The word chic was coined in Paris, so it's no great surprise that the biennial Paris Motor Show is filled with stylish and elegant machines. Among the most fashionably dressed sheet metal are the concepts, cars built to demonstrate an automaker's creative vision and technical prowess and to test it, in a public way, without taking a huge financial gamble on a full production car. Here, we've selected 10 concepts on display in the City of Light that we think represent the best of the breed.

Audi e-tron Spyder
 Audi keeps spinning out new iterations of its e-tron series of battery-powered concepts. This time it went topless with the Spyder, and the power source is hybrid rather than pure electric. The structure itself is also a hybrid of sorts, combining aluminum and carbon fiber to keep weight down. For power and thrust, Audi started with a diesel engine and added a pair of electric motors, one for each front wheel. The Spyder can sprint to 60 mph in less than 4.4 seconds and delivers up to 107 mpg. It's a sports car for the times, indeed.

Audi quattro
 The quattro all-wheel-drive system changed the automotive landscape forever. What better way to celebrate its 30th anniversary than to bring out a striking coupe concept inspired by the fiery and legendary 1984 Sport quattro coupe. The structure and body combine aluminum and carbon fiber for a 50 percent reduction in weight, which translates to better handling and more speed. The quattro Concept is powered by a 5-cylinder turbocharged engine. This time it's a 2.5-liter unit that pumps out 408 horsepower and delivers zero-to-60-mph times of less than 4 seconds. Bring it on.

Citroën Lacoste
 No concept in Paris is more whimsical than the Citroën Lacoste, a joint venture between the French automaker and the fashion gurus who brought the world classy polo and golf shirts with that tiny alligator logo. The Lacoste is a fully open, beach-buggylike all-roader that evokes the plastic-bodied Citroën Méhari from the late 1960s. With its huge, almost balloonlike tires, you must climb aboard the Lacoste — especially at the rear, where there are no doors, only retractable footboards you step on to hoist yourself in. Another neat feature is a windshield that flips down and forward for that total air-in-the-face experience.

Exagon Furtive e-GT
 For years, Exagon Motors has built cars that were highly successful in the Andros Trophy ice-racing series for electric-powered racers. It is now pushing this drop-dead gorgeous, 2+2 grand touring coupe. Powered by a pair of 125-kilowatt Siemens electric motors for an equivalent of 340 horsepower, the Furtive e-GT sprints to 60 mph in less than 3.5 seconds and has a range of 150 miles at that speed. A small, optional gasoline engine will extend range to almost 500 miles. The on-sale target is late 2012, with test units available in June 2011. Our bags are already packed.

Jaguar C-X75
 Jaguar is celebrating its 75th anniversary in spectacular fashion with this rivetingly beautiful 2-seater supercar. The shape is perfectly modern yet evokes supercars from Jaguar's past, such as the XJ13 or XJ220. The C-X75 has a 195-horsepower electric motor at each wheel. But its most remarkable feature is a pair of midmounted gas turbines that weigh 7.7 pounds each, yet produce 188 horsepower to charge batteries and contribute to the car's total output of 778 horsepower and 1,180 lb-ft of torque. Top speed is 205 mph, with a zero-to-60-mph sprint time of little more than 3 seconds. Giddy-up.

Kia Pop
 The Korean carmaker's European design studio went all-out with this radical micro electric car. Less than 10 feet long, the rather odd-looking Pop can nonetheless seat three, with access through a pair of tall, front-hinged doors. In an effort to avoid making things look too techy, Kia used only a single control button. All the other systems — audio, navigation and climate control — are adjusted through a touch screen. The Pop is powered by a 50-kilowatt electric motor fed by compact lithium-polymer gel batteries that can charged in just six hours and have a range of 100 miles. City miles only, obviously.

Lamborghini Sesto Elemento
 The phrase that comes to mind here is tanto bella, or very beautiful. The Sesto Elemento is named after the sixth element in the periodical table: carbon. With the systematic use of carbon-fiber-reinforced plastics, developed in cooperation with advanced composite research centers and partner Boeing, Lamborghini's latest supercar weighs only 2,202 pounds. It is almost a half-ton less than a Gallardo LP 570-4 Superleggera and yet is powered by the same 570-horsepower V10 engine with all-wheel drive. It's good for a zero-to-60-mph time of less than 2.5 seconds and promises razor-sharp handling.

Lotus Elise
 Lotus virtually stole the show in Paris by unveiling no fewer than six new models. We will soon see the return of hallowed names such as Esprit, Elite and Elan, but also the launch of the all-new Etendre, a 4-door grand touring coupe, and a new city car. The largest of these will be powered by various iterations of the Lexus IS F-derived 5.0-liter V8 engine. Yet our pick for this Top 10 list is an all-new Lotus Elise, scheduled for launch as a 2015 model and still built around an ultralight aluminum chassis.

Peugeot HR1
 The HR1 is a compact urban crossover with neat styling tricks such as front roof pillars that kick rearwards at their base and long doors that pivot up electrically. It can seat two, three or four, thanks to clever, shell-like rear seats that clamp onto the back of the front perches. The driver can navigate through system-control menus by simply waving a hand, and the front passenger gets a tablet computer to "enhance communication." Fitted with a 1.2-liter 110-horsepower gasoline engine in front and a 37-horsepower electric motor at the rear, the HR1 has a combined fuel rating of 67 mpg on the Euro cycle.

Renault DeZir
 This low-slung sports car is the first project signed off at Renault by new design chief Laurens van den Acker. The Dutchman had previously designed the similarly impressive Nagare concepts at Mazda. The DeZir has a Kevlar skin with a drag coefficient of only 0.25 over a tubular steel chassis. It is a pure electric, powered by a midmounted motor with 150 horsepower and 188 lb-ft of torque, good for a current range of 100 miles and a zero-to-31-mph sprint of 2.5 seconds.

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