2010 Geneva Motor Show: Les Françaises
It's been said before, but it warrants repeating. The French can do upscale fashion. And they can do cars. (If you're in the market for a minivan or budget hatchback, at least.) Combining the two, however, has traditionally been a sticking point for the country's automakers. But that doesn't mean they're not working to rectify that problem.
Nowhere has that been more evident than at this year's Geneva Motor Show. In the hallowed halls of the Palexpo, Peugeot, Citroen and Renault each unveiled their plans for taking their products into a new level of premium. Follow the jump to see what they had in mind.
Gallery: Geneva 2010: Citroen DS3 Racing
In Geneva, Citroen took things a step further with a number of new debuts. The DS3 itself has given birth to the DS3 Racing, a limited-production hot hatchback that draws on Citroen's past several years of absolute domination in the World Rally Championship. Packing a 200-horsepower 1.6-liter turbo four, the DS3 Racing was unveiled in a rather aggressive grey and orange livery with more graphics than a corporate identity pamphlet.
Gallery: Citroen DS High Rider Concept
The DS3 Racing was joined on the Citroen show stand by the DS High Rider concept, a show car previewing the next addition to the range. Based on the C4 hatchback, the DS High Rider, as you might have guessed, rides higher as a three-door crossover, and will likely reach production with few changes as the DS4 within a few years' time.
Gallery: Geneva 2010: Citroen Survolt
Finally, Citroen bridged the wide gap between some of its more radical show cars – like the GTbyCitroen and the Revolte concept – with the Survolt. The gray and fuchsia concept is deceptively compact, and packs an electric drivetrain. But don't expect to see it circling your block any time soon.
Gallery: Geneva 2001: Peugeot SR1 Concept
Meanwhile Peugeot, Citroen's stablemate under the PSA automotive umbrella, came to Geneva with two new concepts of its own. The SR1 Concept previews the next styling direction for the lion marque in a rather Aston Martin-like roadster, powered by the company's proprietary HYbrid4 system.
Gallery: Geneva 2010: 5 by Peugeot
The SR1 was joined by the 5 by Peugeot, a sedan concept set to preview a new 508 which is slated to replace both the 407 and 607 sedans with one new product.
Gallery: Geneva 2010: Renaultsport Gordini
Finally Renault, which has had difficulty breaching the premium segment in the past, has taken its legendary hot hatches one notch up-market with the revival of the much loved Gordini line. Launched on the Twingo and Clio, the Gordini editions are differentiated from the highly rated Renaultsport hatchbacks by added aerodynamic enhancements and special white-stripes-on-blue livery, just like the iconically victorious Gordini rally machines of old. Renault also unveiled a pair of convertibles in Geneva, the new Megane CC with a folding glass-panel hard-top and the innovative Wind roadster with a flip-top previously featured on the exclusive Ferrari 575 Superamerica.