Heads will turn with Renault's latest concept coupe, the DeZir. With gullwing doors, a smooth red-and-white color scheme and an electric motor that drives the rear wheels, the DeZir is said to be the vision of the future for the French automaker. Jon Alain Guzik

In 1898 the world’s first auto show was held in Paris at the Tuilleries Gardens. Only a few vehicles were on display, and people were so skeptical of this new mode of transportation — Le Car — that exhibitors had to drive their automobiles from Versailles to Paris to prove their validity.

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More than a century later, the 2010 Paris Auto Show is home to over 100 world premieres. Alternating years with Frankfurt Auto Show, Paris has become the platform for unveiling supercars and especially this year, electric vehicles. This year’s line up includes vehicles from Ford, Jaguar, Peugeot, Land Rover, Citroen, Mercedes, Nissan, BMW, Fiat, Audi, Mini, Lotus, and Fisker Automotive. With the auto industry emerging from a few years of serious adversity, it’s good to see a Paris show so fresh, stylish and future-leaning.

Peugeot HR1 Concept

Peugeot showed off their fuel-sipping concept, the 64 mpg HR1, whose Hybrid4 technology uses a 37-bhp electric motor to power the rear wheels and a three-cylinder 1.2-liter gas engine to power the front. Combined horsepower: 147.

Audi E-Tron Spyder

Audi showed the e-Tron again, this time in a lovely ‘spyder’ edition. The e-Tron is powered by two electric motors — fueled by a 9.1 kilowatt-hour battery mounted in the front — and a 300-hp twin-turbo TDI V6 that kicks up 479 pound-feet of torque. The e-Tron weighs in at 3,196 pounds and can run on electric power alone (albeit only at speeds below 37 mph) for up to 31 miles of city driving.

2011 Bentley Continental GT

While the 2011 Bentley Continental GT isn’t all-new, it does receive a pretty serious make over. The styling on the 2011 model is more muscular. The 6.0-liter twin-turbo W12 engine is also more powerful at 567 horsepower (up 15 hp from the 2010 model) and 516 pound-feet of torque. A 20 percent increase in fuel economy makes this Conti slightly less of a guzzler: 12 city, 19 highway. (To be fair, these numbers are amazing when you look at the size of the vehicle and its engine). Bentley also offers, for the first time, a flex-fuel 4.0-liter V8 engine, which will debut in late 2011.

Citroen Lacoste Concept

The perfectly French matching of Citroen and Lacoste brings to mind the GM ‘fashion’ cars of the 70s. This doorless, roofless concept was a hometown crowd pleaser, drawing woots from the French press on the show floor. C’est a-door-ab-luh.

Renault Zoe Preview Concept

The Zoe Preview is the pretty close to production version, which goes on sale sometime in 2012. It’s powered by a 60 kW (80 hp) electric motor and can run up to 99 miles on a charge. The Zoe accelerates from 0 to 60 mph in about 8 seconds. Looks like the Nissan-Renault partnership is bearing fruit.

Saab 9-3 e-Power Concept

Saab introduced their first all electric car — the 9-3 e-Power Concept. The e-Power is powered by a 135 kW (184 horsepower) electric motor which drives the front wheels through a single-speed transmission and reaches 0-60 in about 8.5 seconds with a top speed of about 94 miles an hour. We feel badly for the brand, whose survival isn’t assured, but this all-electric wagon seems cool to us.

Porsche Carrera GTS

The spawning of new 911s continued apace at the Paris show, with the introduction of the GTS coupe, the cabriolet, and the 911 Speedster. The GTS, which sits between the Carrera S and the GT3, is powered by a 408-hp direct-injection 3.8-liter flat-six-cylinder engine. We like its muscular looks and the power. Price tag: $104,050.

Porsche 911 Speedster

The new 911 Speedster is powered by the same 408-hp direct-injection 3.8-liter flat-six-cylinder engine as Carrera GTS coupe and convertible, but is priced about 90 grand more — a fairly whopping $204,000.

Porsche 911 Speedster

What do you get for all that lucre? Some pretty heavy cosmetic modifications which echo the classic 1993 and 1989 editions. Also, exclusivity: The total production run is 356 units. We love the chopped windshield and double-bubble tonneau cover.

