It feels like only yesterday we were trying to take in all the car news at CES 2015 and yet, here we are, already covering all the best bits from the mighty North America International Auto Show (NAIAS).
From exotic machinery with three electric motors and self-driving cars to a General Motors EV and a slightly taller Volvo, the Detroit motor show was a banquet of automotive news. Here are the highlights.
Some people said the Ford GT ‘won’ Detroit. In many respects, we can only agree. It’s a frankly stunning concept that does its 40-inch GT40 grandfather proud. A few are finding it hard to ignore the V6 EcoBoost engine, even if it is capable of a whopping 600hp and is 3.8 litres in size, but everytime we look at it our heart skips a beat and we forget what a V8 is.
If the Ford GT wasn’t the king of Detroit, the 550hp+ Honda NSX deserves a crown. The sort of performance of that leaves a Nissan GT-R and Tesla Model S behind is the stuff of dreams and we love the razor sharp styling. A small part of our brain has concerns over the reliability of three electric motors – all designed to make it faster and provide all-wheel drive – but we reckon reliability will be the least of our concerns when we gun it.
Range is a problem for electric cars, but cars like the Tesla Model S offer up to 300 miles. The all-electric Chevrolet Bolt may not quite be in that league, but 200 miles puts it above the rest of the competition. Fingers crossed General Motors can inject a little of what makes the concept stand out into the production car. Appearances matter, people.
Alfa Romeo 4C Spider
Chop the roof off the Alfa Romeo 4C and you get the Spider. It weighs just 10kg more than the coupe, which means it’s still absurdly light. The same 240hp 1.7-litre turbocharged engine means it’s still absurdly fast. Just expect a bit more cabin noise and the chance of being rained on.
Infiniti’s latest concept on show in Detroit is the Q60. This stylish machine uses a 3.0-litre to turn the wheels, while its aggressively-styled silver body and 21-inch black alloy wheels strike fear into pedestrians. Exactly how fast it goes we’re unsure, but at least we can all appreciate the need for a blue light behind the front grille.
The Jaguar F-Pace took a back seat in Detroit, thanks to a pre-show leak. But the official name for the sports utility vehicle, originally codenamed C-X17, is still causing some laughs. Facepalm, indeed. Set to be in showrooms in 2016, folks.
VW Cross GTE
Crossovers are still a hot topic in 2015, as proven by VW’s Cross GTE, which features two electric motors and a more conventional petrol V6. That combination provides 280PS of power, 350Nm of torque and a 20-mile electric-only range. Looks a tad Audi A3 from the back but otherwise it gets our seal of approval, particularly that meaty, ‘get out of my way’ front end.
Lexus GS F
With all this talk of hybrids and electric, you would be forgiven for thinking the V8 is no longer the favourite. But Lexus still loves them because the GS F Saloon (the second car to bear the performance ‘F’) follows in the footsteps of the RC F with a 470bhp 5.0-litre that can be made noisier using the Active Sound Control system. Music to our ears.
Ford Sync 3
Ford’s latest infotainment system was on display in Detroit, complete with various new functions designed to help keep you connected with the world – including access to smartphone apps like AccuWeather. Sadly, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are coming later but the rest we saw of Ford Sync 3 was slick enough to impress.
Mini John Cooper Works
The John Cooper Works version of the latest Mini was unveiled in Detroit. 228bhp from a 2.0-litre turbo makes it the most powerful Mini ever and ten per cent more powerful than its predecessor. Torque is 23 per cent better, too, at 320Nm, while 0 to 62mph takes 6.3 seconds. Deliveries are expected in late April 2015, with prices starting from £22,865.
Volvo S60 Cross Country
The boundaries of car types are already being eroded by crossovers, but we’ve not seen such a quite so subtle modification of an existing model as seen in the Volvo S60 Cross Country. It’s a S60 but with an extra 2.5-inches of ride height and, in the US and not the UK, comes with four-wheel drive. If you really hate potholes and tend to driver over things the normal S60 would struggle with, this is your car.
Tesla Model S P85D
We have a bit of a soft spot for Elon Musk’s electric cruiser, particularly in its sporty Performance guise. So when we heard a second electric motor would be added to take the power up to 691hp, we had to take a cold shower. The car was announced prior to Detroit but this was the dual motor Model S’ first show appearance and we’re still bloody excited to take it for a spin.
Local Motors 3D-printed Strati
Why buy a car when you can print one instead? That’s the logic behind the Local Motors Strati, which was taking people for a spin in Detroit. It was first unveiled in 2007, making it the world’s first 3D-printed car, and now later this year you will be able to buy it. That’s not a joke. It takes 44 hours to print (there are plans to reduce the print time to 24 hours), can reach 50mph and will cost from £11,900.
Mercedes F 015 ‘Luxury in Motion’
That weird looking Mercedes F 015 concept and its incredible interior made sure it wasn’t forgotten after its CES 2015 debut. It was, in fact, wowing crowds (us included) with the cabin, which has seats that can rotate so the driver and front passenger face the rear passengers. Oh, and it drives itself. Obviously.
Porsche 911 Targa 4 GTS
The design of the Porsche 911 changes little, but somehow the Targa 4 GTS on show in Detroit is just fresh enough to make us want one very much. Of course, that probably also has something to do with its 3.8-litre flat-six that generates 424hp and 0 to 62mph time of 4.1 seconds. Sure to be drop-top motoring heaven.