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Lancia at the Paris motor show 2008

Thu, 02 Oct 2008 00:00:00 -0700

By Ben Barry

Motor Shows

02 October 2008 22:57

At the Paris Motor Show 2006, CAR Online witnessed the covers come off the concept that was to pre-empt Lancia’s C-segment superstar. Today the Lancia Delta takes pride of place on the Lancia stand, flanked by the rest of the range: Ypsilon and Musa.

It’s the name that probably means most to UK buyers, so the Delta will spearhead Lancia’s comeback to these shores after a 15-year-break in mid-2009. The engine line-up will include three diesels: a 1.6, 2.0 and 190bhp 1.9-litre twin turbo; plus a brace of petrols: a 1.4 and 1.8, both benefiting from direct-injection tech.

The ostentatious grille seems a little Allegro Vanden Plas for a car of this size, but the sumptuous leather interior does feel more convincingly premium than the Audi A3 or BMW 1-series.

The Ypsilon Versus makes its world debut here. Don’t get too excited, though. Versus is a Versace sub-brand, so this is more of a special edition – like, say, the Peugeot 205 Lacoste – than a whole new car. You’ll spot it thanks to the bronze paintjob and colour-coded 16in alloys.

Yes they’re distinctive, but it’s hard to see quite how Lancia’s cars fit into the Fiat/Alfa line-up from a UK perspective. It’s classier and more upmarket than Fiat, sure. But isn’t that Alfa’s positioning? Will the modest 2500 units Lancia aims to sell make it more exclusive? Perhaps. But there’s a difference between demand outstripping supply and people just not buying something. And that, we fear, is just what Lancia faces.

CAR's Lancia stand score: 2/5


Click here for up to the minute Paris motor show 2008 live reports

Click here for the previews and review: Guide to all cars


By Ben Barry