2011 Citroen C4

It’s always fun to see what the French drive on a daily basis, and this is pretty much it. Citroen’s new C4 is longer, taller and wider than its predecessor and has a new bumper, headlights and front grille. Targeting the Volkswagen Golf and Ford Focus, the C4 borrows elements from past vehicles like the C3 and C5. Features include hill start assist, blind-spot monitoring and directional headlamps.

2012 Ford Focus ST

Ford’s new, catchy little hatchback is the “global high-performance” version of the forthcoming Focus that the automaker announced at the Geneva auto show. Targeting the Mazdaspeed 3 and the Volkswagon GTI, the ST boasts a turbocharged 2.0-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder engine with a pretty kick-ass 247 horsepower and 266 pound-feet of torque, mated to a six-speed manual transmission and Ford’s torque-vectoring power control system. The Focus ST gets a deeper front bumper with larger air intakes, a gaping grille which is hard to miss — really, it’s huge — a hefty spoiler above the rear tailgate, wider side sills, a quirky rear bumper cover housing the central exhaust along with five-arm double-spoke alloy wheels. ST-specific front and rear fascia make for better aerodynamics and improved cooling efforts and give the model a more aggressive, sportier look. Inside, front and rear sport seats flaunt the body color. The main instruments are deep-set while a set of secondary dials for oil temperature, while still retaining the basic practicality found in the traditional five-door. Although the ST is only one of three versions of the new Ford Focus (alongside the new C-Max crossover and mid-size Mondeo), it’s the one we’re most excited about.

2014 Lotus Elite

The Elite is one of a slew of new cars Lotus introduced at the Paris show. Aiming for a more comfortable 2 + 2, Lotus put their fate in the new Elite. With an engine cribbed from the Lexus IS-F 5.0 liter V-8, the Elite pushes out a whopping 611 horsepower which delivers a sub-four-second 0-60 time and a top speed of 195 miles per hour. The Elite has an F1 inspired “push to pass” button on the steering wheel will allow drivers a brief power boost if all that engine isn’t enough. Pricing is predicted at about $180,000.

Fiat Abarth 500C

This semi-convertible compact gets the EsseEsse treatment with new suspension and brakes and better horsepower than the standard Abarth model. The 500C features a two-toned color scheme of Pista Gray and Campovolo Gray, the same color used on the airplanes at the airfield across from Abarth’s headquarters. Abarth is like the pocket rocket edition of the 500.

Kia Pop Concept

Although Kia has stepped up their game with catchy designs and new technologies, the Pop EV concept is still in risky territory.

Kia Pop Concept

The 10-foot-long 3-seater with oblong diagonal side windows and claw-like headlights is a fully electric, zero-emissions vehicle that runs on lithium polymer batteries. Six-hour charge, 80 mile-an-hour top speed, and 100 miles on a charge.

2011 Citroen DS4

Joining the already popular DS, the new DS4 combines coupe style with 2 + 2 sensibility. Citroen is offering two diesel and three gas engine possibilities as well as the Stop & Start system, which kills the engine power when the vehicle is stopped in traffic. Other features include hidden rear door handles and a panoramic windshield that extends up into the roof line. So very French.

Renault DeZir Concept

Heads will turn with Renault’s latest concept coupe, the DeZir. With gullwing doors, a smooth red-and-white color scheme and an electric motor that drives the rear wheels, the DeZir is said to be the vision of the future for the French automaker.

Renault DeZir Concept

It pulls energy from a lithium-ion battery that provides a range of 100 miles — and don’t worry, two rear-facing cameras make up for the lacking rear window. As the first design from Laurens van den Acker, Renault’s head of design, this bodes well for the future.

Lamborghini Sesto Elemento Concept

The shockingly new Lamborghini Sesto has everything it needs to end the power war. The Sesto Element is said to hit 62 mph in just 2.5 seconds. Made of carbon fiber (developed in partnership with Callaway Golf), it’s both light and more lithe.

Lamborghini Sesto Elemento Concept

Seat frames have been ditched for a base that’s shaped directly into the carbon fiber tub and covered with cushioning. The engine is a 5.7-liter V-10 and pushed out a monster 570 hp. Genius and brutal, we love it.

