Tech-heavy treats from this year's Paris Motor Show

The most tantalising automotive gadgets and innovations from the annual French festival of metal
Citroen's concept features innovative use of materials

With its array of eye-catching concepts cars and stylish new releases, the Paris Motor Show rarely fails to impress. It's a place where the best automotive designers let their imaginations run wild in a city that has historically nurtured some of the world's finest artistic talent.

But underneath this year's heavily sculpted bonnets, aggressive wheel arches and enormous spoilers laid a whole host of exciting new technology that will make driving easier and far more entertaining in the future.

Below is our pick of the best new tech from this year's collection of cool new cars...

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Mad new materials

Tech-heavy treats from this year's Paris Motor Show
Basalt and recycled water bottles make up the interior of the Peugeot Quartz
Peugeot Quartz: aggressive styling a given

Offer anyone a seat in a brand new car and they'll likely take a deep breath and comment on the lovely "new car smell". You can thank the liberal use of interior plastics for that, but what if car makers turned to other materials in order to deck out future cabins?

Peugeot this year unveiled its Quartz concept, a model that not only goes wild with leather trim but also features basalt - yes, basalt as in the rock - to give the car a more premium feel. The light material, which is formed when magma quickly cools, is easily sourced and more environmentally friendly than most metals and plastics.

The concept also features digitally woven textiles -  a first for any car. And for those of you who don't know what they are, they're created by weaving together textiles with recycled polyester fibres of the kind you get from water bottles. The process used to produce them can also create complex sections of material that don't need to be cut once they emerge from the machine, which further cuts down on waste. So now you know.

Hybrid power

Tech-heavy treats from this year's Paris Motor Show
Battery power helps this Infiniti develop 550bhp
The Infiniti's cockpit is suitably futuristic

A number of manufacturers unveiled models that boasted high-performance hybrid powertrains, most notably Lamborghini and Infiniti. The Italian supercar maker dropped the silk sheet on its Asterion, a 907bhp motorway missile that can accelerate from 0-62mph in just 3.0 seconds thanks to the combination of a 5.2-litre V10 and three powerful electric motors.

Infiniti also showed off its Q80 Inspiration model, which will rival premium offerings from the likes of Mercedes and Porsche. It too features a petrol engine and electric motors to produce in excess of 550bhp, while both the Lamborghini and Infiniti are said to return well over 45mpg despite boasting top speeds of over 155mph.

READ MORE: Lamborghini's hybrid Asterion is a supercar with a sensible hat on

ICE, ICE baby

Tech-heavy treats from this year's Paris Motor Show
Citroen's Divine concept blends high fashion with car design
The Tristar features an espresso machine and 20-inch tablet

The Land Rover Discovery Sport made its first public display in Paris, showing off its cool suite of InControl connected apps that are set to be rolled out across the Jaguar Land Rover range. The smartphone application not only allows owners to play music and access a number of online features but also locates their car and even starts it remotely.

The Citroen Divine DS concept was no way near as production ready as Land Rover's offering but did showcase a new dashboard that folds itself in two and is stored in a golden centre console. The radical Citroen also features a 10.4in touchscreen infotainment system that can be paired to a holographic heads-up display for easier viewing on the move.

But perhaps one of the coolest pieces of tech on display was the 20in tablet table featured in Volkswagen's Tristar pick-up concept. The interactive tabletop and manoeuvrable front seats have been designed so builders and architects can have impromptu meetings on the road or extreme sports types can review GoPro footage after a taxing surf/skate/cycling session. There's even a built-in espresso machine should occupants require a caffeine boost.

The great MPG race

Tech-heavy treats from this year's Paris Motor Show
Renault enters the great mpg race
Audi's all-electric super car finally enters production

French manufacturers were keen to reveal models that could potentially reach the government's targets of 141mpg by the year 2020. Citroen's C4 Cactus Airflow 2L tackles the fuel economy issue by mating a 1.2-litre PureTech engine, which is already available in the Cactus line-up, to HybridAir technology that uses compressed air to turn the wheels. A special aerodynamic body kit, complete with cooling flaps that can open and close when needed, was also added to eke out every last drop of fuel. The addition of small cameras rather than wing mirrors also ensures the economical Cactus is as slippery as possible.

Renault claims its suitably futuristic EOLAB model can return a staggering 282mpg thanks to the use of lightweight components, aerodynamic body panels and a petrol/electric hybrid powertrain. To cut weight further, Renault engineers opted to install a three-speed clutchless gearbox, which they say will be perfectly suited to inner-city driving.

Finally, Audi confirmed its upcoming refreshed R8 supercar would be offered in all-electric e-tron and hybrid guises. Despite boasting a 0-62mph sprint of just over three seconds, the electrified R8 e-tron will still manage 250 miles on a single charge.

Speed demons

Tech-heavy treats from this year's Paris Motor Show
Frugal engine ditched for Ducati motorcycle unit
Bentley's big V8 provides old-school speed

Not all of the Paris offerings featured ultra-efficient engines or new-fangled interiors. In fact, Bentley's Mulsanne Speed looked pretty archaic in comparison to some of the stuff on offer, but it did showcase a refreshed 6.75-litre twin-turbo V8 engine that develops 550bhp. It can also accelerate from 0-62mph in less than five seconds and go on to a top speed of 200mph, despite weighing nearly three tonnes.

Volkswagen also unveiled a race-ready XL Sport version of its ultra-efficient XL1 model. It ditches the 313mpg 800cc engine of the eco warrior and instead features the world's most powerful two-cylinder motorcycle engine from a Ducati Panigale Superleggera. The result is an ultra-lightweight track machine that can hit 167mph and rev to an astonishing 11,000rpm.

READ MORE: The Ducati-engined VW XL1 goes from frugal to fiery in 5.7 seconds