the scene for their new models in the future. There was an electric version of the SLS which produces almost identical performance figures as the V8 petrol version but for nearly twice the price of that car. Erm, we’ll pass on that one.

Other cars worth stopping to have a peek at included the new MINI GP, Paceman and Countryman JCW. Note to BMW: please stop releasing new versions of the MINI it is starting to get a tad confusing. The 2013 Gallardo made an appearance and while the car is still gorgeous it is starting to look like it needs a major makeover and not just a tidy-up. We gather a totally new model is under way so can’t wait for that – hopefully it will be a mini-Aventador!

Of course we could tell you about the myriad of other ‘new’ cars from the likes of Kia, Toyota, Ford, Peugeot, Renault, Citroen etc etc but the chances are you will soon be deluged with TV adverts from the respective companies telling you how their cars have changed the world and how your life will be so much better with one of their products. No thanks.

In the meantime will Frankfurt 2013 be as good as Paris 2012? Can’t wait to find out!

Enjoy the slide show of Paris 2012……….

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