Yr hmbl srvnt is just back from the Paris Auto Show (a nasty job but somebody etc. etc. ... I did buy a TerraPass at least!) and is happy to report on aspects of the Show that might be relevant to AXP.
Paris is not a "major" show (those are Tokyo, Frankfurt, Detroit, and Geneva) so it tends not to get new product launches from makes other than home-town boys Renault and PSA, but it is always interesting and well-done. The Paris theme I would say from an AXP angle is: schizophrenia.
On the one hand Europe is the epitome of automotive excess: ALL of the world's gas-gulping V-12s are made here. European luxury brands such as Mercedes, BMW, and the ultra-ultra firms like Lamborghini and Ferrari have been in violation of the USA CAFE rules ever since they were put in place. Collectively they have paid over half a billion dollars in fines to Uncle Sam over the years: so your S-Class purchase goes in part to paying down the national debt I guess.
On the other hand, Europe produces some of the most fuel-frugal vehicles on the planet, from the tiny smart (remember, no capital "S") to the VW Lupo and other so-called A-class cars. More intriguingly from an AXP perspective may be the European voiturette class. This is a category of small car mostly derived from French rules but drivable across Europe, designed for short trips and non-highway local use. Check out for example the Ligier ...
and (though it is technically not a voiturette) the 55-HP Fiat Panda. These little beasts get excellent fuel economy (often well over 50 mpg), without the use of exotic technology, and at low cost, since they are not designed to take on the stresses of high speed and heavy payloads. This concept is alien to the States, where while we allow small carlike vehicles (mostly upgraded golf carts: see GEM) to tootle around gated communities and other close-in neighborhoods, we really limit by keeping them away from main thoroughfares (admittedly for safety reasons). It may very well be time for a change in this setup, however, and indeed the AXP City class is intended to stimulate experimentation in and experience with this segment. The point is, one can save fuel not just by making a big car more efficient (e.g. Prius) but by making smaller cars. An unsettling idea in the land of the Big Gulp and the Supersize, but maybe the time has come.
(PS: Japan has a similar category of car, the so-called kei class. This includes one of my all-time favorite designs, the Daihatsu Copen, which makes a Miata look gargantuan, and which I'd buy in bulk at Costco if I could!)