(Pocket-lint) - The Paris Motor Show, or Mondial De L'Auto Paris, alternates its place on the circuit with Frankfurt, in Germany. In 2018 it's the turn of the city of light to host the show, and under the shadow of the Eiffel Tower, visitors will be able to check out hundreds of new car debuts and refreshed models.
The Paris show isn't the size it once was, and there are fewer exhibitors than ever in 2018 - brands such as Volkswagen, Ford, Volvo, Fiat, Alfa and Mitsubishi have all taken a pass. However, those that have turned up appear to have taken it upon themselves to make up for their missing competitors: Audi are showing three new production models and two concepts. At most shows you'd expect to see one of each, at best, and Paris is dominated by electric and hybrid models.
We've rounded up all the big models and all the major news coming to a road near you over the next months (or years and years).
In concept car land, Peugeot shows the ultra-pretty little coupe inspired by its historic 504. Except this one is electric, and can drive autonomously. Peugeot says its all about showing people that an electric, autonomous future needn't be boring and devoid of emotion. Amen to that, if it looks like this.
The EZ-Ultimo is Renault's future vision not constrained by practical limitations. Instead it presents an autonomous luxury lounge, so you can slip in, relax, take a guided tour of a new city at your leisure and in perfect comfort. Renault suggest premium materials like marble, wood and leather can create a bespoke interior. Is it a little far-fetched, or a real vision for the future of cars?
Audi PB 18 e-tron Concept
Shown in the summer, the PB 18 is a concept car which takes Audi's new electric e-tron technology, and imagines it in the context of a future sports car. Driver-focused, and thus doing away with any autonomous driving functionality, instead the PB 18 is a shooting break, which features the high-tech cockpit you'd expect on an Audi. Will this be the foundation of a new R8? Audi has been pretty good at turning concepts into real cars recently.
Autonomous cars might be one of the big industry buzz-trends right now, but it's actually in the world of delivery, where we might first see driverless vehicles. Renault has a big van business, and its EZ-Pro concept is a vision of what a vehicle which delivers autonomously could be like. Vehicles like this could be taking on "the last mile" to deliver your Amazon order to your doorstep.
Skoda Vision RS
The Vision RS is a concept, but it actually previews the style of the new generation of the Skoda Rapid - Skoda's car that costs little more than a Fabia, but has more space than a Golf. The RS branding shows Skoda's commitments to its go-faster vRS sub-brand performance models.
This electric Mercedes - which is roughly the same size as the brand's GLC SUV - will go on sale early in 2019. Distinguished by little more than a bit of blue lighting and a rather questionable grille, the EQC's price has yet to be announced, but its 80kWh battery, means range will be less than an Audi e-tron, Jaguar i-Pace and pricier versions of the Tesla Model X. The electric SUV wars have started in earnest.
We've already seen Audi's first electric SUV at a special VIP event in San Francisco, but this is the first time the public can take a look at the all-electric model which Audi says will cover 310km on a full charge. Typical Audi angular-aggressive design cues feature, as does a hi-tech theme which extends to an option to bin the door mirrors for cameras, and an all-touch interface inside. The odd "55" on the number plate is part of Audi's new naming scheme which will broadly let you compare the power of this as an EV to traditional combustion engine.
DS3 Crossback E-Tense
We had a sneak peak of the new DS3 Crossback at an event in Paris a couple of weeks ago, which you can read about here. The replacement for the Mini-rivalling DS3 is now an SUV, but the big news is its electric powertrain in the E-Tense model - along with some typically wild design cues, especially inside. It will be hitting the roads in 2019, pop-out door handles and all, to rival cars like the Hyundai Kona Electric.
Ferrari Monza SP1 and SP2
First shown a few weeks before the show, Ferrari's pair of new Monzas are based around Ferrari's front-engined V12 cars - they take inspiration from the 1940s 166MM and 1950s 750 and 860 Monza. The SP1 is a single seater, while the SP2 allows a passenger to come along. To be built in limited numbers, sadly these cars are invite-only, so although they look divine, the changes of getting hold of one even if you have the means, is virtually non-existent.
BMW 3 Series
If you're not thinking of going electric, then the new 3 Series is probably the most important car at the Paris show. There'll be an electric version in time, but for now it's the regular raft of petrols and diesels - albeit more efficient, and better driving than before. The exterior design changes are blink and you'll miss them small, but the interior gets a much higher-quality range of finishes and a lot more obvious tech - including bigger screens, gesture control and a digital cluster.
BMW's popular roadster was shown in concept car form at Frankfurt last year, and the production version looks fairly similar. Which means it still looks a bit odd. It shares its underpinning with Toyota's next Supra, and very much stays in petrol-only land.
Another new BMW is the X5 - the fourth generation of the company’s largest SUV. There's a new, larger X7 on the way if you still need more room - but the X5 offers space a plenty, the option of 7 seats and BMW's latest iDrive interface, along with the option of a plug-in hybrid eDrive.
Audi's long-in-the-tooth Q3 gets replaced here by a new model that’s every bit the technology tour-de-force you'd expect from Audi. It's based on the platform that also underpins the VW Tiguan - but the Audi gets more cockpit technology and driver assistance systems, along with a wide range of engines and trim levels. But no e-tron version. Yet.
Another Audi favourite, the A1, get a much more aggressive, tech-focused new design. Available as a 5-door only in this new format, the A1 features a digital cockpit set-up, including a touchscreen that you can scribble on giving you fingertip input. This new baby Audi looks much more serious.
Skoda Kodiaq vRS
If you've always been taken with the idea of a performance SUV - like a Audi SQ or BMW X M - but have never quite got there, then Skoda might have the answer, with its first vRS SUV. The Kodiaq vRS offers 240HP, huge 20-inch wheels showing off red brake callipers and Alcantara sports seats. It's not all talk though, the Kodiaq vRS has set the record for the fastest 7-seater SUV round the Nürburgring - can you imagine being in the third row for that lap?
Suzuki's historic off-roader receives a significant up-date, with an appealing retro style but some more modern features. In Japan, its reputation rivals that of a Jeep or Land Rover Defender. It's bound to be invincible off-road and is over-flowing with character. We love it.