Despite its, um, shall we say derelict charm, once a year Detroit is the place to be. Why you ask? Surely, you jest! Why it's the site of the North American International Auto Show, my simple friend! Right now they are going over a big two day schedule of press conferences where the world's car makers reveal their wares for the upcoming year. So without further ado, here's a rundown of today's highlights in the order they happened:
1. North American Car and Truck/Utility of the Year!
CAR - Chevrolet Corvette Stingray - No surprises here.
TRUCK/UTILITY - Chevrolet Silverado - Most full size trucks are the same to me... but I like the look of the Ram 1500 better.
So congratulations to Detroit mainstay General Motors for sweeping the N.A. Vehicle of the Year Awards!
More trucks... Ford unveils the new F150! Again, not a huge fan of the pick-ups, but Michelle likes them, so I'll put in some effort. The big news with this one is a new 2.7L Ecoboost that offers as much power as the base V8 and an aluminum construction diet that means this truck is 700lbs lighter than its predecessor. Looks like a tough, beefy truck. It will take some time for the headlights to grow on me, but they aren't unattractive.
The Japanese giant revealed it's FT-1 concept today, which many are hopefully touting as harbinger the next Supra. Looks kind of like smashed an Enzo, GT3 and an LFA together. The best part was that the press got comped copies of Grand Turismo 6. One day I hope someone greases my writing pen with video games.
The new Chrysler 200 is the big news from this marque. 9 speed automatic, almost 300 horsepower and an all-wheel-drive option on an Alfa Romeo sourced platform... if they screw this up, the company deserves to fail worse than Nortel, Enron and Late Empirical Ancient Rome combined.
The Corvette Z06... a supercar version of the 2014 North American Car of the Year. 'Nuff said.
The C-Class is the big news from Benz this year. Since the CLA is the new North American entry-level sedan, the C is taking a page out of the Cadillac CTS's book and moving up market. More content and larger dimensions (not to mention the likely price hike) will be the recipe for helping the car make that step. Also, a V12 S-Class is news for some reason. The S-Class lost me with it's clown face steering wheel, so I'm not even going to post a link to this backwards offering (but please visit the link explaining the clown face).
The Ultimate Driving Machines are here in the form of the M3 sedan and the M4 coupe (formerly known as the M3 coupe... M4 sounds like a British freeway to me, but what do I know). Amazing power and driving dynamics are the hallmarks of this legendary model. Now they're a little faster and better on gas. Sounds good to me. I'd buy one if I had money and a hope in hell of landing a good insurance rate.
The 911 Targa is back. Looks exactly how you imagine it would. Only now the roof slides away rather than being completely removed. So, the same but better!
The Vee-Dub isn't inspiring much excitement this year... some diesel stuff, a mid-size crossover and a Beetle Dune concept. Here's a link to the Passat Bluemotion Concept. It's a Passat with a smaller diesel engine. Oh, and they're going to invest about $5Billion in North America this year. Now, where's my party hat...?
VW's performance-luxury brand is a little more interesting. Audi revealed an electric motor powered Allroad Shooting Brake concept car. It has more power than there are atoms of hydrogen in the universe... and get's better gas mileage than dog sled. And it's not real. But if it was, this beast (which sort of resembles the Mini Paceman) would be quite the vehicle.
Not much to report here, just the Mini went through a facelift this year and got a little bigger. Here's the press release.
Now your Continental GT V8 S gets 502ft-lbs of torque. That sounds like lots. I'm not a millionaire so, this car is not for me. That being said, if anyone wants me to car sit one for a weekend, I'd be more than happy to oblige.
There's a new Honda Fit everyone! The spunky little car that could is all new for 2015. If you're looking for transportation, this is the car for you. Good fuel economy, reputable reliability and versatile interior space make this entry-level model a flavour of vanilla we can all tolerate. I'll take mine in a sugar cone.
Take a look at this GT4 Stinger concept. Personally, I'm not too crazy about the design (it's a little too neo-futuristic looking for my tastes) but I do like the idea behind this car. A powerful 300 horsepower 2.0L turbo in a rear-wheel-drive sports car is a great recipe for driving fun. Kia's corporate cousin, Hyundai, already has a sports coupe that could offer a great platform for this car. No reason why it can't exist.
Japan's number 3 automaker revealed its new sport sedan concept, which hints at the possible future of the Maxima. This fancy number is a front-wheel-driver, but boasts a 300 horsepower V6 and a possible manual transmission option. Could be just the thing driving enthusiasts that don't like BMW, Mercedes, Hyundai, Dodge, Chrysler, Lexus or Infiniti are looking for.
The news for me is the new 2015 Hyundai Genesis sedan. I've always liked these cars and now I'm even more impressed. In addition to an awesome new look and a nicely restyled interior, this new Genesis will offer an AWD option. This means (if I'm ever looking for a car that stickers for over $40K) I could buy one and not have to garage it during the winter in order to survive my daily commute into the Southwestern Ontario Snowbelt. Awesome!
I'm always content with Volvo. If I were a car, I would probably be a Volvo - strong, though not the most powerful, and possessing a competent uniqueness... and able to take a hit. I like this XC Coupe concept. Like a bigger more practical and attractive C30. Can't go wrong with that.
Well that's it for today. Tomorrow will bring another round of press-release highlights. Until then...