Jaguar C-X75 Concept

After plenty of titillating teasers, Jaguar has released their new attention-grabbing electric supercar.

Jaguar C-X75 Concept

Powered by a combination of four electric motors producing 195 horsepower at each wheel, combined with two micro-gas turbines that can charge the batteries, the C-X75 tops 205 mph and with a combined range of 560 miles.

Jaguar C-X75 Concept

The doors swing up and forward at the touch of a button and the steering wheel, controls and pedals all adjust toward the driver. It looks like an XJ220, but from the future.

Renault Kangoo Express ZE

The milkman’s delivery truck might be the right look to go for, as Renault’s latest electric vehicle is aimed at commercial users. Featuring a 44-kW electric motor and lithium-ion battery that takes 6-8 hours to fully charge, the new Kangoo Express has a range of more than 100 miles. The interesting spin is the fresh approach to lease the battery separately, bringing a new system to ownership.

Opel Ampera

The European version of the Chevy Volt comes in the form of the Opel Ampera. Using GM’s Voltec hybrid electric driveline to travel up to 38 miles on a single charge, the Ampera shares plenty with the Volt. The front fascia with its distinctive cheetah-like tear lines makes this four-door stand out.

Fiat 500 TwinAir

Surrounded by V8s and V10s, it’s a bold statement to step out with a tiny 2-cylinder engine but that’s just what Fiat has done with their 500 TwinAir (the “twin” referring to what’s under the hood). Using Fiat’s multiair injection system and a turbocharger, the 500 gets an impressive 85-hp and a rumored is 57 mpg. We hope that the Chrysler and Fiat partnership brings them over soon.

Citroen Survolt

The Citroen Survolt is an all electric, 300-plus horsepower, lithium-ion-powered pre-production concept racecar.

Citroen Survolt

The Citroen Survolt looks amazing and, best of all, it drives.

Audi R8 GT

Yet another iteration in the ever-growing line up of Audi R8’s, the GT is lighter with more power — 560 horsepower, up from 525, putting it on an even keel with its sister, the Lamborghini Gallardo.

BMW 6 Series Coupe Concept

They’re calling it a concept, but it’s no secret that the 6 Series Coupe shown at the 2010 Paris Auto Show will be in production fairly soon. Following on the heels of the new 5 Series and 7 Series, this new 6 Series is a smoother, more luxurious version of the current, Bangle-Butt version of the 6 Series. The coupe is wider, lower and sleeker than today’s car, featuring LED headlamps, a forward-tilted kidney grille, and chrome finishing around the side window graphic, which aims for a more elegant look. Another welcomed change is the use of BMW’s new 8-speed automatic transmission and a 300-hp turbocharged 3.0-liter inline six-cylinder engine.

Nissan Townpod EV Concept

Nissan continued in a similar vein with the Cube and, its closest sibling, the Leaf by introducing the new Townpod EV Concept. This funky new model has a smooth and fluffy exterior lines mixed with clean, crisp interior details. The external shape may be be a tad bit familiar, but the Townpod is still unique. Electric blue accents behind the door handles and surrounding the headlamps make the concept look more futuristic than it actually is.

Nissan Townpod EV Concept

What is unique about the Townpod is that there is no B pillar, but a locking mechanism that connects the extra-wide barn doors, therefore creating the stability positioned between traditional opening doors, as well as more space for loading and unloading. Interesting too, is the rear bench which can fold and slide right into the back of the front seats, allowing more space than merely scooting it forward or folding it down.

Fisker Karma Production

Fisker’s ambitious goal is to sell 100,000 hybrid electric vehicles a year, and the new Karma is how they plan to do it. After various delays and snags, Fisker says the Karma will begin production in February 2011.

Fisker Karma Production

The Karma’s Q-Drive plug-in hybrid electric powertrain — basically a set of electric motors and combined with a 204 horsepower 2.0-L turbocharged Ecotec engine — offers a total of 408 horsepower and 981 lb-ft of torque. The electric-only range is close to 50 miles (80 km), while the full range is about 300 miles. Top speed: 125 mph.