The first major motor show of the New Year has kicked off at Detroit, and my word its kicked off 2013 with a bang!
Whilst it might not be swamped with a ton of new car launches this year, there’s still plenty to be excited about at Motown’s premier motor show. Especially as one of the cars on display will undoubtedly go down as one of the stars of the year, let alone the highlight of Detroit 2013
So, sit back and relax as we list off the star attractions at this year’s Detroit Auto Show!
Previewed as the stylish CSC Concept at last years Beijing Motor Show, the admirers of the design exercises styling will be pleased to know that the production-ready CLA has remained faithful to the look of the concept.
But, whilst the baby-CLS shape is undoubtedly one of its main perks, there’s more to the CLA than the fancy frock its wearing. Not only is it stunning to look at, but its also the most aerodynamically efficient car ever made.
Above all, though, the fact its based on the A-Class is perhaps the real plus-point of the car: not only does that suggest it’ll be relatively affordable (Mercedes hinted last year the range may kick off at less than 20,000), but, as ultra-efficient and all-wheel drive AMG A-Class models are in the pipelines, we wouldn’t bet against the CLA having the same treatment.
Very rarely do the striking lines and shapes of concept cars make their way onto the road cars they inevitably spawn. Often, the design details they so often feature are way too extreme for a production car.
Amazingly, though, the new Lexus IS, with its huge spindle grille up front and the pretty dramatic light designs fore and aft, seems to be pretty similar to the LF-CC concept that came before it. The LFA-esque cabins also pretty impressive to look at too.
For us Brits, though, the fact there isn’t a diesel engine in the range (when the car goes on sale later this year, it’ll be only petrols with or without battery backup) might put prospective buyers off.
But the bold looks are certainly a plus point, and might sway a few buyers away from the German marques that dominate the market. Couple that with the build quality and reliability the firm is known for, and Lexus have a winner on its hands here.
The new Lexus isnt the only executive Japanese car to feature in this list Infiniti also brought its 3 Series rival to the table, in the form of the new Q50.
Whilst the specs we do know of so far are mostly specific to the US market (though we should see the EU version in March at Geneva), the successor to the G37 saloon does look pretty promising.
Not least because triple F1 World Champion Sebastian Vettel played a part in the cars chassis development and setup
Granted, we’ll only know for sure if the Q50 is indeed a nice steer in the latter stages of 2013. However, as Infinitis have gradually been getting better and better to drive over the years, and we werent too fond of the new 3 Series, and the Q50 has all the chance of being a capable alternative to the BMW.
Bentley Continental GT Speed Convertible
Given the previous generation of Continental GT Speed also had a supplementary ragtop version to the coupe, it was perhaps inevitable that the hard-top Conti Speed Mk II would also be given the convertible treatment.
Not that were complaining, mind with a claimed top-speed of 202mph, its comfortably the fastest four-seater cabrio in the world even though it weights the thick end of two tonnes.
And, whilst wed prefer the more aurally exotic 4.0 V8 instead of the 6.0 W12, we can easily live without the eight-cylinder woofle when the larger engine produces 616bhp and 590lb.ft of torque
No prices have been confirmed as of yet, but we can imagine the thrills of hammering down a derestricted bit of Autobahn with the roof down at 200mph or so will be worth every penny of the several thousands of pounds Bentley will undoubtedly charge for the GT Speed Convertible!
Tesla Model X
Of course, at any motor show, theres bound to be a whole host of concepts on display. And, whilst the Honda NSX Concept and the array of crossover previews were all pretty tasty, one stood out for us: the Tesla Model X.
Whilst its still quite adventurous for a road car at this stage (though Tesla claims it will put the Falcon Doors at the rear will make production, we’ll be genuinely surprised if thats the case!), nor do we know for certain if it’ll be shipped to Europe, we’re still pretty excited by it.
Mostly because, if the stats are transferred to the completed car, it’ll be a seven-seater SUV that has a 270 mile range, yet has performance that wouldn’t shame a bespoke sports car.
And, if it ends up being as well engineered as the impressively capable Model S saloon, the Model X could make quite an impact when it goes on sale in 2014.
Those who look back on the glorious land yachts from Cadillac in the Fifties through rose tinted spectacles will most likely find the new ELR range-extender to be against everything that made the American Rolls-Royce great.
From a less sceptic viewpoint, though, the ELR does look like a very interesting machine. Not only is it striking to look at and its sheer size denote connotations of space and luxury, but the fact it uses a reworked Chevrolet Volt/Vauxhall Ampera petrol-electric powertrain is also intriguing, to say the least.
Sadly, though, even though its based on architecture thats already right-hand drive compatible, Cadillac doesnt intend to sell the ELR in the UK, due to insufficient market potential.
Such a shame
Chevrolet Corvette Stingray
And, saving the best to last, we have the new Corvette Stingray. One of the most anticipated sports cars of the year, the fact its also been called a Stingray means that the C7-generation Vette has to be good in order to do that famous name justice.
Thankfully, though, first impressions do seem to suggest the C7 will be more than worthy. Pretty much every component thats been replaced or carried over from the C6 is superior this time around theres more carbon fibre, the aluminium chassis is lighter and stiffer, theres now a seven-speed manual gearbox and the interior is noticeably more luxurious than before.
Oh, and the 450bhp 6.2 V8 not only gives this car a better power-to-weight ratio than a Porsche 911 Carrera, but it’s also the first standard ‘Vette to hit 60mph in under four seconds.
So, yeah, we don’t doubt for a minute that the new Corvette is worthy of being called a Stingray
So, that’s the 2013 Detroit Auto Show round-up, with all the cars we reckon were the stars of the years first major auto salon. Do any of these fabulous motors tickle your fancy? What are your personal highlights of Detroit 2013? Do let us know in the comments section below!