Tuesday, 27 January 2015
This year's Detroit Motor Show has seen a great selection of new car reveals, concepts and news stories from the motor industry.
2015, then, is shaping up to be a stellar year for new cars, and the new models shown at this year's show did not disappoint - there were even one or two big surprises!
Some cars have received more attention than others, but this year's Detroit show was certainly a packed one! Brands such as Mercedes, Ford, Honda, Volkswagen, Lexus and Audi revealed their latest models to the public - either in the form of production-ready show cars or brand new (and unexpected) concepts.
Ford GT Supercar - Surprise unveiling of striking production-planned 600bhp Lambo Aventador rival, that will even become an official race car.
Honda NSX - The long-awaited new NSX takes pride of place on Honda's stand at Detroit.
Audi Q7 - The seven-seat SUV will the first model on the VW Group's new MLB 2 platform.
Mercedes GLE Coupe - A swoopy four-door SUV set to take on the BMW X6.
An alphabetical list of all the key car companies we will see at the January show, and the new models that will debut globally
The Italian marque brought along a new Spider version of its 4C sports coupe to bring in the crowds. The convertible version of the lightweight two-seater was first seen in concept form in 202, but this is the production model. To keep the weight down to a puny 935kg (only 10kg more than the coupe) the 4C Spider gets a manually removable fabric roof instead of an electric item.
An exposed carbon-fibre roof is an option, although both will need to be stored behind the seats. The newcomer also gets a new, simpler headlamp design to replace the previous, often criticised items. It will arrive in the summer, priced at around £52,000.
Audi unveiled the next generation Q7 recently for a spring 2015 launch, and it has since made its appearance in Detroit. The seven-seat SUV will be the first model on the VW Group's new MLB 2 platform that will eventually form the basis of the next Porsche Cayenne and the upcoming Bentley SUV.
The Q7 is up to 325kg less than its predecessor thanks to aluminium in the chassis, which reduces fuel consumption across the range by 23%. The next biggest change is the complete absense of any petrol engines in the UK: from launch there will be a sole 3.0 TDI producing 268bhp, and a lower-powered 215bhp version later in 2015.
It features styling cues from the latest TT Coupe and A8 luxury saloon, as well as a range of eight, six and even four-cylinder diesel engines. A plug-in hybrid 'eTron' powertrain looks set to be at the forefront of performance and efficiency at the firm. Prices are expected to start at around £45,000.
The Munich-based firm didn't debut any all-new metal at Detroit, but has brought along the 2015 facelift of the 6 Series coupe, convertible and Gran Coupe four-door. Changes to the outside are minor, but inside there are better quality materials and new two-tone leather options.
All engines have now been made EU6 compliant, with tweaks bring minor performance and fuel economy boosts across the range. A new Eco Pro mode, bringing a coasting start/stop function, also improves things. The revised 6 Series range will go on sale soon after its Detroit debut.
Chevrolet has created a buzz at the show with a replacement for the slow selling Volt range-extender hybrid. The outgoing Volt, and its Vauxhall Ampera sister car, didn't really capture the European market for General Motors - in fact this new model won't be coming to our shores in this form.
The Volt sticks with the same concept of a petrol engine that powers electric motors and charges the batteries. This time, the 1.5-litre four-cylinder engine powers the front wheels in a greater variety of situations, improving performance. But the electric motor is lighter, more efficient and capable of powering the Volt on its own for a range of 50 miles.
Chevrolet has also surprised showgoers with the Bolt concept - a rival for the BMW i3 with an impressive 200 miles of electric range. It has been showcased alongside the Volt as part of Chevrolet's renewed focus on electric vehicles.
Ford has revealed an incredible new supercar: the Ford GT. It features a carbon-fibre and aluminium construction with a turbocharged EcoBoost V6 engine producing 592bhp, and will be priced at around £250,000. It's set to appear on the roads in 2016.
Ford also announced a new Raptor version of the latest F-150 truck and the Shelby Mustang GT350R, a racier, harder edition of the Mustang coupe with over 500bhp.
It's been nearly a decade since Honda has had a proper supercar in its lineup, but the long-awaited new NSX has taken take pride of place on Honda's stand at Detroit. Seen in concept form at various motor shows over the last couple of years, the hybrid NSX is pitched as a rival for the BMW i8 and Audi R8.
