The first major motor show of 2012, the Detroit Auto Show, is fully underway, with plenty of flash new cars and tasty concepts on display. We take a look at the stars of this year’s show.
Acura NSX Concept
Easily one of the highlights of this year’s show, Acura’s latest hybrid concept previews the car we’ve been waiting to see for a very long time – a successor to the iconic Honda NSX!
Just as the original was a technological sophisticated car for its time, the Acura concept is also a very hi-tech piece of kit. A 3.5 petrol V6 and a pair of electric motors give it a very clever form of four-wheel drive, as well as potentially meaty performance figures. The system is capable of producing 400bhp, so it’s certainly a supercar in that respect.
A Honda badged concept is expected to be previewed at the Geneva Show in March. Honda officials state that the finished car may be on sale in 2014, so there’s plenty of time to save up for one!
We’ve already had a look at the new Mercedes-Benz SL, but that doesn’t stop it from being one of the more notable cars on display. In quite a few ways, it’s one of the most radical SLs since the original Gullwing was launched way back in the 1950s.
Under the skin is an all-new aluminium chassis, which is up to 140kg lighter than the previous car. There’s also a pair of updated engines from Benz’s vast line-up, and quite a few notable gadgets – such as headlamps that adjust to different road conditions and speakers that are mounted in the front bulkhead– that come as standard.
There’s still no word on pricing just yet, but we do know that we should catch our first glimpse of the new flagship of the range, the SL 63 AMG with its thundering 5.5 litre turbo V8, by the end of the year.
Hyundai Veloster Turbo
One of the major criticisms the critics have had with the Hyundai Veloster is its lack of grunt – it just doesn’t feel fast enough for a sports coupe. Thankfully, the Korean company has just unveiled the car that should rectify the problem – the Hyundai Veloster Turbo.
As its name suggests, the top-of-the-range version of Hyundai’s quirky coupe has a turbocharger fitted to the 1.6 petrol motor, so 200bhp is entirely feasible. There’s also a redesigned face and a sportier exhaust, which should give it a bit of aural oomph to back up the extra power.
Details of the EU version aren’t available at the moment – the only stats we can get our hands on are for the US version. However, we should get a first look at the car we’ll be getting at the Geneva Show, along with more UK specific statistics and pricing figures.
Don’t be fooled by the fact it’s been launched as a Ford Fusion – what you’re looking at is next year’s Ford Mondeo. As part of Blue Oval’s “One Ford” policy, the US spec Fusion will be almost identical to the car we’ll be getting in March 2013.
Given that it’s been quite a successful car, it’s fairly surprising that the new Mondeo isn’t a simple nip-tuck improvement over the current car. The body is reportedly 10% stiffer than before, the interior finish is better than on the current Mondy and there’s now a new multi-link rear suspension set –up. Expect the usual range of petrols and diesels, along with the possibility of four-wheel drive, hybrid and even fully electric powertrains in the near future
The looks are easily one of the bigger changes over the previous cars. Inspired by the Ford Evos concept from last year, the new Mondeo looks more athletic than before, thanks to the lower roofline and the Aston Martin-esque front grille. It’s certainly more radical than the comparably conservative styling of previous Mondeos, and we think it works very nicely.
Despite having a bit of a weird name, there’s nothing silly about the intent of the E-Bugster. Essentially two concept cars showcased in one, the electric Beetle on display is quite a clever technological showcase.
Its primary aim is to preview what a fully electric new Beetle may resemble, especially under the retro skin. The back seats have been yanked out to provide enough space for the battery pack without compromising the boot space too much. Volkswagen claim that it has a range of 110 miles in “urban conditions”, and an innovative “Combined Charging System” permits an incredibly fast charging time of 35 minutes.
The E-Bugster also showcases what the upcoming Beetle Cabriolet will look like. It’s bound to be a little bit different – the windscreen will almost certainly be considerably taller than the one showcased on the concept, for example – but, if you squint a bit, you’re looking at the soft-top Bug. It hasn’t been confirmed whether or not it’ll come with a vase mounted on the dashboard.
Cadillac looks like quite a small player in the executive car market that’s dominated by the German ‘Big Three’ of BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Audi. General Motors, however, wants all that to change, if the new Cadillac ATS is anything to go by.
GM is very serious about its BMW 3 Series rival – the dimensions and weight of both cars are incredibly similar, and the Cadillac engineers have been endlessly testing the ATS around the Nurburgring in an effort to turn an American luxo-barge into a saloon that can out-corner the brilliant 3 Series. Interior quality and refinement is also said to be an improvement over the Cadillac norm.
There’s no word on pricing yet, nor if there’ll be a RHD variant for us Brits (GM personnel have confirmed that the ATS may be released in the UK, most likely when the new diesel engine arrives), but we do know that the boys and girls at GM’s luxury brand are dead serious about the potential of the ATS. For the sake of making car spotting on dull motorway journeys a bit more interesting, we hope the new saloon will tease some buyers away from the best-selling brands in the executive car market.
What looks like a blend of the bonkers LFA supercar and the latest GS saloon, the Lexus LF-LC is, for the time being, only a concept car that’s designed to showcase the Japanese firm’s new design language. However, should there be sufficient demand, we may see the Oriental Aston DB9 rival in the not too distant future.
Being an artistic showcase, there are quite a few quirky styling touches – the roof is made entirely of glass, there is, surprisingly, no C-pillar and the rear light cluster is inspired by the afterburner of a jet engine. It’s certainly a more interesting and cohesive mixture of shapes than the styling disaster that was the SC430.
Lexus is being very tight lipped about the stats of the concept – for all we know, it could have the LFA’s V10 or the CT200h’s hybrid powertrain. Given that it is a Lexus, we wouldn’t be too surprised if there does happen to be a petrol-electric system under the skin, though chances are there’ll be a feistier engine for a car that could rival Aston Martins. If it does get the green light, it’s highly likely that it’ll be in your nearest Lexus showroom in 2014.