That's $4 million of automobile cutting in between the yellow cabs, which must leave insurance men rocking in the corner every time they hear that haunting V12.

A bumper fest of new machinery

The major manufacturers always dominate proceedings at motor shows, but in Paris one of the real stars of the show was the privately owned Ferrari P4/5 on Pininfarina's stand.

Jim Glickenhaus spent a monumental $4 million on this one-off creation from Turin, based on the almighty Enzo. Inspired by the classic 1967 330 P3/4, Pininfarina stripped the Enzo to its bare bones and went to work on a whole new body that weighs almost 300kg less than Maranello's fastest ever car.

So it's safe to assume that Pininfarina's estimate of 3.6s to 62mph is on the conservative side out of deference to the Italian marque that works closely with the Italian design house. The top end speed of 225mph is probably a touch on the shy side, too, but politics run deep in Italy and they would not bite the hand that feeds them quite so much cash.

As for the design, this curvaceous beauty is certainly better looking than the angular, slightly arkward Enzo and the canopy roof will stir the loins of even the most casual sportscar racing fan. Aerodynamically the P4/5 looks just as sound as Ferrari's finest work and apart from minor issues, like the prominent kit car-style front air intakes and poorly finished exhaust turrets, this is by far the better design.

The styling house kept the project secret from Ferrari for months, until it was too late for them to do anything about it. When Luca di Montezemolo flew in for a personal inspection, though, he was almost as enthusiastic as the new owner.

The Paris show and Pebble Beach are the only times this car will be on show, unless you're lucky enough to encounter Glickenhaus on the streets of New York. He really drives this thing, the black marks on the white powder coated exhausts prove the point. That's $4 million of automobile cutting in between the yellow cabs, which must leave insurance men rocking in the corner every time they hear that haunting V12.

For those that prefer less cylinders and a whole lot less weight, there's the Holywell TS 07, a French machine that weighs in at less than 900kg even with a Ferrari V8 engine fitted. Designed to take anything from a four-cylinder diesel right through to the 400bhp, range-topping Ferrari option.

Just 12 of these lightweight rockets will see the light of the day, which goes some way to explain the starting price of £80,000 + taxes. The prototype was produced especially for the show, so there are no figures as yet, and there's a lot of work to be done. But imagine a Lotus Exige, which actually weighs more, with double the power and a proper interior, and the potential is obvious. This car, tucked away in a corner of the show, is going to be a monster.

As is the Mercedes CL63 AMG. Stuttgart's in-house tuning arm has taken a refined saloon and turned it into a firebreathing monster producing a 518bhp beast with 465lb/ft of torque, without the aid of supercharging. That's actually less twisting power than the previous model, but there's a reason for that, the new seven-speed gearbox couldn't handle more torque and the marque was determined to leave the old five-speed out of the equation.

So less torque, but seven gears, equals an even faster car that can rocket to 62mph in 4.6s and storm right through to 155mph when the limiter kicks in. A quick visit to a tuning house will turn this into a 200mph monster, though, which is nothing less than its brutal looks deserve.

Mercedes was a busy place, too, as they pitched up with the almighty SLR 722, an even more brutal version of one of the world's most exclusive supercars. Designed as a homage to Stirling Moss's legendary win on the 1955 Mille Miglia, the 722 confusingly comes with 650bhp, but there's no doubting the pure speed.

This beast will blast through the 62mph mark in 3.6s, 124mph in 10.2s and will keep going right through till 209mph. Please Mercedes, please let us drive it!

It's a mark of the power of the brand that, despite not really having a new car to launch, Lamborghini managed to pack its stand with a pair of special editions. The Murcielago LP640 Versace was, to be honest, a little horrific, with vile stitched leather throughout the cockpit that belonged on an art deco sofa and very, very little else.

The Gallardo Nera was infinitely cooler, partially because an over-rated fashion house wasn't allowed to mess with it as this is an advert for Lamborghini's personalisation programme: 'Ad Personam'.

Painted in Nero Serapis, the Nera came with selected panels, mirror housings, door sills and wheels in matte black. It should have looked like an accident repair in progress, but it's cooler than the ice-cold Champagne kindly provided by the Italian supercar manufacturer to celebrate the end of a hectic press day.

Contrasting black and white leather on the inside works wonders, too, even if it does come in for the unnecessarily abstract description of Nero Perseus and Bianco Polar. Lamborghini will make 185 to this exact spec and, if you're in the market for a Gallardo have a look. It's way better than the orange or green travesties selected by a good few visually impaired rich folk.

Maserati brought a special edition, too, with the GranSport Contemporary Classic. With an orange-tan interior with piping to match the exterior colour, that is just as nice as it sounds, light-blue vintage instruments and other cute touches were part of the package. If it sounds like a publicity-seeking non-launch, well, it was!

At the other end of the price range was the Honda Civic Type R, in its production form and the only visual disappointment is the cool glass panel between the front lights has been replaced with black mesh. With 198bhp it will be no more powerful than the current model either, and the acceleration figures will be more or less the same as the 6.6s to 62mph and top end speed of 146mph in the current model.

Numerous chassis tweaks will improve the overall performance, though, and it will rev well beyond 8000rpm, which will make it more fun than a night in with Pamela Anderson and Paris Hilton.

BMW's 335d Coupe was also on show for the first time, and this is set to be a stonking car. The 3-litre twin turbo could redefine the diesel market all on its own. Having driven the 535d last year and hailing the car as one of the best sports saloons in the world, the mere thought of this block in the smaller, lighter and more nimble 3 Series is enough to have enthusiastic drivers drooling with anticipation.

Yes it might only have 286bhp, which isn't anything to write home about, but then it does have a simply daft 427lb/ft of torque - way more than the M5. So the 0-62mph time of 6.2s is more or less irrelevant , in-gear this relatively sedate looking Coupe will wipe the floor with major sportscars. The only problem is the automatic box, BMW simply doesn't have a manual that can handle the torque, that aside it's a classic car in the making.

Aston Martin brought its new Sportshift transmission to the show, too, fitted to a gorgeous frosted white V8 Vantage. The paddle-shift automatic fitted to the DB9 may just have been the worst gearbox in the history of cars, so this new kit that is actually a manual box with an automatic option is going to be a monumental step forward for the British marque.

Its cars are among the best looking in the world and the manuals are fantastic fun, now the 'automatic' option is just as strong and Aston can expect to sell them by the bucket load.

There were more, of course, but these are the highlights. And considering Paris' relatively diminutive status on the world motor show scene, it was a bumper fest of new machinery.

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