Beneath the lightweight body is a hybrid V6 petrol-electric powertrain, producing 550bhp.
The Japanese brand (whose main target market is the US) has created a buzz at the show with a striking new concept coupe that has its sights on the BMW 4 Series. Dubbed the Q60 Concept, we can expect to see a 2+2 coupe bearing a resemblance to it in 2016.
Underneath that distinctive exterior lies a new 3.0-litre twin-turbocharged V6 that is predicted to produce a similar power output to the BMW M4, and is part of a planned range of smaller and more efficient engines for the luxury branch of Nissan.
Last week Lexus gave us a first official look at its new GS F performance saloon ahead of the wraps coming off in Detroit. It sports the same naturally-aspirated 5.0 litre V8 as the RC F Coupe, and produces 470bhp. The hot executive car also gets a dramatically altered front-end, with an enlarged grille and smart new LED headlamps. It will take the fight primarily to the BMW M5 and Mercedes E 63 AMG.
The Japanese super-saloon will also get a standard-fit Torsen limited-slip differential, as well as an eight-speed automatic gearbox. We estimate the GS F will go on sale later in 2015, priced in the region of £80,000.
Mercedes is looking to dominate the Detroit Motor Show in 2015 and has unveiled some really important new cars.
The first is the new GLE Coupe, a swoopy four-door SUV that will take on the BMW X6. Part of the new naming convention for Mercedes, the Coupe debuts ahead of the rebadged and facelifted M-Class, now dubbed the GLE, which won't be shown until April. The brand has also now shown a AMG 63 S version of the GLE, outgunning the X6M with 585bhp from a 5.5-litre twin-turbo V8.
The brand has also launched two models from its new AMG Sport lineup; the GLE Coupe 450 AMG Sport and C450 AMG Sport saloon. Undercutting the full-fat AMG models in both performance and price, both cars will get a 3.0-litre bi-turbo V6 engine with around 360bhp and 420bhp respectively.
The CLA Shooting Brake also features on the show floor at Detroit ahead of a late January 2015 release in the UK.
There's also the Mercedes C 350 Plug-in Hybrid - a car that will have company car buyers attention with its low emissions and high mpg figures.
The British marque unveiled an even faster John Cooper Works version of its Cooper S three-door hot hatch in December. The scorching Cooper JCW featured at the 2014 Detroit show as a concept, but is now ready for an expected early 2015 release and will cost from £22,865.
The hotter MINI will feature a reworked version of the 2.0 litre four-cylinder unit, with power rising to 228bhp, twenty more than the previous JCW, to give a 0-62mph time of 6.1 seconds. It's also lighter than before, while stiffer suspension, tweaked ESP and bigger brakes will help bring back the go-kart handling of the last car.
Porsche has announced two new models at the Detroit Motor Show. The first is the Porsche Cayenne Turbo S, which has beaten the Range Rover Sport SVR to be the fastest SUV around the Nurburgring. That's partially thanks to a storming 562bhp turbocharged V8 under the bonnet.
The second car is the new Porsche 911 Targa 4 GTS - a version of the open-top sports car with some extra power, a more driver-focused approach and a few visual tweaks as well. It's set to go on sale in March at £104,385.
Volkswagen has pulled the covers off a new crossover/SUV concept at Detroit called the Cross Coupe GTE. Based on the familiar VW-Group MQB platform, the five-seat concept is slightly longer and wider than the current Touareg, but doesn't replace it as that car will eventually be pushed up in size. It's designed for an American audience, but insiders have hinted it's likely to make a debut in Europe at some point.
The sporty Cross Coupe GTE is expected to join the more family-orientated seven-seat CrossBlue in the US range, and will feature a 355bhp V6 hybrid petrol powerplant among more conventional engines. It's likely to appear in the US in late 2016, and could cross the pond soon after.
The Swedish brand announced earlier this year it is pulling out of several major motor shows this year and in future, focusing instead on other forms of marketing. But luckily they still have a presence at Detroit this year, with an unusual new niche in the form of the rugged Volvo S60 Cross Country.
The world's first 'crossover saloon' is similar in concept to the V60 Cross Country estate we saw in 2014 (which will likely be shown alongside the S60). Featuring suspension jacked-up by 65mm, body cladding and genuine off-road ability, it will be available with a choice of front or all-wheel drive and kick off from around £30,000 with the 187bhp D4 diesel engine.